The World: 1400-Present

The steps leading up to the Hall of Supreme Harmony in the Forbidden City in Beijing, China. The stairs are separated in the center by a path of dragon carvings. The sky is very blue.

The Hall of Supreme Harmony (太和殿 Tài Hé Diàn) is the largest hall in the Forbidden City. Build in 1406, Ming Dynasty and Qing Dynasty Emperors used the hall to host important ceremonies, such as enthronements and weddings. (Photo courtesy of See-ming Lee on Flickr. CC BY.)


MIT Course Number


As Taught In

Spring 2014



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Course Features

Course Description

This course surveys the increasing interaction between communities, as the barrier of distance succumbed to both curiosity and new transport technologies. It explores Western Europe and the United States' rise to world dominance, as well as the great divergence in material, political, and technological development between Western Europe and East Asia post–1750, and its impact on the rest of the world. It examines a series of evolving relationships, including human beings and their physical environment; religious and political systems; and sub-groups within communities, sorted by race, class, and gender. It introduces historical and other interpretive methodologies using both primary and secondary source materials.

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Anne McCants, and Jeffrey Ravel. 21H.009 The World: 1400-Present, Spring 2014. (Massachusetts Institute of Technology: MIT OpenCourseWare), (Accessed). License: Creative Commons BY-NC-SA

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