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Almost Human is the personal story of a charismatic and visionary palaeontologist, a rich and readable narrative about science, exploration, and what it means to be human.
In 2013, Wits University reasearch professor Lee Berger caught wind of a cache of bones in a hard-to-reach underground cave near Johannesburg. He put out a call around the world for collaborators – men and women small and adventurous enough to be able to squeeze through 8-inch tunnels to reach a sunless cave 40 feet underground. With this team of ‘underground astronauts’, Berger made the discovery of a lifetime: hundreds of prehistoric bones, including entire skeletons of at least 15 individuals, all perhaps two million years old. Their features combined those of known pre-hominids with those more human than anything ever before seen in prehistoric remains. Berger's team had discovered an all new species: Homo naledi.
The cave proved to be the richest pre-hominid site ever discovered, full of implications that challenge how we define ourselves as human. Did these ancestors of ours bury their dead? If so, they must have had an awareness of death, a level of self-knowledge: the very characteristic we used to define ourselves as human. Did an equally advanced species inhabit Earth with us, or before us?
Addressing these questions, Berger counters the arguments of those colleagues who have questioned his controversial interpretations and astounding finds.
During the Zimbabwean crisis, millions crossed through the apartheidera border fence, searching for ways to make ends meet. Maxim Bolt explores the lives of Zimbabwean migrant labourers, of settled black farm workers and their dependants, and of white farmers and managers, as they intersect on the border between Zimbabwe and South Africa. Focusing on one farm, this book investigates the role of a hub of wage labour in a place of crisis. A close ethnographic study, it addresses the complex, shifting labour and life conditions in northern South Africa's agricultural borderlands. Underlying these challenges are the Zimbabwean political and economic crisis of the 2000s and the intensifi ed pressures on commercial agriculture in South Africa following market liberalization and post-apartheid land reform. But, amidst uncertainty, farmers and farm workers strive for stability. The farms on South Africa's margins are centers of gravity, islands of residential labour in a sea of informal arrangements.
Across Africa the narrative of "Africa rising" has taken root in a burgeoning middle class. Ambitious and increasingly affluent, this group symbolizes the values and hopes of the new Africa, and they are regarded as important agents of both economic development and democratic change. This narrative, however, obscures the complex and often ambiguous role that this group actually plays in African societies.
The Rise Of Africa's Middle Class brings together a diverse range of economists, political scientists, and development experts to provide a much needed corrective, overturning the received wisdom within development circles and providing a fresh new perspective on social transformations in contemporary Africa. Featuring a wide array of case studies from across sub-Saharan Africa and covering highly topical issues, including black middle-class support for the ANC in South Africa and anti-government activism in Nigeria, this collection of essays is a timely, on-the-ground look at the realities behind the idea of Africa rising.
To date, there has been no published textbook which takes into account changing sociolinguistic dynamics that have influenced South African society. Multilingualism and Intercultural Communication breaks new ground in this arena. The scope of this book ranges from macro-sociolinguistic questions pertaining to language policies and their implementation (or non-implementation) to micro-sociolinguistic observations of actual language-use in verbal interaction, mainly in multilingual contexts of Higher Education (HE). There is a gradual move for the study of language and culture to be taught in the context of (professional) disciplines in which they would be used, for example, Journalism and African languages, Education and African languages, etc. The book caters for this growing market. Because of its multilingual nature, it caters to English and Afrikaans language speakers, as well as the Sotho and Nguni language groups - the largest languages in South Africa [and also increasingly used in the context of South African Higher Education]. It brings together various inter-linked disciplines such as Sociolinguistics and Applied Language Studies, Media Studies and Journalism, History and Education, Social and Natural Sciences, Law, Human Language Technology, Music, Intercultural Communication and Literary Studies. The unique cross-cutting disciplinary features of the book will make it a must-have for twenty-first century South African students and scholars and those interested in applied language issues.
