Topic:  The World-wide Web, in the early modern period, 1450-1750?


In 1450, the “Old World” had not met the “New World.”  Despite the effects of four millennia of civilization, portable and proselytizing religions, and empire building, humankind was not in any deep sense a community. In three centuries after 1450, the peoples of the earth increasingly formed a single community.  From this point forward, it makes less and less sense to treat different regions of the earth separately, as hitherto we have sometimes done, but will do no more.  Henceforth we will increasingly approach themes globally—including the process of globalization. 

--The Human Web:  A Bird’s-eye View of World History.  pp. 158, 178-86.

-Ways to earn points during a scored discussion-


  1. Making a substantive comment. Your comment is on-topic and contributes something unique to the conversation – you shouldn’t merely restate what someone else has said (although you should paraphrase what someone said as part of active listening – as a prelude to making new comments of your own).  1 point.


  1. Making a substantive comment that includes a clear textual reference. Your comment is on-topic and contributes something unique to the conversation, and makes a direct reference to words or phrases in the reading – either the sidebar reading or the textbook chapter as a whole. 2 points.


  1. Asking a clarifying question. You ask the class as a whole to clarify one or more elements of the question (e.g. What do they mean by interdependent here in paragraph two?)  or you ask a specific discussant to clarify what they said.  You could, for instance, ask another discussant to give an example of what they mean, re-state it in different words, how it applies to something new, etc.  1 point.


  1. Signposting. You identify when the conversation has shifted to a new topic or sub-topic, e.g. “It seems we have shifted to talking about the role of facial hair.  This relates to our topic of Romanticism because men adopted more “natural” and dramatic styles during the Romantic movement.” 1 point.

Discussion questions:


  1. To what degree is the assertion that “as human history grew more unified, it grew more unstable and chaotic than ever” true?What evidence supports his argument?  Is there counter-evidence? 


  1. Aside from the technological differences, how did the world-wide web of the early modern period compare with the world-wide web (i.e.—internet) of today?


  1. The west or “Christendom” had a monopoly on the printing press during the early modern era, in part because the rest of the world didn’t want it.To what extent do you see that as contributing to European dominance of the rest of the world during that time frame?  Give examples of the possible influence of the printing press in the west that brought benefits to them over other societies.


  1. It can be said that religion can bring “greater individualism” and “toleration” of differences, while at the same time leading other societies into unification and a single religion or set of rules.Why have religions brought some together and driven others apart?


  1. What impact did religion have on various societies?How did that change over time with new rulers?


  1. How did religion cause or enhance the creation of the World-wide web?


  1. The early modern period, 1450-1750, had many intellectual movements from the Renaissance to the Scientific Revolution to Enlightenment.How is the growth/expansion of religion during this time frame related to or independent from the growth of intellectual movements?


Keep track of your own participation here:

Substantive comment (1)


Substantive comment with textual reference (2)


Clarifying question (1)


Signposting (1)