This course provides an introduction to world history as a research field. Readings and discussions focus on various conceptual approaches to world history, including comparative history, the study of the global political economy, and the history of empires. We will also consider works not intended as contributions to world history that draw on or address themes within the field. The course invites students to identify areas of research that promise to advance the field. Readings feature a variety of world regions and periods, with an emphasis on empires and their global influence in the period from 1500 to 1900. Students interested in other periods, places, and problems in world history will be encouraged to develop paper topics reflecting those interests.