Weekly Discussion Questions

The writer is free to pick on one that they are comfortable writing about

Write an essay of at least 300 words that addresses each item in one of the following question sets. Note which question you are answering in your post:

  1. Lynda Shaffer’s article is a ‘revisionist’ work. Having read this work, define revisionism. Provide examples from “Southernization” to show how her work challenged your view (or the dominant view as you understand it) of human history. 
  2. Is the History of Technology addressed thoroughly enough in teaching history as a whole? Is it addressed incorrectly? For example, should technology be seen as something that determines the course of a particular society, or is the development of a civilization and its values more complex than this? How does Solange Ashby’s article on Sahelian Africa & The Central African Ironsmiths relate to the teaching of the History of Technology?

  3. Compare Leo Marx’s and Jared Diamond’s perspectives on progress. Which is more persuasive and why? How do their perspectives of progress square with Stephanie Guerin-Yodice’s chapter on Ancient Mesopotamia & The Fertile Crescent? 

  4. The underlying assumption for many modern people is that technology = progress. Is this true? What does progress mean? What are some of the many ways people define progress?
  5. In Martin Odler’s piece on Ancient Egyptian Metallurgy, where do you see “cultural conservatism” at work? Tie your thoughts to Marx or Diamond’s theory of progress. 
  6. This class is entitled “Technological Transformations,” and the focus is on progress as a product of technology.  Drawing on this week’s readings as an introduction to the topic, discuss what you expect to learn in this class.  What is the importance of Aristotle, Archimedes, and the concept of southernization to the big picture?

Your Initial Post is expected to be a 300-word prose essay, with a thesis statement and 2-5 paragraphs supporting and explaining the thesis. Remember to base your response on information and analysis from the readings. Cite the information and analysis you provide. Explain what you learned in your own words, and do your best to synthesize the authors’ analyses into your own original analysis; do not rely exclusively on quotations from the readings to make your points.

Your response should be around 300 words and include a thesis statement and the 2-5 paragraphs. So, in other words you have a thesis statement, 2-5 paragraphs and that should add up to approximately 300 words.

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