After listening to Marcos Perez’s lecture, the idea of why someone would want to become a revolutionary was something that I was considering seriously. The common response given would be to begin a revolution or to create a change in society. These are things that anyone can wish or dream of doing, but being a revolutionary isn’t necessarily all it is chalked up to be and it can actually be a very dangerous title to hold especially when its over controversial issues. An easy example of this is a revolutionary such as Martin Luther King Junior, who was a martyr for his revolution, and if this is the case, and revolutionaries that are attempting to rewrite the future in a new way from history are at risk of harm, why do people still want to become revolutionaries today? As we know revolutions are constantly occurring all around us, and a good example in our modern day were the protestors of the North Dakota Access Pipeline. These people chose to become a part of a revolution, instead of sitting back and watching the future take its course and watching us run a massive construction operation through sovereign land. The question however still remains, and that is what was so appealing about getting involved in this revolution?
Perez’s lecture focused on the definition of a revolutionary, a revolution, and where they are both likely to be found. He addresses the issue of why someone would want to join a revolution by discussing the financial and social repercussions of joining a revolution. Perez stated that revolutionaries could potentially lose their children, families, and normal lives when joining a revolution. This is an incredible thought to consider because it makes you realize how truly passionate these people must be about the issue, to be willing to risk their normal lives to help make a change for that controversy. This is controversial to what some people consider revolutionaries to truly be fighting for, especially when people think about revolutionaries as people who are fighting to protect the rights and lives of their own family members or race. However, risking their families normal lives or their own normal lives leads to the question of whether or not revolutionaries have their priorities straight in terms of self interests over the priority of the cause or the change they wish to make in society. This topic raised by Perez was very intriguing and interesting and made me truly consider what one person must be going through mentally to be able to fully dedicate themselves to their cause as a revolutionary.
We know that revolutions, even when they are extremely backed by support and logically sound, are not guaranteed to occur. For this reason it is even more interesting to consider the mental process of devoting yourself to a cause. It is a risky thing to commit yourself to a movement that you are not sure whether or not will have success in changing its desired reaction. This likely drives many people away from wanting to become a revolutionary, and as Perez acknowledges it clearly takes some boldness and gutsiness to become a revolutionary and devote yourself to a movement. Perez’s breakdown of revolutionaries and the revolutions they desire provided listeners with an ability to recognize the life and inspiration that revolutionaries truly have surrounding their movement. This lecture was very powerful and entertaining to sum up our semester of revolutions and revolutionaries. The semester included revolutions of science, sociology, history, climatology, and even modern day revolutions. Professor Perez’s description of a revolutionary and their impactfulness on movements and revolutions in general was a very sentimental and inspirational ending to our semester long study of revolutions. In conclusion it clearly takes a certain type of driven and dedicated person to become a revolutionary, and it clearly takes a certain type of controversial and important issue to deserve a revolution.
I would argue that most people on this Earth can agree that humans have been one of, if not the most revolutionary species to ever exist on this planet. We all may have biased opinions of our own species, or this may be based in fact, and humans may just be that monumental and influential to the overall history of this planet. I think Latour made some interesting proposals, however I think he was looking at revolutions in a unique way in comparison to the general public of our world. I think a very high percentage of people would agree that the scientific revolution occurred and was a very important – and revolutionary time in human history. There is a lot of evidence to back this claim and a perfect example is the fact that nearly everyone from 14 years and older in our modern society carries around a smart phone with the world at the fingertips. This is something we may now take for granted, but is a clear representation of the development of humans technologically, which would not have been possible without revolutions such as the scientific revolution.
Latour argues that the revolutionary topics we label as revolutions in our modern time are not only for those people that are specializing in that particular field, but instead are combinations of science, politics, and technology, and include overlapping issues between specialists and the general public. I would counter this claim by saying that these topics coinciding with each other actually supports the opposite of his idea that humans have never been revolutionary, by allowing all cultures and regions of the world to be revolutionary in so many various ways. Humans now being able to donate, volunteer, and write anything and have it instantly available to others with our modern technology allows for revolutionary things to be accomplished by combining forces around the globe. What I mean to say is that these revolutions are now extremely inclusive in comparison to the revolutions of the past, and this leads to many more people having the ability to influence revolutions and to help solve issues in our modern time.
