11 Jun the concept of civilization
There have been many changes in defining “the concept of civilization” through time and history. Civilizations were seen as societies with reliance on sedentary agriculture, the ability to produce food surpluses, and which possess non farming elites, along with merchant and manufacturing groups. Early peoples used a cultural definition: uncivilized peoples were those organized differently. During the 17th and 18th centuries, Europeans classified peoples according to their definition of stages in human Writing Prompts forHistorical Final Essay /Written Source Analysis-HST130 development, and in the 19th century, Europeans and Americans divided societies according to supposed racially derived attributes. In 1939, the American writer Henry Miller defined civilization as: “drugs, alcohol, engines of war, prostitution, machines and machine slaves, low wages, bad food, bad taste, prisons, reformatories, lunatic asylums, divorce, perversion, brutal sports, suicides, infanticide, cinema, quackery, demagogy, strikes, lockouts, revolutions, putsches, colonization, electric chairs, guillotines, sabotage, floods, famine, disease, gangsters, money barons, horse racing, fashion shows, poodle dogs, chow dogs, Siamese cats, condoms, pessaries, syphilis, gonorrhea, insanity, neuroses, etc.,.” What do you think prompted Miller’s pessimistic view of civilization? I want you to reflect on these different concepts of civilizations and determine how do you evaluate it? What words and phrases would you use to define civilization in the 21st century as opposed to the early civilizations in history (you need to demonstrate knowledge of those civilizations we have studied thus far/contrast one another -social life, culture and cultural influence, political structure, hierarchies, environment, etc.)? Why? Based on what you have studied thus far regarding the “First Civilizations” (be sure you refer to primary source documents as well), you have seen that a highly centralized, despotic government and varying degrees of social inequality (based on class, gender, and patriarchy) seemed to be requirement for order, peace, and prosperity. Why do you think that was the case? What critical developments distinguish civilizations from even the most advanced Paleolithic and Neolithic societies that preceded them? How would you define civilization in the 21st century as opposed to those early civilizations we have studied in this history course-compare /contrast? How do we maintain order, peace, and prosperity in the United States today as opposed it was done in those early civilizations? Do we have bettersolutions than the First Civilizations did-to what extent first civilizations represent “progress” or “setback for humankind” as opposed to Paleolithic and Neolithic societies?
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