Saturday, October 24, 2009


The end of the book, chapter 10, 11, and 12 was focused mainly on science of the period leading up to world war I. The book tried to show how science influenced people and thought og this time. Along with science came the aspect of religion which was dying down pretty steadily. Religion began to lose control an people looked towards education for further enhancement of their own. Many new developments of a way to better the human life were achieved during this era because of the peoples hunger of obtaining and soaking up new information and knowledge. Seeing that the people themselves could dsicover the truth behind whats been told led up to a revolution. I like how the book showcased how important science was and how it gave us as readers of today's society, what people back then were trying to achieve with science. In todays society we view science as when is the new touch screen cell phone coming out. And to compare todays to back then is very interesting and "amusing to me. My question is: Why did religion play such a backseat to science when religion is one of the main dividers of the human race today?

Friday, October 23, 2009

science and superiority

I found chapter ten, on the changing nature of science, to be the most interesting part of the reading this week. It seems to me that Hobsbawm's observations about how science evolved during the period before World War II had interesting parallels with the history of globalization. Secularization was a centuries long process but it sped up quite a bit in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. And this secularization and the evolution of science had an impact on the way global societies interacted with one another. Intellectuals of this time period, particularly in the western world, went through "the process of divorcing science and institution" (245). That was quite a feat- one that unfortunately wasn't matched elsewhere in the world. In chapter eleven Hobsbawm notes that "over most of the non-white world, religion still remained the only language for talking about the cosmos, nature, society and politics" (264). The fact that science “remained in a geographically concentrated community” (260) of western Europe and the United States had important political and historical consequences.

While western countries secularized and adopted the idea of the separation of church and state, the rest of the world clung to religion and kept it in their government. Those in which religion continued to be central, such as India, resented western secular countries like Britain. And western countries, whose secularization and embrace of new scientific ideas allowed them greater access to technology, felt themselves to be superior to backwards countries that resisted this evolving science. Westerners had come to the conclusion that “facts are stronger than theories” (249), especially vague religious theories whose only basis was faith.

Without a doubt one of the greatest contributors to western progress in technology was the availability of electricity. But more important was the intellectual curiosity that drove this. Many scientist were interested in the social aspects of different branches of science, and thus new branches and new theories emerged- eugenics, genetics, Social Darwinism, etc. However, in the non-white world, religion continued to be the inspiration for action- without the strong bond of faith that Hindi Indians shared, they may never have gained independence from Britain, and they didn’t need new technology to do that. Though the educated elite of India may have embraced modern science, they often managed to reconcile it with their faith, and when they could not, they kept it to themselves and the masses remained ignorant of it.

When I read this chapter I immediately thought that the fact that western countries chose secularization and scientific evolution over religion gave them a sense of superiority and they used this as justification for imperialism/colonization. Agree?

Blog 7

In this week's reading Hobsbawm concludes his book by focusing on science, religion and war. With the rise of scientific awareness, came the fall of religion. In a world that was transitioning into the industrial realm, science was huge. As focus on agriculture declined, factories, weapons, and technology relied heavily on the development of science.

As I stated in my last post, education of the masses was critical in this time. As people became more knowledgeable about science, religion took sort of a step back. People began to question things and no longer used "that's how god intended it" for every answer. Science created answers, reason and more questions.

With the rise of science and advancements in technology the world changed as a whole. Countries began to really build a sense of identity. At such a critical time in history, world leaders failed. With all the changes made that could have lead to a better world, we moved from The Golden Age to World World l.

In class we talked a lot about revolutions. One of the revolutions we focused on, on Wednesday, was the French revolution. The class was asked why do we revolt? Since a lot of people could not make it to class Wednesday, I thought it would be appropriate to ask this question again. Why do people revolt?

blog 7

Science was a key part of chapters 10 11 and 12. The chapters focused on the time period leading up to the first world war and how there was a completely new thinking strategy that was created. On top of that it focused on the role science played during those times and how it created new ideas and thoughts. Along with that religion was a key part, as it usually is in most areas of history. In the West religion was loosing its power and many people looked to education to help better them selves in society and to become a smarter more well rounded person. Due to this mass education that was going on many advancements were made. Science, medicine, physics, psychology and various other topics were improved due to the peoples hunger of knowledge. Some key examples would be the Scientific Method and finding truths. As this occurred through out the nation, others began to get frustrated which eventually lead to a revolution.

I enjoyed how Hobsbwan talked about the age of Enlightenment and its influence on the universe and different areas of science. I enjoy learning about different forms of science and their roots so this part was very interesting to me. I would have preferred he focused on the topic a little more and gave a better in depth idea about it though.

My question is: if science never played a key roll during this time and advances were never made in certain ares, how important would religion be to us today? If religion was more of an everyday thing for a larger portion of the world, compared to the amount now, would our world be the same?


In this week’s reading for Global societies Hobsbawn begins to explore the transformation of the world, specifically in science, education and revolutions. Science was becoming a topic that did not knows it full ends yet, and knowledge was free flowing in global world. The world was shirking but this meant that information could travel faster and more frequent. Science and academic knowledge began to grow rapid. It was the times that no one person could know most of the knowledge in the world. Finally specialized ideas and functions attributed to a person’s knowledge. Still however, this was still the traditional ways of the areas of the non-western world. Revolutions in the world also something that was becoming mainstream. The peripheries now wanted their own independence. This was becoming true throughout the world as the core countries were so stable. However, all of the strong empires were falling apart. Countries were now solidifying their borders for the next hundred years during this time period.
Questioned throughout the reading was why do we revolt, this was also a class discussion that I had missed. I think people revolt for many reasons, but one relative term that is synonymous with all revolution is that some or group is being oppressed. Someone or something is being put down; this is why someone would revolt. Think of even the “music revolution” during that time people thought music was dull and boring, feeling oppressed.
Finally something I thought the author needs to go more in-depth with is how were the people inside those that were wanting revolutions, were they wanting their freedom because why? Some countries the freedom they wanted actually made their country bad.. thoughts, GO STEELERS.

Revolutions: Social vs. Political

In the latter portion of Wednesday’s class, we discussed the social importance of revolts in an historical context, a notion relevant to Hobswan’s discussion. The question presented dealt with the social implications and importance, as opposed to the political importance, and I believe that the direct relationship between the two is a distinct factor when speaking about the reasons, and subsequent results of, revolts in history.

While political motives are more obvious when speaking about the influence of revolts in history, the social necessity that they imply are arguably more powerful because it more directly deals with the persons involved. Essentially, the social motives, whether macro or micro, fuel both violent and non-violent revolts. For example, the rise of science and the fall of religion are particular to Hobswan’s interpretation and nicely illustrate the point that political results of these “revolts” were desired, it was only through conscious social thought, and the results of these revolts relied upon how people responded to these conquests – through the social implications rose the political change that was sought.

