Brian Villmoare on The Evolution of Everything: The Patterns and Causes of Big History

New Books Network | 3 April 2023 | 1h 00m | Listen Later | Podcasts | Spotify
Interview with Brian Villmoare about his book The Evolution of Everything: The Patterns and Causes of Big History. Traces the forces shaping the history of the world and the natural forces shaping humanity. Casts transformations in agriculture, the Industrial Revolution, the Enlightenment, and modernity in the context of underlying changes in demography, learning, and social organization.

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Omer Moav on the Emergence of the State

EconTalk | 6 March 2023 | 1h 02m | Listen Later | Podcasts | Spotify
Interview with Omer Moav about his paper The Origin of the State: Land Productivity or Appropriability?, co-authored with Joram Mayshar and Luigi Pascali. Argues that it wasn’t farming but the farming of storable crops (but not others) that led to hierarchy and the State. Also discusses why it’s important to understand the past and the challenges of confirming or refuting theories about history.

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Anthropologist Wade Davis Discusses His Life and Work

New Books in Anthropology | 5 May 2021 | 1h 24m | Listen Later | Spotify
Interview with Wade Davis about his life, work, and the back stories of his books. Discusses his research in anthropology and ethnobotany, Haitian ‘zombie poison’ and its setting in African religion and culture, his writing process and academic writing, key mentors, private funding, and more.

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Michael Hathaway – What a Mushroom Lives For

Princeton UP Ideas Podcast | 8 August 2022 | 1h 07m | Listen Later | Podcasts | Spotify
Interview with Michael Hathaway about his book What a Mushroom Lives For: Matsutake and the Worlds They Make. Tells the story of the matsutake mushroom, revealing the complex, symbiotic ways that mushrooms, plants, humans, and other animals interact. Considers how the world looks to the mushrooms, as well as to the people who have grown rich harvesting them.

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Manvir Singh: Going Beyond the Nomadic-Egalitarian Model of Hunter-Gatherers

The Dissenter | 17 June 2022 | 1h 09m | Listen Later | Podcasts | Spotify
Interview with Manvir Singh about his paper Human Social Organization During the Late Pleistocene: Beyond the Nomadic-Egalitarian Model. Argues that some of our late Pleistocene forbears lived in large, sedentary, dense communities, not just as nomadic-egalitarian hunter-gatherers. Discusses the nomadic-egalitarian hunter-gatherer model, his diverse histories model, the implications it has for our evolved psychology, and how we think about evolutionary mismatches; how human societies get organized; the origins of agriculture; the transition to large-scale agricultural societies, and non-agricultural state societies; the sympathetic plot in fiction, and its psychological origins; and the functionality of beliefs.

I nearly missed this episode – don’t make that mistake – it is truly excellent. I suggest checking out his writing. I also recommend Razib Khan’s interview.

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Kim Hill: Human Sociality, Human Universals, and Protecting Isolated Societies

The Dissenter | 27 September 2021 | 1h 44m | Listen Later | iTunes | Spotify
Interview with Kim Hill about hunter-gatherer tribes and human sociality. Discusses what anthropologists learn from traditional societies, how we can compare contemporary hunter-gatherers with the societies we evolved in. Considers aspects of human sociality, including foraging, food sharing, life history and parental investment, human cooperation and cultural norms, fission-fusion phenomena, co-residence, marriage, inter-band interactions and cumulative culture, and wealth and economic inequality. Explains how best to protect isolated tribes.

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