Saturday, November 20, 2010
Collapse? What Collapse?
I wonder if they played the Supertramp album "Crisis? What Crisis" at the conference?
It looks like entrenched positions on ancient collapse were well represented. The determinist viewpoint was represented by Harvey Weiss (there was a drought; there was a collpase; thus the drought caused the collapse, end of story). Jared Diamond was invited but did not attend. The culturalist viewpoint was represented by Norm Yoffee (people are smart, cultures are resilient, nobody collapsed!). I've gone over this material in prior posts and won't belabor the issue here.
One post discusses the book Questioning Collapse, a largely ineffective critique of Jared Diamond's work on collapse (a post that irritated a bunch of people). And one post reviews Joe Tainter's very nice book review essay on Questioning Collapse.
Of course the Maya collapse was covered. Elizabeth Graham points out that the collapse did not occur in some regions, something that is often forgotten. And Steve Houston affirms that yes, indeed, there was a collapse in the central area. I've discussed a 2009 Science report on the Maya collapse (a topic guaranteed to get a bunch of people riled up).