1. How did the Mughal Dynasty of India get its name? Was the title appropriate? Why or why not?
  2. What significant changes in governmental policy were introduced by Akbar? To what extent were they beneficial?
  3. What measures did Akbar take to win the allegiance of his Hindu subjects?
  4. Describe Akbar's unique religious establishment. How successful was it?
  5. In spite of impressive achievements, how did the long reign of Aurangzeb weaken the Mughal state?
  6. How were the Sikhs and the Marathas, respectively, a threat to Mughal power in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries?
  7. Cite specific examples to show that Indian culture of the Mughal period was eclectic and cosmopolitan.
  8. What date would you assign to the final ascendancy of the British over the French in India?
  9. What policies did the Qing emperors adopt to confirm their legitimacy as rulers of China? In what ways did the Chinese and Manchus remain separate?
  10. What was at issue in the "War of the Three Feudatories"? What were its results?
  11. Examine tax policies under Kangxi. What were the purposes behind his policies? What were the strengths and weaknesses of his taxation policies?
  12. What problems were created by China's swelling population during the Qing period? How did the government deal with these problems?
  13. In what respects did the position of women deteriorate during the Qing period? Are there any ways in which it improved?
  14. What did the following Jesuits contribute to China: Matteo Ricci, Ferdinand Verbiest, Giuseppe Castiglione?
  15. What was the Jesuit approach to missionary work in China? What were its advantages and disadvantages? How did it lead them into conflict with other Catholic orders?
  16. How did the "School of Han Learning" contribute to Chinese philosophy and learning? What was the contribution of Gu Yanwu?
  17. What new problems were posed for the governments of both China and Japan by the coming of European traders to their ports? How did the two governments differ in their attempts to handle these problems?
  18. Explain the key features of the government of Japan under the Tokugawa Shoguns. How effective was this government?
  19. What specific measures did the Tokugawa Shoguns take to control the daimyo?
  20. What important economic changes took place in Japan during the Tokugawa period? How did these changes threaten the survival of the Shogunate?
  21. What intellectual and religious trends were at work in Japan that could also undermine the Shogun's position?
  22. Describe the Japanese social hierarchy in theory and in practice. Why did theory and practice sometimes diverge?
  23. Describe the importance of sugar in the African economy during this period. What was the role of sugar in the development of the Atlantic slave trade?
  24. What were the effects of the slave trade on African societies? Give specific examples.
  25. When did the shipment of slaves from Africa directly to the Americas begin, and why?
  26. What were the Portuguese goals in Africa? How successful were they in attaining these goals?
  27. Compare the forms of government in the Oyo and Dahomean empires. In what ways were they similar? In what ways did they differ from one another?
  28. What was the purpose of claims of divinity by African monarchs? How did this divinity manifest itself?
  29. How did the nature of European involvement in Africa change after the opening of the sixteenth century?
  30. How do you explain the flourishing of Asante civilization during the first half of the eighteenth century?
  31. "History took another, more tragic, course in the extreme southwest corner of Africa." Explain this statement.

  1. Every one of the Mughal rulers of India between 1526 and 1707 offers an interesting and colorful subject for study. Akbar was undoubtedly one of the most remarkable personalities ever to govern a state. Look into Akbar's intellectual and religious activities, his relations with Portuguese Jesuits, or his building program.
  2. Examine the contrasts in character and personality among the first three Mughal rulers who succeeded Akbar.
  3. Trace the evolution of the Indo-Muslim style of architecture.
  4. Investigate the origins and development of the religion of the Sikhs.
  5. Analyze the remarkable population growth in China under the Qing Dynasty and its probable causes.
  6. Compare the background, personality, and governing style of Akbar and Kangxi. (For Kangxi, you might start with Jonathan Spence, Emperor of China: Self-Portrait of K'ang Hsi.)
  7. Examine the writings of Voltaire or other leading exponents of the European Enlightenment for evidence of Western awareness of and reactions to Chinese civilization (actual or imagined).
  8. Study the Chinese family system as reflected in the novel Dream of the Red Chamber (trans. C. C. Wang).
  9. Investigate any of these aspects of Chinese culture during the Qing period: the "School of Han Learning"; scholars; painting; architecture; the drama; the cult of Confucius.
  10. "Most specialists now believe that population growth in China had outstripped the carrying capacity of the land at the current level of technology in China by the end of Qianlong's reign." Examine the implications of this statement in light of the English economist Thomas Malthus's famous theory about population growth and resources.
  11. Study the suppression of Christianity by the early Tokugawa Shoguns; the origins and development of Kabuki drama; development of the Japanese wood-block print; or city life in Japan during the Tokugawa period.
  12. Read Thomas C. Smith's The Agrarian Origins of Modern Japan and evaluate his argument about Tokugawa-period economic changes.
  13. Examine African art from this period. Read William Bascom's African Art in Cultural Perspective. What does the art tell you about the societies that produced it?
  14. Explore the role of the missionary impulse in Africa.
  15. Explore in more detail the impact of European rivalries on African history.
  16. Investigate the founding and activities of the Royal African Company.
  17. Study African religious beliefs. How did these religious beliefs affect daily life? How did they affect art? How did they affect interaction with Europeans?


W.W. Norton
REVIEW: World Civilizations
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