The world (2nd ed )


Language: Anglais
Cover of the book The world (2nd ed )

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576 p. · 22.9x27.3 cm · Paperback

The Worldinterweaves two stories-of our interactions with nature and with each other. The environment-centered story is about humans distancing themselves from the rest of nature and searching for a relationship that strikes a balance between constructive and destructive exploitation. The culture-centered story is of how human cultures have become mutually influential and yet mutually differentiating. Both stories have been going on for thousands of years. We do not know whether they will end in triumph or disaster.

There is no prospect of covering all of world history in one book. Rather, the fabric of this book is woven from selected strands. Readers will see these at every turn, twisted together into yarn, stretched into stories. Human-focused historical ecology-the environmental theme-will drive readers back, again and again, to the same concepts: sustenance, shelter, disease, energy, technology, art. (The last is a vital category for historians, not only because it is part of our interface with the rest of the world, but also because it forms a record of how we see reality and of how the way we see it changes.) In the global story of human interactions-the cultural theme-we return constantly to the ways people make contact with each another: migration, trade, war, imperialism, pilgrimage, gift exchange, diplomacy, travel-and to their social frameworks: the economic and political arenas, the human groups and groupings, the states and civilizations, the sexes and generations, the classes and clusters of identity.

Volume 1: Chapters 1-15
Volume 2: Chapters 13-30
Volume A: Chapters 1-10
Volume B: Chapters 11-20
Volume C: Chapters 20-30

Part 1: Foragers and Farmers, to 5,000 BCE

Chapter 1

Out of the ice: Peopling the Earth

So you think you're Human?

  • Human Evolution

Out of Africa

  • Peopling the Old World
  • Migration, Population, and Social Change

The Last Great Ice Age

  • Ice-Age Hunters
  • Ice-Age Art
  • Ice-Age Culture and Society
  • Peopling the New World

Survival of the Foragers

In Perspective: After the Ice

Chapter 2

Out of the Mud: Farming and Herding After the Ice Age

The Problem of Agriculture

  • A Case in Point: Aboriginal Australians
  • Preagriculural Settlements
  • The Disadvantages of Farming

Husbandry in Different Environments

  • Herders' Environments
  • Tillers' Environments

The Spread of Agriculture

  • Europe
  • Asia
  • The Americas
  • Africa
  • The Pacific Islands

So Why did Farming Start?

  • Population Pressure
  • The Outcome of Abundance
  • The Power of Politics
  • Cult Agriculture
  • Climatic Instability
  • Agriculture by Accident
  • Production As an Outgrowth of Procurement

In Perspective: Seeking Stability

Part 2: Farmers and Builders, 5000 to 500 BCE

Chapter 3

The Great River Valleys: Accelerating Change and Developing States

Growing Communities, Divergent Cultures

  • Intensified Settlement and Its Effects

The Ecology of Civilization

The Great Floodplains

  • The Ecology of Egypt
  • Shifting Rivers of the Indus Valley
  • Fierce Nature in Early Mesopotamia
  • The Good Earth of Early China

Configurations of Society

  • Patterns of Settlement and Labor
  • Politics
  • Statecraft in Mesopotamia
  • The First Documented Chinese State
  • Ruling Harappan World
  • The Politics of Expansion
  • Literate Culture

In Perspective: What Made the Great River Valleys Different?

Chapter 4

A Succession of Civilizations: Ambition and Instability

The Case of the Hittite Kingdom

  • The Importance of Trade
  • Hittite Society and Politics
  • Fragility and Fall: The End of the Hatti

Instability and Collapse in the Aegean

  • Cretan Civilization
  • Mycenean Civilization

A General Crisis in the Eastern Mediterranean World?

  • The Egyptian Experience
  • The Roots of Instability

The Extinction of Harappan Civilization

  • The Evidence of the Rig Veda
  • The Environment of Stress

Conflict on the Yellow River

  • The Rise of the Zhou
  • The Zhou Political System

State-Building in the Americas

  • Andean Examples
  • Developments in Mesoamerica

Assessing the Damage

  • The Survival of Egypt

In Perspective: The Fatal Flaws