Cultural Anthropology, South African Edition provides an excellent coverage of cultures around the world. It is designed to increase your understanding of the human past and present, the unity and diversity that characterise the human species and how globalisation has affected the lives of people all around the world.
In analyzing the obstacles to democratization in post- independence Africa, Mahmood Mamdani offers a bold, insightful account of colonialism's legacy-a bifurcated power that mediated racial domination through tribally organized local authorities, reproducing racial identity in citizens and ethnic identity in subjects. Many writers have understood colonial rule as either "direct" (French) or "indirect" (British), with a third variant-apartheid-as exceptional. This benign terminology, Mamdani shows, masks the fact that these were actually variants of a despotism. While direct rule denied rights to subjects on racial grounds, indirect rule incorporated them into a "customary" mode of rule, with state-appointed Native Authorities defining custom. By tapping authoritarian possibilities in culture, and by giving culture an authoritarian bent, indirect rule (decentralized despotism) set the pace for Africa; the French followed suit by changing from direct to indirect administration, while apartheid emerged relatively later. Apartheid, Mamdani shows, was actually the generic form of the colonial state in Africa. Through case studies of rural (Uganda) and urban (South Africa) resistance movements, we learn how these institutional features fragment resistance and how states tend to play off reform in one sector against repression in the other. Reforming a power that institutionally enforces tension between town and country, and between ethnicities, is the key challenge for anyone interested in democratic reform in Africa.
**From the author of the number 1 global bestseller Sapiens** **The Top Ten Sunday Times Bestseller** Sapiens showed us where we came from. Homo Deus shows us where we're going. War is obsolete. You are more likely to commit suicide than be killed in conflict. Famine is disappearing. You are at more risk of obesity than starvation. Death is just a technical problem. Equality is out - but immortality is in. What does our future hold? Yuval Noah Harari, author of the bestselling phenomenon Sapiens envisions a not-too-distant world in which we face a new set of challenges. Homo Deus explores the projects, dreams and nightmares that will shape the twenty-first century - from overcoming death to creating artificial life. It asks the fundamental questions: Where do we go from here? And how will we protect this fragile world from our own destructive powers? 'Homo Deus will shock you. It will entertain you. Above all, it will make you think in ways you had not thought before' Daniel Kahneman, author of Thinking Fast, and Slow
'This extraordinary book brings to life an astonishing place. Beautiful prose renders brutality vivid' The Times - BOOK OF THE WEEK From Peter the Great to Putin, this is the unforgettable story of St Petersburg - one of the most magical, menacing and influential cities in the world. St Petersburg has always felt like an impossible metropolis, risen from the freezing mists and flooded marshland of the River Neva on the western edge of Russia. It was a new capital in an old country. Established in 1703 by the sheer will of its charismatic founder, the homicidal megalomaniac Peter-the-Great, its dazzling yet unhinged reputation was quickly fashioned by the sadistic dominion of its early rulers. This city, in its successive incarnations - St Petersburg; Petrograd; Leningrad and, once again, St Petersburg - has always been a place of perpetual contradiction. It was a window on to Europe and the Enlightenment, but so much of the glory of Russia was created here: its literature, music, dance and, for a time, its political vision. It gave birth to the artistic genius of Pushkin and Dostoyevsky, Tchaikovsky and Shostakovich, Pavlova and Nureyev. Yet, for all its glittering palaces, fairytale balls and enchanting gardens, the blood of thousands has been spilt on its snow-filled streets. It has been a hotbed of war and revolution, a place of siege and starvation, and the crucible for Lenin and Stalin's power-hungry brutality. In St Petersburg, Jonathan Miles recreates the drama of three hundred years in this absurd and brilliant city, bringing us up to the present day, when - once more - its fate hangs in the balance. This is an epic tale of murder, massacre and madness played out against squalor and splendour. It is an unforgettable portrait of a city and its people.
