Study Guides (238,413)
Canada (115,125)
Geography (159)
GGR329H5 (20)

GGR329 Midterm Questions.doc

17 Pages
Unlock Document

University of Toronto Mississauga
Pierre Desrochers

1. How does Christine Rodrigue define environmental determinism? What were Herbert Spencer's key insights in his theory of environmental determinism? Give one argument against environmental determinism. Christine Rodrigue defines environmental determinism (sometimes called geographical determinism) to be a variant of Social Darwinism: the appropriation of Darwin's theory of natural selection for use directly on human societies, usually for racist or imperialist apologia. The idea that the natural environment, especially climate, creates natural selective conditions that either bring out the best in humans and create "superior" cultures or the worst in people and create “inferior” cultures. Herbert Spencer’s key insights were that Species/society change – factors of evolution Original - Extrinsic (e.g climate, surface qualities) - Intrinsic (e.g physical and intellectual character) Secondary or derived (brought – social evolution itself) - Modifications of the environment - Size and density of the social aggregate: the more people, the more idea, more mouths to feed, bigger armies - Inter-societal reactions: different societies react differently. Some absorb the good ideas while others do not. People were shaped by their environment and they tend to shape it as well. As societies develop, there is a feedback to the environment itself. One argument against environmental determinism includes the "ideal" climate reflected the climate producing a given author's culture: British authors leaned to the West Coast marine climate; Americans favored the four season humid continental climate; and the ancient Greeks thought their Mediterranean climate (their Temperate Zone) was the ideal 2. What is Ricardo Hausmann's argument as to how the fact that a country is "landlocked" affects its growth prospects? How does he account for the plight of tropical agriculture? In today’s global market place most industrial products require inputs from various locations. Unfortunately transportations costs are often determined by a country’s geography, therefore if transportation costs are high, local companies will be at a disadvantage it would be hard for them to export and import. Countries far from sea do not enjoy the physical infrastructure (railways, seaports) as well. Governments in landlocked countries face the additional challenge of coordinating infrastructure costs with neighboring countries. The divergence of agricultural productivity between the developed and developing world is grounded in dramatically different research and development capabilities. Geography aggravates this disparity plant varieties need to be adapted to the local climate meaning that research and development geared toward rich temperate zone agriculture is of little use in tropical areas. The tropical countries are left out of the modern technology club so agricultural sector much less dynamic in tropical areas than in temperate zones 3. What are Ludwig von Mises' and Thomas R. DeGregori's main arguments against environmental/geographical determinism? Give a few examples used by each author. Ludwig von Mises arguments environmental determinism looks upon geography as an active and upon human action as a passive factor. He feels that Geography sets a task, but man has to solve it. Man lives in a definite geographical environment and is forced to adjust his action to the conditions of this environment. But the way in which he adjusts himself, the methods of his social, technological, and moral adaptation, are not determined by the external physical factors. An example Ludwig von Mises uses is that the American continent produced neither the civilization of the Indian aborigines nor that of the Americans of European extraction, Fur coats are practical in Canada but less so in Tahiti. Thomas R Degregori arguments against environmental determinism is that to use geography as an explanation for relative achievements of countries over time is to use what is essentially a constant to explain a variable phenomenon. An example he uses is that culture has many of the same difficulties as geography cultures and religions posed ancient and insurmountable barriers to development in Asia. 4. Why does Paul Reiter argue against the notion that malaria resurgence is due to climate change? What are Miller and Conko's main arguments in favor of DDT? Future changes in climate may alter the prevalence and incidence of the disease, but obsessive emphasis on "global warming" as a dominant parameter is indefensible; the principal determinants are linked to ecological and societal change, politics and economics. Forest clearance, provides abundant new