Essays and Reflections IV (Chapters 12-15 and Themes)
Please write essays (about five paragraphs each) on three topics below. In additon to using our main reading, include material from one or more special sections, or from our supplemental source book, in each essay. You may also include pictures if this is helpful. In each essay, reflect on how the material enriches our lives and helps us gain perspective on our own world.
The first four questions relate to recent chapters. The last four relate to the course as a whole. For questions related to the whole course, please discuss several time periods that we covered. You may do any three essay topics, as long as each essay uses different material.
- Learning, Culture, and Religion. Learning is a big theme in Chapter 12, but we see it in several chapters. Describe how we see knowledge, ideas, and religion spreading to more people from about 900-1500. Mention specific developments you see changing the societies. (Chs. 12-15)
- The Americas. How do you see the societies of North and South America developing in the centuries before European contact? In what ways is their history similar to Afro-Eurasia in this era? In what ways is their development remarkably different? (Chapter 15; also 10-14)
- Crisis and Renewal. Give examples of how societies suffered terribly, and also how societies grew and prospered from about 1050-1450. Consider at least three regions, such as East Asia, Europe, or the Middle East. What can we learn from these experiences? (Chapters 13-14)
- How do you see economic and political systems coming together from about 1000 to 1500? Discuss the impacts of trade, conquest, or cultural interaction in three regions, such as the Southeast Asia, Africa, or the Andes region (before European contact). (Chapters 12-15)
- Cultural Awareness. Discuss what you have learned about three of the cultures we have studied in this class. What were the roots of these cultures and how did they develop over time? From studying these cultures, what insights do you get about your own culture?
- War and Peace. Examine the dynamics of war and peace in three different time periods. What are the causes and consequences of war? Which societies achieved the most stability? Are peaceful societies more prosperous? Use specific examples to develop your points.
- Compare and contrast the economic devleopment in three regions, such as Mesoamerica, India or Oceania. Tell how the economies changed over time. How did new inventions, agricultural techniques/productivity, and business practices change these regions?
- Comparative Cultures. Compare the cultural development of two societies, in two different parts of the world. Discuss how factors such as family, gender, religion, or community life, played a role in their histories. How are these societies similar to our own society today?