I agree that the barriers and limitations between subjects and cultures from the past have been taken down however, I think this shows us to be truly revolutionary. If we consider how much humans have changed from discovering fire to now discovering planets millions of miles away that could harbor life, I think the truth is evident that humans are the most revolutionary organism to ever walk on the face of the Earth. Latour argues that science is not pure because it is tainted by money, and government, but I think that this claim is assuming that all humans believe all scientific claims and ideas no matter the source or reason the information is being published or posted. I would like to argue that this is not the case, and that most humans are capable of being the judge or what is purely scientific and what is deceptive or an unreliable source of information. I was confident this was the case until somewhat recently when Obama addressed the public about the issue surrounding fake news sites and the advertising of false information using social media outlets. This makes it unclear to me whether or not we are truly capable of explaining all ideas of various fields using other fields, and finding the pure truth in each, and in this way it also makes me question how revolutionary we can consider ourselves nowadays in contrast with the other revolutionary time frames in human history.
I refuse to believe that I am alone in this, however, I am nonetheless ashamed to say I knew very little of the Haitian Revolution before this lecture by Jeremy D. Popkin. It is unique from other revolutions of its time and this adds to the element of surprise around my lack of recollection of any sort of discussion of this revolution as a part of history. This uniqueness may in part be related to the fact that historians seem not to frequently mention this revolution despite it being circa the French and American revolutions. These revolutions differed in what the nations were each fighting for. America was fighting for freedom from the British monarch, and France was fighting for liberty within their own nation. Haiti on the other hand, was fighting for much more than what either of these other countries were fighting for at the time, and that was freedom and abolishment of slavery. Even with the indepence of France and America, neither nation abolished slavery for many years afterwards. This was not the case in Haiti, and in this way it is almost clear that the Haitian Revolution was even an even greater historical feat than many other revolutions of its time. It was groundbreaking and astronomical in comparison to the United States, who didn’t have liberty for all for many more years after it became an independent nation.
We note the clear historical significance of this event easily by bringing it up in contrast with the other revolutions of it’s time, but this does not explain why this revolution is so frequently left out of modern history books and why this is not a more commonly referenced revolution in the history of humankind. This according to Popkin can be arguably attributed to the historians of the time not wanting to talk about the Haitian Revolution because they knew it was in fact a greater accomplishment than the United States own independence being gained from Britain. This leads to a thought of the U.S. government officials or historians at the time intentionally attempting to censor or leave out the Haitian Revolution as an attempt to make people perhaps remain content with slavery during this era, and perhaps as a means of blinding the public about our own countries revolution in comparison to other nations of the time. So despite Haiti achieving the amazing act of complete equality for all of its citizens years before the United States, we almost attempted to cover up this Haitian Revolution as something that wasn’t quite comparable to our own revolution, and wasn’t as groundbreaking even though it was absolutely the opposite.
This Haitian Revolution, was absolutely revolutionary in terms of its accomplishment of true equality and liberty. Why was this revolution so far ahead of its time in this manner? It can be assumed that part of the reason the revolution was able to take place during this era was because the population of Haiti had a greater number of blacks than whites, which allowed the masses to mobilize effectively and allowed such an incredible revolution to take place. It is very intriguing to consider this revolution in comparison to our modern day political events, and modern social revolutions. Will modern social revolutions and movements today be forgotten promptly for years to come? Or is this forgetting of the Haitian Revolution merely a product of our ability to ignore less influential or large countries historical achievements? Popkin made one thing very clear, and that is that we do not know everything, and we are neither the first nor will we be the last to forget or ignore a very major event in human history.
In Jeffrey Schnapp’s lecture on monuments he spoke about the role of monuments in modern history and how monuments became so abundant and also why they were so frequently scrutinized by the public of their respective nation. Professor Schnapp began his lecture with a discussion of what we consider a modern monument. The definition he provided was that a modern monument was “a commemorative statue that marks a time or memory,” and he gave the example of the Arc de Triomphe. He stated the the Industrial Revolution is truly what gave rise to the abundance of monuments we have today. This definition of monuments and their development during the Industrial Revolution relates directly to our political scene. It was made clear by Professor Schnapp that monuments were directly related to their country’s leader at the time and also to history at the time. This can be compared to Trumps victory of the presidency and its relation to the media coverage he received during the election. Now that he has become the president-elect he plans to build a massive monument along our southern border in his wall. This just goes to show how history at the time and the media coverage Trump received during the campaign and in general surrounding his role in politics were directly related to a new monument that is going to be built in our country.
