People now experience a revival of the particular historiographic inquiry as 'Is it possible to imagine a history that includes everything and everyone?', which again spawns concepts and research programs at an astonishing rate. This introduction presents an overview of the key concepts discussed in the subsequent chapters of this book. The book represents an attempt at linking current historiographical practices and inquiries back to some of their many diverse predecessors, in order to both estrange and familiarize them. Plans for writing universal history, and even attempts at actually doing it, proliferate in the European tradition, and beyond. Depending on the timescale, these narrative gestures called "histories" include specific actors, objects, species and geographies. In the works by Fukuyama and Bowden, universal history corresponds to a specific temporal arrangement or regime, according to which history can be understood as a line, a timeline moving steadily into the future and at the same time bringing civilization forward.