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The future of the past

Author: Alexander Stille
Publisher: New York : Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2002.
Edition/Format:   Print book : English : 1st edView all editions and formats
Database:WorldCat
Summary:
"Space radar, infrared photography, carbon dating, DNA analysis, microfilm, digital databases - we have better technology than ever before for studying and preserving the past. And yet the by-products of technology threaten to destroy - in one or two generations - monuments, works of art, and ways of life that have survived thousands of years of hardship and war. This paradox is central to our age. We can access  Read more...
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Genre/Form: Forecasts
Document Type: Book
All Authors / Contributors: Alexander Stille
ISBN: 0374159777 9780374159771 0312420943 9780312420949
OCLC Number: 48170779
Description: xxi, 339 pages ; 24 cm
Contents: Introduction --
Sphinx--virtual and real --
Culture of the copy and the disappearance of China's past --
Looting history --
Ganges' next life --
Saving species in Madagascar --
Man who remembers --
War of words : oral poetry, writing, and tape cassettes in Somalia --
Living with a dead language --
Return of the vanished library --
Vatican library mystery --
Are we losing our memory? or the museum of obsolete technology --
Conclusion : Writing and the creation of the past.
Responsibility: Alexander Stille.
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Abstract:

"Space radar, infrared photography, carbon dating, DNA analysis, microfilm, digital databases - we have better technology than ever before for studying and preserving the past. And yet the by-products of technology threaten to destroy - in one or two generations - monuments, works of art, and ways of life that have survived thousands of years of hardship and war. This paradox is central to our age. We can access infinite amounts of information on the internet, but the historical context of it all is escaping us. Globalization may eventually benefit countries around the world; it will also, almost certainly, lead to the disappearance of hundreds of regional dialects, languages, and whole societies." "In The Future of the Past, Alexander Stille takes us on a tour of the past as it exists today and weighs its prospects for tomorrow, from China to Somalia to Washington, D.C. Through incisive portraits of their protagonists, he describes high-tech struggles to save the Great Sphinx and the Ganges; efforts to preserve Latin within the Vatican; the digital glut inside the National Archives, which may have lost more information in the information age than ever before; and an oral culture threatened by a "new" technology: writing itself. Wherever it takes him, Stille explores not just the past but also our ideas about the past: how they are changing - and how they will have to change if our past is to have a future."--Jacket.

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