Origins and Revolutions

Author: Clive Gamble
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
ISBN: 1139462490
Format: PDF, ePub, Docs
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In this study Clive Gamble presents and questions two of the most famous descriptions of change in prehistory. The first is the 'human revolution', when evidence for art, music, religion and language first appears. The second is the economic and social revolution of the Neolithic period. Gamble identifies the historical agendas behind 'origins research' and presents a bold alternative to these established frameworks, relating the study of change to the material basis of human identity. He examines, through artefact proxies, how changing identities can be understood using embodied material metaphors and in two major case-studies charts the prehistory of innovations, asking, did agriculture really change the social world? This is an important and challenging book that will be essential reading for every student and scholar of prehistory.

Surfaces

Author: Joseph A. Amato
Publisher: Univ of California Press
ISBN: 0520954432
Format: PDF, ePub, Docs
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Human beings are surrounded by surfaces: from our skin to faces, to the walls and streets of our homes and cities, to the images, books, and screens of our cultures and civilizations, to the natural world and what we imagine beyond. In this thought-provoking and richly textured book, Joseph A. Amato traces the human relationship with surfaces from the deep history of human evolution, which unfolded across millennia, up to the contemporary world. Fusing his work on Dust and On Foot, he shows how, in the last two centuries, our understanding, creation, control, and manipulation of surfaces has become truly revolutionary—in both scale and volume. With the sweep of grand history matched to existential concerns for the present, he suggests that we have become the surfaces we have made, mastered, and now control, invent, design, and encapsulate our lives. This deeply informed and original narrative, which joins history and anthropology and suggests new routes for epistemology and aesthetics, argues that surfaces are far more than superficial façades of deep inner worlds.

From Big Bang to Big Mystery

Author: Brendan M. Purcell
Publisher: New City Press
ISBN: 1565484339
Format: PDF, ePub, Mobi
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In this fascinating, accessible and thorough study, renowned priest and academic Brendan Purcell combines the latest discoveries in paleoanthropology, genetics, neuroscience, and other sciences with the insights of philosophers and theologians to address the question of the Big Bang of Human Consciousness. Purcell shows the complementarity these disciplines can bring to an understanding of the mystery of human existence.

Lone Survivors

Author: Chris Stringer
Publisher: Macmillan
ISBN: 1429973447
Format: PDF, Kindle
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A leading researcher on human evolution proposes a new and controversial theory of how our species came to be In this groundbreaking and engaging work of science, world-renowned paleoanthropologist Chris Stringer sets out a new theory of humanity's origin, challenging both the multiregionalists (who hold that modern humans developed from ancient ancestors in different parts of the world) and his own "out of Africa" theory, which maintains that humans emerged rapidly in one small part of Africa and then spread to replace all other humans within and outside the continent. Stringer's new theory, based on archeological and genetic evidence, holds that distinct humans coexisted and competed across the African continent—exchanging genes, tools, and behavioral strategies. Stringer draws on analyses of old and new fossils from around the world, DNA studies of Neanderthals (using the full genome map) and other species, and recent archeological digs to unveil his new theory. He shows how the most sensational recent fossil findings fit with his model, and he questions previous concepts (including his own) of modernity and how it evolved. Lone Survivors will be the definitive account of who and what we were, and will change perceptions about our origins and about what it means to be human.

Landscape of the Mind

Author: John F. Hoffecker
Publisher: Columbia University Press
ISBN: 023151848X
Format: PDF, Kindle
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John F. Hoffecker explores the origin and growth of the mind, drawing on information from the human fossil record, archaeology, and history. Hoffecker argues that, as an indirect result of bipedal locomotion, early humans developed a feedback relationship among their hands, brains, and tools, evolving the capacity to externalize thoughts in the form of shaped stone objects. When anatomically modern humans evolved a parallel capacity to externalize thought as symbolic language, individual brains within social groups were integrated into a neocortical internet, or super-brain, thus giving birth to the mind. Noting that archaeological traces of symbolism coincide with evidence for the ability to generate novel technology, Hoffecker contends that human creativity, as well as higher-order consciousness, is a product of the collective super-brain. Hoffecker equates the subsequent growth of the mind with human history, which began in Africa more than 50,000 years ago. As anatomically modern humans spread across the globe, adapting to a variety of climates and habitats, they redesigned themselves technologically and developed alternative realities via toolmaking, tool use, and artistic expression. Hoffecker connects the rise of civilization to a hierarchical reorganization of the super-brain, triggered by explosive population growth. According to him, subsequent history reflects the varying degrees to which rigid hierarchies of states and empires suppressed the creative powers of the mind, constraining the further accumulation of knowledge. The modern world emerged from the fragments of a collapsed empire after 1200 AD. In the final chapter, Hoffecker speculates on the possibility of artificial intelligence and a mind without biology.

Religion in Environmental and Climate Change

Author: Dieter Gerten
Publisher: A&C Black
ISBN: 1441117075
Format: PDF, ePub
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Climate change and other global environmental changes deserve attention by the the humanities - they are caused mainly by human attitudes and activities and feed back to human societies. Focussing on religion allows for analysis of various human modes of perception, action and thought in relation to global environmental change. On the one hand, religious organizations are aiming to become "greener"; on the other hand, some religious ideas and practices display fatalism towards impacts of climate change. Â What might be the fate of different religions in an ever-warming world? This book gathers recent research on functions of religion in climate change from theological, ethical, philosophical, anthropological, historical and earth system analytical perspectives. Charting the spread from regional case studies to global-scale syntheses, the authors demonstrate that world religions and indigenous belief systems are already responding in highly dynamic ways to ongoing and projected climate changes - in theory and practice, for better or for worse. The book establishes the research field "religion in climate change" and identifies avenues for future research across disciplines.

Settling the Earth

Author: Clive Gamble
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
ISBN: 1107013267
Format: PDF, ePub
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How and when did we become the only human species to settle the whole earth? How did our brains become so large? In this book, Clive Gamble sets out to answer these fundamental questions, digging deep into the archives of archaeology, fossil ancestors and human genetics. The wealth of detail in these sources allows him to write a completely new account of our earliest beginnings: a deep history in which we devised solutions not only to the technical challenges of global settlement but also cracked the problem, long before writing and smartphones, of how to live apart yet stay in touch.