I wonder if these revolutionaries made these types of distinctions, differentiating between social and political, or whether this argument is purely an analytical interpretation of how late 18th century revolutions began and then culminated.

Science, Irrationalism, and War

The turn of the century saw significant shifts in the way the Western mind perceived and attempted to understand the world. Scientific research and ways of thinking was on the rise. As technology continued to progress and improved printmaking and efficiency of communication improved so did individuals' ability to share discoveries and ideas. Knowledge of the world so expanded that was no longer possible for any one person to know everything that is known about the world. Naturally, as scientific explanations were generated, replacing religious beliefs and myths about why things are the way they are, religion became suspect of increasing doubt leading to a significant decline of religion in the West. Non-western countries mostly remained traditional in this respect, however.

Movements tend to be followed by counter-movements and so as scientific modes of thinking evolved and were popularized, so did irrationalism and Nietzcheism accumulate followers, though not to overpopularize science which continued to be facilitated and encouraged by education gradually being made available to more people.

Along with technological and scientific progress, however, came the arms race, making peripheral non-European countries particularly vulnerable to European nations, the cores, which were attempting not to fight each other. Due to the West's interference, periphery nations were far more destabilized at all levels compared to the cores. As the became more certain of their rights to the same independence and self-governing power, their situations became more volatile. In the attempt to westernize, only few nations managed catastrophic rebellion.

I find it interesting that citizens of democracy were patriotic enough to desire war. Why? Could they not imagine the extent of destruction that would occur? Did they have a more idealistic vision of how the war would play out?

Revolution & Rise of Science

As we concluded reading the Age of Empire, by Eric Hobsbawn we talked briefly about this concept of “revolting,” or “revolution,” if you will. As European powers continued to rise, so did the wars between them. These “fueds” between the countries obviously stirred up some controversy amongst the people living in them, sometimes sparking a “change of thought.” This “change of thought” or, as we more commonly know it, “revolution” wanted to bring about a social change, and looks at new ideas. People began to challenge just exactly why they believed in what they did!

In these last three chapters of Age of Empire, Hobsbawn talks about two important things: 1) the rise of science and 2) the “fall” of religion. As I talked about in my last post, nationalism was becoming more present in these countries – couple that with the fact that everyone was now being educated – religion was quickly slipping from first place to second. Individuals were now attempting to understand medical things, and new technology. With the understanding of science becoming more prevalent, this opened up an avenue for people to question religion – something many did not like. In my personal opinion, I think it’s good to question why you do what you do, say what you say, think what you think, and believe in what you believe.

One thing I would have loved for Hobsbawn to expound upon would have to be those who didn’t take hold to nationalism, and those who didn’t fall into this period of rise in science. What were their reactions to the changes happening around them? Do they eventually embrace what everyone else does, or do they hold their ground?

The Appeal of War

“We will glorify war – the world’s only hygiene – militarism, patriotism, the destructive gesture of freedom-bringers, beautiful ideas worth dying for, and scorn for woman. “ F.T. Marinetti, 1909.
This description of war illustrates how passionate the Europeans were about war in the early 1900s, and how important it was to them. They are describing it in a way to which it appeals to citizens and makes them want to participate. It makes war seem like the highest honor, a beautiful thing, and productive for mankind.

The invisible hand of the market, holding a gun

What caused the First World War is still a question that has no single answer. Many have looked at Imperialism as the main cause. It is certainly true that the international system and international policy was heavily influenced by imperialism/colonialism. Major world powers (no longer just European) were very concerned with continuing the policies that have made them rich and prestigious. This situation spurred competition but not to the point of war. War would mean that ‘business as usual’ would suffer and the industries that nations relied on would falter.

Another popular explanation for the outbreak of WW1 is that Germany was the belligerent. The German Empire was keen on expanding its industrial prowess. Since it was now the largest growing competitor in the International system the elite found it necessary to increase their military power (especially naval) to match their economic power. This explanation by itself also does not capture the movement toward global war. Germany’s growing military power was more for intimidation and colonial control than it was for aggressively expanding within the European continent.

They system of alliances between the triple entente and the triple alliance clearly showed that any war would inevitably bring in all members and was meant to deter war. So the system of alliances was not a cause of the war but would define its members.

The interesting aspect of this slide toward global war was the role of industry. I was unaware that rising mass production and free market competition had as much to do with the march toward war as the system of alliances or the Franz Ferdinand’s assassination. I always believed that this concept was thought of much later (Eisenhower’s warning of the military industrial complex). However, politicians and elites of industry knew that industry was a powerful factor that they too could not control. That seemed to be the theme of Chapter 13; the governments could not control the direction they were heading and it was toward massive conflict. How could seemingly rational European powers not stop the war even when they knew that the new age of competition, nationalism and industry was a powder keg waiting to be lit?

Blog 7

This week in Hobsbawn’s readings, he shows a consistent flow with the development of warring European powers, which lead to social stratification. Society’s ability to identify this social stratification leads to social discontent and revolution. Revolution always leads to a change in thought or a reinforcement of tradition. In the case of the western world, we see this change in thought from romantic to rational. The individual has embraced the rising mentality of science. This shift thrust the development and understanding of medicine, sociology, technology, and other sciences into overdrive. Interestingly enough, Hobsbawn cites numerous examples of how science became the king of the mental domain, but the queen religion and tradition maintained a somewhat diminished position next to him.
People were able to separate their faith from their reason. Today, that is still a concept many individuals struggle with as we gain a deeper understanding for the function, prevention, and alteration of many previously mysterious diseases. Simple preventative action, like vaccination or prenatal care, now eliminates any reason for suffering or hopelessness.
Hobsbawn discusses how traditional science was more of an explanation for events rather than a prediction of events. The idea that there was a vast acceptance that no one individual could understand all things or learn all things because they are not known was a revolutionary idea. Not know, or rather the acceptance there of.
So, in the spirit of embracing the fact that I do not know everything, my question is can anyone explain democratic peace theory to me?” I am not quite grasping it. What was the logic behind this theory? Thanks.

