World Civilizations to 1600


World Civilizations to 1600

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World Civilizations to 1600
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Due: Thursday, December 17, 2020, by 11:59 p.m.

Weight: This assignment constitutes 13% of your course grade

Scope: The essay choices come from the assigned material for the first six weeks of the course, including readings in Wiesner-Hanks textbook and assigned primary source readings.

Format: The midterm exam will consist of TWO ESSAYS written at your convenience and submitted as a Word document (or PDF file in an emergency) by the deadline.

1. Length: each essay should be a minimum of 650 words (about 2 full pages) and a maximum of 750 words (a strictly enforced maximum limit; nothing after that will count towards your grade, so you need to be efficient).

a. At the end of each essay, please give your word count. Not doing this will mean a penalty of -3 from your score.

b. To do a word count using recent Microsoft Word programs, look at the bottom left, or highlight the relevant selection of your text, then click on “Review” at the top of the document, and choose “Word Count” from the menu that appears.

c. Because you have limited space, you need to write as densely and efficiently as possible (avoid redundancy and formulate your sentences for maximum effect). Remember that I am looking for as much specific detail as possible in the given space: names, dates, events, and places are an important part of the grade.

2. Sources: you are expected to use information from the textbook (Wiesner-Hanks, History of World Societies), and in some cases also from the assigned primary sources found as PDF files in the “Readings” folder (if there is relevant material).

a. REFERENCING: If you only use these assigned sources, you are not required to include a bibliography (works cited list). Whenever you use information from either of the above sources, even if when you are not quoting directly, you must reference the location.

i. Use footnotes, if you can (but parenthetical references are better than nothing). To reference the textbook, simply indicate the author and page #, like this: Wiesner-Hanks, 782. If you’re using an e-book without page numbers, a chapter and heading is fine.

ii. For the PDF file documents, author (or title if the author is unknown) and page number is good.

b. I recommend you NOT consult any additional sources, since course materials should be more than enough.

c. If you nevertheless do consult any other source (online, or in other books), you must include a complete bibliography (works cited list) at the end of the essay and insert references within your text in those places where you use that information.

d. Failure to reference your sources is plagiarism and will result in an automatic score of zero for the exam.

e. NOTE: You are not required or expected to discuss specific primary source documents or provide specific quotes from those documents as you have been doing for many of your assignments. You will do that later in the semester for your formal paper. If you wish to do so anyway, you may, as appropriate, but don’t go overboard with the quotes.

3. Tips for success:

a. Include abundant specific historical details (people, places, events, and dates)

b. Show evidence of your own reading from the textbook

c. Note two equally valid approaches: depth or breadth

i. Depth: develop a few examples very thoroughly, with more detail, or

ii. Breadth: provide a wide range of many examples from many times and places, but with less detail

4. Style: You are expected to use correct and appropriate grammar punctuation, and vocabulary.

5. Submission: Submit your essays as two separate Word documents or PDF files in the 2 Midterm Essays assignment link in “Content” by the deadline. If you miss the deadline, you may submit it late, with a 30% late penalty, any time before December 21.

THE TOPICS (choose any two)

Both China and Europe experiences tremendous growth in population and wealth during parts of the Middle Ages. Compare and contrast this growth in China during the late Tang and Song Dynasties (ca. 750-1200) with the growth in High Medieval Europe (ca. 950-1300). Consider:

What caused the massive growth in population and wealth in each society?
What were some important consequences of that growth in each society (in other words, how did their respective societies change?)
NOTE that the timeframe of this topic does not include the Mongols or the Black Death.

Compare and contrast the relationships between religion and government in two distinct world societies, with good examples. Choose two from the following list:

Christian Europe (both Eastern and Western) from about 300-1300
The Islamic world (600-1300)
China, ca. 300-1400. [note: for this essay, Confucianism and Buddhism should each be considered as religions in China]

How did “barbarian” people influence or change developed civilizations from about 200 CE to 1400 CE? Compare and contrast the varied influences (cultural, economic, political, etc.) nomads of the steppes had on these two societies:

China (from ca. 200-1400)

i. The Turkic peoples after the fall of the Han Dynasty

ii. The Mongols

Europe (from ca. 400-1000)

i. The Germanic tribes

ii. The influence of the Mongols

What factors (such as cultural traditions, historical experiences, technologies, and—especially—motivations) prepared Europeans to engage in aggressive and successful voyages of global exploration and conquest during the 1400s and 1500s?


What influences did merchants and scholars from the Middle East and India have in the transfer of cultural traditions (skills, technologies, foods, and ideas) during the Middle Ages (from about 600 to about 1600)? Be sure to include specific examples from at least 3 of the following regions in your essay:

· Western Europe

· Africa (Sub-Saharan West Africa, and Eastern Africa)

· Southeast Asia (Malaysia/Indonesia/Thailand, etc.)

· China

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