The Essentials That Make Culture What it Is, and Has Been
Dr. Martin Puchner joins us to talk about his new book, Culture: the Story of Us from Cave Art to K-Pop. It’s a very important discussion about some of the crucial elements in creating culture: “storage,” “circulation,” and “mixture.” We talk about lots of cultural history, including cave paintings, art and literature “traveling” during imperial and colonial times, and the melange that has become modern pop culture. A real brainiac discussion! Episode 505.
Martin Puchner’s website: https://complit.fas.harvard.edu/people/martin-puchner
Martin Puchner, Culture: the Story of Us from Cave Art to K-Pop
In Culture, acclaimed author, professor, and public intellectual Martin Puchner takes us on a breakneck tour through pivotal moments in world history, providing a global introduction to the arts and humanities in one engaging volume.
What good are the arts? Why should we care about the past? For millennia, humanity has sought to understand and transmit to future generations not just the “know-how” of life, but the “know-why”―the meaning and purpose of our existence, as expressed in art, architecture, religion, and philosophy. This crucial passing down of knowledge has required the radical integration of insights from the past and from other cultures. In Culture, acclaimed author, professor, and public intellectual Martin Puchner takes us on a breakneck tour through pivotal moments in world history, providing a global introduction to the arts and humanities in one engaging volume.
From Nefertiti’s lost city to the plays of Wole Soyinka; from the theaters of ancient Greece to Chinese travel journals to Arab and Aztec libraries; from a South Asian statuette found at Pompeii to a time capsule left behind on the Moon, Puchner tells the gripping story of human achievement through our collective losses and rediscoveries, power plays and heroic journeys, innovations, imitations, and appropriations. More than a work of history, Culture is an archive of humanity’s most monumental junctures and a guidebook for the future of us humans as a creative species. Witty, erudite, and full of wonder, Puchner argues that the humanities are (and always have been) essential to the transmission of knowledge that drives the efforts of human civilization.
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