10-13 Religion and Revolution

Revolutions occur when the masses of people feel as if they have nothing to lose and will fight at all costs for a change in the social order for a society. The fighting can be violent or peaceful; but fighting the order remanins nonetheless. I feel as if the Age of Reason during the Enlightenment helped facilitate the appeal of revolutions because it made clear that religion and the king were not the highest authority. Instead of just believing that things were they way they were because God wanted them to be, people not used logic and rationalization to understand the world.
Presently, we live in a secular society in the religion and state remains seperate. Some claim that this demoralizes our society in that religion is not a daily occurance in most lives. However I feel that morality can be seperated from religion in that even an athetist determines that murder is wrong. If not for science I feel that the pope would still be toturing people who believed that the Earth revolved around the sun. I personally disagree with alot of things that organized religion does and stands for, so I fully support using science and reason to challange religon. I agree with Karl Marx in that "religion is the opiate of the people".

weekly commentary - Hobsbawn (10-13)

This week concluded Hobsbawn's book Age of Empires. In the last three chapters, it talked about
the rise of science. This occurred in the late 19th century to the early 20th century. The attention for science was increasing and as this was happening, religion was losing its attention. Almost everyone was given an education which allowed science to develop even further. And as people were losing interest in religion, they turned to nationalism. And this in turn caused wars amongst nations in Europe. Imperialism also took part in these wars as nations were competing economically. This competition created tensions between powerful countries. They prepared themselves with large military power just in case other countries were to attack. And also for more protection, they would make allies with other countries for the ally to protect them or for the country to protect their ally. One example of this is how a war between two countries (Austria-Hungary and Serbia) pulled in many other countries because of their alliance power. Germany, Russia, France, England.. all became a part of this war.

What I found interesting was how religion lost its attention as science began to rise. Previously, religion was a strong aspect of ones life but it seems like it was forgotten once they had something else to praise. I'm wondering why science became so popular which made religion lose its power.

Blog Post 7 – The Age of Empire

    This week our readings highlighted chapters 10 - 13 in the reading from Eric Hobsbawn's novel The Age of Empire. This week's reading focused on sciences, reason and society, revolution, and war. I believe Hobsbawn did a great job ending the historical novel the manner he did. The age of empire, occurring from 1875 to 1914 was an impactful and important part of world history. One interesting facts was that Nietzcheism and irrationalism were gaining new converts. Nietzscheism is emphasizing the will to power as the chief motivating force of both the individual and society. I have decided to do more research on nietzcheism and irrationalism. Nietzcheism and irrationalism a 19th- and early 20th-century philosophical trend that claimed to enrich man's apprehension of life by expanding it beyond the rational to its fuller dimensions. Rooted either in metaphysics or in an awareness of the uniqueness of human experience, irrationalism stressed the dimensions of instinct, feeling, and will as over and against reason. The term is used chiefly by continental European philosophers, who regard irrationalism as one of several strong currents flowing into the 20th century. The minds and ideas of the people were going away from the culturalistic and religious to the modern and advancements in technology. The people of the time period waned new technologies and tools to grow and expand the area for the ever-so-growing population.

    Furthermore, another important aspect of the readings was REVOLUTION. The core idea of revolution developed in countries that were relatively stable, although there were many variations – including The United States through Austro-Hungary to Russian Empire. Economic prosperity, ability to incorporate diverse ethnic groups and government structure played a key role in the establishment for the people to revolt. There was much more ferment in the periphery countries, which were economically, politically and socially destabilized due to interference from the West. Those countries had the desire to become independent, desire for social change (equality with the West), and had western ideas mixing with indigenous ideas. Long established empires were disappearing.

    This time period brought about many instant changes within state of the empire/ from revolution, it led to war? Here are some inquiries from my end:

  • What truly caused the World War?
  • Did all governments not want war?
  • How did the differences of the 13th century and the 19th century compare?
  • Does democratisation help?

One question that I would like to answer is the democratisation. I firmly believe that democracy does not solve the world peace. Democracy is a stable form of government of an in the United States of America. Democracy in other countries would simply not work. Many countries seem to have found an established form of government and the people love the alternatives and ideas. Thus, if such countries dislike democracy, so be it!


This week’s readings and discussions covered the incorporation of science into Western thought in addition to the differences in past and present revolution. As education became more widespread, science also came to the forefront, radically changing the way people thought through the shift away from religion. With increased technology and globalization came greater power of observation, and with it, the rise of scientific principles, contrasting the religious doctrines based on faith. Europe, not far removed from passionate religious warfare, saw itself drifting away from that religion. Today, secularism is much more widespread in Europe than it is in the United States, so much so that a politician running for office may not be elected if he or she identifies with a specific religion.

Just as people were dissatisfied with religion and sought more answers, people were dissatisfied with economic and social equality, leading to several frequently violent revolutions. For example, the American Revolution was marked by eight years of war while an identifiable characteristic of the French Revolution was the guillotine. These violent uprisings often resulted in removal of the current government and its replacement with a new governmental and social class structure. More recently, there have still been examples of groups of people unhappy with government and social inequality. For instance, the protest in Tiananmen Square was very large in terms of participation but did not take on the violent tones that previous revolutions had. Instead, the call for political change was non-violent, so while all these instances provide evidence of severely frustrated groups of people, the methods of resistance took on very different natures.

These different forms of resistance may have different end results. I feel like it is often easier for peaceful protests to gain support of otherwise disinterested public. Violent protest may create just as many enemies as friends. Friendly protest, on the other hand, demonstrates desire for improvement while avoiding totally disregarding the current system, which may in fact have several benefits. Both violent and peaceful revolutions have achieved successes and experienced failures. Once again, violent protests may not gain as much public support at a national or even international level, as it is easier to accept suppression if the oppressed group is made to look like they would prefer to fight. Non-violent protests, on the other hand, can be very successful in obtaining the public support necessary, perhaps even creating enough outside pressure on the domestic government to implement desired change. What are some further advantages and disadvantages of violent and nonviolent revolts?

Ch. 13 from Peace to War

The First World War in 1914 marked a major turning point as the first time that all the major European powers engaged in the same war. The great powers chose their victims from among the weaker ones, and paid the price for it, for example, Russia’s defeat by Japan. For most of the western states before the war, a European war was simply a theoretical exercise for some undefined future. The major function of armies at this time was civilian. Conscription was the norm in nearly all serious powers except for the US and Britain. It represented a powerful method for teaching proper civic behavior to the common folk, and transforming them into citizens.

An obvious consequence of the preparations for war was that these preparations became more and more expensive, especially as the technological revolution made killing technology more advanced and expensive. The arms race began in the late 1880s and accelerated into the new century. Military spending expanded fourfold. Private arms producers took on more and more supply contracts, and the armament firms joined the giants of industry. These arms producers would have been nothing without the various governments’ arms races. As they grew, and needed a way to sell their surpluses, they turned to smaller nations, always ready to buy such hardware. Now the merchants of death worked on an international scale.

