1. Why might the Muslim conquests of northern India be seen as less favorable to cultural progress than was the expansion of Islam in the Mediterranean area?
  2. "Islam stood at the opposite pole from the religions of India." Explain this statement.
  3. What problems were created by, and what were the results of, the Islamic impact upon Hinduism?
  4. What changes in Indian society can be noted during the years of the Muslim kingdoms?
  5. What were the similarities between the bhakti and sufi religious movements?
  6. How did Sufism help implant Islam in India?
  7. Who was Sankara, and what were his contributions?
  8. Why was Buddhism disappearing from India while it was thriving in other Asian countries? Why did Hinduism survive in India?
  9. In what sense did the Song period mark a watershed in the evolution of Chinese civilization?
  10. Compare the traditional position of women in India with that in China. What changes can you identify in women's position in these two civilizations? How do you account for any changes you see?
  11. Trace the role of the state in Chinese civilization from the Song through the Ming dynasties.
  12. Why did non-Chinese regimes adopt Chinese-style dynastic titles and many aspects of Chinese governance?
  13. Trace the process of consolidation of power in the person of the Chinese emperor from the Song to the Ming dynasty.
  14. What were the reasons for the remarkable growth in the Chinese economy from the Song to the Ming periods?
  15. What concrete factors contributed to either the improvement or the decline in the position of women in China during the Song-Ming period?
  16. Why did the Ming dynasty collapse?
  17. In what ways were the Mongols effective rulers of China? In what ways were they ineffective?
  18. "In the end the greatest weakness of the Mongols was in ideology." Explain this statement, and discuss what it tells us about Chinese civilization.
  19. What important cultural developments took place under the Yuan and Ming dynasties?
  20. Explain the statement that Zhu Xi's neo-Confucianism "bridged the gap" between the traditional concerns of Confucianism and the concerns of Buddhism and Daoism.
  21. What aspects of feudalism developed in Japan?
  22. Explain the dual system of government that developed in Japan beginning in the late twelfth century. How was it related to Japanese feudalism? Why did the Shoguns not abolish the office of emperor?
  23. How was the character of Japanese feudalism changing in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries?
  24. Trace the essential aspects of economic change in sixteenth-century Japan.
  1. Read Marco Polo's account of conditions in China in the late thirteenth century. From other sources, try to determine the accuracy and reliability of his account.
  2. Henry Wallace, United States Secretary of State under President Franklin Roosevelt, is said to have derived some of his ideas from the Chinese reformer Wang Anshi. Compare Wang's proposals with the "New Deal" agricultural program of the 1930s.
  3. Investigate the "Neo-Confucianism" of Zhu Xi and compare it with the scholastic philosophy which was developing in western Europe at approximately the same time.
  4. Sankara, Zhu Xi, and Thomas Aquinas (among others) have all been described as synthesizers. Explore the motivations behind their endeavors, and the results that stemmed from them. How do you account for the urge on the part of some thinkers to create a coherent synthesis out of numerous existing strands of thought?
  5. Investigate further any of the following: a) the origin and characteristics of the Rajputs in India; b) the career of Timur; c) Zen Buddhism; d) the No drama; e) the Chinese theatre; f) Chinese landscape painting; g) the Hindu empire of Vijayanagar; h) Chinese navigation under the Ming; i) the development of printing in China; j) the code of the samurai.
  6. Describe the "profound transformation" in Chinese society during the Song period.
  7. Investigate conflicting views of the effects of the Mongol conquest of China. (For an example of a negative judgment, see C. P. Fitzgerald, China: A Short Cultural History.)
  8. Read Arthur Waldron's The Great Wall of China. Pay particular attention to the stages in the building of the wall, the wall's purpose, and the extent to which it accomplished its purpose.
  9. Analyze the similarities and differences between developments in China and Japan from the tenth to the seventeenth century.
  10. For all of its great technological innovations, China did not experience a "scientific revolution" as occurred in the West. Explore the reasons for this.
  11. It is known that China possessed great skill in navigation, and had ships capable of long voyages. Study the question of why China did not engage in extensive exploration and colonization comparable to that undertaken by countries of the West.
  12. Read Journey to the West and analyze its allegorical nature. Compare this with works of allegory in Western literature, such as Dante's The Divine Comedy or John Bunyan's Pilgrim's Progress.
  13. Some scholars have suggested that austerity is a trait that No drama, Zen Buddhism, and warrior rule all have in common. Come to your own conclusion as to whether or not this is true. What dominant characteristics can you identify in Japanese culture through the fifteenth century?
  14. Why did feudalism develop in some places, but not in others? For background information, consult Peter Duus, Feudalism in Japan, and Rushton Coulborn, ed., Feudalism in History.


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REVIEW: World Civilizations
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