About this blog

No single culture’s view of the world sums up the nature of reality — including our own.
This central teaching of anthropology is a hard pill for some to swallow. And yet the diversity of human perspectives is real. Effectively confronting the challenges that humanity faces in the 21st century —

  • climate change
  • population growth
  • conflict over resources
    — requires us to acknowledge and work with culture rather than against it.

The reason is that these aren’t engineering problems; there are no imminent technological fixes that don’t depend for their success on diverse human groups getting on board and cooperating.

This blog is intended as a space for meditating on and discussing these issues from a perspective that acknowledges the power of culture.

Inspiration

Some of the writings that have most influenced the views taken in this blog are:

Jared Diamond. (1998). Guns, germs, and steel: A short history of everybody for the last 13,000 years. London: Vintage.
[a classic account of medium-term human history that explains the critical importance of animal and plant domestication]

Sarah Blaffer Hrdy. (2009). Mothers and others: The evolutionary origins of mutual understanding. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.
[how our evolutionary heritage affects our propensity to bond, communicate, and cooperate]

Tim Flannery. (2005.) The weather makers: How man is changing the climate, and what it means for life on earth. New York: Grove Press.
[primer on the causes and effects of climate change]

Richard A. Shweder. (2003). Why do men barbecue? Recipes for cultural psychology. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.
[essays on the cultural shaping of morality, emotion, and development]

The author

A Human View is curated by Jed Stevenson, research associate at University College London.

A12-Jed

Jed has conducted anthropological fieldwork in Ethiopia and the Republic of Congo.

He also blogs about his family here.

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