Tagged: History

Michel Foucault: The Archaeology of Knowledge. 1969.

Chapter 1: The Unities of Discourse Source: The Archaeology of Knowledge (1969), publ. Routledge, 1972. The first three Chapters are reproduced here. The use of concepts of discontinuity, rupture, threshold, limit, series, and transformation present all historical analysis not only with questions of procedure, but with theoretical problems. It is these problems that will be studied here (the questions of procedure will be examined in later empirical studies – if the opportunity, the desire, and the courage to undertake them do not desert me). These theoretical problems too will be examined only in a particular field: in those disciplines – so unsure...

The Execution of Damiens

The use of torture as a form of punishment was commonplace in European societies into the early 19th century. Today, we are outraged by mass killings, genocide, and ISIS beheadings, but extreme violence has always been there; it runs deep in human history. We are all traumatized, and it is difficult to work through the shadows of our violent past. The worst form of violence is often state-sponsored. Most political systems have a very dark and unexamined history when it comes to torture and killings. One case that made history was the execution of Robert-François Damiens in 1757 in France. He...

George Washington’s Farewell Address. 1796

Friends and Citizens: The period for a new election of a citizen to administer the executive government of the United States being not far distant, and the time actually arrived when your thoughts must be employed in designating the person who is to be clothed with that important trust, it appears to me proper, especially as it may conduce to a more distinct expression of the public voice, that I should now apprise you of the resolution I have formed, to decline being considered among the number of those out of whom a choice is to be made. I beg...

Historical Timeline for Africa

The following historical timeline for Africa is adapted from: The African Experience. From “Lucy” to Mandela. By: Kenneth P. Vickery. Teaching Company, 2007. c. 4–3 million B.C Emergence of Australopithecus, possibly the first in the hominid line of evolution, culminating in modern humans in East/Southern Africa. c. 1.5 million B.C Emergence of Homo erectus in Africa, definitely a human ancestor. c. 100,000 B.C Emergence of Homo sapiens, “wise human,” in Africa. c. 40,000 B.C Emergence of Homo sapiens sapiens, fully modern humans, in Africa. c. 5000 B.C. to A.D. 1000 (depending on region) Closing of Late Stone Age, opening of...

History of Human Rights

Which movements, ideas, and events have contributed to the history and development of the concept of human rights?  The following list is very selective; it shows some historical highlights that manifest the trend that runs through the Western legal and philosophical traditions. Traditional Religions all support idea that the human person has worth and value and should be treated with a measure of dignity and respect. This leads to the idea that there are enduring standards of morality and justice against which to evaluate people’s actions and the laws of communities. However, the emphasis in religion is on duties, not...

Technological Discoveries in Modern Times

History and the change in human civilization are driven by scientific and technological innovations. Below is a timeline of some breakthroughs in the last 500 years; the list could be a lot longer, and the pace of innovation has increased dramatically in recent years. One of the reasons for this acceleration is synergy: we can use innovations like computers to invent even smarter things and revolutionize every area of life. Technological progress does not translate into real progress for humanity. Mid-13th Century: Gunpowder. 1453 Gutenberg invents the Printing Press. 1769 Steam engine, around 1769. This drives the industrial revolution. 1821...

Renaissance

The Renaissance is a cultural movement that starts from Italy in the mid-14th century and spreads through Europe. It brings the Medieval time period to an end, and is marked by a changing consciousness about politics, the world, and art. It’s the time of da Vinci, Michelangelo, Giotto, Titian, Raphael, Donatello, or Brunelleshi. Here is a timeline of some of the main events that characterize the period: Timeline (Quoted from Sparknotes ) April 6, 1341: Francesco Petrarch is Crowned Poet Laureate Many historians cite this date as the beginning of the Renaissance. 1397: Giovanni de Medici Moves to Florence Giovanni...

Early History of Civilization

I wanted to know more about the human prehistory; where we come from and what we really know about our own origins.The timeline below gives you a rough overview; it is a fascinating story. One way to sequence human prehistory is by the type of tools that were in use. Early on, researchers came up with a three stage system of stone, bronze, and iron that allowed them to sequence the origins of human civilization. This system, however, does not work for every geographic area. The Stone age period comprises more than a million years, and gets divided into an...

Walter Benjamin: On the Concept of History

From Walter Benjamin: Illuminations. p. 253 This text was written in 1940 and is published in German in “Gesammelten Schriften I:2. Suhrkamp Verlag. Frankfurt am Main, 1974.” I It is well-known that an automaton once existed, which was so constructed that it could counter any move of a chess-player with a counter-move, and thereby assure itself of victory in the match. A puppet in Turkish attire, water-pipe in mouth, sat before the chessboard, which rested on a broad table. Through a system of mirrors, the illusion was created that this table was transparent from all sides. In truth, a hunchbacked dwarf who...