Although the majority of European foreign relations originally relied on the goal of balance and stability, stronger nations never hesitated to wage war against weaker ones. All powers were in an expansionist and conquering mood. Britain for example, attacked the South African republics, and did not hesitate to consider partitioning the colonies of Portugal with Germany. What made the world an even more dangerous place was the equation of unlimited economic growth and political power. Germany was one of the most dangerous adversaries. The final crisis in 1914 was so unexpected that it made it all the more traumatic and haunting. The atmosphere of war grew across Europe.

What was most interesting was how the world slowly moved toward a state of war. It seemed as if there was nothing that could have happened to prevent this world war from eventually taking its toll.

I am curious as to how the world slowly transitioned to world war, yet at the same time, it seemed as if the war was something brand new, drastic, and unexpected.

The Age of Empire - Blog 4

The decades before World War I marked the upheaval of many previously held scientific ideas. Mathematics, especially, became a more abstract concept that moved farther away from the real world. Oftentimes, ideas developed out of nowhere simply because they could plausibly solve some problem, not because they were actually in existence. However, as in the case of physics, facts were found and analyzed through legitimate observation. The idea of eugenics developed before genetics, but both were extremely politically charged because they were seen as directly relating to the innate superiority of certain races or classes of people. Evolution also fed into this political theme. Marxism was therefore the only major science-related ideology that continued unmarred, although the upheaval in thinking really only directly affected a minority of people. Inevitably, the spread of science and reason, along with the rise in social sciences, led to a conflict with religion. This was emphasized by an increase in pushes toward revolution, which actually succeeded in some of the less stable nations (the Ottoman Empire, Russia, etc.). A world war quickly became inevitable, although a straightforward cause is unrecognizable. Capitalist development and imperialism were both blamed. The arms race was extremely exciting, especially since the possibility for a major economic shift according to the outcome of the war was highly likely. Overall, World War I was unexpected, even by those who participated. Patriotism rose to a new level as millions of citizens enthusiastically responded to the call to arms. Later, nearly everyone would wonder what had happened to the era of peace and progress to make such a major shift occur.

To me, the change in thinking that occurred in the field of mathematics greatly reflects the overall change that occurred in society’s mindset around that time. Leading into the 1920’s, priorities vastly shifted, at least in America. Everything became more airy and removed, while at the same time, it became more extravagant. This again reminds of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby. In the novel, the characters were extremely focused on fulfilling the “American Dream,” which consisted of having an excess of money and time so that one could enjoy their leisure through elaborate parties and celebrations. Hobsbawm describes how mathematics became increasingly distant from the “real world” and centered more on its own rules. I found it interesting that the general shift in society seemed to be toward the same ideology.

Along the lines of my previous paragraph (meaning society’s viewpoint), I would have been very interested to learn how pulling away from the church inadvertently led to such a drastic change in society. Hobsbawm describes the emergence of “sexologists” and Sigmund Freud, who created a stir among the accepted beliefs related to impulse. It makes sense to me that people would be more open to exploring “taboo” topics as they grew farther away from church and religion, but I would have liked to know why the Church did not employ more preventative measures. Did the Church not learn that it loses when it tries to go against popular notions? I realize that proclamations against birth control and other similar topics might be seen as such endeavors by the Church, but I would have thought that some attempt to reconcile science and religion would have been made. I wish Hobsbawm had more fully explained the reaction of the Church to science and the effect this had on society as a whole.

Education, Religion and War

This weeks readings focused more on the sciences, and the mind than the previous chapters. Hobsbawm takes us through the decades leading up to the First World War. It was a rare period where people’s entire way of viewing the universe changes in a short period of time. During this period physics was turned upside down. Due to these changes in how people saw the universe, people reacted in many different ways. One way that Hobsbawm mentions is by rejecting “reason and science altogether” (262). Many people also were self-educating during this period due to the increase in the working class, and more and more emphasis was being put on education and reading. With the emphasis on education increasing the number of “school teachers grew by anything between one-third…to seven or even thirteen times its 1875 figure” (263). With the increase in education and science, people were beginning to move away from their superstitions and from religion. Although, there were societies were religion remained very strong, thus “on a global scale, it would be absurd to think of religion as significantly weaker in 1914 than in 1870” (265). The decrease in religion was also related to urbanization almost directly. In this weeks readings the growth of Marxism is also talked about. Marxism received a strong following partially due to the fact that it interested intellectuals. There began to be a new separation between history and science with the theory of evolution. These centuries before the First World War had turmoil because “the bourgeois century destabilized its periphery” by undermining its economic structure and destroying trust in its political regimes (277). Social unrest led to the lives of Europeans after 1914 being shaped by wars. While there was unrest, no one truly expected war, although it had been growing nearer and nearer since the start of the 1900’s. Hobsbawm ends the reading in 1914 and a tortured world where war, upheavals and explosions would take over much of the next decades.

One of Hobsbawm’s interesting quotes in this weeks readings is about revolutions, he states that “the ancient empires…seemed destined for collapse” (279). I found this interesting because I feel like whenever nations become powerful others say they are destined to fail. Why did Hobsbawm state that these powerful nations seemed destined to fall? Because all great nations fall?

One thing I thought interesting was Hobsbawm’s way of describing the intellectual transformation. The way he went into detail and gave a visual about seeing the world through an architect’s eye fascinated me. The world used to be “a building made of facts,” until evolution was discovered (244). The other thing I found interesting was that during this period that science and reasoning took over religion to an extent, such as “in Marseilles half the population still had attended Sunday worship in 1840, but by 1901 only 16 per cent did so” (265). If you lived in this period would you lean away from religion or not? Relating to my previous question about religion, do you think the weakening of religion was related to the separation between history and science? If you had grown up in a religious family and then heard about the theory of evolution what do you think you would believe?


(This post is likely to go better with the following music [this post will not be televised] again, if you are particularly offended by certain types of language, you may not enjoy all of this: )


You work 12 hours a day.  You make minimal money, and can just barely afford to feed your family, if you are lucky enough to make that much.  You have no rights in society.  Your government preaches democracy, but seems to leave you behind.  You try to bring your concerns to your boss, who doesn’t own you, but he may as well.  He doesn’t care.  You bring your troubles to the attention of “your” government…they don’t care either.  You are put down at every turn of life, and are denied access to basic services, food, or education, ensuring your children will forever have to deal with these horrendous conditions, and will never climb out of it.  You have nowhere to go, so what options do you have?  Too many throughout history (particularly in the late 19th century, early 20th century) the answer is simple.




