New Release Books by David Wengrow

David Wengrow is the author of The Dawn of Everything (2021), The Origins of Monsters (2020), What Makes Civilization? (2014) and Origini - XLII (2019).

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The Dawn of Everything

release date: Nov 09, 2021
The Dawn of Everything
INSTANT NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER A dramatically new understanding of human history, challenging our most fundamental assumptions about social evolution—from the development of agriculture and cities to the origins of the state, democracy, and inequality—and revealing new possibilities for human emancipation. For generations, our remote ancestors have been cast as primitive and childlike—either free and equal innocents, or thuggish and warlike. Civilization, we are told, could be achieved only by sacrificing those original freedoms or, alternatively, by taming our baser instincts. David Graeber and David Wengrow show how such theories first emerged in the eighteenth century as a conservative reaction to powerful critiques of European society posed by Indigenous observers and intellectuals. Revisiting this encounter has startling implications for how we make sense of human history today, including the origins of farming, property, cities, democracy, slavery, and civilization itself. Drawing on pathbreaking research in archaeology and anthropology, the authors show how history becomes a far more interesting place once we learn to throw off our conceptual shackles and perceive what’s really there. If humans did not spend 95 percent of their evolutionary past in tiny bands of hunter-gatherers, what were they doing all that time? If agriculture, and cities, did not mean a plunge into hierarchy and domination, then what kinds of social and economic organization did they lead to? The answers are often unexpected, and suggest that the course of human history may be less set in stone, and more full of playful, hopeful possibilities, than we tend to assume. The Dawn of Everything fundamentally transforms our understanding of the human past and offers a path toward imagining new forms of freedom, new ways of organizing society. This is a monumental book of formidable intellectual range, animated by curiosity, moral vision, and a faith in the power of direct action. Includes Black-and-White Illustrations

The Origins of Monsters

release date: Apr 28, 2020
The Origins of Monsters
It has often been claimed that "monsters"--supernatural creatures with bodies composed from multiple species--play a significant part in the thought and imagery of all people from all times. The Origins of Monsters advances an alternative view. Composite figurations are intriguingly rare and isolated in the art of the prehistoric era. Instead it was with the rise of cities, elites, and cosmopolitan trade networks that "monsters" became widespread features of visual production in the ancient world. Showing how these fantastic images originated and how they were transmitted, David Wengrow identifies patterns in the records of human image-making and embarks on a search for connections between mind and culture. Wengrow asks: Can cognitive science explain the potency of such images? Does evolutionary psychology hold a key to understanding the transmission of symbols? How is our making and perception of images influenced by institutions and technologies? Wengrow considers the work of art in the first age of mechanical reproduction, which he locates in the Middle East, where urban life began. Comparing the development and spread of fantastic imagery across a range of prehistoric and ancient societies, including Mesopotamia, Egypt, Greece, and China, he explores how the visual imagination has been shaped by a complex mixture of historical and universal factors. Examining the reasons behind the dissemination of monstrous imagery in ancient states and empires, The Origins of Monsters sheds light on the relationship between culture and cognition.

What Makes Civilization?

release date: Nov 01, 2014
What Makes Civilization?
Our attachment to ancient Mesopotamia (Iraq) and Egypt as the "birthplace of civilization", where the foundations of our own societies were laid, is as strong today as it has ever been. When the Iraq Museum in Baghdad was looted in 2003, our newspapers proclaimed "the death of history". Yetthe ancient Near East also remains a source of mystery: a space of the imagination where we explore the discontents of modern civilization. In What Makes Civilization? archaeologist David Wengrow investigates the origins of farming, writing, and cities in Egypt and Mesopotamia, and the connections between them. This is the story of how people first created kingdoms and monuments to the gods - and, just as importantly, how they adoptedeveryday practices that we might now take for granted, such as familiar ways of cooking food and keeping the house and body clean. Why, he asks, have these ancient cultures, where so many features of modern life originated, come to symbolize the remote and the exotic? What challenge do they pose to our assumptions about power, progress, and civilization in human history? And are the sacrifices we now make in the name of "our"civilization really so different from those once made by the peoples of Mesopotamia and Egypt on the altars of the gods?

Origini - XLII

release date: Sep 15, 2019
Origini - XLII
THEMATIC ISSUE: RETHINKING URBANIZATION AND ITS LIVING LANDSCAPES FROM THE INSPIRING PERSPECTIVE OF A GREAT “MAESTRO” Edited by Marcella Frangipane and Linda Manzanilla INTRODUCTION. THE MANY DIMENSIONS OF THE “CITY” IN EARLY SOCIETIES Marcella Frangipane THE ORIGINS OF CIVIC LIFE – A GLOBAL PERSPECTIVE David Wengrow MESOPOTAMIA AND NEIGHBOURING REGIONS SIXTY YEARS AFTER CITY INVINCIBLE, SURVEYS AND THE URBAN REVOLUTION IN QUESTION Pascal Butterlin THE CITY OF URUK AND ITS HINTERLAND Hans J. Nissen (Hainfeld) THE TYRANNY OF FRICTION Guillermo Algaze REFLECTIONS ON SURVEY AND SURVEILLANCE IN THE ARCHAEOLOGY OF WESTERN ASIA Susan Pollock, Reinhard Bernbeck LEVANT THE URBANIZATION OF THE SOUTHERN LEVANT IN ITS NEAR EASTERN SETTING Pierre de Miroschedji FAR FROM THE RIVER: PHYSICAL AND METAPHORICAL USE OF THE TERRITORY AND ITS WATER RESOURCES IN EARLY AND MIDDLE BRONZE AGE SYRIA Davide Nadali, Frances Pinnock AFRICA THE ORIGIN OF URBAN SOCIETIES IN THE NILE VALLEY Maria Carmela Gatto URBANISATION IN THE CENTRAL SAHARA IN GARAMANTIAN TIMES: A LOOK FROM THE SOUTH Lucia Mori MESOAMERICA AND THE ANDES CORPORATE SOCIETIES WITH EXCLUSIONARY SOCIAL COMPONENTS: THE TEOTIHUACAN METROPOLIS Linda R. Manzanilla POPULATION, SCALE, AND THE FRAMING OF LONG-TERM HISTORY Gary M. Feinman, Linda M. Nicholas ANCIENT MAYA LOWLANDS: FROM FAKE FEUDS ABOUT “URBANISM” TO RENEWED STUDIES OF SETTLEMENT PATTERNS Dominique Michelet, Philippe Nondédéo ECOLOGICAL VARIATION AND TRAJECTORIES OF PREHISPANIC ANDEAN URBANISM R. Alan Covey WEST OF EDEN: ADAMS VISITS THE ANDES Terence N. D'Altroy EUROPE THE QUESTION OF “PROTO-URBAN” SITES IN LATER PREHISTORIC EUROPE Anthony Harding SETTLEMENT PATTERNS AND DEVELOPMENTS TOWARDS URBAN LIFE IN CENTRAL AND SOUTHERN ITALY DURING THE BRONZE AGE Alberto Cazzella, Giulia Recchia BEFORE THE CITY: THE LAST VILLAGES AND PROTO-URBAN CENTRES BETWEEN THE PO AND TIBER RIVERS Andrea Cardarelli
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