Throughout the course of this assignment, the article ‘Why Humans Took Up Farming: They Like To Own Stuff’ by Rhitu Chatterjee will be analyzed and conclusions will be drawn about how previously encountered material helps to put it in its context. The notions explored in Chatterjee’s article will be described and the ways in which it contributes to comprehension of how human societies have developed will be discussed. Attention will also be paid to detailing where the text was found.
This article was located on NPR.org, which is the website of a media organization specializing in the creation and distribution of music programs, news and information (NPR). It challenges the idea that people originally took to farming as means of obtaining food and states that the fact that the first farmers were smaller and more disease-prone than hunter-gatherers indicates that farming was not necessarily better than hunting and gathering at providing nourishment. Chatterjee puts forward the notion that the real reason that human beings started farming was that they grew tired of the nomadic lifestyle associated with hunting and gathering. This enabled them to have a greater number of offspring because rearing a family is more difficult when a couple is constantly moving from one place to the next. It also facilitated the ownership of private property (Chatterjee).
This source contributed to understanding of how human societies have developed by providing another potential reason for agriculture becoming such an important component of most peoples’ existences. Every nation on the planet relies upon farming to some extent. The article explored why this has come to pass and challenged the conventionally held viewpoint of this issue. It provided a fresh perspective based upon the knowledge of experts in the field.
The information provided in Guns, Germs, and Steel by Jared Diamond helped to provide context to Chatterjee’s article by detailing the importance of farming with regards to enabling one culture to dominate another. It also described the typically espoused view on this issue, which is important because without this information, the notions that Chatterjee challenged in her essay would have remained unknown. Diamond provided essential information about the way in which farming methods developed throughout history (Diamond 85-93). He contrasted hunter-gatherers with farmers and gave a general overview of these two techniques for obtaining food (Diamond 104-114), creating a knowledge base that facilitated the comprehension of Chaterjee’s text.
Several themes were explored by Diamond that were elaborated upon by Chatterjee, for example the concept that the amount of children that couples had was increased by abandoning the hunter-gatherer lifestyle in favor of farming (Diamond 89). Another notion that was explored in both texts was the idea that farmers did not receive as much nourishment as hunter-gatherers (Diamond 105). Again, Diamond’s book helped to provide a foundation of information that aided in the understanding of Chatterjee’s article.
In conclusion, ‘Why Humans Took Up Farming: They Like To Own Stuff’ challenged preconceived ideas about the reasons why people changed from being hunter-gatherers to relying upon farming for their food. It provided an alternative theory on this issue. The information studied previously in the course touched on many of the same concepts and facilitated the comprehension of this text. It endowed the reader with knowledge of farming and detailed the distinct differences between hunter-gatherers and farmers. Without prior knowledge of this subject, it would have been significantly more difficult to understand the point that Chatterjee was making, as her article refers to the conventionally held view of the development of agriculture. Background information was essential in order to fully understand the concepts that she put across.
- Chatterjee, Rhitu. ‘Why Humans Took Up Farming: They Like To Own Stuff’. NPR. Web. 16 July 2013.
- Diamond, Jared. Guns, Germs and Steel. New York: W. W. Norton & Company, 1999. Print.
- NPR. ‘This is NPR’. Web. 16 July 2013.