Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Some History of Exploration and Globalization

Today I'll be discussing the historical globalization, settlement, and colonial history that influences the marginalization of under-represented minorities in STEM. These influences carry over into our narrative of Mars Colonization.

If you missed yesterday's post, here are the two key background articles:
One of the narratives that we have about globalization is described by Thomas Friedman in The World Is Flat : A Brief History of the Twenty-first Century. Friedman describes 3 phases of globalization. Friedman's three phases begin with Columbus in 1492:

  • Globalization 1.0: Rediscovery of the New World, the Americas
  • Globalization 2.0: Multinational companies creating global markets
  • Globalization 3.0: Individuals developing global networks and businesses.
However, in the History of Exploration course that I took, Dr. Keith Parsons discussed how globalization has no beginning. In that course, we used phases more like this:

  1. Expansion of humanity to every corner of the world, most likely from Africa. For this section, the textbook was The Great Human Diasporas: The History Of Diversity and Evolution. Chapter 9 discusses race, racism, and eugenics. I previously discussed how masculinity and femininity occur along a spectrum, with no solid dividing line. Human genetics also occur along a multi-dimensional spectrum, with every possible combination, so that there is no such thing as genetic "purity."
  2. Early & medieval trade, on foot, horse, or by sea. Trade routes like the Silk Road were solidly in use by 2000 years ago.
    • Transoceanic trade is more controversial, however I grew up reading Thor Heyerdahl's adventures. His books, Kon-Tiki (Enriched Classics) and The Ra Expeditions documenting his team's voyages, clearly demonstrate to me that sea travel was possible.
  3. The re-connection of peoples, colonization and exploitation, 1492 - ~1992.
  4. The post-colonial era, ~1992 to present.

So here you have a chance to read through some of the books and materials that influenced my own education and growth. I don't know how influential the books themselves were in relation to the context of a classroom, teachers and discussion. I hope that readers who are interested in learning will pursue some of these resources for your own growth and development.

Tomorrow I'm going to try to work from the "Methods from the Margins" to explore my experiences within the space industry. Some of the people involved in the Twitter conversation are people I've interacted with before, though briefly.