We talk with archeologist David Wengrow about the groundbreaking book he co-authored, The Dawn of Everything: A New History of Humanity.
We’ve all grown up thinking that the trajectory of human civilization proceeded from so-called primitive egalitarian hunter-gatherer societies to the invention of agriculture with more and more complex social class structures to the modern era of global capitalism with its inevitable hierarchies. The lesson seems to be: if you want civilization, you just have to put up with inequality and ever more social control by the powers that be.
But is that really true?
In The Dawn of Everything, David Wengrow and his co-author, the late anthropologist David Graeber, say human beings have been far more creative in their social arrangements than conventional wisdom can fathom. Wengrow and Graeber’s groundbreaking book lays out the case in fascinating detail that many other worlds are possible in human society: things don’t have to be the way they are because people are endlessly ingenious in devising the societies they want to live in. And they’ve been doing that for hundreds of thousands of years.
One review called The Dawn of Everything a “history book for the 99%”. That was a nod to David Graeber, who was one of the original organizers of Occupy Wall Street, with the slogan “we are the 99 Percent.” Graeber died suddenly in September 2020. David Wengrow is a Professor of Comparative Archaeology at University College in London.
Monday, January 10, 10 PM and archived.
Matt Remle (Hunkpapa Lakota) is editor and writer for “Last Real Indians.” He’s currently serving on the City of Seattle’s stakeholders’ committee to establish a public bank and has served on Seattle’s Green New Deal Steering Committee.
In the second half of the show, Tiokasin catches up with Max Wilbert, whose latest book is “Bright Green Lies: How the Environmental Movement Lost Its Way and What We Can Do About It.”
Tuesday, January 11 at 12:00 noon.
8:15 PM: New Haven resident Mark Oppenheimer on his book “Squirrel Hill,” about the synagogue shootings in Pittsburgh and — especially — their aftermath as the community came together
9:00 PM: jazz singer Kat Edmonson on her Christmas record (this interview was postponed from before the holidays)
9:30 PM: Bill Mackay on his “primitive guitar” record with Nathan Bowles, Keys
9:45 PM: my brother John joins me to talk to Eddie Muller, the host of film noir programming on Turner Movie Classics (TMC) and author of the recently expanded film noir classic “Dark City”
10:15 PM: an interview with Izaak Elker (vocals, guitar) of the group, Good Morning Bedlam.
Tuesday evening, January 11.
Tidings from Hazel Kahan
Surprisingly, our narcissistic culture has actually been remiss by failing this once to place ourselves at the center of attention. In our focus on what climate change is doing to the planet and to our physical selves, researchers have not yet investigated what it’s been doing to the human psyche, to our own mental selves. This month’s Tidings will synthesize multiple perspectives from the emerging field of climate psychology to provide insights into new phenomena such as eco-anxiety, eco-grief, anticipatory loss and environmental identity across our own and international landscapes and identifying who among us is carrying the greatest psychological impact of climate change.
Wednesday, January 12 at 7:30 PM and archived.