Dynamics of Civilisation

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Impression of a jade seal designed by Professor Wang Mingming for CREDOC, containing the Chinese characters Xue (interpretation) and Wenming (civilisation).

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Centre for Research into the Dynamics of Civilisation (CREDOC)
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29 Gordon Square
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Watch the video for Civilisations and their Mobilisation Today: Western Civilisation:


Questions Woman

CREDOC is focusing critical attention on three cross-regional sets of fundamental questions. These questions underlie a series of workshops CREDOC will hold to encourage debate across regions, periods, and disciplines.

Constructions of Civilisation

What contemporary needs are being addressed through the discourse of civilisation? Where are such discourses generated? How do they come to influence public policy? What kind of narratives and counter-narratives are generated by the concept of civilisation? How might they differ from discourses about ‘culture’, ‘society’, or ‘nature’? And how have they evolved from antiquity to the present?

Civilisation in Time & Space

How might we reclaim a civilisational scale of analysis for human cultures and societies, in the absence of a single narrative of ‘progress’ or ‘evolution’? What are the spatial dynamics of civilisations? What kind of boundaries do they create, and how are these to be negotiated? What new insights would be generated by a return to the genuinely long-term and large-scale analysis of social and cultural phenomena? What kind of innovative methods and techniques could be brought to bear on such an analysis?

Mind, Body, and Civilisation

How are civilisations reproduced and transformed through the cognitive habits and bodily practices of individuals? How are concepts of civilisation, including distinctions of value and hierarchy, internalised and translated into social relationships? How might the distribution in time and space of these forms of relatedness differ in extent from the boundaries of self-conscious ethnic, religious, or national-imperial groupings? How might their study bring to light new configurations and trajectories of global historical development, to replace the old dichotomies between ‘literate’ and ‘non-literate’, ‘urban’ and ‘rural’, ‘complex’ and ‘simple’ societies?

Page last modified on 12 nov 13 11:21