Study Questions for Jared Diamond, Guns, Germs and Steel, Chapter 2, A Natural Experiment of History

1)  Briefly describe the nature of the 1835 conflict between the Moriori and the Maori.

 

 

2)  In what way was the conflict a "small-scale natural experiment that tests how environments affect human societies"? pg. 54  

 

    ~What thesis is Diamond attempting to prove?

 

3)  If the Maori-Moriori conflict is a small scale test, Diamond spends the rest of the chapter conducting a medium-scale test.  Describe the nature (or method) of the test.  Your response should include the fact that the Pacific Islands were populated by people of a common culture, and that those islands ranged with very diverse environments.

 

 

4)  What were the key 6 environmental variables of the Pacific Islands?

 

5)  How did different environments affect the islanders' various methods of subsisting?

 

6) How did the islanders' various methods of subsisting affect population densities?

 

7)  Describe the social, political, technological and economic developments of those islands with very high population densities.

    ~social and religious complexity

 

    ~political

 

    ~technological

 

    ~economic

 

8)  The outcome of the "test" can be found on the lower section of page 65.  Paraphrase the outcome in your own words.

 

 

 

9)  Now, so what?  Is he conducting this test in order to learn about the Pacific?  Or is his objective more wide-ranging?  Hint:  "Polynesia offers us a small slice, not the full spectrum, of the world's human social diversity" pg. 66.