Distinguished Lecture in the Humanities: "How we, Homo Sapiens, came to be domesticated: an account of the late-Neolithic multi-species resettlement camp," James Scott, Yale University


For roughly 95% of our time as a species on earth, we were hunters and foragers, living rather dispersed and mobile lives. How did it come to pass that we ended up living in great concentrations of people, domesticated plants, and animals, in social formations that were less healthy and amenable to the creation of states by which we are all now governed? I trace the consequences of the three great domestications: fire, plants, and animals. The effect of these domestications, ironically, in turn domesticated us i.e. homo sapiens. What I call "the late neo-lithic multi-species resettlement camp" was the necessary but insufficient condition of early state-formation. Reliance on major grain crops and new forms of human bondage turned these necessary conditions into necessary and sufficient conditions.

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April 8, 2014 - 11:30pm
Event Location 
KL 355