Take home final exam
2 to 3 paragraphs or bullets for each section.
Total of 4-5 double spaced, type-written pages. You can tackle each question individually, or combine them all into one essay. You must demonstrate a) that you have engaged the material (including the films), and b) that you have been attentive to and engaged in class discussions.
ANSWERS MUST BE DRAWN FROM THE BOOKS AND CLASS DISCUSSIONS.
1) Guns, Germs and Steel, by Jared Diamond.
Diamond’s argument might be boiled down to his answer to “Yali’s question.” Yali asked “why do you white men have so much cargo (or material goods) and we New Guineans have so little?” It was not race or intelligence or ingenuity or culture that made the difference, argues Diamond. The answer was geography. “If your people had enjoyed the same geographic advantages of my people,” says Diamond to Yali, “your people would have been the ones to invent helicopters…”
Please answer the following:
a) How does Diamond construct his case?
b) Do you find it convincing and why or why not?
c) What are the implications for our understanding of why some countries in the world today are rich and some are poor?
2) The Origins of the Modern World: A Global and Ecological Narrative from the Fifteenth to the 21st Century, by Robert Marks.
Marks picks up on Diamond’s emphasis on the importance of environmental and geographical circumstances in the shaping of a given society’s prospects. But he develops things further through a discussion of several themes: the enduring strength (through to the middle of the 1700s) of a Asian network of commerce and political power centered on China and India; the emergence of a New World economy in the Americas in the 16th, 17th, and 18th centuries; the far reaching effects of the Industrial Revolution, including the transition out of a “biological old regime” of energy production and into one based on fossil fuels; and last, the connections between the development of some societies and the lack of development in others.
Please answer the following:
a) How was the emergence of a “New World Economy” in the Americas connected to the presence of a thriving network of commercial and imperial power in Asia?
b) Marks argues that the Industrial Revolution was as important and far reaching in its effects as the agricultural revolution which occurred 5,000 to 8,000 years ago. Why is this the case? Be sure to include a discussion of a shift in the ecological basis of the economic production.
c) Summarize Marks’ argument in chapter 5 about how the industrialization of England in 18th century led to the de-industrialization of India in the same period, and then describe your reaction to these findings. For example, is a similar process of industrialization in one place leading to de-industrialization in another at work in the world today?
3) A History of the World in Six Glasses, by Tom Standage.
All the drinks that Standage looks at have truly global histories; his book allow us discuss and imagine the ways these everyday beverages connect us with others across time and space, others who have enjoyed these drinks or been involved with the work of bringing them to our tables. With this in mind,
Please answer the following:
a) Describe how rum (and with it sugar production) was entangled in the creation of a new world economy in the Americas and the Caribbean, one that thrived on slavery and was the transformed by revolution?
b) Now that you know about the world history of coffee, and something about the current circumstances of its worldwide production, imagine and retell the story of your morning cup.
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