This week in class and in Hobsbawn we discussed the idea of revolution and its goals, tactics, styles, and effectiveness throughout time.  Particularly, we talked about the similarities between the revolutions of peasants, industrial workers, and others in the 1700s, 1800s, early 1900s and today.  Particularly, it was noted that the goals of revolution have changed.  For instance, the much discussed French Revolution of 1789 had a completely different set of goals and tactics than the Civil Rights Movement or pro-democracy protests in Beijing in 1989, or even the operations of the Weather Underground or guerrilla movements in Cuba and around the world.  In France in 1789 (and subsequently throughout nineteenth century France and around Europe) the pattern was simple: “the people,” usually in relative disorder, storm a government building, normally something symbolic or useful (that stores weapons), barricades are erected in various cities, and the rebellion becomes more organized as urban fighting takes place.  Unless it was peasant initiated, that was the pattern (peasant rebellions began sporadically in the country until gaining enough power and attacking a city, then it follows, see for a variation on that theme).  Later, other targets for armed revolts turned to media (particularly in coups and revolts in Latin America and the “third world”) where the first goal was state owned media, which served as a precursor to the later non-violent movements (though not all were later, like Indian independence).  In the present day, the goal isn’t necessarily to destroy or replace the state, but to pressure it into acting according to the will of the people.  Instead of taking over state media, the goal is often to gain the attention of the world media, creating pressure on the governments of the world to lend support.  Often this is used in non-violent attempts more than violent revolutions, which mostly resort to guerrilla tactics and irregular warfare.


            So why are some revolutions successful?  This is an often-asked question, but I think the more correct answer is if any revolutions are successful.  In most cases, the goal of a rebellion is to improve the life of the downtrodden underclass.  Often though, even a “successful” revolution will simply create a different underclass.  Certainly some cases will see limited success (labor organizing, expanded rights for groups, etc), but almost always the wide, sweeping change is denied, or simply does not occur.  Why is that, and what is the ultimate effect of that on the people of this planet?


Hobsbawm focuses his attention in Chapter 12, of the book, The Age of Empire 1875-1914 on Revolution. Revolution as defined in class as “violent seizure of state power through class-based revolts from below,” allows for an insight. A fifteen year time period is described a belle époque which in basic terms is a “Golden Age,” for the upper class at least. This was a time of possible and inevitable revolutions in the future. Many ancient empires are accounted for and their demise and rebirth with new governments, mostly reformed to Western standards, as the case of the Japanese. A few such cases are that of the Russian, Chinese, Habsurg, Ottoman, Mexican, and Irish empires to name a few took place. Ancient empires should not be crumbling unless due to some sort of legitimate cause, so why the need for revolution?
Revolts in this time period consistently occurred wherever there was internal pressure such an upset working class, not to mention under educated. I believe the people revolted one reason internally is to be find equality with westerners and upper class alike. Governments like Russia’s misuse of peasant labor, serfdom, certainly cause a suppressed upheaval in it population. The case of China and many of its ancient views led to revolution and rebellion. Empires such as these were not without their external influences as well. The West played a huge role in shaping the East. The core empires did not have much to worry about but many of the periphery countries were affected by the West. The Irish as they sought independence from Britain, and Poland as they were torn between Germany and Russia as well. The United States and other Western Empires played a key role economically and socially to influence revolution in empires throughout the world. The book goes on in detail to describe reasons of internal and external cause for revolution and change in major empires, ancient and small.
While I find revolutions are necessary to accomplish goals of change especially when in absolute rule, these revolutions were destined to come about in these ancient empires. The only way for survival is adaptation and these empires were stuck on the old ways. Suppressing the rising working class and ancient narrow minded views led inhabitants to want reform. People do not “rebel” without at least a solid cause to support. I feel it was inevitable for such reforms to occur do you?

Blog 7

A lot of information was covered in these chapters. There was a new age of science. One that went far beyond what the world as used… so far in fact that many people did not believe and even tried to punish these new scientist. Also, while science was growing so was art. Along with this growth was the growth of knowledge. People were thinking of new ways to think right and left. However, in the midst of all of this growth, organized religion was being left in the dust. On the other hand, most of these advances were taking place in the western world so those countries that lay beyond were still in a more traditional time.

All of these advances and growths seem to me like a big step forward. However, they came with a price. It seems to me that the more a country developed itself scientifically, educationally, etc. the more likely it was to find a war to enter. During this time, war and revolution were on the mind of almost every man in the west. And unfortunately, it seems like they took out their desire on the periphery countries.

This began an age of fighting. With education and scientific and technology advancements came the knowledge that people could change the way they lived their lives. They were able to realize that they were not stuck in their ways and the ways of those who ruled over them. People began to understand that they could be independent. And they could have their own voice if they just put it out there in the right way.

Personally, I think this time was very important despite the blood shed. I feel like this is the time when people started to realize what was rightfully there. Without this time period, I think our society today would look completely different and I don’t think I would enjoy being a part of it.

--- Dorothy Smith

Thursday, October 22, 2009

From Religion to Science and Back Again

I like that a lot of people gravitated towards the portion of the readings about the rise of scientific thought and the subsequent "downfall" of religion. This is a particular area of interest of my own, and I very much liked Hobsbawn's discussion of it.

I think it's strange for us, living in America and being college students, to even conceive of what it was like to be first confronted with scientific thought, in an age when religion (and mostly religious superstition) was all people had, and all they had grown up to really comprehend.

When science (that is,
SCIENCE!) first took hold of the minds of human beings, it was pretty hard for most people (even the most intelligent on the planet) to figure out what the hell was going on in the world around them.

In fact, it could easily be argued that Religion was man's first attempt at Science. Religion is, in its barest form, a crude, simplistic attempt to explain why things are the way they are. For most people, even today, it's still the best way to explain everything. Why does it rain? God makes it rain. Why is fire hot? Because God made it that way. Easy.

But when scientific thought started to arise, intelligent people started to get together and saying to each other "OK, so maybe God makes fire hot, but what exactly
is fire? Why doesn't fire work in the rain? Why doesn't it work if you put a bucket over it? Are there a bunch of different ways of making fire, and are there things that are the same about all the different ways?"

