This assignment provides you with an opportunity to discuss an insight you gained in this unit by comparing the development of one specific Islamic and one specific Christian region in 600–1000 C.E. Using examples of significant leaders, political and social structures, beliefs, and cultural products (stories, philosophies, theologies, artifacts, art, and architecture), note similarities and differences in the two cultures, and also indicate influences they share. What insight about the historical development of these two cultures did you gain from the comparison?
Step 1: Review the section of the Unit V Study Guide entitled, “Be Careful When Making Historical Assumptions.” Be careful not to compare the religions and their development as a whole but instead focus on two specific regions because cultures may vary even within one religion depending on time and place.
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Step 2: Choose two appropriate sources, not including the textbook. At least one source must come from the CSU Online Library. The Academic Search Complete and eBook Academic Collection databases in the CSU Online Library would be good places to start your search. Resources from outside of the library should be credible and peer-reviewed by historians and cannot include Wikipedia, Biography.com, History.com, or any other .com site; resources should also not be taken from any type of message board or other encyclopedia-type sites, including those listed in the CSU Online Library research guides, which are provided for quick reference only and not for paper research.
Step 3: Complete your research. Choose one interesting comparison that illustrates the main point that you want to make about these cultures during this period. Gather details about your choice.
Compare similar features (known as “comparing like terms”). For example, compare cities to cities, education systems to education systems, technologies to technologies, stories to stories, ideas about the nature of God to ideas about the nature of God, and other features. Make sure you complete the comparison for all features, or note why you think there is not a like term for some features.
Comparison includes consideration of both similarities and differences.
Here are some examples to consider:
the promotion and use of learning by leading figures;
the relationship between religious and political authority;
the shaping of artifacts (leader, idea, practice, or structure) by time period and environment;
the shaping of societies by artifacts and whether different people were affected differently; and
the way that different elements of culture reflect power arrangements, goals, hierarchies, and/or challenges.
Step 4: Prepare your introduction, including your thesis statement. A thesis is prepared after you have completed your research and includes the comparison of what you found. It should be a one- or two-sentence statement of the conclusions you drew from the comparison.
Step 5: Write your essay. Your essay must be at least 500 words in length.
Step 6: Reflect on how this comparison paper shaped your understanding of how to practice cultural history ethically, as discussed in the “Be Careful When Making Historical Assumptions” section of the Unit V Lesson. Write one paragraph to be placed after the concluding paragraph of your essay, reflecting on how the guidelines in the unit lesson shaped your understanding of how to use historical evidence, including artifacts, to practice cultural history ethically.