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"Overall, I think that Diamond is like Mao: 70% right and 30% wrong."

Anthropologists weigh in on Jared Diamond's latest: lack of citations, ethnographic carelessness, and the smoothing of complex narratives into quotable fables. The World Until Yesterday has prompted a flurry of commentary from anthropologists unenthusiastic about the physiologist turned evolutionary biologist turned geographer. In a recent London Review of Books, leading political anthropologist James C. Scott doesn't buy Diamond's description of the modern nation-state arising to curtail primitive tribal violence "[i]n a passage that recapitulates the fable of the social contract" given how "slaving was at the very centre of state-making." Anthropologist Alex Golub, who shares Papua New Guinea as a major research site, wrote "Still, it is telling that we live in an age when a member of America’s National Academy of Sciences and one of the world’s foremost public intellectuals has less concern for citations and footnotes than do the contributors to Wikipedia." David Correia pulls no punches in his opinion piece "F*ck Jared Diamond" calling Diamond's resurrection of environmental determinism as racist apologia and his latest book as essentializing primitivism in order to define Western industrialized exceptionalism. [more inside]
posted by spamandkimchi on Nov 19, 2013 - 268 comments

Jared Diamond on Haiti

Jared Diamond on the unique cultural and geological challenges Haiti has faced since its colonial days. Diamond shows how these reasons have caused the nation to fare considerably poorer than its neighbor, The Dominican Republic. [more inside]
posted by reenum on Jan 28, 2010 - 35 comments

Only the super-rich can save us!

SLJaredDiamondOp-Ed: As part of my board work, I have been asked to assess the environments in oil fields, and have had frank discussions with oil company employees at all levels. I’ve also worked with executives of mining, retail, logging and financial services companies. I’ve discovered that while some businesses are indeed as destructive as many suspect, others are among the world’s strongest positive forces for environmental sustainability. [more inside]
posted by gerryblog on Dec 11, 2009 - 52 comments

Natives Telling Stories

Last year, best-selling biologist Jared Diamond (prev) published an article in the New Yorker describing a cycle of revenge in Papua New Guinea, contrasting the conflicting human needs for vengeance and for justice. (Mefi discussion). Now, the subjects of Diamond's article are seeking their own revenge, suing the publishers for $10 million, claiming Diamond's story amounts to false accusations of serious criminal activity, including murder. [more inside]
posted by CheeseDigestsAll on Apr 29, 2009 - 65 comments

God, Memes and Steel

Jared Diamond on the Evolution of Religions. (SLYT)
posted by Artw on Apr 8, 2009 - 46 comments

Vengeance Is Ours: What can tribal societies tell us about our need to get even?

Vengeance Is Ours: What can tribal societies tell us about our need to get even? [more inside]
posted by chunking express on Apr 24, 2008 - 52 comments

Collapse!

Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed [oh and, also see :]
posted by kliuless on Dec 28, 2004 - 30 comments

Easter Island, Earth Island

Twilight at Easter by Jared Diamond, offers us a clear summary of "Easter's settlement and subsequent history, its statues, the frightening collapse of its society, and its broader significance in our world beset with similar environmental problems." [via JBD's SDJ]
posted by kliuless on Mar 13, 2004 - 14 comments

An academic justification for the multi-cultural society?

HOW TO GET RICH, by Jared Diamond.
[via Boing-Boing] An academic justification for the pluralist society? Clay Shirley (guest blogger @ B-B) makes the point: "In a finding that everyone worried about having a single global IP regime should read, Diamond concludes that innovation requires having several different legal, cultural and technological regimes at the same time, in competition with one another. Columbus had to go to several countries before he got funding for the Nina, the Pinta, and the Santa Maria. Had there been a pan-European agreement on naval expeditions, he would never have left port." [More inside]
*Warning*: 12, easily read pages in link. I hope this thread is a grower...
posted by dash_slot- on Nov 14, 2002 - 30 comments

"Religions potentially offer practical, social, and motivational benefits to their adherents.

"Religions potentially offer practical, social, and motivational benefits to their adherents. But religions differ among themselves in the degree to which they motivate their adherents to have children, to rear those children to become productive members of society, and to convert or kill believers in competing religions. Those religions that are more successful in these respects will tend to spread, and gain and retain adherents, at the expense of other religions." So says Jared Diamond in his review of David Sloan Wilson's book, Darwin's Cathedral: Evolution, Religion, and the Nature of Society, which views religion from an evolutionary perspective. Another writer interested in the evolution of religions is Toby Lester, who examines how present-day religious movements are "mutating with Darwinian restlessness."
posted by homunculus on Oct 23, 2002 - 5 comments

The Polynesians were, undoubtedly, the greatest navigators of the ancient world. Using outrigger canoes, they were able to colonize lands spread as far apart as Madagascar and Easter Island and as far south as New Zealand. But where did they originally come from? Jared Diamond demonstrates how, by using linguistic and archaeological evidence, it's possible to reconstruct their journey from China and Taiwan to the Philippines, from there on to Borneo, Indonesia, Malaysia, New Guinea and out to the Pacific one way and Madagascar in the other. As an exercise, try comparing the numbers 1 to 10 in all Polynesian and Indonesian languages, to see how the language gradually changed as they hopped from island to island.
posted by lagado on Nov 23, 2000 - 4 comments

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