HIST 15: WORLD HISTORY, 1500-1900 (Assignment #1)

Choose one of the following options and answer it with a formal essay of about three (no more than four) double-spaced pages. Be sure that your essay has a thesis statement and effective topic sentences starting each body paragraph – you should think of these as sub theses. This is not a test of right and wrong answers. Stronger and weaker answers depend on how well they are argued and supported with specific evidence from the readings.

DO NOT pursue any outside research or try to Google an answer.

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Option 1: How do the griots in Conrad’s “Sundiata” or Niane’s “Sunjata”(only pick one) , Diaz in “Conquest of New Spain”, and de las Casas in “Tears of the Indians”, depict women’s agency? Do you see any clues or reasons to question the extent of women’s agency depicted? Be sure to answer both questions with specific examples from the texts.


Option 2: To what extent can you find evidence for a polycentric (multipolar) world in “Sundiata”/”Sunjata”, “Conquest of New Spain”, and “Tears of the Indians”? Does this evidence match the griots’ and authors’ own perspective of the world? Be sure to answer both questions with specific examples from the texts.


Objective: Both options practice reading texts for details about the past, and assessing the details and narratives by thinking about the authors’ own perspectives.


You do not need to consider all of the texts or both questions equally, but you do need to consider them all substantially.


Citing: You must refer directly to the readings, use page numbers for ALL evidence and quotations, provide a reference list (if using parenthetical referencing) or endnotes (neither count in your essay’s three pages nor does any cover page you might include).

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