Notes on Essay 2
Essay 2: Write a thoughtful and, where appropriate, critical review of Jared Diamond’s explanation of why civilizations develop where they do as presented in Ch 10 of Guns, Germs, and Steel. You should explain the author’s argument, and how he constructs it in this chapter, while adding your own thoughts as you go along and in your conclusion Set Sept 26th and 3rd or stick to these dates. I’ll check with you in the morning.
Essay hints: Suggested approach would be to read through chapter making notes on how the author divides the material into sections and subsections; the purpose of each and their content.
Ch 10: “Spacious Skies and Tilted Axes” (pages 176 to 191)
Introductory statement: 176. The first paragraph states the subject matter: continental axis orientations and, “what I see as their enormous, sometimes tragic, consequences.” The map, (facing on 177) illustrates the axes and the basic point that in the Americas and Africa the longer axes run N-S, whereas in Eurasia the opposite is true and the long axis runs E-W
Section 1:176-180: Para 2, 176 begins the first section of the chapter. The bottom sentence on 176 explains further: “Food production’s spread (emphasis added) proves as crucial to understanding geographic differences in the rise of guns, germs, and steel as its origins, which we considered in the preceding chapters.”
178: statistics to show the differing rates of spread.
Discussion of what he calls “preemptive domestication.” This is in contrast to multiple independent domestications. Most SW Asian crops show just one version of that crop “suggesting that all modern varieties of that particular crop stem from only a single domestication.” 179: This he contrasts with examples from the Americas that show two or more separate domestications in different places. This is a bit tricky but needs to be...