This cluster cuts across traditional period divisions to examine the defining characteristics and long-term transformation of the pre-modern world. Conversations between specialists in different periods and cultures enable innovative examination of the constant reshaping of early periods, which have often been mischaracterized as uniform or stagnant. Areas of interest include early modern history, the transitional periods from antique to medieval to early modern to modern, inheritance and transformation of early texts and culture in later periods, intellectual and religious continuity and change, pre-modern economy and trade, and the causes and consequences of the movement, growth and shrinkage of states and communities. This approach interrogates historical periodization, illuminating the strengths and weaknesses of different models historians use to define boundaries between periods, and tests the utility of transitional labels, such as late antique, early medieval, high medieval, Renaissance, Enlightenment, early modern, and modern. Comparison of geographic regions highlights the problems in applying periodization globally. Prospective students interested in the study of Pre-modern worlds and their reception in later periods are encouraged to contact the faculty members associated with this cluster.