OLLI Workshop - Undercurrents of History

Leader: Theo Pavlidis

The premise of the workshop is that history is formed by underlying forces rather than the random actions of individuals (except maybe in rare cases). Several scholars have advanced this view, most recently Jared Diamond in his best-seller Guns, Germs, and Steel. In the Spring of 2014 we back to the start of the workshop in the spring of 2013. But instead of rushing towards a comparison of developments in China and Europe we will spend more time in examining other parts of the world with special emphasis on the different approaches to religion. Here is a list of topics with the terms in parentheses comparing to the old coverage:

  • History as Science (repeat)
  • Development of agriculture (expanded)
  • Development of government (expanded)
  • Polytheism and Philosophies (mostly new)
  • Greek Philosophies (new)
  • Hinduism (new)
  • Jainism (new)
  • Buddhism (new)
  • Confucianism (mostly new)
  • Taoism (new)
  • Shinto (new)
  • Monotheism and Zoroastrianism (mostly new)
  • Rise of Christianity (new*)
  • Triumph of Christianity (new*)
  • Islam (new*)
  • Overview of the work of Ian Morris (expanded)

* overlap with material from Middle East History workshop.