So people started observing, really
observing the world around them, and doing little experiments to see (for example) what were the specific processes involved in making fire. And that's science. It's basically religion, but taking it a step further. But people were so used to just floating through life in little happy clouds of the simple explanation that everything happens because of God, it was scary to them to hear people talking about how they had invented a new kind of fire, a bigger kind of fire, big explosions of fire that looked like God himself might have created the explosions, but he didn't it was just some guy. How are you supposed to deal with something like that? (Hobsbawn talks about this a lot too, the psychological problems people had in reconciling science and religions)

And that's basically the whole point of Philosophy. Philosophy is a discipline that I personally abhor, and the reason I don't like it is a perfect example of how pervasive Scientific Thought is now that it's pretty much become obsolete. I don't struggle with the sorts of problems with realizing the true nature of reality and being human because I've grown up in a modern, scientific society, and I've always accepted that it rains because of the cycle of water vapor, and that fire is a chemical process of the burning of a fuel and oxygen.

Ladies and gentlemen, I give you Award-Winning Actor Tom Hanks

All these strides we've made scientifically and socially over the course of civilization was this really gradual buildup of all these small ideas piling on top of each other so modern, civilized societies like America are highly literate and have all this knowledge surrounding everyone so most people in this country never questions what the difference is between Right and Wrong, because they've been taught it over and over since birth, and we don't question that there are planets in the solar system and that the Earth revolves around the sun and that humans are made up of organs and tiny cells and cellular processes, because we've been taught it.

But that's the only difference between us and the people in the year 1900 who were still holding onto these superstitious religious beliefs that God was in control of everything and trying to understand how that fit in with these scary new steam engines and big smoke-spewing factories that were like magic, or something God could do, the only difference between us and those people is the societies we were raised in. We have the EXACT same brains as those people and the EXACT same inclinations to want to believe, with all our might, that there is life after death, that God (or SOMETHING) has a plan for us, that everything is not just random events and chaos and then death.

Humans are
incredibly superstitious, and really bad at forming beliefs and hypotheses based on patterns, and if anyone's ever had a really bad day and decreed "I'm Having A Really Bad Day, Everything's Been Going Wrong Today (and more things will probably go wrong for the rest of the day," that's a perfect example of the really shitty way our brains work. We might read psychologists like Freud and think "this guy is a complete idiot, how could he possibly believe half the stupid things he's saying?" but barely a century before Freud the most intelligent people on the planet firmly believed that personality traits of a person can be derived from the shape of the skull.

We think we're so much smarter than our predecessors, but if all of us had been born in 1800, we could be studying the bumps on the skulls of convicted felons looking for similarities right now instead of the history of science.

-katie dempsey

Conclusion of book

The last chapters of this book have ended in a transitional period of science, religion, peace and war. New concepts of science were emerging into life with the development of industry, and machines and guns for war, and it became harder to understand. New ideas were starting to come out with led to progress which became a beacon of opportunity to new people. Industry was starting a new revolution from a predominantly agricultural society. A lot of the industry starting to be created was created for WWI and the technology needed for that war. The machines and guns were made by the new industries that were needed. WWI was a war that encountered major advancements for its time. Religion suffered for the western world with the rise of science and education. This was an age where reason was taking over, due to the rise in Nietzcheism and through education since science was becoming more advanced.

The importance of science to the western world had an increasing advantage for war. Chemical weapons were starting to be figured out, and the advancement of their guns and machines used were starting to be made with more skill. If the western world at this time were to start a massive attack on a “tribal” culture than the technology advancements for the developed countries would sure end many “tribal” cultures. The western world also used technology that created an arms race between many countries, and competition is not always bad. The advancements in technology led to globalization, and with that a country can communicate more effectively. The spread of the technology creates a competition that can bring a discovery to a more important stand point. A disease for example, can be found by one scientist but can prevented from spreading by a scientist in a different country.

Blog -7

Chapters 10, 11, and 12 discussed the era leading up to the first World War, and how the emergence of science played a part in it. Hobsbawm discussed how the masses found it hard to understand science, and how it was a completely new way of thinking for people because people believed everything stemmed from religion. In the western world, there was a sort of religious reform in which religion became less of a priority. This new change in thought also led to a new outlook of the world where people were looking for self betterment through education. Obviously, this lead to revolution. Advancements in science, math, medicine, and physics, along with new concepts were also being examined, such as psychology and sociology.
The chapter which focused on distancing of the layman was a really interesting reading, a really new concept to me. In our modern world, it is IMPOSSIBLE for somebody to be a ‘scientist’. Today, science, for example, is much too broad, and each individual field is so in-depth that even then a person has a specialization in that field. At the turn of the 20th century any educated person actually knew a lot about science. If I had been alive back then, having one year of chemistry in high school, I would have been considered ‘highly educated’ . Today, because anyone who specializes in chemistry goes through years of schooling, I basically know nothing. People knew less then than we do now.
Hobsbawn discussed how religion was being devalued at the time, and how the science process deviated from the typical teachings and practices of religion. Was it because of science people stopped practicing religion, or was it because of less religion that more science was developed? It is a question of what came first, the chicken or the egg?

Commentary 7- Hobsbawm 10-13

The Age of Empire
Hobsbawm – Chapter 10-13
Commentary 7

Chapter 10 was probably my favorite of the chapters in Hobsbawm’s Age of Empire. Chapters 11, 12, and 13 present vital knowledge, key to a rounded understanding of history, but in my own life, Chapter 10 seems very pertinent. The Scientific Method is a systematic process of factually identifying truths. I have spent so much time using this method, but have never been educated on the history of its emergence.

I like how Hobsbawm identified two main effects of the age of enlightenment on society, but I would have preferred a more in depth description. The first outcome was the termination of one school of thought regarding the universe and onto new, factually based theories. Secondly, the idea of evolution materialized, ensuring the end of one era and the start of a new one.

It was especially interesting to picture the process of this scientific transformation in regards to the collective absorption of a new thought process. I imagine it was similar to learning something in class and relearning it to be something opposite, but to a revolutionary degree. How do you envision the process of modernizing and standardizing knowledge? What kind of negative effects did this change have on the common person?

aoe 10-13

In this week’s reading, Hobsbawm discusses decades leading up to WWI and the expansion of science and reason. First he talks about how the theories of science were hard to understand for most people because it completely changed the intellectual view of the world. Previously, science was thought about as a continual learning process that one day, complete knowledge would be attained, however, with this new science, knowledge was changing, evolving, and even being questioned. With this new intellectual ideology, emotion no longer played a role, and people were becoming more educated. I thought it was really interesting when Hobsbawm talks about this time period and the working class attitudes toward self-improvement and self-education. It seemed that all of a sudden during this time period, people were so eager to learn new theories and try to make sense of the world. In addition, with the rise of education, different fields of study also motivated to expand knowledge. For example, sociology wanted to understand the workings of society without just the aspects of politics and economics. Finally, Hobsbawm explains that with all this change of knowledge and thought, this naturally led toward a revolution.

