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UNIT 4: Agricultural and Urban Revolutions

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READINGS

Reading 1

Candice Goucher, Charles LeGuin, and Linda Walton, In the Balance: Themes in World History (Boston: McGraw-Hill, 1998). Selections from chapter 2, "Changing Environments, Changing Societies."

Abstract: This essay traces the development of cultural change in the distant human past. While there was no common pattern or pace in cultural change throughout the world, this essay suggests that the direction of change has been overwhelmingly toward increasing complexity. In addition, it emphasizes the important ways in which human histories and environmental histories are intricately woven together, whether those histories were in West Asia, China, or the Americas.

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Reading 2

Donald R. Kelley, "The Rise of Prehistory," Journal of World History 14, no. 1 (March 2003): 17–36.

Abstract: "Prehistory" itself had a prehistory, and it includes the early inquiries through the disciplines (or proto-disciplines) of mythology, philology, ethnography, anthropology, archaeology, and especially, following Enlightenment "conjectural history," through investigations of the peoples of the New World. But it was in the nineteenth century that prehistory (Vorgeschichte, préhistoire, preistoria) emerged in its own right, and this essay reviews the major nineteenth-century efforts by an international community of Scandinavian, French, German, English, and American scholars—especially archaeologists, anthropologists, paleontologists, and "anthropogeographers"—to establish "the antiquity of man" and, reinforced further by evolutionary theory, to give a new shape, periodization, and global reach to the study of world history. Thus prehistory was joined to the western historiographical tradition in the search for a global perspective and a new "grand narrative" to encompass the divisive interpretations of national histories and the invidious one of the old Eurocentric and Euromorphic history.

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Reading 3

Johan Goudsblom, "The Civilizing Process and the Domestication of Fire," Journal of World History 3, no. 1 (Spring 1992): 1.

Abstract: This article presents the revised and shortened text of the first Norbert Elias Memorial Lecture, delivered at the University of Leicester on 5 March 1991. In present discussions of history there is a tendency to consider theory in the context of short-term contemporary trends, but theory can also be brought to bear on developments over far longer periods of time. This is demonstrated by the examination of the domestication of fire, a civilizing process extending over many thousands of generations.

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