International Journal of Language & Linguistics

ISSN 2374-8850 (Print), 2374-8869 (Online) DOI: 10.30845/ijll

Big History or How to Avoid the Linguistic Turn and Unite the Disciplines
Kevin Andrew Spicer, Elizabeth Savant

This paper explores the latest attempt to return the field of history back to a time prior to the rise of postmodernism in the 20th Century. The new “transdisciplinary” field of “Big History,” which seeks to place the understanding of humanity within the context of the entire history of the cosmos, has steadily been gaining supportersnot only in numerous universities, but also with Bill Gates himself. Although the aim of Big Historians is to resist the “ongoing ‘disciplinification’ of the universities” (Spier 2008) and unite all the arts and sciences under the banner of “Big History,” our argument is that this “transdiscipline” is little more than an anachronistic attempt to avoid the question of language in the hopes of bypassing the discoveries of twentieth century linguistics and philosophies of language. Instead, we argue that no unification of disciplines can occur without attentiveness to the question of language itself.

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