Journal of the Indiana Academy of the Social Sciences

Document Type



This article argues that the discipline of world history, with its interdisciplinary ties to the social sciences and its incorporation of the cultural insights of recent historiography, makes an ideal tool for conveying the complexities of the contemporary world in a “user-friendly” way. It argues further that one particular global structural analysis, from the author’s world history textbook Frameworks of World History, exposes a deep pattern that helps explain many of the central conflicts in contemporary global politics. By highlighting the tension that has existed between individual communities, or hierarchies, and the networks that connected those communities, a tension going back as far as the modern human species, the article exposes the deep roots of the central conflict between today’s global network and its cultural value of capitalism on the one hand, and modern hierarchies and their central value of nationalism on the other. The cultural aspect of this analysis offers a possible route forward from the problems and repressive politics that flow from this central conflict.