Assignment 8.1: Read, Analyze, and Respond

Assignment 8.1: Read, Analyze, and Respond

Description The required readings for this module are in Conformity and Conflict: James Spradley and David W. McCurdy, Conformity and Conflict “Ecology and Substinence,” 69-72 Richard Borshay Lee, Conformity and Conflict, “The Hunters: Scarce Resources in the Kalahari,” 73-86 Richard Nelson, Conformity and Conflict, “Eskimo Science,” 87-92 Jared Diamond, Conformity and Conflict, “Domestication and the Evolution of Disease,” 93-104 Richard K. Reed, Conformity and Conflict, “Forest Development the Indian Way,” 105-114 (optional) In this article that originally appeared in Audubon Magazine, Richard Nelson argues against the principles of a theory called unilineal evolution. Unilineal evolution was used by anthropologists in the 1800s to explain how societies can be divided into stages of cultural development, such as savagery, barbarism, civilization. In this view, civilized humans experienced a “refinement” of thought (Conformity and Conflict p. 87) where one could expect hunter-gatherers to have less developed thinking than civilized humans. By looking at Native American Eskimo groups, such as the Inupiaq and Koyukon, and describing the mental processes needed to survive, Nelson challenges the theory of unilineal evolution. Jared Diamond’s piece, “Domestication and the Evolution of Disease,” examines how humans and human culture provide a “ready new eco niche for animal-based microbes” (93). Diamond also looks at the role of disease in the history and development of human civilization. We read Diamond’s chapter in Module 3. It’s interesting how we again dive into questions of human evolution and adaptation as we view it through a new lens: considering the role of the environment and ecological factors in societies and cultures worldwide. There is a lot to read and digest in this module, and you may consider “Forest Development the Indian Way,” by Richard Reed, to be optional for this module. You will be graded on the quality of your analysis and ability to communicate your ideas to the class.

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