Michael Brescia

Dr. Michael Brescia,

Arizona State Museum,

University of Arizona

Wednesday, March 4, 2020,

2:30-4:30 pm,

The Arizona Senior Academy Building

Mainstream and social media keep telling us that the world is going to Hell in a handbasket. The re-emergence of populism and nationalism has laid bare the shortcomings of cosmopolitanism and internationalism, drawing us back to more insular, defensive posturing.  Globalization is no longer seen as the panacea to economic inequality and political discord but instead as the structural cause of disparity and authoritarianism.  The challenge for historians is to untangle the polemics and sketch the broader historical context of these global connections for the general public. 

In this four-part series, Dr. Michael Brescia will take us beyond the media headlines and political soundbites, re-introducing us to the history of the world since ca. 1450 via the premise that political, economic, and cultural interconnections and inter-dependencies among peoples of the world—nowadays called “globalization”—have deep roots in the past. Since the late 15th century, societies and cultures around the world have unfolded not in isolation but rather as a consequence of relationships with neighboring and sometimes distant peoples. 

After a general introduction to major theories of history, Dr. Brescia’s lectures will cover the social changes emerging from medieval Catholic Europe through the Reformation into early modern capitalism (1450-1640); the origins of the Enlightenment and its consequences in Asia, Africa, and North America as well as Europe (1368-1805); the emergence of industrialism and its effects, and the rise of imperialism that led to two global conflicts in the twentieth century. Each lecture stands on its own and does not require prior attendance.  

Dr. Brescia is Curator of Ethnohistory in the Arizona State Museum with faculty affiliations in the Department of History and the College of Law at the University of Arizona.   He has co-authored two books examining the broader historical forces shaping our continent from Pre-Columbian times to the present: Mexico and the United States: Ambivalent Vistas (2010), and North America: An Introduction (2009).  Returning to the ASA by popular demand, Dr. Brescia delivered five lectures here in 2018-19. 

Compiled by Marna Broekhoff and Suzanne Ferguson, Academy Village Volunteers

March 4: “Toward an Understanding of World History and Globalization, Part I—Patterns of Cross-Cultural Contact and Exchange”