Technology and the Global Economy, 1000-2000

A statue of a formally-dressed man, wearing an overcoat and knee-high boots, holding a scroll in one hand, and compasses in the other.

A statue of James Watt in West Yorkshire, England. His steam engine, developed from 1763 to 1775, was a key development in the Industrial Revolution. (Image courtesy of Peter Hughes on flickr. License CC BY-NC-SA.)


MIT Course Number

21H.383 / 21H.982

As Taught In

Fall 2016


Undergraduate / Graduate

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Course Description

Course Features

Course Description

This seminar examines the global history of the last millennium, including technological change, commodity exchange, systems of production, and economic growth. Students engage with economic history, medieval and early modern origins of modern systems of production, consumption and global exchange. Topics include the long pre-history of modern economic development; medieval world systems; the age of discovery; the global crisis of the 17th century; demographic systems; global population movements; the industrial revolution; the rise of the modern consumer; colonialism and empire building; patterns of inequality, within and across states; the curse of natural resources fate of Africa; and the threat of climate change to modern economic systems. Students taking the graduate version complete additional assignments.

Related Content

Anne McCants. 21H.383 Technology and the Global Economy, 1000-2000. Fall 2016. Massachusetts Institute of Technology: MIT OpenCourseWare, License: Creative Commons BY-NC-SA.

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