The Week: A History of the Unnatural Rhythms That Made Us Who We Are
We take the seven-day week for granted, rarely asking what anchors it or what it does to us. Yet weeks are not dictated by the natural order. They are, in fact, an artificial construction of the modern world.
With archival research that draws on a wide array of sources — including newspapers, restaurant menus, theater schedules, marriage records, school curricula, folklore, housekeeping guides, courtroom testimony, and diaries — The Week (Yale, 2021) reveals how our current devotion to weekly rhythms emerged in the United States during the first half of the 19th century. Reconstructing how weekly patterns insinuated themselves into the social practices and mental habits of Americans, David Henkin (History) argues that the week is not just a regimen of rest days or breaks from work, but a dominant organizational principle of modern society. Ultimately, the seven-day week shapes our understanding and experience of time.
Henkin is joined by Elisa Tamarkin (English). After a brief discussion, they respond to questions from the audience.