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David Christian: The Trajectory of Human History. [Abstract]

This paper asks both whether it is possible to identify a clear shape or trajectory to human history as a whole and what significance or meaning we can attach to such a trajectory. It will argue that modern historical research within many different disciplines does indeed allow us to identify some striking shapes to the history of our species. It will also argue that those shapes are full of meaning for understanding the nature and significance of our strange species. Finally, it will end with some speculative ideas about how human history may evolve in the distant future in an attempt to see if we can perhaps glimpse what human history will look like when the human story has ended.

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