Setting the Starting Line of Global History: The Case for 1400

  • Cassandra Painter Vanderbilt University
Keywords: global history, chronology, teaching


Recent decades have seen a move away from traditional narratives of the “rise of the West” in History courses and publications, and toward a “Global History” paradigm. This paper provides an overview of this shift and the issues at stake before making the case for ca. 1400 as a good chronological starting point for Global History courses and textbooks. Starting the narrative here provides a crucial fifteenth-century context of nomadic empires and crusading religious ecumenes, which not only enriches understanding of the more extensive global connections to follow, but also opens the narrative of globalization at a moment when it was by no means obvious or inevitable that Europe would come to dominate the globe.

Author Biography

Cassandra Painter, Vanderbilt University
PhD Candidate, Modern German History
Critical Commentaries