(Re)Programming currently under way:
Guns, Germs, Steel & Collapse
Spring 2010: INST 4990/5990, ANTH 4020/5005
Adam Henne, firstname.lastname@example.org
This seminar will be a deep and critical reading of Jared Diamond’s influential work, beginning with his groundbreaking best-seller Guns Germs and Steel. Engaging with Diamond’s controversial ideas will lead us through archaeology, cultural anthropology, geography, ecology, history and post-colonial studies. We’ll explore major issues such as the birth of domestication and agriculture, the early state, colonialism and empire, and the political ecology of environmental destruction or conservation. Diamond’s personal example as an interdisciplinary thinker and popular writer will help us debate the role of academic disciplines and theories in the larger world.
Diamond, J. 2005 . Guns, germs and steel: The fates of human societies. New York: Norton. [GG&S]
Diamond, J. 2005. Collapse: How societies choose to fail or succeed. New York: Viking. [Collapse]
Errington, F. and D. Gewertz. 2004. Yali’s question: Sugar, culture and history. UChicago Press. [YQ]
January 11: Introduction
Who is Jared Diamond and why does he get a whole class devoted to him? We’ll do introductions, go over the syllabus, assignments and policies, take questions and etc. Please come to class with a ‘letter of introduction,‘ no more than 1 page, inc. name, major, preferred email, academic interests, and a photo – this helps me learn your name faster. And we’ll watch:
National Geographic 2005. “Episode One – Out of Eden.” Guns, Germs and Steel, Public Broadcast System (Lion Television).
January 18: MLK Day
No class on Martin Luther King Day: but please see the many interesting and relevant activities that make up the Days of Dialog [www.mlkdod.com/mlk2010/], including a highly recommended lecture by Philip Gourevitch, author of We Wish to Inform You That Tomorrow We Will Be Killed With Our Families: Stories From Rwanda [Wednesday 1/20, 5:00pm in the Wyoming Union Ballroom].
January 25: Explaining the world
GG&S: “Prologue – Yali’s Question” and “Part One – From Eden to Cajamarca” (pages 13-81).
YQ: “Introduction – On Avoiding a History of the Self-Evident and the Self-Interested” and “1 – What Do They (Should They) Want?” (pages 1-42).
Wolf, E. 1982. “Introduction” and “The World in 1400” in Europe and the People Without History. UCalifornia Press, pp. 3-72.
February 1: Agriculture & domestication
GG&S: Part 2 – pp. 83-191
Fowler & Mooney. 1990. “Origins of agriculture” and “Development of diversity” in Shattering: Food, Politics and the Loss of Genetic Diversity. University of Arizona Press, pp. 3-41.
Flannery, K. 1968. “Archaeological systems theory and early Mesoamerica,” in Anthropological Archaeology in the Americas, B Meggers ed. Anthropological Society of Washington, pp. 67-87.
Texts in orange: Required only for grad students – undergrads of course welcome to read them too.
Anderson 1998. Animal domestication in geographic perspective. Society and Animals 6(2): 119-135.
Winterhalder & Kennett 2002. “Introduction,” in Human Behavioral Ecology and the Transition to Agriculture.
February 8: Population & the state
GG&S: Chapts. 15, 17-19
Lewellen, T. 2002. “Evolution of the state,” in Political Anthropology, pp.
Rapp, R. 1977. Gender and class: An archaeology of knowledge concerning the origin of the state. Dialectical Anthropology 2(1-4):309-16.
Clastres, P. 1979. excerpts from Society Against the State.
February 15: Technology & germs
GG&S: Part Three – pp. 193-292
Inhorn & Brown 1990. The anthropology of infectious disease. Annual Review of Anthropology 19:89-117.
Headrick, D. 2010. “Horses, disease and the conquest of the Americas 1492-1849” in Power Over Peoples, pp. 95-132.
February 22: Why not China?
GG&S: Chap. 16, Epilogue pp. 405-417
Abu-Lughod, Janet. 1989. “Studying a System in Formation,” in Before European Hegemony. Oxford University Press, pp. 3-42
Pomerantz, K. 2001. “Chapter 4” in The Great Divergence (Princeton, pp. 166-208).
Guest: Michael Brose, History.
March 1: On proximate and ultimate causes
GG&S: “Epilogue – The Future of Human History as a Science,” pp. 403-425.
YQ: the rest of the book, pp. 43- 259. BUT! Concentrate primarily on Chap. 9 “Hewers of Wood and Drawers of Water” and “Conclusion: On Listening.”
Vayda, AP. 2009. “Causal explanation as a research goal: Dos and don’ts,” in Explaining Human Actions and Environmental Change, AltaMira pp. 1-48.
Fausto-Sterling, A. 1985. “Putting woman in her (evolutionary) place,” in Myths of Gender. Basic Books, pp. 156-204.
