Unless it explains, history is trivial.
Write a short persuasive essay agreeing or disagreeing with a common interpretation about the topic and expressing your own view
Write your interpretation in a 1200-1800 word essay.
It’s time to put on our thinking caps and interpret the significance of what we’ve been exploring! Unless it explains, history is trivial. Did you discover anything unexpected this week that needs to be explained? What surprised you this week? Did you make any unexpected discoveries? What was the most meaningful part of your explorations this week?
In your explorations of science in Asia, you encountered many different, sometimes contradictory explanations. Interpretations have varied immensely over time, and continue to be disputed even today.
For example, until the 20th century, most Europeans would have agreed with the following assessment, written by Francis Bacon in 1620. Bacon championed the new era of modern discovery by pointing to three supreme novelties: printing, gunpowder, and the magnet. Bacon explained that these three discoveries…
“were unknown to the ancients;… their origin, though recent, is obscure and inglorious. For these three have changed the whole face and state of things throughout the world; the first in literature, the second in warfare, the third in navigation; whence have followed innumerable changes, insomuch that no empire, no sect, no star seems to have exerted greater power and influence in human affairs than these mechanical discoveries.”
Francis Bacon, 1620
These three transformational inventions, namely, printing, gunpowder and the magnet, may have been novelties in Europe, but they had long been known in ancient China. How ironic that the very discoveries Bacon singled out as the pinnacle of modern European achievement actually had an ancient pedigree in Asia.
In this course we have surveyed the natural knowledge of at least eight cultures so far, including Mesopotamian, Egyptian, Hellenic, Hellenistic, Roman, Islamic, Indian, and Chinese. Given what you have learned about science in these cultures, defend or critique the thesis that:
"The growth of western science cannot be understood apart from rich and sustained interactions between multiple cultures."
This thesis is one of the organizing principles of this course. Do you find that it illuminates your understanding of the history of science to the age of Newton?
What is the most significant implication of what you have learned this week?
What is your interpretation?"
Instructions for Interpretation assignments:
Here is the text of the Desire2Learn Gradebook Declaration:
(7 points) I have posted my Interpretation at Confluence. My Interpretation shows that I have thought about BOTH Context and Evidence assignments for this week. I have done a word count, and my Interpretation is at least 600 words min. My word count does NOT include the original question I am responding to, any quotations from assigned readings, or the two notes at the end of the essay.(7 points) I have posted an Interpretation at Confluence that is at least 1200 words min. and no more than 1800 words max.
(1 point) My Interpretation contains an explanation of how I came up with my point of view (not part of the word count)..
(1 point) My Interpretation contains a sentence explaining the genre or style of writing I adopted (not part of the word count).
(2 points) My Interpretation contains a citation or link to at least one relevant source (such as the assigned readings) including either a primary source or a secondary source written by an author with demonstrable knowledge of the primary sources.
(2 points) My Interpretation contains a citation or link to at least two relevant sources (such as the assigned readings) including either a primary source or a secondary source written by an author with demonstrable knowledge of the primary sources.
Do you have a great quote for this page? Let me know! (If used, a new quote is worth 1 point extra credit)
This course is currently undergoing major reconstruction to bring it into alignment with the new version of the course at Janux