**From the author of the global phenomenon Sapiens** **A Guardian Book of the Year** **An Evening Standard Book of the Year** **A TLS Book of the Year** `Homo Deus will shock you. It will entertain you. Above all, it will make you think in ways you had not thought before.' Daniel Kahneman, author of Thinking Fast, and Slow Yuval Noah Harari, author of the bestselling Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind, envisions a not-too-distant world in which we face a new set of challenges. In Homo Deus, he examines our future with his trademark blend of science, history, philosophy and every discipline in between. Homo Deus explores the projects, dreams and nightmares that will shape the twenty-first century - from overcoming death to creating artificial life. It asks the fundamental questions: Where do we go from here? And how will we protect this fragile world from our own destructive powers? This is the next stage of evolution. This is Homo Deus. War is obsolete You are more likely to commit suicide than be killed in conflict Famine is disappearing You are at more risk of obesity than starvation Death is just a technical problem Equality is out - but immortality is in What does our future hold?
Confronting national, linguistic and disciplinary boundaries, contributors to African Archaeology Without Frontiers argue against artificial limits and divisions created through the study of `ages' that in reality overlap and cannot and should not be understood in isolation. Papers are drawn from the proceedings of the landmark 14th PanAfrican Archaeological Association Congress, held in Johannesburg in 2014, nearly seven decades after the conference planned for 1951 was re-located to Algiers for ideological reasons following the National Party's rise to power in South Africa. Contributions by keynote speakers Chapurukha Kusimba and Akin Ogundiran encourage African archaeologists to practise an archaeology that collaborates across many related fields of study to enrich our understanding of the past. The nine papers cover a broad geographical sweep by incorporating material on ongoing projects throughout the continent including South Africa, Botswana, Cameroon, Togo, Tanzania, Kenya and Nigeria. Thematically, the papers included in the volume address issues of identity and interaction, and the need to balance cultural heritage management and sustainable development derived from a continent racked by social inequalities and crippling poverty. Edited by three leading archaeologists, the collection covers many aspects of African archaeology, and a range of periods from the earliest hominins to the historical period. It will appeal to specialists and interested amateurs.
On 11 March 2011, a massive earthquake sent a 120-foot-high tsunami smashing into the coast of north-east Japan. By the time the sea retreated, more than 18,000 people had been crushed, burned to death, or drowned. It was Japan's greatest single loss of life since the atomic bombing of Nagasaki. It set off a national crisis, and the meltdown of a nuclear power plant. And even after the immediate emergency had abated, the trauma of the disaster continued to express itself in bizarre and mysterious ways. Richard Lloyd Parry, an award-winning foreign correspondent, lived through the earthquake in Tokyo, and spent six years reporting from the disaster zone. There he encountered stories of ghosts and hauntings. He met a priest who performed exorcisms on people possessed by the spirits of the dead. And he found himself drawn back again and again to a village which had suffered the greatest loss of all, a community tormented by unbearable mysteries of its own. What really happened to the local children as they waited in the school playground in the moments before the tsunami? Why did their teachers not evacuate them to safety? And why was the unbearable truth being so stubbornly covered up? Ghosts of the Tsunami is a classic of literary non-fiction, a heart-breaking and intimate account of an epic tragedy, told through the personal accounts of those who lived through it. It tells the story of how a nation faced a catastrophe, and the bleak struggle to find consolation in the ruins.
From 2003-2006, Patricia Henderson lived in the South African province of KwaZulu-Natal, where she recorded the experiences of people living with HIV/AIDS. In this illumination study, she recounts the concerns of rural people and explores local repertoires through which illness was folded into everyday life. The book spans a period when antiretroviral medication was not available and moves on to a time when the treatment became accessible. Hope gradually became manifest in the recovery of a number of people through antiretroviral therapies and 'the return' of bodies they could recognise as their own. This research implies that protracted interaction with people over time, offers insights into the unfolding textures of everyday life, in particular in its focus on suffering, social and structural inequality, illness, violence, mourning, sensibility, care and intimacy.
