Tech and the City: Four Lost Cities - A Secret History of the Urban Age, on Zoom | Mechanics' Institute

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Tech and the City: Four Lost Cities - A Secret History of the Urban Age, on Zoom
with author Annalee Newitz, cosponsored by Goethe-Institut and Gray Area

Thursday, June 24, 2021 - 5:30pm

Cosponsored by Goethe-Institut and Gray Area

Annalee Newitz debunks the myth that “lost cities” were miraculously “discovered” by modern archeologists. According to Newitz, who has spent the last seven years talking to archeologists, “no city is ever lost.” Instead, historical evidence shows that over the past eight thousand years humans have repeatedly abandoned their cities but taken their cultures and traditions with them. Newitz illuminates this phenomenon through an examination of four ancient, abandoned metropolises: Çatalhöyük in Central Turkey, Pompeii on Italy’s southern coast, Angkor in Cambodia, and Cahokia on the banks of the Mississippi River (where East St. Louis is today). This brilliant, painstakingly researched book shows what urban end-times actually look like. Newitz believes that if we do eventually abandon our cities, we need not fear that the world will collapse into dystopia. Newitz writes, “We will survive the urban end times, just like so many people did when they abandoned Çatalhöyük, Pompeii, Angkor, and Cahokia. The question is, what will we do next?”

“Newitz clearly draws parallels and lessons for the here and now from these once-vast settlements. . . . Highly recommended.” —Booklist, starred review

“Newitz skillfully fuses personal reflections with scientific observations, and offers a welcome tribute to the legacy of human resilience. This richly detailed, progressively minded history is worth exploring.” —Publishers Weekly

“The author poignantly expresses the clear similarities of the ‘life and death’ of these centers of urban development, but also ties them to our understanding of present-day centers of urban population and the complexities of their organization and decay. . . . [W]ell-researched, current, and directly applicable to our modern lives. . . . An excellent contribution to literature on ancient civilization and complexity.” —Library Journal

Annalee Newitz, a contributing opinion writer for the New York Times, is a founder of io9 and former editor-in-chief of Gizmodo. They are the author of Scatter, Adapt, and Remember and the novels Autonomous and The Future of Another Timeline. They live in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Sarah Deragon)



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