1st Edition

An Analysis of Alfred W. Crosby's The Columbian Exchange
Biological and Cultural Consequences of 1492

ISBN 9781912127443
Published August 8, 2017 by Macat Library
83 Pages

USD $8.95

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Book Description

One criticism of history is that historians all too often study it in isolation, failing to take advantage of models and evidence from scholars in other disciplines. This is not a charge that can be laid at the door of Alfred Crosby. His book The Columbian Exchange not only incorporates the results of wide reading in the hard sciences, anthropology and geography, but also stands as one of the foundation stones of the study of environmental history.

In this sense, Crosby's defining work is undoubtedly a fine example of the critical thinking skill of creativity; it comes up with new connections that explain the European success in colonizing the New World more as the product of biological catastrophe (in the shape of the introduction of new diseases) than of the actions of men, and posits that the most important consequences were not political – the establishment of new empires – but cultural and culinary; the population of China tripled, for example, as the result of the introduction of new world crops. Few new hypotheses have proved as stimulating or influential.

Table of Contents

Ways in to the text 

Who was Alfred W. Crosby? 

What does The Columbian Exchange: Biological and Cultural Consequences of 1492 Say? 

Why does The Columbian Exchange: Biological and Cultural Consequences of 1492 Matter? 

Section 1: Influences  

Module 1: The Author and the Historical Context  

Module 2: Academic Context 

Module 3: The Problem 

Module 4: The Author's Contribution  

Section 2: Ideas  

Module 5: Main Ideas 

Module 6: Secondary Ideas  

Module 7: Achievement 

Module 8: Place in the Author's Work  

Section 3: Impact 

Module 9: The First Responses  

Module 10: The Evolving Debate  

Module 11: Impact and Influence Today  

Module 12: Where Next?  

Glossary of Terms 

People Mentioned in the Text  

Works Cited

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Dr Joshua Specht completed his PhD in History at Harvard in 2014, working on the Environmental History of the cattle trade in nineteenth-century America. He is currently a lecturer in History at Monash University.

Etienne Stockland is researching a PhD in Environmental History at Columbia University.