Department standards require that your initial post be at least 250 words long each week. You must respond to at least three of your classmates’ initial posts (threads under your own post are not eligible for credit). Each of your peer responses must be at least 125 words long. Short posts will not be eligible for full credit. Your initial posts are due by 11:55 pm ET on Thursday night. Your peer responses are due by 11:55 pm ET on Sunday night. Late work will be graded in accordance with department policy, as follows:
- Work posted or submitted after the assignment due date will be reduced by 10% of the potential total score possible for each day late up to a total of five days, including forum posts/replies, quizzes, and assignments. Beginning on the sixth day late through the end of the course, late work, including forum posts/replies, quizzes, and assignments, will be accepted with a grade reduction of 50% of the potential total score earned.
Please choose one of the following questions to answer in your initial post. When responding to your classmates, you must respond to at least one person who chose a different question than you did. If all of your posts address the same question, you will not receive credit for one of your peer responses.
1. The textbook explains that the team “Western Civilization” presents difficulties and dissent among historians. It typically refers to Western Europe, but as evidenced from this week’s readings, it also includes the study of the Middle East and northern Africa. These regions enter the discussion in the earliest of times, as far back as pre-history (before the development of written language). What do you think of the terminology that forms the foundation of our course title? How accurate–or not–is the term “Western Civilization?” What might you propose to replace it, if you think it’s inaccurate or inappropriate?
2. One challenge faced by all historians is remaining objective in their research and studies. This requires us to look at information for what it is, not what we want it to be. It also means considering information in its own historical context, rather than through the lens of our own modern age. Why is this important to the studies of history?
3. Out textbook discussed many developments that allowed family groups to form villages, towns, and cities which ultimately came to constitute civilizations. Another source offers this more concise definition: “A way of life based in cities with dense populations organized as political states, large buildings constructed for communal activities, the production of food, diverse economies, a sense of local identity, and some knowledge of writing.”1 Of the aspects listed here, which one do you think was most crucial to the establishment of civilizations? Why? Considering these aspects, which one of the specific civilizations discussed in our readings this week do you think was the most advanced? Why?
4. The first chapter of our textbook emphasized the need for objectivity. In chapter two, however, the use of terms such as “barbarian” or “civilized” to describe various societies. Are these terms objective or subjective? Are these terms helpful or harmful to academic discussions of history?
1. Lynn Hunt, Thomas R. Martin, Barbara H. Rosenwein, R. Po-chia Hsia, and Bonnie G. Smith, The Making of the West: Peoples and Cultures, Volume I: to 1740, 4th edition (Boston: Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2009), 4.
Hunt, Lynn, Thomas R. Martin, Barbara H. Rosenwein, R. Po-chia Hsia, and Bonnie G. Smith. The Making of the West: Peoples and Cultures, Volume I: to 1740. 4th edition. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2009.