from month 12/2017

The invention of cuneiform: Writing in Sumer

This month we are reading the final chapters of Jean-Jacques Glassner's The invention of cuneiform: Writing in Sumer (2003). Glassner's work is original in both its style and scope. He opens with a Sumerian-centric account of the invention of writing within its historical and cultural context, as drawn from primary archeological and paleographic evidence. ...

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How human are the dehumanised?

One of Theodore De Bry's illustrations for Bartolome de Las Casas' Short Account of the Destruction of the Indies

Developmental psychologist Paul Bloom recently published an article in The New Yorker about dehumanisation. He argued – drawing on research from many subfields in philosophy, psychology, anthropology and sociology – that the way we often think about things like slavery, genocide and misogyny is in some respects upside down. The problem isn’t that people sometimes see others as not human, it’s that they see others as very human indeed – with all that that entails....

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