About the Center for Global & Local History  
Assuming that Global History transcends the material, spatial, and temporal limitations of previous histories, the Stony Brook Center for Global & Local History develops theoretical and practical tools for a history that can be summarized in one sentence: Earth and humankind have become a coupled system.

Thinking as a global historian can have many beginnings but must eventually come to terms with the fact that humans are now linked to each other and the earth as never before. To understand the worldwide dynamics of contemporary socionatural change, we must abandon the old view of humankind at the receiving end of nature and realize how much this formerly unequal relation of power has changed. The picture of global change today needs two arrows, one ancient, which still points from the earth to humankind, but also one newer and ever more powerful that points from humankind to the earth.

Global History is about global change wrought by two global actors: the human species and the planet. Both have enormous power and affect global society as well as global nature in a myriad of ways. Imagine the open systems of the atmosphere, hydrosphere, and solid earth linked with rubber bands to the entire world population, and all the technologies, industries, and lifestyles in countries and economies everywhere — each push or pull creates reverberations and repercussions in the complex bundle of interconnected socionatural strings. Consequently, global historians must intertwine the decades of the new global history with the 4.54 billion years of the geobody (log 9) and begin to analyze this new, mixed, and quivering lot. Legacy items like the nation-state and the century, for example, may be drawn back a bit as other topics are propelled to the fore.

CGLH Research and Education sets out from the emergent view that the earth and humankind are coactive and codependent. Our venture focuses on socionatural issues; we are interested in the paradigm shift from modernity to globality and the interplay between local cultures and a global technoscientific civilization; we want to know what a fully industrialized and urbanized planet means for the carrying capacity of the earth, and whether we have to draw a historical line from the domestication of plants and animals to the domestication of the whole planet and, possibly, the design of humans unlike ourselves.

Think global in a small place

The Center for Global & Local History (originally Center for Global History) was founded by Wolf Schäfer at Stony Brook University in 2003. The Center has its roots in the "New Global History" (NGH) Initiative, which was created by Bruce Mazlish in 1989. This Initiative promotes Global History as both an alternative to traditional World History and an historical perspective on globalization.

Wolf Schäfer
CGLH Director