By Eun-Young Choi and By Eun-Jee Kim (DG reporter) Jung-Su Kno (DG reporters)
Jared Diamond’s fundamental thesis is that the environment and geography are the most crucial reasons of human development and the shaping of the modern world: the western society having advanced tools and technology that aided them in rising to power, whereas the many other societies had a huge gap in the development and eventually became the dominee or vanished.
In the prologue, Diamond talks about his New Guinean friend Yali and thinks about the reasons as to what caused gaps between the developments of various human groups. To find the answer to this question, Diamond attempts to find an answer by exploring human history from the very beginning.
The first humans were nomadic hunter-gatherers who by the course of time develop into an agricultural society. However, to achieve this advancement, three conditions were needed: access to high protein vegetation that humans can store, a dry climate that allows storage without rotting, and access to animals that are capable of being domesticated. Only when all three of the conditions were present, humans are able to build and develop complex societies with higher population, technology and even ruling classes (The Eurasian continent had a great advantage, because they had access to six grains rich in protein-such as barley and wheat, had the climate suitable for storage, and had major tamable animals.)
Diamond then addresses domestic animals. 13 species capable of transport or providing workforce were domesticated in Eurasia, whereas only one useful animal was domesticated in South America. Domesticated animals provided great benefits from providing transportation, clothing, dairy products, and power to till fields. Animal domestication also resulted in viruses. Societies with large units of animals faced diseases such as smallpox and influenza. Over a long period, they obtained immunity to the virus but it spread all over the world; being the cause of the downfall of Mayan Empires and American Indian tribes.
The Eurasian continent also has a long east to west distance. This means that the overall climate is similar and therefore people could easily exchange cultures, technologies, and even diseases. With these advantages, the Eurasian continent had the ascendancy over the other human groups. Abundant food sources, technologies, and animals that (more effectively) did human work let people focus on different divisions such as crafts and academics.
By reading Guns, Germs, and Steel, we learned that geographical advantages were what ultimately enabled Europeans to gain power over other groups. Thus, we could understand the reason behind the current gap in development between the nations ̶ and ultimately interpret the history of mankind.
By Eun-Young Choi and By Eun-Jee Kim (DG reporter)
Jung-Su Kno (DG reporters)
The pleasant scent of autumn has spread and the campus of Dongtan Global High School is enveloped in cool wisps of the fragrant harvest breezes of fall. Just as the nearby rice fields have grown into sturdy, golden stalks so too has our school matured and taken firm root in the city of Hwaseong.
With the school’s first commencement ceremony last winter, sending the graduates far and wide to make their mark in the world, already another group of seniors are about to take one of the biggest exams of their lives. My fellow students are eager to honor the name of the school, and the new recruits are more competent than ever. The campus has been blooming with special events, academic challenges, and new clubs and activities where students have been showing their persistence, creativity, and expertise. It seems DGHS is ever more fruitful with every year that passes.
In the third publication of the Dongtan Globe, we have taken strides to meet the rising standard of the school. The reporters and editors have tried to deliver the best of their work, striving to meet the high expectations. In consequence, we were able to present more extended and finer edition to you. And I, the third chief editor, will return the honor to the hard-working members of the the Dongtan Globe and contributors who willingly participated in the publication.
Previously, feature stories focused on topics associated with the annual Joint Academic Conference of Global High Schools. This year, however, we’ve taken a different approach and will be discussing the controversy regarding integration of the liberal arts and natural sciences tracks in South Korean high schools.
The topic is fairly recent as the Ministry of Education is starting to implement education of no border between natural sciences and liberal arts. There are many controversies whether the integration is necessary or not. In our feature, we cover various arguments and facts about the issue. Specifically, the feature discusses the issue first in the historical context and then through its progression of current decision to integrate the tracks. Within this discussion, the feature spotlights the concept of consilience of Edward O.Wilson which will help readers to understand the ideology behind the track integration argument.
In addition, we’ve included a wide range of articles covering other domestic and international issues such as Crimean crisis, school life including articles about an invited professor and a reporter, and even reviews of some recent music, book, and movie.
As usual, we thank you for your continued support and readership and hope that you enjoy this year’s edition of the Dongtan Globe.
By Jong-Seo Park
Korean high school education has been offering distinct curriculum tracks for the last several decades: liberal arts and natural sciences. As of 2018, however, those two separate tracks are supposed to be integrated into one comprehensive track. Debates are raging surrounding this issue. While advocates argue that the integrated curriculum be implemented in order to produce creative talents fitting the consilience spirit of the 21st century, opponents argue that it is premature to decide that now. Rather, they insist, all we need to do is strengthen basic skills under the current split curriculum.
I believe an integrated curriculum is eventually the right choice to make. This academic approach is already a mainstay of many developed countries such as the United States and most western European countries. The underlying philosophy behind their policy is that both quality of living and competitiveness can be enhanced only when scientists are armed with humanities refinements and entrepreneurs possess good knowledge of natural science.
I support this approach, and believe additionally that humanistic values are closely associated with cultural industries, and developing them in each individual will be beneficial to society. The general idea behind cultural industries is that popular culture produces cultural goods such as printed media, music, television, film, as well as crafts and design. They are knowledge-based and labor-intensive, and not only create employment and wealth, but also drive the norms of a particular society. Thus, in nurturing creativity, analysis and reflection, and fostering innovation, societies will maintain cultural diversity, enhance economic performance, and advance the sciences while also promoting sustainable, peaceful societal standards.
The essential point is that technology alone cannot lead itself to beneficial cultural industries. That is, we cannot produce a movie only with quality cameras, audio, and special effects. The storytelling is indeed crucial to the development of an entertaining and profitable film. In addition, a film that is only entertaining and profitable is also not necessarily a promotion of wholesome societal norms. The story must also celebrate, at least subtly, positive cultural goods to build enthusiasm for positive cultural attitudes such as cooperation and sustainability. Steve Jobs might be a genius, but he is not supposed to create iPhone all by himself. In the modern world, cooperation of the humanities and the sciences is integral to success. And being successful is not just about profitability, but about creating sustainable societies.
Thus, an individual who has built an upright character is one who is not only a master of formulas and rules, but also an engine of creativity and innovation, based on cultural norms which promote peace, cooperation, and sustainability. This is the reason why we study the humanities.
By SangYol Cheong