“The goal of this project is to question old narrative elements of human evolution and discuss new ones. Hrdy, author of Mother Nature: A History of Mothers, Infants, and Natural Selection Chapter 1 Introduction Andrew Shryock and Daniel Lord Smail History is a curiously fragmented subject. Among his books is On Deep History and the Brain, (UC Press) a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize in Science and Technology. Combining open minds with scholarly rigor, the authors use linguistics and genetics, trails of bones, shells and crafted objects, dietary traditions, and kinship rules to follow our footloose species out of Africa and around the globe, along the way dismantling barriers between disciplines that have outlived their usefulness.” —Sarah B.This stopgap solution does not eliminate the underlying problem.
Moreover, the problem of human exceptionalism, which is still firmly rooted in the idea of human mastery over nature, has not been successfully questioned on either side of this divide.
Evolution, understood as a tale of progress, has had an oddly divisive effect.
Together, these fields constitute a dense layer cake of time.
Food Felipe Fernández-Armesto with Daniel Lord Smail7. In the conventional disciplinary structure of academia, the study of the human past is scattered across a number of fields, notably history and anthropology but also folklore, museum studies, philology, and area-studies programs.
In the words of an observer from the 1920s, history describes "the processes by which the chaotic chatter of anthropoid apes has been organized in the wonderful fabric of human speech." It offers a panoramic vision of man "in every stage of his long climb up from his feeble and brutish beginnings."1 The imagination of the age was suffused with sentiments that today seem almost unbearably trite.
Cringing at such naivetÈ, we congratulate ourselves on having purged our anthropologies and histories of this exuberant evolutionism. The belief in human exceptionalism that drove earlier models of history still shapes narratives of progress, which are now told using the vocabulary of political modernization, economic development, and cultural emancipation from past prejudices.
Migration Timothy Earle and Clive Gamble with Hendrik Poinar9. Daniel Lord Smail is Professor of History at Harvard University. In practice, this means the book is about some of the cleverest people in the field having fun with ideas.”—John Robb “Deep history is a volume of great significance, bringing fresh insight, focus, and shape to our understanding of the dynamic connectedness that spans the entirety of human history. This collaborative enterprise will appeal to students of human pasts in a variety of disciplines.” —Dipesh Chakrabarty, author of Provincializing Europe: Postcolonial Thought and Historical Difference“Leading scholars in deep history have been brought together from a variety of disciplines in this ambitious project. I read barely a page that didn’t cause me to reconsider how we might tell the human story.”—Martin Jones, University of Cambridge “In Deep History: The Architecture of Past and Present, a multi-disciplinary team of historians, archeologists, paleontologists, primatologists, and anthropologists takes up the challenge of incorporating the past six million or so years into the record of human history.
He is the author of Nationalism and the Genealogical Imagination: Oral History and Textual Authority in Tribal Jordan (UC Press) winner of the Middle Eastern Studies Association’s Albert Hourani Award, among other books. By envisioning nothing less than a complete account of the human experience, it stakes out a new frontier for historical consciousness that is as welcome as it is timely.”—“An impressive—at times dazzling—array of data, summaries of literature, and conceptual elements, clearly pooling the specialized knowledges of the various contributors. The challenge is profound, because it is at once methodological and philosophical, and it is timely in the way it resonates with concerns about our growing ecological footprint on the planet.
This breakthrough book, as important for readers interested in the present as in the past,brings science into history to offer a dazzling new vision of humanity across time. Among archaeologists and human evolutionary biologists, deep time is represented by the paleoanthropology of the simple societies of the Paleolithic, from the earliest known stone tools (dated to 2.6 Ma) to the very recent past.
Team-written by leading experts in a variety of fields, it maps events, cultures, and eras across millions of years to present a new scale for understanding the human body, energy and ecosystems, language, food, kinship, migration, and more. Among historians, an analogous distinction is made between the study of the ancient and the medieval world.
Whole stretches of the layer cake of human history no longer count as history per se.