environment and society

Answer the following questions in essays of about 600 to a maximum of 800 words. Type your answers in a single MS-Word document, double-spaced and using12-point font.

You do not need to include references or footnotes, but do indicate using the author’s name wherever you are directly referring to him/her; for example, “Errington and Gewertz do not agree with this, and instead argue,…” If you are directly quoting from a source, include the author’s name and page number in parentheses; for example (Diamond, p. 112).

In general, your answers should be in your own words and direct quotes kept to a minimum.

Write as clearly as possible and pay attention to Spell-Check and automated editor suggestions. If possible, you might ask someone to check over your work before you submit it.

Good luck!

Question 1

Discuss how Polynesia offers a good comparative test of Diamond’s argument concerning the relationship between environment and societal development.  Incorporate specific examples from at least three different islands or island groups.

Question 2

Among the ancient and modern societies Diamond analyzes in Collapse, choose one from each group (i.e., one ancient and one modern) where the two societies confronted similar environmental challenges (e.g., deforestation, soil degradation, water quality/availability, climate change, etc.).  Discuss the nature of the problems they confronted and compare how the two societies reacted to their crisis, as well as whether or not collapse occurred or is likely to occur.

Question 3

In Questioning Collapse Errington and Gewertz take issue with Diamond’s analysis of the development of New Guinea in both of his books.  Describe their most important criticisms of Collapse, and then discuss to what extent you think that Diamond’s specific argument about the highlands of New Guinea is weakened as a result of those criticisms.  Conclude with whether you think this matters (in favor or against) Diamond’s more general argument in Collapse.

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