During the last decade, archaeology and anthropology began to intensively study the evolution of the Upper Paleolithic period, which lasted from roughly 40,000 years ago until about 10,000 years ago. This period coincides with the last part of the Pleistocene glacial epoch. The Upper Paleolithic was followed by the Mesolithic and the Neolithic revolution, which saw the invention of agriculture and animal husbandry and the unfolding of recent human cultures and civilizations. The course investigates how new scholarship casts the Upper Paleolithic as a time of intensive cultural and social growth when the human species witnessed its ascent into “modernity.” This scholarship casts modernity in a novel sense as the time in which humans forged new modes of cultural and ecological adaptation into presentday hunting and gathering societies. This new scholarship will help researchers to understand the Upper Paleolithic as the most salient shaper of human nature and action.
Prerequisites: Completion of first year writing requirements. Co-requisites: None. Notes: Satisfies a HuSS elective.