Another topic Professor Schnapp discussed was specifically the Victory Monument in Bolzano, Italy that was built on top of where the old monument was with the stones from it as well. It was built originally as a dedication to the soliders of WWI and now has been turned into a museum with inscriptions like “here at the fatherland’s border, plant the banners. From here we enlighten others with language, law, and the arts.” The most controversial aspect of the transformation of the historic monument was the digital ring put around one of the massive pillars in the front of the monument. This originally sparked controversy and protest from many people including the mayor of Bolzano. I thought this was especially interesting that a monument could be just altered and changed so drastically as putting a ring around a column and ruining its symmetry in the front, even when people such as the mayor were protesting it. This monument has since become a piece of architecture that has brought much tourism and leads to many people traveling there just to visit this particular museum and monument. I thought this related to our assumptions about human nature and how we think about things, because this is a major monument in Italy’s history and although it now bring much tourism to the area and boosts the economy, it still has been vandalized in a way and is never quite the same in terms of its pure stunning architecture. This relates to peoples assumptions about human nature because even though according to Professor Schnapp the mayor of Bolzano originally was opposed to the ring on the column, he was eventually convinced that it was okay because of the benefits and clear success the transformation of the monument had been. This can be drawn in to the definition of a monument itself and how although it is a mark of time or history, it does not necessarily need some unique form of respect or admiration, for it truly only represents one leader, of one nation, of one time period in our vast human history. This can again be tied into our current political scene, and how much of our country is protesting and against having Trump as their president, and yet he is going to create a massive monument that will probably remain as a part of history for many years. Many are against Trump’s comments he has made and will not tolerate him leading their country, but at the same time he is now the president-elect and plans to create a massive monument of a wall along our southern border. This shows how monuments can truly be created regularly in our modern time and can be altered in our modern time, but this does not mean they are necessarily a representation of an entire nation’s thoughts or wishes. This also shows how although monuments can be highly important to an area and can be huge in terms of counting towards historical records, and how they generally tie into the political scene and the leadership scene of a nation at that point in history.
The data revolution is perhaps arguable the most relevant revolution to our modern age that we have heard about in a lecture yet. In this lecture by Aaron Hanlon we learn about the insane growing amount of data we now have available to us on the internet and we learn about how we can use this data to research and study things that we have never before been able to study. Even members of our college community are researching topics that would not be remotely possible without this data revolution and without this massive availability of data. Without this revolution, much of this research would not even be thought about or considered a viable research option, because much of our studies would be based in theory.
In Latin, data transfers to “a thing given,” and all facts are truly determined by data and are the results of sets of data. This clearly represents the importance of data in our modern society, and it can clearly show us how the use of data in our modern society is now truly a tool. The origin of data in relation to science and information in general is very clearly shown when examining the Scientific Revolution and how during that time no scientists could just come out with explanations for things based on their assumptions alone, but, instead they needed to justify their claims with data. In this way the history of data can be traced back to the 17th century but in this time data was defined more as the literal Latin meaning of “a thing given” then our modern understanding of data as massive tables of numbers and statistics.
Professor Hanlon taught us in his lecture that once the technological and epistemological methods of codifying data became big is when is is considered revolutionary. This basically means that once information became datafied, then all the understanding of information because heavily codified. This means that data, even in its origins, was always visual and this is shown by Hooke’s Micrographia. In this Hooke showed how images were much better than words at describing scientific knowledge, because in his book it allowed for people to see the up close pictures of the flies under the microscope instead of just merely relying on peoples word to attempt to understand.
Is this visual representation of data still the most effective way to show the evidence of science for people to understand? Perhaps not because now for the most part, data is no longer visual in terms of actual images, but instead involves purely quantifiable and measurable figures like numbers. Although these are often laid out in visual diagrams, such as graphs, there is clearly a much bigger reliance on numbers and statistics in our modern age, and in order for someone to truly believe something is accurate or factual, it generally has to involve data in this quantifiable form.
