Innovation and Change

The approach we are taking to the study of history is a theme-based one, which considers broad topics in the social studies and investigates how changes in these areas over time have influenced the human experience. Thus far, we have considered the theme of innovation and have traced developments in this area during major periods in human history. A brief summary of these ideas and concepts are included below.


The goal here is not to explore all major innovations in depth, but to focus on a few from each period of human history, helping us better understand the idea of innovation, it’s causes and consequences (both positive and negative), and the complexity of human experience that results.

An important consideration here is also how innovation can lead to more innovation. The innovations of hominids and Early Modern Humans, while quite significant, were relatively few in number compared to what would come later. For example, hominids developing the use of early lithic (stone) tools would make it possible for later humans to build upon these innovations to create a wider range of tools of varying materials for specific purposes (e.g., bronze tools for artisans to craft goods in ancient Mesopotamia, or the creation of bronze weapons and armour during the same period, contributing to the first empire building by Sargon of the Akkadians). As civilization developed and more people lived in cities, specialization of labour resulted in a wider range of occupations and, hence, increased the possibility of further innovation. Steven Johnson’s book, Where Good Ideas Come From (2010), illustrates this phenomenon:


As we know today, innovation is key to our experiences in all aspects of life, just as they were in the past. Ideas – another crucial aspect of the human development – is linked to innovation and, as we will see in the coming weeks, can have complex causes and deep consequences for a considerable range of experiences.

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New Facebook Page

I’ve decided recently to start a Facebook page linked with this website and my instagram. The main reason for this is to provide another place where students and parents can get updates on what’s happening in Socials at GC and in my classes in particular. I’ve been posting pictures and updates there so far, but announcements and assignment information will follow, as will additional information linked to content covered in Social Studies courses. Feel free to follow or like the page to get these updates, and spread the word around.

A City of the World

I thought I’d share this video, which was posted on YouTube by reallifelore, that answers the question how big would a city have to be to fit the entire human population? It’s a really quite fascinating discussion, which uses examples of large scale population densities that exist in the world today and use these as possible average densities for the human city. It helps put into perspective just how many people are on the planet.

Review Materials for Final Exams

Review materials for final exams are ready for Social Studies 1211 and 3219. Study guides have been posted under the page for each course, and all course notes are there as well. I will add a link to Quizlet sets for anyone interested in using those (this applies to 3219).

I’ve been asked about providing an extra help or tutorial session on the Saturday or Sunday before the 3219 final. I am not sure of my availability for this just yet, but will post an announcement through Remind when I know what is likely to happen. As always, feel free to email or text if you have any questions during your review.