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HSTY 346. Guns, Germs, and Steel. 3 Units.

Jared Diamond's Guns, Germs, and Steel won the Pulitzer for non-fiction in 1998. Diamond, a physiologist, explains that Western Europe came to occupy and dominate large areas of the globe because of natural resources present in certain regions of the Old World since the end of the last Ice Age. Where a historian might look for answers in the written evidence left by historical individuals, Diamond examines ancient patterns of plant diffusion or the place of mountain ranges and deserts in the development of technologies. This seminar is about applying the history of a specific time and place namely North America from European contact to 1850 - to Diamond's general environmental explanations and models. Placing Diamond's broad explanations within specific historical contexts is revealing. A range of alternative methods, perspectives, primary sources from North America, and case studies (especially within environmental history) help develop a critical understanding of the complexities of European expansion into the New World. The course engages in an extended comparative exploration of the worldviews of different world cultures, most extensively comparing European worldviews with Native American, but also paying significant attention to Asian worldviews. The Native American cultures under consideration include those of both North and South America. Counts for CAS Global & Cultural Diversity Requirement.