habitat for these species. Agriculture can construction of dams for hydroelectric power. Rice cultivation provides an environment for many of the most efficient malaria vectors. Infected people in pursuit of work can introduce malaria to areas where it is rare. Water storage and inadequate water disposal can provide habitat for mosquitoes. In times of conflict, mass movements of people, e.g. soldiers and refugees, often promote malaria transmission. High birth rates often give rise to larger communities with higher densities of people, which can lead to a higher attack rate. Miller and Conkos main arguments in favor of DDT is DDT is only minimally toxic to humans, and spraying small quantities around the doorways and window frames and on the walls of buildings kills and repels malarial mosquitoes, creating a protective shield for people (Such spraying techniques minimize chemical residues in the environment.) And because it persists after spraying, DDT is superior to other pesticides now in use, some of which are highly toxic. Many other insecticides lack the capacity to irritate mosquitoes, and they become deactivated within an hour or two, making them vastly more expensive and less useful than DDT and more potent and harmful to humans. 5. What are Jeffrey Sachs' basic observations as to the importance of geography for economic development? In his opinion, what role does geography play in the plight of sub-Saharan Africa? Sachs basic observations were 1) almost all tropical countries are poor while countries in mid and high latitudes are rich 2) Coastal economies are generally wealthier than landlocked ones 3) countries close to large markets more likely have open trade policies than countries distant from them. Sach says that in sub Saharan Africa there are 1) few navigatable rivers 2) population heavily concentrated in internal area only 19% living less than 100km from coast more than 25 % in landlocked countries far from core European markets. 3) Landmass concentrations in tropics (diseases and poor soils) Sachs’ Thesis: a country’s geography not only affects its economic growth potential but also economic policies Sachs’ ED: - Almost all tropical countries are poor, while countries in mid and high latitude are rich - Coastal economies are generally wealthier than landlocked ones - Countries close to large markets more likely – open trade policies than countries distant from them o E.g. Canada has good minerals and close to the US deposits, thus its better than other places such as places that are undeveloped and will have greater transportation costs. Sachs’ Diagnostic of the problems of sub-Saharan Africa - Landmass concentrated in tropics (diseases, poor soil) - Few navigable rivers Population heavily concentrated in interior - Only 19% living < 100 km from coast - > 25% in landlocked countries far from “core” European markets. 6. Why does Diamond believe that New Guineans are smarter than Westerners? Westerners, Europeans have lived in densely populated societies. These societies were subjected to infectious epidemics and natural selection selected for the survival of the epidemics rather than intelligence. In new guinea there was mortality not from diseases but of murders warfare and accidents intelligent people are more likely to escape those causes of high mortality in New Guinean societies. Natural selection promotes genes for intelligence. Also Modern European children spend much of their time being passively entertained by Television, Radio and movies, in contrast traditional new guinea children have virtually no such opportunities for passive entertainment and instead spend their time actively doing something. 7. What is Diamond's take on traditional "environmental determinist" arguments? Traditional ED 1)racial or genetic superiority however there is objective evidence also they state that 2)cold climate stimulates inventiveness but Europeans inherited from warm climates agriculture, wheel, writing, metal lurgy 3) Lowland river valleys in dry climates depended on irrigation and centralized bureaucracies (Nile river valley, tigris and Euphrates valley, yellow and yangstze valley) but irrigation systems followed not accompanied bureaucracies agriculture originated in hills and mountains. 4) guns, infectious diseases steel tools, manufactured products yes but immediate or proximate reasons. Diamond and Traditional ED 1. Racial or genetic superiority a. No objective evidence 2. Cold climate stimulates inventiveness a. But Europeans inherited i. Agriculture ii. Wheels iii. Writing iv. Metallurgy (from warm climate peoples!) 3. Lowland river valleys in dry climates depended on irrigation and centralized bureaucracies a. Nile river valley b. Tigris and Euphrates valley c. Yellow and Yangtze valleys But irrigation systems followed, not accompanied, bureaucracies – Agriculture originated in hills and mountains. 