david (w) on human history

Do We Need a New History of Humanity? (jan 2023)

david wengrow on human history ness (david (w) on history)

notes/quotes from 50 min video:

4 min – human history should be categorized with ie: world lit.. it’s really western lit ..et al

5 min – i don’t believe we’ve ever really had a human history that treats all human beings on the same footing or on a level playing field.. across the divides of the literate and the non literate.. the urban and the non urban or what used to be referred to as the civilized and uncivilized.. t

6 min – david used to have a joke.. about de centering the human and include plant/animal life.. he used to joke that rather than being a post humanist.. he thought of himself as a pre humanist.. in the sense that we haven’t done the first bit yet of actually seeing what it would mean to write history in a way that doesn’t de humanize a large portion of the world’s population.. t

huge huge huge huge huge

on all history ness and research ness as non legit data (history).. more like data on whales in sea world

10 min – all we’re arguing that ideas that european writers themselves attributed to indigenous were actually theirs

11 min – i’ve been reflecting on this.. anthropocene as warning light.. but it also belongs firmly to the kind of stage/block thinking that we criticize in doe.. the concepts been around a while now.. do you feel it’s doing good or not

12 min – Amitav Ghosh: critiques.. wasn’t all humans that created this.. mostly westerners.. so some say capitalocene.. but doesn’t get it all.. so industrialocene..? but what’s most important is the strata.. that this is a marker that humans have become a geographical force.. but i think it’s a term we should avoid


14 min – Amitav Ghosh: one of problems is what david was saying is it subscribes to this evolutionary approach.. and one of interesting things about book is how they’ve taken on people who take on evolutionary ideas (diamond et al).. and that people pick and choose.. (off and on ness)

graeber/wengrow back & forth law et al

16 min – we’re almost hard wired to ignore or to unsee certain kinds of transformations in human history.. there’s a lot of talk when people write about deep past.. and have a civ w heavy infra.. 10s of 1000s living in society living in proximity.. then stops for some reason.. more than likely it will be described to as a collapse.. as opposed to ie: a revolution or social change.. plays into idea that conscious political change.. the ability to actually consciously construct a society according to a certain set of ethical preferences.. and then change your mind and unmake that society and create something in a different form.. which in the book we refer to as the 3rd freedom.. is rarely entertained.. or is thought to be specifically an outcome of the european enlightenment.. the idea that it is only thru that tradition.. this is an extraordinary claim when you reflect on it.. but i think it’s really quite pervasive.. t

doe on 3rd freedom

21 min – on showing people can flourish in societies that have no familiarity to capitalism

23 min – to anyone who hasn’t read book.. & is thinking about it.. conjure up in your mind.. broadest possible vision of human history.. of what you think made us what we are now.. and then consider.. it’s all wrong.. and that’s not anyone’s fault.. more.. a genuine paradigm shift.. what we’re trying to do is break as much of that info as we can out of the ivory tower.. to not only de construct but to ask entirely diff questions.. ie of radical question then: what is the nature of human society w/o govt.. will be diff than radical questions now

25 min – it’s so strange the way most of human history is written.. as if we were the only species that couldn’t actually think forward.. ie: rats in maze.. so we’re thinking we’re making a decision toward future

hari rat park law et al

27 min – Amitav Ghosh @GhoshAmitav: it can’t be a new history of humanity .. but has to be a new history of interconnections of different things.. i don’t think we can’t think of humanity w/o.. t

thurman interconnectedness law et al

29 min – next project.. installation called ‘forensic architecture’.. ties into question both about hope and about anthropocene.. see entirely diff genealogy of city et al.. raises all kinds of questions/possibilities which i think is hopeful.. opening up questions..

35 min – q&a starts

36 min – on what passes for good scientific scholarship in the academy.. i think there is a tendency to assume that if you write about violence and warfare.. you’re somehow more scientific.. and if you take seriously.. i mean a major theme in our book is what is this boundary between what is considered serious and what is considered play.. i think we don’t take seriously enough things like peace.. t what is the process by which societies make peace.. there is a vast lit on how societies make war..

45 min – if we weren’t getting critiques and push backs.. then book would be a failure.. i’ve yet to see one that seriously makes me reevaluate the book’s argument.. t

important for us was the realization (thank you for calling me a formidable excavator..never called that before).. that we’d both be regarded as generalists or comparativists (my job title in london is prof of comparative archeology).. so we were actually shocked to find out in convo w each other.. how little of this new knowledge was even familiar to us working in neighboring disciplines.. up the road form each other.. and that realization.. to what extent academic knowledge has been compartmentalized and over specialized..t w/in regions, chronological periods, technical specialisms.. and in a way that’s why the book is rather on the big side.. because we found that a lot of the basic work of synthesis.. around hunter gatherers.. around early cities .. around non western forms of democracy.. just didn’t exist.. so we found ourselves increasingly trying to do it ourselves.. that’s why the book grew exponentially