In 1856 and 1857, in response to a prophet's command, the Xhosa people of southern Africa killed their cattle and ceased planting crops; the resulting famine cost tens of thousands of lives. Much like other millenarian, anticolonial movements - such as the Ghost Dance in North America and the Birsa Munda uprising in India - these actions were meant to transform the world and liberate the Xhosa from oppression. Despite the movement's momentous failure to achieve that goal, the event has continued to exert a powerful pull on the South African imagination ever since. It is these afterlives of the prophecy that Jennifer Wenzel explores in Bulletproof. Wenzel examines literary and historical texts to show how writers have manipulated images and ideas associated with the cattle killing-harvest, sacrifice, rebirth, devastation - to speak to their contemporary predicaments. Widening her lens, Wenzel also looks at how past failure can both inspire and constrain movements for justice in the present, and her brilliant insights into the cultural implications of prophecy will fascinate readers across a wide variety of disciplines.
How does anthropology help us understand who we are?What can it tell us about culture, from Melanesia to the City of London? Why does it matter?For well over one hundred years, social and cultural anthropologists have traversed the world from urban Zimbabwe to suburban England, Beijing to Barcelona, uncovering surprising facts, patterns, predilections and, sometimes, the inexplicable, in terms of how humans organize their lives and articulate their values. By weaving together theories and examples from around the world, Matthew Engelke brilliantly shows why anthropology matters: not only because it allows us to understand other points of view, but also because in the process, it reveals something about ourselves too.
Focusing on the crucial contributions of women researchers, Andrew Bank demonstrates that the modern school of social anthropology in South Africa was uniquely female-dominated. The book traces the personal and intellectual histories of six remarkable women through the use of a rich cocktail of new archival sources, including family photographs, private and professional correspondence, field-notes and fi eld diaries, published and other public writings and even love letters. The book also sheds new light on the close connections between their personal lives, their academic work and their antisegregationist and anti-apartheid politics. It will be welcomed by anthropologists, historians and students in African studies interested in the development of social anthropology in twentieth
The Universal Church of the Kingdom of God (UCKG), a church of Brazilian origin, has been enormously successful in establishing branches and attracting followers in post-apartheid South Africa. Unlike other Pentecostal Charismatic Churches (PCC), the UCKG insists that relationships with God be devoid of `emotions', that socialisation between members be kept to a minimum and that charity and fellowship are `useless' in materialising God's blessings. Instead, the UCKG urges members to sacrifice large sums of money to God for delivering wealth, health, social harmony and happiness. While outsiders condemn these rituals as empty or manipulative, this book shows that they are locally meaningful, demand sincerity to work, have limits and are informed by local ideas about human bodies, agency and ontological balance. As an ethnography of people rather than of institutions, this book offers fresh insights into the mass PCC movement that has swept across Africa since the early 1990s.
In what ways did Europeans interact with the diversity of people they encountered on other continents in the context of colonial expansion, and with the peasant or ethnic 'Other' at home? How did anthropologists and ethnologists make sense of the mosaic of people and societies during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, when their disciplines were progressively being established in academia? By assessing the diversity of European intellectual histories within sociocultural anthropology, this volume aims to sketch its intellectual and institutional portrait. It will be a useful reading for the students of anthropology, ethnology, history and philosophy of science, research and science policy makers.
