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Showing posts from July 7, 2013

the stone age: classification and ideology

We have the stone age. The iron age. The information age. What is today the age of? I seem, in that question, to be talking about time. But it is actually a peculiar view of time I have in mind. The stone age and iron age have a function in the historical timeline of archaeology, marking the discovery and use of materials and giving us a kind of linear sequence. You can’t go from the stone age, in this sequence, to say the age of steel. First, you have to discover how to forge things with iron. This view of historical time presumes a community between the person who uses it and the person who hears it. The “today” of my question is not, in actuality, a dated time. If it were, that dated time would extend across the Amazonian tribe and the Manhattan hedgefunder. They coexist in the same planetary time. I have been thinking about this since I started reading a book that the Pulitzer prize committee thought highly enough of to short for its prize in 2011 – S.C. Gwynne’s Empire