We will read and discuss the following article:

Mullins DA, Hoyer D, Collins C, et al. A Systematic Assessment of “Axial Age” Proposals Using Global Comparative Historical Evidence. American Sociological Review. 2018;83(3):596-626.


This article is an attempt to be somewhat rigorous about the idea that many civilizations underwent a major ideological and organizational transformation sometime around 500 BC. It relies on the Seshat database, systematizing information about the historical trajectory of various civilizations.

I will give a short summary of this article, then we can discuss the idea of big transitions and comparative evidence in history.

Presentation: Download here