Category: History


            History is the facts (deeds, dates, events).  History is also the interpretation of facts based upon the primary sources that can be examined from a civilization.  In the early period of civilization the societies found in Africa, the Americas, and the Pacific Islands present a unique, and interesting challenge.  These civilizations did not leave behind a large written record and, in many cases, were separated from Eurasia by geography.  Nonetheless, each civilization provides insight into the ancient world and help to reinforce the growth of ideas that would shape the modern world.  Each civilization also presents the historian with a challenge.  How does one interpret the past with fewer sources?  Does this, by definition, marginalize these societies in global history? 

            Read Chapter Seven in the textbook (pages 226-259) and answer ONE of the following questions. 

            Your response to the question you choose should be approximately 800 words in length and double-spaced.  The essay should rely on ideas from the textbook and the documents contained within Chapter Seven.  The essay should not use direct quotations from outside sources.

            Again, please answer ONE of the following questions.            

  1. Choose any one of the following civilizations:

          Sub-Saharan Africa (5000 B.C.E. – 400 C.E.)

           The Americas (1200 B.C.E. – 250 C.E.)

           Peoples of the Pacific Islands (4000 B.C.E. – 200 C.E)

In what ways does the civilization you have chosen to study in more detail show similar developments to the other two civilizations above in spite of their isolation from one another?  What were some of the similarities and differences seen in the agricultural techniques and resources of each region?  In your essay you will wish to analyze some of the features of a specific society within the region you have chosen (Bantu, Maya or Lapita as examples).

  1.   How does the text define the concept of prehistory? What are some of the dangers seen in the study of prehistory?  Review the portion of the chapter concerning the “voiced and voiceless” (pages 254-258).  How do the societies discussed in the chapter represent the difficulties in giving voice to the voiceless throughout the study of ancient history?  In your response you will wish to discuss the writings of Sir Joseph Banks, some of the similarities seen in the spoken languages of either Africa or Polynesia, and the writings of women such as Sappho in helping to understand the Ancient World. 


            Review the selection on the “Potters of Antiquity” on pages 234 and 235 of Chapter Seven.  Answer the following questions in a one to two paragraph response.  This bonus question is worth a maximum of three points added to your earned grade on Response Paper Six.

Where does the selection state that pottery began and when?  In what ways is the study of pottery useful to the scholar?  What can pottery tell us about the social conditions in an ancient society (social class, views of art)?

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