** The global phenomenon** ** The Sunday Times Number One Bestseller ** ** The New York Times Top Ten Bestseller ** Planet Earth is 4.5 billion years old. In just a fraction of that time, one species among countless others has conquered it. Us. We are the most advanced and most destructive animals ever to have lived. What makes us brilliant? What makes us deadly? What makes us Sapiens? In this bold and provocative book, Yuval Noah Harari explores who we are, how we got here and where we're going. Sapiens is a thrilling account of humankind's extraordinary history - from the Stone Age to the Silicon Age - and our journey from insignificant apes to rulers of the world `It tackles the biggest questions of history and of the modern world, and it is written in unforgettably vivid language. You will love it!' Jared Diamond, author of Guns, Germs and Steel 'Unbelievably good. Jaw dropping from the first word to the last' Chris Evans, BBC Radio 2 Yuval's follow up to Sapiens, Homo Deus, is available now. For more, visit www.ynharari.com
For decades we have been told a story about the divide between rich countries and poor countries. We have been told that development is working: that the global South is catching up to the North, that poverty has been cut in half over the past thirty years, and will be eradicated by 2030. It's a comforting tale, and one that is endorsed by the world's most powerful governments and corporations. But is it true? Since 1960, the income gap between the North and South has roughly tripled in size. Today 4.3 billion people, 60 per cent of the world's population, live on less than $5 per day. Some 1 billion live on less than $1 a day. The richest eight people now control the same amount of wealth as the poorest half of the world combined. What is causing this growing divide? We are told that poverty is a natural phenomenon that can be fixed with aid. But in reality it is a political problem: poverty doesn't just exist, it has been created. Poor countries are poor because they are integrated into the global economic system on unequal terms. Aid only works to hide the deep patterns of wealth extraction that cause poverty and inequality in the first place: rigged trade deals, tax evasion, land grabs and the costs associated with climate change. The Divide tracks the evolution of this system, from the expeditions of Christopher Columbus in the 1490s to the international debt regime, which has allowed a handful of rich countries to effectively control economic policies in the rest of the world. Because poverty is a political problem, it requires political solutions. The Divide offers a range of revelatory answers, but also explains that something much more radical is needed - a revolution in our way of thinking. Drawing on pioneering research, detailed analysis and years of first-hand experience, The Divide is a provocative, urgent and ultimately uplifting account of how the world works, and how it can change.
J.D. Lewis-Williams, a leading South African archaeologist and ethnographer, examines the complex myths of the San-Bushmen to create a larger theory of how myth is used in cultures worldwide. Exploring ethnographic, archival and archaeological lines of research, he extracts the 'nuggets', the far-reaching but often unspoken words and concepts of language and understanding that are opaque to outsiders, to establish a more nuanced theory of the role of these myths in the thought-world and social circumstances of the San. The book draws from the author's own work, the unique 19th-century Bleek & Lloyd archive, more recent ethnographic work, and San rock art and includes well-known San stories such as The broken string, Mantis dreams, and Creation of the eland.
In Fracture, award-winning journalist Gillian Tett examines the structural development of institutions such as UBS, Sony and the Bank of England. While the world is increasingly interlinked in some senses, it remains profoundly fragmented in others. As organizations become larger and more global than ever before, they are apt to be divided and sub-divided into numerous different departments to facilitate productivity. However, there is a trap to the inevitability of these silos. The tunnel vision and tribalism that silos can lead to makes groups less innovative and can lead to disastrous mistakes. Institutions worldwide are made up of silos operating in isolation from one another. Fracture is an eye-opening account that takes a radical anthropological approach in suggesting how we might draw them back together.
Asking us to think differently about the home, this book challenges the notion of a closed-off and self-sufficient place and reimagines home to be where we find our connections to others and the world. By exploring home in relation to the figure of the stranger and public space, as well as with a focus on practices of dwelling and materialities, the authors demonstrate that thinking differently about home advances our understanding of belonging as a social process in which we are all implicated. Interrelated chapters challenge traditional, convenient and stereotypical notions of `home'. Specifically, the book provides a state-of-the-art cross-disciplinary conceptual framework; contributes to national and international discussions on the changing economic and social meanings of home; and provides analysis of areas and locations that are rarely thought of as involved in `home-making', e.g. man caves; mobile homes; the home in public; senses of home; the migrant citizen/stranger. This book is an essential resource for those involved in housing policy, issues around migration policies and to researchers working in other arenas such as cultural heritage. It is of particular interest to academics of sociology, anthropology and cultural studies, and those whose research investigates questions of domestic space and the politics of home.
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