Presentation on theme: "A Talk from Jared Diamond - author of Guns, Germs, and Steel Why did history take such different evolutionary courses for people of different continents?"— Presentation transcript:
A Talk from Jared Diamond - author of Guns, Germs, and Steel Why did history take such different evolutionary courses for people of different continents?
Diamonds Knowledge Molecular Biology Plant and Animal Genetics Biogeography Archeology and Linguistics Put together in Guns, Germs, and Steel - reignited debate on idea of Geographic Determinism
What we already know… Eurasians (people of Europe and Asia) dominate world in wealth and military power. People in Africa and other developing areas have thrown off domination (control) of Eurasians, yet remain behind in these measures of power.
Why was it not the reverse? Commonly held beliefs…. Racial Superiority of Eurasians (Whites) Inherent I.Q. Whats your explanation? Jared Diamond argues - without alternative explanation, these negative beliefs (and stereotypes) will persist
To begin with his explanation.. Point in History AD Eurasia and N. Africa ruled by Iron Age States (w/ tech and political organization) Native America (Incas and Aztecs) ruled by power of stone tools (some bronze) Sub-Saharan Africa - small Iron Age states and chiefdoms Australia, New Guinea, & Pacific Islands - were farmers or hunters/gathers World Map
Historic Results of This Mix.. Empires with iron tools conquered or exterminated tribes w/ stone tools. End of story..right? Not exactly. Theres more..
An Earlier Historic Point to Consider… At 11,000 BC, all humans on all continents were living as Stone Age hunter/gatherers Developmental differences b/t 11,000BC --> 1500 AD? Why? Read #1 Agricultural, herding, metallurgy, writing, & complex political organization developed throughout but earliest in Eurasia But how?
A Continent by Continent Explanation… New World (N & S America) Europeans had ship, steel, swords, guns, horses, and infectious diseases (killing 95% of native populations) Ships - backed by centralized political organization w/ detailed information in writing, maps, directions, and accounts Swords, Guns, Horses - advantage on battlefield Germs - killing millions before face to face contact with Eurasians
How did these Advantages develop? Germs - Domesticated animals of Europe (cattle, pigs, camels) Plants - native to Eurasia - transportable East/West but not North/South Food Supplies = Power and High Population and Speed of Development Subsistence (Hunting/Gathering) = Equality and Maintained lifestyle Read
Sub - Saharan Africa? Considering origins of humans - should have a head start - right? African Mammals - tough to domesticate (rhinos & hippos) African Plants - wheat and barley in Egypt - couldnt be grown elsewhere Sorghum and Millet in Central Africa - also couldnt be grown elsewhere All because of the N/S Axis and differences in daylight hours.
Australia and South Asia? Similar story Additional note - isolation kept them as mostly hunters/gatherers until Europeans arrived
An Important Point - Cultural Losses Societies gain and lose technology Technologies: –1) Invented or adopted –2) Higher population - increases chances of development –3) Evolution of tech depends on connection with other competing societies –4) Technology must be maintained (Economics) –5) Technology can be lost
Summarized… The broadest pattern of history - namely, the differences between human societies on different continents - seems to be attributable to differences among continental environments, and not to biological differences among people themselves. Jared Diamond