Cover: The Invention of Humanity: Equality and Cultural Difference in World History, from Harvard University PressCover: The Invention of Humanity in HARDCOVER

The Invention of Humanity

Equality and Cultural Difference in World History

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Product Details


$51.50 • £41.95 • €46.50

ISBN 9780674971967

Publication Date: 02/20/2017


672 pages

6-1/8 x 9-1/4 inches

5 maps


[A] splendid book… Stuurman’s panoramic vision of discovery and invention, reiterated in many different cultural and religious idioms across a vast expanse of time and space, makes for a dramatically original history.—Michael Walzer, The Nation

In this season of growing inequality, few books could be more timely than one focused on the origins and evolution of the concept of equality in world history. Siep Stuurman has undertaken the herculean task of exploring the emerging belief in the commonality of all humankind from the beginning of complex human societies to the present. The author is ambitious in his scope and impressive in his familiarity with cultural traditions from every corner of the globe. He has written a balanced and erudite treatment of complex issues, transcending the ideological divisions of our fractured age to remind readers that the impulse to cooperate, to recognize a shared humanity, to draw from the collective wisdom and knowledge of others, has been inherent in the human experience for thousands of years…A marvelous, truly magisterial work that leaves the reader with a deeper and richer appreciation of the human condition.—Alan T. Wood, American Historical Review

The book demonstrates [Stuurman’s] enormous scope of knowledge and his consistent effort to challenge Eurocentric bias in writing of the global history of ideas. This is by far the most comprehensive, authoritative treatment of the subject matter.—X. Fan, Choice

Stuurman writes with great clarity and authority. He is judicious, insightful, and often thinks against the grain in a fresh and productive way.—Darrin M. McMahon, author of Divine Fury: A History of Genius

Far from being an empirical fact or obvious truth, our common humanity, Stuurman shows in this bold and magisterial history, had to be imagined and invented. Sprightly in its coverage of a vast expanse of time and wide-ranging in its mastery of a host of thinkers across space, Stuurman’s challenging and uplifting account sets a new standard for global intellectual history and will prompt grateful agreement and productive dispute in the years to come.—Samuel Moyn, author of The Last Utopia: Human Rights in History

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