The Biogeographic Roots of World Inequality. Animals, Disease and Human Settlement Patterns in Africa and the Americas before 1492.


Building on recent insights from archeology, genetics, and linguistics I challenge Jared Diamond’s grand narrative of the biogeographic roots of world inequality. I argue that this narrative pays insufficient attention to contrasting patterns of human settlement in Africa and the Americas. I develop alternative hypotheses concerning the role of domesticated animals in shaping human disease environments and processes of state formation prior to the Columbian exchange. My overarching objective is to enhance the debate on the deep roots of world inequality by tackling Eurocentric conceptions of world development and exploring the potential of new comparative and multi-disciplinary research perspectives.