Thursday, April 8, 2010

Guns, Germs and Steel

Questions to think about while reading Guns, Germs and Steel:

1)Some people argue that Diamond’s book actually reinforces a European-centric view of history rather than opposite, as the author claims to do. Which do you think is correct?

2)It’s been argued that Diamond presents a very fatalistic view of history, “geographic determinism,” with little influence by humans—would you agree with that?

3) According to Diamond, societies beget statehood because they offer (or control) 4 things: 1. disarm populace, arm elite 2. redistribute tribute in popular ways 3. curb violence 4. construct ideology or religion. (These are in essence how the elite stay in power in a state, and also why the general populace accepts their position.) Would you agree that these are all that statehood offers?

4)Other criticisms include that little or no attention is paid to religion or culture in the development of societies. What affect does religion and/or other cultural factors have on long-term developments of civilizations?

5)And given that we certainly couldn’t discuss this without a religious perspective ourselves, how do you feel his analysis fits with our beliefs of human history and development? (Evolution from apes is an apparent disagreement).

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