4. Guns, infectious diseases, steel tools, manufactured products… a. E.g. Small Pox. Yes, but immediate or proximate reasons. Why Europeans rather Africans/Native Americans? 8. What is the megafauna "overkill" hypothesis? What are the main arguments in its favour? Humans appear harmless but have weapons, fire(habitat change), much experience in hunting large species in other continents. Following human arrival megafauna disappeared everywhere in all habitats there are mastodon mammoth kill sites in north America in cuba megafauna survived until humans showed up. Disappearence of lesser species can result from changes in traditional food chain/ habitat related to disappearing megafauna (praries reverted back to forests), Indirect human influence rats on island. Arguments of Blitzkrieg Scenario (44:00 mins) - Following human arrival, MF (mega fauna) disappeared o Everywhere o In all habitats - Much evidence mastodon/mammoth kill sites in NA - Cuba, MF survived until humans showed up - Disappearance of lesser species can result from o Changes in tradition food chain/ habitat related to disappearing mega- fauna (prairies reverted – forests) o Indirect human influence (rats on islands) 9. What are the main arguments against the megafauna overkill hypothesis? What are the alternative explanations for the disappearance of megafauna outside of Africa? What is Diamond's position in this debate? The main arguments against the megafauna overkill hypothesis, humans were too few, certain megafauna still around north America (Elk, bears, bisons,etc), Humans and megafauna long co-exisence, minifauna(small rodents) also disappeared, archaeological evidence (few kill sites), some African megafauna do not fear humans. Other possible rd causes Climate change (23 ice age) humans arrived at time of profound climate change when plants were already carbon starved, Natural causes germs from dogs, rodents etc. Problems with Blitzkrieg Scenario - Humans were too few - Certain mega-fauna still around – North America (elk, bears, bison, etc.) - Humans and mega-fauna long coexistence - Mini-fauna (small rodents) also disappeared - Archaeological evidence (few kill sites) - Some African MF – no fear of humans Other Possible Causes - Climate Change (23 Ice age) o Humans arrived at time of profound climate change when plants were already carbon-starved - Natural causes o Germs from dogs, rodents, etc. Possible Reconciliation? Overkill doesn’t coincide with human arrivals, But with development of technologies of mass hunting/destruction, thereby reconciling humans/MF 10. Describe concisely the range of Polynesian environmental conditions. Describe concisely the types of societies that resulted from these conditions. Polynesian environmental conditions Climate is warm tropical or sub tropical on most islands and can get to cold subantartic, their geology is coral atolls to continental pieces, highest record of rainfall ranges to too dry for agriculture and their physical geography consists of calpine mountain ranges to coral beaches. Polynesia's varying environments influenced Polynesian societies human population size, density, structure resulted from wild food, useful material fresh water, tropical agriculture, trade with other settlements this resulted in socieited in terms of subsistence ranged from hunter gatherer to intenstive food production in term of social organization fairly egalitarian to extremely stratified, in terms of political organization it ranged from tribes to multi island proto empire in terms of material culture it ranged from personal utensils to monumental stone architecture. Polynesian Environmental Conditions – varies a lot Climate Warm tropical  cold sub Antarctic Geology Coral atolls  continental Rainfall Highest recorded  too dry for agriculture Physical geography (alpine) mountain range  coral beaches Polynesian Societies Subsistence: Hunter-gatherers intensive food production Social organization: Fairly egalitarian  extremely stratified Political Organization: Tribes  multi-island proto-empire Material culture Personal utensils  monumental stone architecture 11. According to Diamond, what factors did not really account for the success of Spanish Conquistadors? What factors were mor
More Less

Related notes for GGR329H5

Log In


Don't have an account?

Join OneClass

Access over 10 million pages of study
documents for 1.3 million courses.

Sign up

Join to view


By registering, I agree to the Terms and Privacy Policies
Already have an account?
Just a few more details

So we can recommend you notes for your school.

Reset Password

Please enter below the email address you registered with and we will send you a link to reset your password.

Add your courses

Get notes from the top students in your class.