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World History Essays

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1. First (Chapters 11-14)

For this exam you will write one essay on a broad question:

How do you see societies from the Mediterranean to East Asia changing in Chapters 11-14? Consider how ideas and cultural interactions from this era have contributed to our world.

To answer the question, please do one of these options:

Option I: Standard essay with about 3.5 pages of writing. Pictures are encouraged but not required in this option. If you use pictures, what you write about the pictures can count toward the 3.5 pages.

Option II: Illustrated essay with about 2.5 pages of writing and at least 5 pictures. In this option, please make sure the pictures and the writing work closely together and reinforce each other.

Use information related to the reading handouts for Chapter 11-14. You will need about 2-3 key terms from each chapter. Key terms are in bold on the reading handouts. You may also use the Intro to Part 3, where the authors make fascinating observations about Postclassical Societies.

You may also use material from our small book about the Silk Roads or from the recommended supplemental materials in the Websites and Videos section on Blackboard.

When you use key terms from the reading handouts please put them in bold or highlight them. To use a handout question that doesn't have any bold, highlight or make bold a few words from the question.

Please write in short to medium-sized paragraphs (generally five sentences or less per paragraph).

In your first paragraph, please provide an introduction with a general statement about the broad changes you are discussing in your essay. Mention one or more key aspects of society (such as philosophy, government, trade, or artistic expression) that you choose to emphasize.

In your last paragraph, provide a conclusion to tie the essay together. Give the reader one or two insights to walk away with. Tell how the material enriches our lives or helps us understand our world.

2.Second (Chapters 15-18)

Write four essays of about one page (three or four paragraphs) each. Choose four of questions below. Include at least one picture with each essay. Please make sure each essay has different information.

  1. India. What do you find remarkable about postclassical India and the Indian Ocean Basin? Describe key people, places, or cultural developments. Do you see one distinct cultural region, or is it more like a collection of cultures, frequently changing and running into each other?
  2. Christendom. Discuss the two Christian societies in Chapter 16. How was the Byzantine Empire different from the society developing in western Europe? Why do you suppose they did not form one unified society? How do you see both these societies shaping our world?
  3. Nomadic Empires. What do you find notable about the societies of the Mongols and Turks? Describe two of the nomadic empires we studied. How did they change Eurasia?
  4. Africa. What do you find remarkable about the societies of Sub-Saharan Africa? What changes do you see in era from about 1000 to 1500 CE? In what ways do you see Africa becoming more tied into Eurasian cultures? In what ways does it have its own dynamics in this era?
  5. What would you do? Imagine you are a person in one of the societies of Chapters 15-18. Please specify what type of person you are and discuss how your life relates to events in the chapters. Also, discuss at least one cross-cultural interaction you have with people in another society.
  6. Key Terms. Write an essay combining two or three key items (in bold) from the reading handouts for Chapters 15-18. Show how the terms relate to each other, and how they contribute to our understanding of a broader topic. Include a picture for each key term.
  7. You may do a second essay following the directions in Question 6.

3.Third (Chapters 19-21 and Themes)

Please choose four of the topics below. Write four essays, with about 1.5 pages of writing for each essay. Please also include one or more pictures with each essay. Please make sure you answer the questions in a clear and concise way, with short to medium sized paragraphs. You may use information from our course reading and also from the Websites and Videos section.

The first four questions relate to Chapters 19-21. The last four questions relate to the course as a whole; for those questions you will need to examine various time periods.

  1. Europe. Describe some of the political, social, cultural and economic changes in Europe in the era from 1000 to 1500 CE. Which changes do you think were most important for shaping the European society we have seen in more modern times?
  2. 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 Eurasian or African history in this era? In what ways is their development remarkably different?
  3. Oceania. What do you find most remarkable about the Oceanic societies? How do you see these cultures changing in the era from 1000 to 1500 CE? In what ways are they similar to the societies of North and South America in this era? How are they different?
  4. Expanding Horizons. How do you see the world coming together in the era from about 1000 to 1500? Discuss how long-distance trade and cross-cultural interaction impacted three different parts of the world (such as Europe, China, Africa or North America).
  1. 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?
  2. 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.
  1. Economics. Compare and contrast the economies of two different regions (Mesoamerica, India, Oceania, etc.) in various time periods. Tell how the economies grew and changed over time. How did new inventions, agricultural techniques, and business practices change these regions?
  2. Comparative Cultures. Compare the cultural development of two societies in various historical time periods. Discuss how factors such as family, gender, religion, or community life, played a role in the history of each society. How are these societies similar to our own society today?
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