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Craig G. Benjamin

Professor

Grand Valley State University

HQ Phone:  (616) 331-5000

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I agree to the Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. I understand that I will receive a subscription to ZoomInfo Community Edition at no charge in exchange for downloading and installing the ZoomInfo Contact Contributor utility which, among other features, involves sharing my business contacts as well as headers and signature blocks from emails that I receive.

Grand Valley State University

1 Campus Dr. FH 97

Allendale, Michigan,49401

United States

Company Description

The Michigan Alternative and Renewable Energy Center (MAREC) is an economic development initiative of the City of Muskegon, the Michigan Economic Development Corporation and Grand Valley State University. The facility opened in 2003 in response to the growing ...more

Web References(47 Total References)


Academic Profiles - Macquarie University

bighistory.mq.edu.au [cached]

Craig Benjamin
Professor Craig Benjamin Department of History, Grand Valley State University Email: benjamic@gvsu.edu Craig Benjamin is a Professor of History in the Meijer Honors College at Grand Valley State University in Michigan, USA, where he teaches Big History, world history, and Ancient Central Asian history. Craig was introduced to big history while a graduate student working under David Christian, and is a frequent presenter at conferences worldwide, and the author of numerous books and articles, on big history and ancient history. Craig has recorded programs for the History Channel, The Teaching Company and Scientific American magazine. Craig is current Treasurer of the International Big History Association; and current President (2014/15) of the World History Association.


CFI Michigan | Past Events

www.cfimichigan.org [cached]

Presented by Craig Benjamin, PhD, AssistantProfessor of History, Grand Valley State University
It was presented by Dr. Craig Benjamin, who is an assistant professor of history at Grand Valley State University. A native of Australia, Craig earned his PhD at Macquarie University in Sydney, and moved to Grand Rapids in 2003 to take up his position at GVSU. Dr. Benjamin's twin areas of academic specialization are ancient Central Asia and world history theory and practice. He is the author and editor of numerous published articles, chapters and books, and teaches a range of undergraduate and graduate history courses at Grand Valley. It was presented by Dr. Craig Benjamin, who is an assistant professor of history at Grand Valley State University. A native of Australia, Craig earned his PhD at Macquarie University in Sydney, and moved to Grand Rapids in 2003 to take up his position at GVSU. Dr. Benjamin's twin areas of academic specialization are ancient Central Asia and world history theory and practice. He is the author and editor of numerous published articles, chapters and books, and teaches a range of undergraduate and graduate history courses at Grand Valley. Most traditional history courses are about the study of different individuals, cultures, nations and eras, and of change in the human condition. But by breaking the vast span of history into smaller and smaller fragments, our understanding of the past has become fragmented and almost meaningless. In this presentation on Ultimate World History, Professor Benjamin attempts to construct a more unified account by bringing together many of the answers modern civilization has provided to the great questions from the past into a single coherent narrative. To do this, Ultimate World History looks at the past on the largest possible time scale, beginning with the origins of the universe, of stars and our planet, of life on Earth and the emergence of human beings, before considering the various types of human societies that have existed up to the present day, and the future of our species, planet and universe. Dr. Benjamin provided an insight into the theory and methodology of a new genre of history that attempts to cover the staggering timespan from the Big Bang to the Big Crunch in one interesting evening. Professor Benjamin spoke of his own transition from teaching more standard World History courses to Ultimate World History after his encounters with the aforementioned David Christian (who began teaching Big History in 1989) and fellow disciple (so to say), Marnie Hughes Warrington at the Macquarie University in Sydney, Australia. Christian wrote, and Dr. Benjamin echoed, that Big History helps us see familiar aspects of the past in unfamiliar ways. Professor Benjamin analogized the more conventional approach to World History to that of shining a flashlight beam on tiny pinpricks. Dr. Benjamin believes this would still be the optimal approach for instruction in such a multi-disciplinary course. Dr. Benjamin noted that while this progression leads to the building of powerful civilizations, it produces a more sedentary one as well with other consequences coming into play that their predecessors did not have to deal with. Professor Benjamin noted the effect that travel has on a person. This writer, during this portion of Dr. Benjamin's presentation that examined our planet from space and how we regard it and the life sustained on it from this vantage point, thought of the late Carl Sagan and his book: Pale Blue Dot as well as the film by director Lawrence Kasdan: Grand Canyon. Man is wholly different from woman; tribes are disparate to the point where genocides are fine and dandy; humans are special and separate creations from all other animals-and each animal kind is created separately from all the rest; the Earth is not linked to the rest of space, etc. Space is a small place anyway in this sort of tale and even heaven may be attained by a good sized ladder (just be careful not to bump your head on the inverted bowl-shaped firmament!) Neither Professor David Christian in the writings I encountered nor Dr. Craig Benjamin in his presentation to us, discussed the relative paucity or merits of the various creation stories specifically, so these comments should not be associated with them. In fact, what Professor Benjamin did say was that he pushes absolutely no belief system or personal interpretation of the evidence provided. By the end of the 13-week course in Ultimate World History the student will have no idea what his own religious beliefs are. His course is one in which the student does not require a prior college level historical background to be enrolled in it. In Western Michigan, he found that there is not only an impoverished grounding in large scale historical understanding among his students, but even a rudimentary comprehension of evolution (biological, let alone cosmological), so his course exposes many of them to all sorts of ideas that they were innocent of. He also mentioned that even though it is a Freshman course, he has older students as well who may have procrastinated until later, and only in order to meet their educational requirements. He noted that his own observation was that the older students were, in general, more conservative and less open to new ways of thinking about the matters that come up in the course than the younger students. For the older students, countenancing evolution and a naturalistic unfolding of processes throughout time and space, were concepts they came to with resistance. He also found that many of the West Michigan students he encountered already felt that they had all the answers to the Big Questions (based on their faith training). Dr. Benjamin discussed the work of Eric Chaisson (the author of Cosmic Evolution) where Chaisson showed the amount of energy (in ergs) that flows through a given mass (in grams) in a given time (in seconds) and how things may thereby be ranked as to their complexity. Another startling declaration that Dr. Benjamin made was that world populations have increased 1,000 times in 10,000 years, which has caused the total energy consumption to have increased by at least 60,000 times. Some critics of Ultimate World History are concerned that too much detail will be lost with such an expansive overview. But while Professor Benjamin allows that indeed some specifics go out of focus, others come into view-the larger underpinnings of events can now be seen, such as the significance of population pressures. Dr. Benjamin's approach is to make inquiries to get students to contemplate why events transpired as they did; to explore the connections and influences and then to be so armed as to better examine deeper patterns. One mental image Dr. Benjamin gave us to better understand distances (we are still cognitively not so far removed from our Pleistocene ancestors who had a highly provincial and local framework for viewing the universe) involved flying in a standard passenger jet plane and how it might take one about five hours to cross the US.


