The Late-Neolithic Multi-species Re-settlement Camp and the Earliest States


Prof. Dr. James Scott
(Yale University)

1 and 2 June 2015, 6 pm

Goethe-Universität Frankfurt am Main
Campus Westend, Hörsaalzentrum, HZ4 und HZ5

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lecture 1, 1 June 2015, 6 pm (HZ 4):

The Domestication of Fire, Animals, Grain and….Us

All of the presumed civilizational steps required for state-making: agriculture, domestic animals, sedentism, towns and substantial commerce were in place several millennia before anything we might call a “state” appears in the historical record. Why the long delay? So long as other, broader subsistence options were open, Homo sapiens avoided substantial reliance on agriculture because of disease, drudgery, and risk. The creation of the state requires confinement, unfree labor and a cereal grain as a tax crop. Hence there are no cassava, sweet potato, banana, lentil, chick pea states, only millet, wheat, barley, rice and maize states. How the hegemony of these grains transformed our culture, our society, the domus and our bodies is part of this story.

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Lecture 2, 2 June 2015 (HZ 5):

The Early State: its Fragility and the Golden Age of “Barbarians”

The early state, given its fragility, was a miracle of statecraft and usually short-lived. It required cobbling together one or a few adjacent, rich, loess or alluvial bottom lands, assembling a cultivating population and holding them in place. Slavery, wars for capture, and massive forced resettlement were among the techniques for keeping this “grain-and-manpower” module together and replenishing its population: techniques that frequently failed. All of the early states were surrounded by pastoralists, foragers, hunters, and swiddeners, many of whom were escapees from the grain core. These “raiding and trading barbarians”, were for many centuries the major restraint on the state, a sort of homeostatic regulator. Ultimately, however, by serving as mercenaries and delivering slaves to the grain core, they built the state.

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CV
James Scott, is the Sterling Professor of Political Science and Professor of Anthropology and is co-Director of the Agrarian Studies Program.  He is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and has been a fellow at the Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton, and the Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin.  His research concerns political economy, comparative agrarian societies, theories of hegemony and resistance, peasant politics, revolution, Southeast Asia, theories of class relations and anarchism.  His publications include The Moral Economy of the Peasant, Yale University Press, 1976, Domination and the Arts of Resistance, Yale University Press, 1985, Weapons of the Weak: Everyday Forms of Peasant Resistance, Yale university Press 1980, Seeing Like a State: How Certain Schemes to Improve the Human Condition Have Failed, Yale University Press, 1998; The Art of Not Being Governed: An Anarchist History of Upland Southeast Asia, Yale University Press, 2008, and Two Cheers for Anarchism, Princeton University Press, 2013. He is a mediocre sheep breeder and bee-keeper in Connecticut.

 
Gallery:

  • Prof. Dr. James Scott, Yale University
  • Prof. Dr. Rainer Forst, Co-Sprecher des Exzellenzclusters "Die Herausbildung normativer Ordnungen" und Professor für Politische Theorie und Philosphie der Goethe-Universität Frankfurt am Main
  • Prof. Dr. Susanne Schröter, Professorin für Ethnologie an der Goethe-Universität Frankfurt am Main und Principal Investigator des Exzellenzclusters "Die Herausbildung normativer Ordnungen"
  • Prof. Dr. Susanne Schröter, Professorin für Ethnologie an der Goethe-Universität Frankfurt am Main und Principal Investigator des Exzellenzclusters "Die Herausbildung normativer Ordnungen"
  • Prof. Dr. James Scott, Yale University


Presented by:
Exzellenzcluster "Die Herausbildung normativer Ordnungen"

 


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