It is clear that big data has furthered our ability to study many topics and has allowed us to research things we never could have imagined researching before, but there is still room for improvement, and if we could manage to effectively organize this “big data” then the possibilities for study and research and truly endless and this could completely open up our understanding of many ideas. This basically means that the revolution in big data is not over, and that as we continue to develop as humans, and as we continue to improve our collection of big data, we will continue to discover endless possibilities of research in our data.
In this lecture by Judy Stone we learned more about some topics discussed in Janet Browne’s lecture on Rethinking the Darwinian Revolution. This lecture also discussed the the misleading icon of the evolution of humans from monkeys, however, Professor Stone went even further in depth about how this icon was a misleading depiction. She informed us of how it should truly depict evolution as more of a branching diagram then the latter-like one shown in the common diagram that is falsely associated with Darwin’s research. She also states that this diagram shows evolution as something that has an end goal, or a final result, which she reinforced is also not true and inaccurate because species will continue to evolve and through natural selection will continue to adapt and change over generations.
Something Professor Stone also helped to clear up about evolution and Darwin in her lecture was the classification of species and how if species are types, then the variation in those species represents imperfection from the ideal member of that species. This was recognized by Darwin as the central key in all species evolving. This variation is the raw material for natural selection, and without any variation, there would be no evolution because all members of the species would be the same and there would be no members of a species that are better suited for survival. Professor Stone then proceeded to relate this discussion of variation to the typological thinking in our society that also reinforces racial boundaries. This is because the ascendance of the gene in the public mind has lead to many people having a typological way of thinking about species and about humans in general.
This idea of the gene reinforcing typological thinking in our public mind directly relates to Darwin and his research but this typological thinking is just inaccurate. In this public view and way of thinking, the variation in species is considered to be abnormal. As we can see from evolutionary history of species however, this is not the case, and many many variations in species have lead to better ability for that organism to survive and this survivability lead to this concept of natural selection and the overall evolution of that species. This typological thinking is referred to as mutationist thinking, and it has led to many failures in modern medicine, such as thinking things such as different species need different medicines because they have different genomes.
This is extremely interesting to examine in relation to the fact that in different regions of the world, certain diseases run rampant and effect entire populations, while at the same time those same diseases would have little to no effect in other regions of the world. This fact is not of course attributed to differences in their genetics but instead can be attributed to their region and the technologies and medicines available there. However, the public’s thinking that variation is a flaw, abnormal and undesirable leads to the idea that these people have undesired genes and that they are somehow a less powerful or inferior species. In this way, it is clear this way of typological thinking, that has been reinforced by the emergence of the gene, is a dangerous way of thinking and has lead to many failures in our modern era.
Charles Darwin was one of the greatest minds in human history, and his theory of evolution and his idea of natural selection are some of the most incredible discoveries of the modern era of science. Darwin is recognized for his accomplishments today, but this was not always the case especially during his time. The religious controversy that he sparked by making these claims about the history of mankind was unbelievable, and many of his ideas were not truly recognized as substantial and valid for close to 100 years. Now he has become a household name and is recognized all over the world for his contributions to human history. There is a college named after Darwin, a city, multiple mountains, movies, and he was pictured on the British currency. This makes it clear that he is very well recognized today for his major discoveries and ground breaking research and studies, however it is very interesting to hear about the controversy around his work during his life time.
The cultural assimilation that his book and his studies caused was very substantial. Many of the well known scientists of his time period were not in support of his work because they were so grounded in their beliefs about religion and about the history of humans. Sometimes even after hearing his studies and theories he had formed after many years of studying they still chose not to fully believe or validate his claims just because even the major scientists of the time were so religious and so grounded in their prior thinking. As you can imagine, the general public acted similarly and was also dedicated to their religious beliefs and refused to accept any other way of thinking for the most part. This led to much of the public writing to Darwin with many major philosophical questions about religion and about life as a whole. Darwin for the most part was humble and polite with people when they asked him questions that he didn’t have the answers to.