Mongolia - Archaeological Tours

archaeologicaltrs.com [cached]

Prof Craig G.R. Benjamin is an Associate Professor of History at Grand Valley State University in Michigan, where he teaches Eurasian history.
He has recorded lectures for the History Channel and The Teaching Company.


dr_phil_physics | Entries tagged with physics

dr-phil-physics.dreamwidth.org [cached]

This is our friend Craig Benjamin.
Transplanted Aussie, professor at Grand Valley State University and the most energetic True Renaissance Man that I know. He teaches, among other things, a History course which covers this whole scope of the Universe sort of thing. And he's one of the talking heads used in this show. We knew he'd worked on this project, but Mrs. Dr. Phil found out during a noontime water aerobics session today when Craig was in the pool that it was on tonight -- which is why I didn't get a chance to post advance warnings out there. Thanks, Craig!


dr_phil_physics | Entries tagged with history

dr-phil-physics.dreamwidth.org [cached]

This is our friend Craig Benjamin.
Transplanted Aussie, professor at Grand Valley State University and the most energetic True Renaissance Man that I know. He teaches, among other things, a History course which covers this whole scope of the Universe sort of thing. And he's one of the talking heads used in this show. We knew he'd worked on this project, but Mrs. Dr. Phil found out during a noontime water aerobics session today when Craig was in the pool that it was on tonight -- which is why I didn't get a chance to post advance warnings out there. But I think it'll be run again on the History Channel. It's a cool show. And it's so very cool to know somebody who's in it! Thanks, Craig!


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