Guns, Germs, and Steel
a graduate web seminar based on the widely acclaimed book
by Jared Diamond
DESCRIPTION: A graduate web seminar based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning book "Guns, Germs, and Steel" by Jared Diamond, author of "The Third Chimpanzee".
In this masterful examination of human history and human ecology over the last 13,000 years, Jared Diamond attempts to explain why history developed quite differently on various continents. Why did literate Eurasian societies expand and conquer the globe and not the peoples of Africa, South America, New Guinea, and elsewhere? Why, when contacted by European explorers, were New Guineans and aboriginal Australians still living in the stone age? Some, when seeing these vast differences in human society and industrial development, jumped to the seemingly obvious conclusion that there must be racial and genetic differences.
Instead, Jared Diamond presents the thesis that it is the Earth's geography and resulting ecology that has had a fundamental influence on which human societies were able to develop to the industrial stage and conquer the world with guns, germs transported with them, and the steel of their inventions.
If you are at all interested in human evolution, biogeography, social science, biology, ecology, evolution, agriculture, or nearly any field that I can think of, you should read "Guns, Germs, and Steel". It truly is a part of the "general education" that everyone should have.
My first round of graduate students who used this book in our online web seminar in Spring, 2001, found it to be a highly worthwhile book to read and one that sparked wide-ranging discussions on the human condition.
SCHEDULE: Begins: 14 May; Ends by: 3 August, 2001.
FORMAT: Online and web-based (requires a computer with internet, email, and CD-ROM); Self-paced; Online discussions with classmates and instructor.
ASSIGNMENTS: Online discussion sessions and several short essays posted online for peer review and grading; no exams.
SUMMER REGISTRATION: Natrs 519, variable 1-2 credits (i.e., 2 credits if additional seminar readings are completed - contact the instructor). Register through the WSU Summer Session: (http://www.summer.wsu.edu). After you register, send a confirming email to the NRS summer session coordinator to receive additional course instructions: R.D. Sayler (email@example.com).
Winner of the Pulitzer Prize
"The scope and the explanatory
power of this book are astounding."
The New Yorker