Western Thought and Revolutions

In this week’s class we focused our discussion on the transformation of the Western mind, and revolution. In the late 1800’s education was on the rise, and there was an explosion in science. New discoveries were constantly being made, and the people had a much better understanding of the world around them. Religion’s power on society decreases as science gained influence, however people soon became disillusioned with science, just as they were disillusioned with religion. We also discussed how the politically and economically unstable periphery countries were ripe for revolution. The people were dissatisfied with colonial governments, social inequality and economic failure and the result was often violent revolt.

I found the discussion on the differences between historical and modern revolutions to be especially fascinating. Historical revolutions, such as the American Revolution focused on completely over throwing the government and creating a new government. Modern revolutions often focus on social reorganization, improving the existing government or gaining independence from foreign powers. The comparison between the French Revolution and the Tiananmen Square Protest exemplifies the differences. The French Revolution is described as the first modern revolution because the destruction of the monarchy was followed by the reorganization of society and class structure. The Tiananmen Square Protest differs in that it was a non-violent movement that called for political change, instead of a bloody and violent struggle for power. Both the French Revolution and Tiananmen Square can both be called “revolutions” in that they are the actions of an unhappy populace, but they took very different forms.

The comparison of these two events leads me to consider what makes a revolution successful. In class we mentioned that violent revolutions, often descend into chaos and infighting within the revolutionaries, unless the revolution is carefully organized from the beginning. In comparison, nonviolent revolutions are often seen as more respectable by outside observers, as revolutionaries calmly present their demands, and work towards a peaceful agreement, instead of outright destruction and warfare. Non-violent revolutions are also far easier to recover from, as no one was wounded and no infrastructure was destroyed. And while both methods of revolution can be successful, I would far prefer a non-violent revolt.

a world in turmoil

I think it's really interesting that Hobsbawn highlights how engulfed in war the world (and particularly Europe) has been for the last century. It's something that I didn't really think about before, either. Since the shadow of the first world war cast its shadow on Europe, it has forever been in some state of turmoil. Even when Europe was not in a direct war, it has always been surrounded by hostile tensions, if not in between (specifically, the cold war). Even after the cold war ended, tensions within and around the middle east continued to rise, and are still quite elevated. Though only a few countries in Europe are directly involved in the conflicts in the Middle East, the rest are unfortunately just along for the ride.

I think this is prevalent because of how many autonomous groups, or groups that desire autonomy (not even nations, really), in such a small area. It almost forces tensions to be high, because of all of the stepping on toes going on. I know there has been conflict for centuries in the middle east, and an end is still not very plausible, as well as in many parts of the world. I think the world has gotten too small, truthfully, for the amount of people and different groups that live on it. If people would be willing to move to another location and groups were more spread out, and utilized all the space of the world, it might work. But, no one wants to leave their land for various reasons (tradition, religion, status quo, etc).

I wonder though, what caused it to begin? And can it ever cease? Hobsbawn mentions that in the 1870's and before there wasn't even really much thought to tensions and large-scale conflict, but since then it has escalated and deescalated, but never really stopped existing. So how then did it begin, and can the same means be approached and ending it? As globalization becomes a universally shared goal, can we finally lay down our arms and begin to demilitarize? The sad part is, I don't really believe it's ever going to be possible.

10/22 Blog

I was always fascinated by men in previous eras that were specialists in many, many fields of study.  This week’s readings looked into that, and helped me understand the change in laypeople and their relation to the sciences.  The scientific revolution caused societies to be rethought in this era.  Instead of relying on the church or common sense to solve everything, people began to look to science and educated people.  The educated people became specialists, as the sciences became more in-depth and specialized.  This sort of upheaval in the way of understanding the world had to deeply change the way people viewed the world, and it certainly did.  There became a greater degree of openness to new ideas in this time period, where people stopped to listen to new ideas, instead of shutting them down completely and calling them ungodly.

Instead of seeing the world as a place to completely understand, in this era it became evident that knowledge and understanding was ever expanding.  The more science discovers, the more to discover there is.  This changed society completely, and allowed for more and more new ideas to spring up.  There was finally no ‘right answer’ to be had.  Also mass education was becoming popular, bringing those who would otherwise have not been educated into the mix.  I’m sure that new ideas came out of the expansion of teaching.

I am interested, as always, in understanding why of all times did this sort of intellectual revolution occur at this time period.  Why should people start listening to new ways of thinking now, when their old ideas usually worked in the past?  Also, I find it interesting that religion and knowledge could not be reconciled.  How and why did people start turning their backs on religion when this new intellectualism came about?  Can the two live side by side?

--Arielle Parris

Science and Revolution

This week brought up a lot of interesting points about science and revolution. Hobsbawm discusses the influence science had on different cultures and societies during the time period discussed. Science brought a new understanding for the way we thought during this time period and was a revolution in itself. The transformation is broken down into two different kinds by Hobsbawm. One can be of intellectual thinking and the understanding of the universe. This was a huge leap for many cultures at this time as it separated the “intellectual structuring of the bourgeois world.” This way of thought almost eliminated the religious and spiritual beliefs of how our universe works proximately and ultimately. In order for this to happen there would have to be a societal change in which the church did not always have the right answer, and if someone else has a different explanation or reasoning society would have to allow them prove what they found before they were burned at the stake. Also, thinking became more about general intuition and common sense. I was trying to think of an example so if you have one call me out.

While people became more self aware with common sense, they also began to separate science from intuition. This had psychological effects on the new thinkers as well as the old. From talking about science and reasoning to discussing the revolutions occurring. Many revolutions were happening during this time period. These revolutions were mostly not the violent overthrowing of core governments as we have seen, but sub-revolutions that had great influences on society.

I feel like science or the evolution of self-awareness and common sense go hand and hand. I like how Hobsbawm discusses the different topics in the order that he does. He made it all come together for me and I do not study this time period on a regular basis. This is such an interesting time period as core countries find their identities, but are quickly changed by new ideas. I feel like this was a time period that started our exponential growth of knowledge and technology through science, and as a species we could not handle it. I am saying we could not handle it because we would soon move from a time of peace into a time of massive death and destruction. Science and technology allowed core countries to gain much more than the peripheries and this created chaos. I am interested in seeing what Hobsbawm goes into in his chapter from peace to war. Why after a time called the Golden Age or Gilded Age to we end up in a world war? And what can we learn from a time period like this?

