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ParaParaYukiko's avatar

What are some good resources for studying the role of climate and geography in the development of civilizations?

Asked by ParaParaYukiko (6111points) February 18th, 2010

I’m making a “world” as a new project, and I want it to make geographical sense. I don’t want to have major cities where they would never exist on Earth (i.e., all major cities I know of are built around fresh water) – so I’d like to get a better idea of how, where and why cities and civilizations develop.

I’ve already looked into Jared Diamond’s Guns, Germs and Steel, but do any of you jellies have any other suggestions for me?

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12 Answers

galileogirl's avatar

Any AP World History text because that is one of the themes discussed. I like Traditions and Encounters” by Bentley & Ziegler. You might want to buy it used or borrow it because new it’s about $250. But here’s a hint: waterways and trade routes.

kevbo's avatar

Life is abundant at “the edge”—where water meets land, mountains meet plains, etc. This is a tenet of permaculture.

this book might be helpful, but not as much as g,g & s

davidbetterman's avatar

Al Gore’s movie, ”An Inconvenient Truth” LOLOLOLOLOLOLOL

aprilsimnel's avatar

There’s two books I know of: The Long Summer: How Climate Changed Civilization and The Winds of Change: Climate, Weather, and the Destruction of Civilizations

I’ll bet that both their bibliographies would have further information, as well as the bibliography of Dr. Diamond’s book.

the100thmonkey's avatar

You could also look at Collapse, another Diamond book.

There’s a BBC series on this topic at the moment – I can’t check it out right now, but I’ll get back to you later with the title and the bloke behind it. It will almost certainly be available on bit torrent, if that’s your thing.

ParaParaYukiko's avatar

Thanks, everyone! I’m especially interested in that BBC series that @the100thmonkey mentioned.

@aprilsimnel I’ve heard of The Long Summer, both my father and mother read it. They thought it was good but not as well written as Fagan’s other book, The Little Ice Age. However, both would probably be helpful to my research.

Bibliographies are also an excellent idea… hadn’t thought about that.

Now, to find the time to do all this research between schoolwork for my two majors…

mattbrowne's avatar

Learn about the end of the ice age and the beginning of agricultural societies.

galileogirl's avatar

Or the climate warming of the 9th-13th centuries followed by the :Little Ice Age 14th-18th centuries that contributed to the plague, the great social/political/ religious changes, the agricultural, scientific and technological revolutions and made the world into what it is today. Simple stuff.

La_Guerrera_Mas_Funki's avatar

Look into the discipline of historical ecology. It is all about the reconstruction of past climates via proxy data. I work with an organization (The North Atlantic Biocultural Organisation) that might be of some interest to you.

La_Guerrera_Mas_Funki's avatar

As for Jared Diamond, he’s a smart guy, but there is a distinct problem with his theoretical framework——he thinks of Papuan hunter-gatherers as representative of some kind of imagined primordial man——as “proto-us“es. This is the implicitly racist, Spencerian, hierarchical approach that anthropologists should be repelled by.

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