A major part of the history of Darwin as a naturalist and a evolutionist is the fact that he did not have a job and was living off of an inheritance from his parents. He also married a wealthy woman named Emma Wedgwood and they had many kids together which greatly contributed to his happiness in life. This happy home environment and lack of an occupation allowed him to fully invest himself into his work and spend many years researching and examining various species of animals and plants. Of course this is not the only thing that contributed to his success and incredible discoveries, because he also was extremely brilliant and compulsive. This led to him breaking down every action or thought he ever came up with and fully considering every positive and negative consequence. This included things in his life such as marriage, where he fully broke down all the pros and cons of getting married and eventually decided that it was a good idea and he would enjoy being married. Another interesting fact I learned during this lecture was that there were many other evolutionists at this time along with Darwin, who had similar lines of thought, but clearly did not have some of the major theories or discoveries that Charles Darwin had himself. Some of these evolutionists were Herbert Spencer, Robert Chambers, and Alfred Russel Wallace. It is very interesting to think that people read the Origin of Species at this time and saw and read other works and studies from other evolutionists and yet for 100 years his work was not recognized as what it truly was.
In this lecture we heard Khalid Albaih speak about his work as a famous political cartoonist from Sudan. Mr. Albaih spoke of the strength that many of his cartoons had in the public view. At one point he even mentioned being interrogated over one of his cartoons and over what he was drawing. This truly magnifies the importance of art and expression in our modern world and illuminates the impact that comics or other art can have on the people of a country and of the world. The true beauty of what Mr. Albaih does however, is not the amount of people he can impact or influence with his cartoons, but the freedom of speech he is allowed through his cartoons. This was for me, the most interesting and incredible thing about what he does with his cartoons. The ability to express any possible thought or meaning with a cartoon and even be able to take things further than standard writings in some cases, is something that truly gives him the opportunity to influence the entire world. An example in one of his cartoons is where he has illustrated the classic Darwin evolution cartoon of us slowly standing up from being a more primate species into the humans we are today, but instead in reverse so that we are almost evolving back into our primate state. This cartoon then has the final evolution being the “f” in the facebook logo. This sends a very powerful message through imagery and creativity, and would not have been as easy to express through words to impact so many people. This truly goes along with our brains and psychology as a whole, that we are a very visual species and this outlet Mr. Albaih has to share these cartoons with the world over some very controversial topics is very incredible.
Another one of Mr. Albaih’s cartoons that I thought was a particularly good representation of his outlet to say whatever he wanted through his artwork, was in the cartoon where he depicted a patriotic uncle sam standing near a cliff handcuffed to a standing representation of the rest of the world as a globe. The cartoon depicts the uncle sam character as saying “The debate was great.” This is a very clever cartoon that I felt mostly everyone could truly relate to in one way or another. This is a good example of him being able to say something that many people may believe or may be thinking but don’t have the ability to express their concern in the way Mr. Albaih can. The most important part of Mr. Albaih’s talk in my mind was his appreciation for cartoons and what the internet and the ability to put his cartoons out there in the world safely meant to him. He discussed how truly revolutionary and incredible it is to be able to publicly showcase his work and remain safe and sound despite how controversial his cartoons sometimes were. It was his outlet to say whatever he wanted to anyone he wanted to say it to, including some very powerful and dangerous people. This appreciation for the internet and understanding of how influential it is was very interesting to hear about and its truly amazing what Mr. Albaih has been able to accomplish and express through his cartoons.
The Tambora eruption was one of the most devastating natural disasters we have ever seen, and yet for its size and for the number of potential fatalities caused by the eruption, it is rarely brought up or mentioned. This was for me the most surprising part of Gillen Wood’s lecture was him pointing out that much smaller events that have happened more recently are remembered much more easily by people than the Tambora eruption. This is an interesting thing to examine because this eruption caused a death toll of near a million world wide when all things are taken in to account including famine, and yet for some reason, despite the massive amount of fatalities, it is something many people don’t even really know about. I personally had never even heard of this eruption before this lecture by Gillen Wood, and that blows my mind that only 200 years ago this huge natural disaster occurred and it is almost completely forgotten about nowadays.
Another part of the lecture I found very interesting was the focus on infanticide. I always sort of thought of infanticide as something that very rarely occurred and only really happened when a mother was struggling with some sort of mental disorder. Yet during this lecture we learned that infanticide was actually very common during this time because the poor just simply couldn’t afford to take care of their babies or provide for them and they therefor did not want to watch their children suffer. We also learned of another major issue actually being the abolishment of slavery on the island because this caused many to die of starvation as well because of losing wages and jobs right as he prices go way up and as food supplies are ruined by the eruption. Obviously both of these issues tie directly back into the effect of the eruption on the climate of countries around the entire world, however, it is very interesting to consider how this eruption must have truly been ground shaking for the whole world at the time. To not only cause entire countries to struggle with famine around the globe, but to also cause people to forget their humanity and morals to the point of actually taking their own children’s lives is truly a depressing and terrifying concept.