Peet, R. 1985. The social origins of environmental determinism. Annals of the AAG 75(3): 309-33.
March 8: Ecology & culture — other kinds of agency
Geertz “The impact of the concept of culture on the concept of man, “ in The Interpretation of Cultures.
Bateson, G. 1972. excerpt from Steps to an Ecology of Mind. Ballantine, pp. 440-47.
West, P. 2005. Translation, value and space: Theorizing an ethnographic and engaged environmental anthropology. American Anthropologist 107(4): 632-42.
O’Connor 1997. Working at relationships: Another look at animal domestication. Antiquity 71: 149-56.
Castree & MacMillan 2001. “Dissolving dualisms,” in Social Nature, pp. 208-24.
Ingold, T. 1990. An anthropologist looks at biology. Man 25(2):208-29.
March 15: Spring Break
Paper #1 due no later than 5:00pm on Friday, March 19th.
March 22: “Look upon my works, ye mighty, and despair.”
Collapse: Prologue and Part One, pp. 1-75.
Tainter: 2006. Archaeology of overshoot and collapse. Annual Review of Anthropology 35:59-74.
March 29: Past Societies
Collapse: Part Two, pp. 77-308. and ONE of the following:
Rainbird, P. 2002. A message for our future? The Rapa Nui ecodisaster and Pacific Island environments. World Archaeology 33(3):436-51.
Dugmore et al. 2007. Norse Greenland settlement: Reflections on climate change, trade, and the contrasting fates of human settlements in the North Atlantic Islands. Arctic Anthropology 44(1):12-36.
Aimers, J. 2007. What Maya collapse? Terminal classic variation in the Maya lowlands. Journal of Archaeological Research 15(4): 329-77.
April 5: Modern Societies
Collapse: Part Three, pp. 309-416.
Brothers, T. 2002. Deforestation in the Dominican Republic: A village-level view. Environmental Conservation 24(3): 213-23.
Uvin, P. 2001. Reading the Rwandan Genocide. International Studies Review 3(3).
April 12: Practical Lessons
Collapse: Part 4, pp. 417-525, and “Further Readings” addendum pp. 555-560.
Diamond 2009. Op-ed: Will Big Business Save the Earth? The New York Times Dec. 5. http://www.nytimes.com/2009/12/06/opinion/06diamond.html
Parker et al. 2008. The Little REDD Book. Oxford: Global Canopy Programme.
Winninghof 2004. Green capitalism. Salon Dec. 4. http://www.salon.com/technology/feature/2004/12/08/sri/print.html
+ do some searching of the environmental blogosphere, i.e.:
April 19: Political ecology
Lansing et al 2007. “Rappaport’s rose: Structure, agency, and historical contingency in ecological anthropology,” in Reimagining Political Ecology, A. Biersack, ed. Duke University Press, pp. 325-57.
Le Billon, P. 2001. The political ecology of war: natural resources and armed conflicts. Political Geography 20: 561-84.
Robbins, P. 2004. excerpts from Political Ecology: A Critical Introduction. Malden: Blackwell Publishing, pp. 3-40.
Biersack, A. 2008. “Introduction” from Reimagining Political Ecology. Duke University Press, pp. x-xx.
April 26: Disciplines, audiences and ethics
Diamond, J. 2008. Annals of anthropology: Vengeance is ours. The New Yorker April 21, p. 74.
Balter, M. 2009. Vengeance bites back at Jared Diamond. Science 324 (May 15).
and at least ONE of the essays on the ‘vengeance’ controversy linked on our website.
- Rhonda Shearer, “Jared Diamond’s Factual Collapse“
Alex Golub, “Jared Diamond is Diluting my Brand“
Nancy Sullivan, “Light Elephants and Dark Revenge in the New Yorker“
Alex Golub, “Melanesian Vengeance, Western Vengeance, and Natural Vengeance“
Andrew Mack, “Big Conservation in Papua New Guinea“
Alan Bisbort, “Jared Diamond’s Tall Tale Gives Journalism a Bad Name“
Michael McManus, “Hello from Papua New Guinea… By the Way, We Read the New Yorker“
Douglas Edward Biber, “Did Daniel Wemp Really Say That?“
Paige West, “Hearing Stories, Telling Stories“
Valerie Alia, “Media, Misrepresentation, and Indigenous People“
Cronon, W. 1993. The uses of environmental history. Environmental History Review 17(3): 1-22.
Wilcox, M. 2009. “Marketing conquest and the vanishing Indian,” in Questioning Collapse, McAnany & Yoffee, eds. Cambidge, pp. 113-41.
Brosius, JP. 1999. Analyses and interventions: Anthropological engagements with environmentalism. Current Anthropology 40(3).
Paper #2 due in my mailbox no later than 5:00pm on Friday May 7th.