Ian Morris: Why the West Rules--For Now

FRI, OCT 29, 2010 (59:55)

Ian Morris, Stanford professor of classics and history, explores his new book, Why the West Rules—For Now: The Patterns of History, and What They Reveal about the Future. Sometime around 1750, English entrepreneurs unleashed the astounding energies of steam and coal, and the world was forever changed. The emergence of factories, railroads, and gunboats propelled the West’s rise to power in the nineteenth century, and the development of computers and nuclear weapons in the twentieth century secured its global supremacy. Now, at the beginning of the twenty-first century, many worry that the emerging economic power of China and India spells the end of the West as a superpower. In order to understand this possibility, we need to look back in time. Why has the West dominated the globe for the past two hundred years, and will its power last? Why the West Rules—For Now spans fifty thousand years of history. The book brings together the latest findings across disciplines—from ancient history to neuroscience—not only to explain why the West came to rule the world but also to predict what the future will bring in the next hundred years.

+ BIO: Ian Morris

Ian Morris is the Willard Professor of Classics and History at Stanford University. He has served as associate dean of Humanities and Sciences, chair of the Classics Department, and director of the Social Science History Institute. Morris is founder and former director of the Stanford Archaeology Center. He is a prolific scholar who is best known for his work on early Iron Age Greece. Morris is the author of Why the West Rules—For Now: The Patterns of History and What They Reveal about the Future; Burial and Ancient Society; and Death-Ritual and Social Structure in Classical Antiquity. From 2000 through 2006, he directed Stanford University’s excavation at Monte Polizzo, a native Sicilian town of the seventh and sixth centuries BCE. Morris has been awarded fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the Center for Hellenic Studies in Washington, D.C., the Institute for Research in the Humanities at University of Wisconsin-Madison and the National Endowment for the Humanities.

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