This of course was the main theme of Wood’s lecture, that being the massive impact this eruption had on various climates throughout the entire world. This interestingly went hand in hand with the discussion of how these various climates were documented around the world and what people at the time really thought was going on to cause so much famine. Obviously communication wasn’t even close to what it is nowadays, and therefor the disaster response was very weak and unhelpful at the time, but this leads into the question of what would something like this do to our modern day world? It also makes you wonder about our current global clime change crisis, and whether or not we will truly begin to act on it and help save our planet from that before it’s too late. If history repeats itself then we are bound to have another natural disaster similar to Tambora in the future, but what if the real major issue of our time is already facing us, and we merely just aren’t taking it seriously enough yet.
“All people by nature desire to know.” This quote from Aristotle highlights a very prominent feature of the Scientific Revolution and that was this concept of curiosity. Many huge discoveries and break-throughs in the scientific world occurred during the scientific revolution, and this is fitting because we do after all refer to this time in history as The Scientific Revolution. Almost as if to say that the scientific revolution was specifically one revolution in science. As we know this is not the case and the scientific revolution had many incredible scientists and discoveries. The question still remains that although we may know that many discoveries were made, how much influence and how truly ground breaking were these discoveries at the time when looked at now by modern scientists? The answer seems to be that given the time period of these discoveries, they were truly remarkable and revolutionary. This of course is subjective, and has varying responses from scientists nowadays. There is controversy over this time being referred to as The Scientific Revolution, and this controversy isn’t unreasonable or unjustifiable. Sure, it is clear the discoveries of Aristotle, Descartes, Galileo, and Newton are all astronomical for the time period considering how little was known before this scientific revolution. However, just because of some of these major names in science, is it fair to call this period The Scientific Revolution?
Let’s take a closer look at some of the thinking as to why it is unreasonable to refer to this period as THE Scientific Revolution instead of perhaps specifying the Scientific Revolution of the 1500s-1800s. Professor Cohen mentioned many examples of arguments made by prevalent and intelligent scientists during this time that had no basis in science whatsoever and were for the most part just blatantly not true. Some of these examples include: Copernicus arguing that the sun deserves to be in the center because it is so noble, Kepler invoking the beauty of the platonic solids to explain the organization of the planets, Galileo’s inability to get past circular orbits, and Francesco Sizzi arguing by analogy there couldn’t be more than 7 planets. As you can see many of these examples are from well known scientists during this time, but despite this fact, many of the claims being made are just false and are not even based in experimentation but merely in opinion.
This observation that many claims made by well known and respected scientists, were not based in anything but opinion, is something that I find extremely interesting and I find to almost denounce the true sole importance of this time period as THE Scientific Revolution. How can this period be referred to as the one true Scientific Revolution in human history if we can prove many of the scientists of the time were attempting to put forth false information based solely on their own beliefs. What this makes this time seem like to me, is many people all attempting various experiments and testing various theories and trying to push them as a new scientific discovery despite the results of said testing. The product of this is in turn many people actually making many incredible discoveries sometimes even by accident. Which in my opinion would make this whole concept of this time period being The Scientific Revolution unreasonable based solely on the fact that the people weren’t attempting make these scientific discoveries based in logic and fact. Of course I cannot prove this to be more true than this time period just being ground breaking and that one person just influenced the next and a good majority of experiments were actually based solely on facts. However it does lead to an interesting line of thought, one that can also not necessarily be disproved, that although we know “all people by nature desire to know” how absurd is it to think that this same extremely common curiosity allowed people the opportunity to put out false information they wished to be correct in hopes that because they were already considered a scientist or an intellectual, it would be believed regardless? It is clear The Scientific Revolution was scientific. It is also clear The Scientific Revolution was revolutionary at the time. But it is not clear to me whether or not The Scientific Revolution should be referred to as THE Scientific Revolution.