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Understanding human civilization

A culture is defined by its sets of values, learned behaviors, attitudes and beliefs that characterizes the people within it. It includes tangible and intangible aspects, such as how they relate, worship, work, eat or play. The visible manifestations are undeniable different from culture to culture, but the underlying values do not differ much.

Understanding our long prehistory to engage in a fascinating trip through the rich civilizations of Egypt, Mesopotamia, China, Greece, India, Persia, Rome, Bizancio, Indonesia, Nigeria, Mongolia and the Slavic, Gothic, Celtic, Latin, Saxon and native American cultures, provides the bases for cross-cultural awareness, intercultural relationships and mutual respect.

Those who cannot remember the past, are condemned to repeat it.

- Jorge Santayana

Cultural universals arare those guiding principles of human civilization that are so central to human identity accepted in some form in all societies past as present around the world. Learning the particularities of our culture in relation with others, expands our knowledge of anthropology and help us improve our relationships.

Knowledge of history is indispensable to understanding who we are and where we fit in the world, it allows us to understand our past, which in turn allows to understand our present. Studying why the means for a cultural change are Invention, diffusion and innovation, we can be able to transform for the better the world we live in.

When we study history reasonably well, and so we acquire some basic data about the forces that affect our own lives, we emerge with relevant skills and an enhanced capacity for informed citizenship, critical thinking, and simple awareness. It give us access to the laboratory of human experience.

— Peter Stearns

The new approaches of cultural studies critically recognize that history has been written by the victors, focusing on the hierarchy of power and economics, and offers an inspiring approach to the intellectual life, as an alternative to old research hierarchical paradigms at culture, with fascinating distinctive materials.

Studying history through the lens of art history is a form of new historicism, which tries to understand intellectual history through the parallel study of literary and non-literary texts and its cultural context, what follows within the field of the history of ideas and refers to itself as a form of Cultural Poetics.

On the other hand, postcolonial studies focus on the cultural legacy of colonialism and imperialism, focusing on the human consequences of the control and exploitation of colonized people and their lands. Postcolonialism aims at destabilizing the theories (intellectual and linguistic, social and economic) by means of which colonialists perceive, understand, and know the world. Postcolonial theory thus establishes intellectual spaces for colonial subjects to speak for themselves, in their own voices, and thus produce cultural discourses of philosophy, language, society and economy, balancing this imbalanced relationship.

Adopting a global perspective through a comparative timeline of World civilizations enable history students to explore the contributions that the different cultures have provided to bring us to our current times. Analyzing historical, geographical, and cultural factors and the series of revolutions -social, political, technological, military, commercial, and industrial- would provide a holistic perspective of our contemporaneity.

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