Blog for week of the 19th

From the discussion questions, I think people rebel because most obviously they do not agree with authority. In some ways, people feel that just stating your disdain for certain government platforms and regulations isn't enough and isn't justification enough for why you are against said platforms; these people want action and see that the only way to make a statement and perhaps make a change is by implementing rebellions or protests to make their voices heard to whomever is listening. Those "rebels" who deface buildings and cause violence in certain terms, are defeating the purpose of their cause: people only see their violence and therefore the rebels' ideals are blundered. While, peaceful protests may still not accomplish all, they are still standing for their cause by not turning to violence (usually their cause surrounding anti-violence in some way). Like that of the Tiananmen Square protests- the protesters were peaceful, but because they stood for exactly opposite of the government, the People's Liberation Army killed hundreds and injured many more protesters. While, the events that happened are sad and unfortunate, the Chinese government was seen in condemnation for their violent acts, therefore the protesters somehow proved that without Yaobang, there was corruption, even if it was through sad and horrifying ways.

AoE Commentary 4

Chapters 10-13 in Hobsbawm's AoE follow a general path to changes in certainty - as well as the belle epoque - and the consequences these upheavals had. The changes in the sciences I thought was an interesting phenomenon. Up until that point in time, many people were knowledgeable in science and the qualifications one had to be educated or a master in something were so minimal that one could be an expert of everything. However, with the changes in science and math based on less tangible ideas and more theoretical phenomenon, the laymen became greatly distanced from science and math. In addition, the sciences became something hard to understand and more complicated in depth and concepts. Hence, it was no longer feasible to be an expert in everything as there was so much knowledge to be had. One could say there was a scholarly specialization that went on during this time. The schools of thought like Nietzscheism also changed how people thought and what was thought of the belle epoque.

With all these changes occurring in the schools of thought and what everybody knew to be facts about society and the universe, there was naturally a move toward revolution as a response to the upheaval. I think this in context of preWWI is closely tied to nationalism. Minority groups [whether by virtue of size or rights] combined nationalism with what is considered revolutionary - violence - in order to bring about change. I find Hobsbawm's statement in an eariler chapter, that the masses do not fully understand sometimes that complete social change is needed to implement they changes they want, i.e. they want these specific changes without changing the whole system.

Going along with the nationalism, people in WWI at first were very patriotic and surprisingly, there was a small amount of people who resisted or skipped out on the draft. As can be seen my sentiments in the later WWI and post WWI, this enthusiasm was really a result of the people expecting the war to be quick, short and easy. People in Britain and France surely thought they would win the war quickly and maintain their supremacy and get rid of the German problem quite easily. This obviously was not the case. The chapters leading up to the final chapter in AoE is quite fittedly a rendition of the consequences of the long chain of events and phenomenon described in the preceding chapters.

I found the chapter regarding the distancing of the layman and science very interesting. Obviously, in today's day and age, everybody is not a scholar and everybody is not a scientist. This roles are specialized. I found it interesting to see that at one point everybody knew a lot about science. However, it is important to point out that "a lot" back then was not much now, because as a whole, we knew less back then as compared to now.

I understand how sciences changed and how people and society changed based on these changes. However, I am unsure about the equivalent changes and responses in reason, and also philosophy, like nietzscheism?

The Age of Empire

In chapters 10 and 11 in the novel The Age of Empire Hobsbawm explores the theories of science and reason. During the decades leading up to the World War I a transformation in the sciences started to occur. Although transforming, not everyone saw or could understand the direction science was heading. Only a few countries saw the tranformation of science and within those countries only a few citizens could comprehend the changes. The transformation also changed the intellectual view in which the world was previously seen. Up until this point the world was seen in terms of a building which eventually would be completed and all knowledge would be known about. During this time knowledge was now seen as continually changing and evolving, meaning no one person could comprhend everything science had to offer. With the rise of intellectualism and reason emotion no longer had a role in society, as well as the supernatural. The masses at this time were becoming more widely educated. In countries such as Great Britain the number of teachers increased by thirteen times the previous amount. In Europe traditional religion started to have a diminshing role while in nonwhite countries religion was still a large part in communicating about science and politics. In large urban areas church attendence decreased while in politics there were fights against the church. In a time where science and reason were on the rise the church rejected reason and progress and therefore lost members. Through the rise of reason and intuition came the science of sociology. Sociology attempted to understand a society in ways that economics and politics could not.
What I find interesting about the growth of science is how the church was impacted. When science started to play a larger role in society the role of the church, at least in western societies, started to diminish. Although I can understand how reason and the church may be seen as opposites, because church is based on faith not facts, I dont see how so many people turned their back on the church. Although this transformation took place over decades the decrease in church importance seems to be a little out there. Although maybe not explained in the book when did church once again gain importance? Because we live in a world today where reason and science are pretty prevolent, yet church is still important. When did the change come back around?


In The Age of Empire, Chapters 10 through 13, Hobsbawm summarizes the history and progression of the global structure right up until World War I. From science to religion, from nationalism to imperialism, and from sexism to war he really delves into the pre World War I period and meticulously explains the political, economic, scientific, and social. Here are a few points throughout the chapters that I found interesting: in chapter 10, I thought the way Hobsbawn describes the progress of science was extremely pertinent to the era. He explains the “transformation” in two distinct ways—intellectual and political. The first implied an end of an understanding of the universe in the view of the engineer or architect. The second implied simply “evolution” or progress, by means of which the state could grow, prosper, and conquer in the eyes of the bourgeois. Another point that interested me was the evolution of the social sciences, especially sociology. Hobsbawm depicts the field (not an academic subject because it was not yet that well defined) of sociology as the first education endeavor to explore the transformation of peoples and societies over history. In this era, the political was the most important of the so called sociological topics. Lastly, in chapter thirty I thought the third quote opening up the chapter was odd in some form. It said, “We will glorify war—world’s only hygiene—militarism, patriotism, the destructive gesture of freedom-bringers, beautiful ideas worth dying for, and scorn for women”( 302). First off, I believe this statement, which emphasized the words militarism and patriotism, reinforces Hobsbawm’s main point—the dominance of imperialism and nationalism in the world before the time leading up to World War I. However, the last part of the quote,” …and scorn for women” I do not quite understand. I do not understand why Hobsbawm decided to keep this part of the statement in or even why the original speaker needed to add this statement to the sentence. Although women did not even have the right to vote in America at this time, women were treated respectfully. Why would anyone equate war (in the modern sense) to scorning women? And what is the purpose of Hobsbawn inserting this statement at the beginning of the chapter?

In the Epilogue, the author describes the distinction by prominent figures of the time that war aids the development of industry. In fact, the author describes the first time the idea that war was not only an economic developer, but a political necessity. My question is why was this idea not expressed earlier? Was the advancement of technology and the need for industry because of this technology, the only reason industry flourished? Without these advancements, what would have happened?