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Dynamics of Civilisation

'Civilisation' describes a social phenomenon greater than the nation. It has been identified by materials, languages, institutions and habits that are spread over time yet remain linked to one another as an integrated system. Research in this theme:

  • incorporates both temporal and spatial scale (negotiating geographies, materials, peoples, and infrastructures spread over long periods and distances)
  • offers intellectual complexity (providing a wide open space for cross-disciplinary thinking: an opportunity to engage with big questions of origins, development, environment, history, culture, science, technology and sustainability, responses to which cannot be easily polarised between the humanities and the sciences)
  • embraces controversy (because ‘civilisation’ is a problematic concept that requires reflexive thinking and radical responses to the oppositions with which it has been associated, whether West/East, primitive/civilised, or ancient/modern)

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