Visiting Research Scholar Lecture
Prehistory is usually told through the lens of very small discoveries: radiocarbon dates, botanical remains, skeletal evidence, and local settlement records. But why are we interested in prehistory? How does it shape and reform our broader historical narratives about regions and the world? Through the presentation of sections from the author's forthcoming book Ancient Inner Asia, a new narrative of prehistoric civilization of Central and Inner Asia is assembled (ca. 7000 - 200 BCE). This "Big Prehistory" challenges us to envision civilization not as the accumulation of progressive innovations, or the rise of 'civil' or 'complex' society - but rather as the onmipresent result of dynamic modes of participation and institutional formation across various scales of the global ecumene (ie. local, regional, macroregional). This broad re-characterization of prehistoric Inner Asia explores the diversity of communities that shaped the region through time as an ever-evolving "mashup" of economic, ideological, and practical agents who formed the essential cultural tapestry of this pivotal region, millennia before the fabled documentation of the "Silk Routes".
Reception to follow
Event is open to the public