Final Essay – You are a museum curator who is putting together an exhibit entitled “Empires and World-Systems in Early World History.”

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History 100 Final Examination, Summer 2020

Answer the following question in an essay format. You are allowed to consult all course materials during the exam and must include citations (author and page number(s)) for quoted material. Do not use materials other than course materials to answer these questions and bring in as much specific evidence and information as you can from appropriate lecture materials, textbook readings, non-textbook readings (primary sources and articles), and the course videos. Information coming from non-course materials will not receive any credit. This essay is worth 100 points. You have until 9pm tonight to submit it.

Essay Question: You are a museum curator who is putting together an exhibit entitled “Empires and World-Systems in Early World History.” In putting together the exhibit, you have been able to procure some amazing primary sources: an account from around 100CE of a merchant along the Silk Roads; an account from around 1300 CE of a Muslim on a pilgrimage to Mecca; an account from a crew member on board Zheng He’s treasure fleet in the early 1400s; and an account from 1492 of a crew member on board one of Christopher Columbus’s ships. In an essay, write down what each of these accounts would include, starting with a brief introduction written by the you as the museum curator describing the overall exhibit and defining what a world-system is, then moving on to write what these travelers would have said about their travels. In writing up the travelers’ accounts, pretend you are the traveler and explain the historical context of and motivation for your travel, describing the history of the development of the routes you travel along, the development of the world-systems that made this travel possible, and the things (goods as well as “indirect” products) that were exchanged (or would be exchanged in the future) along the routes you travel. In writing the essay be sure to think about the role of empire, religion, education, trade, and technological innovation that allowed these world-systems to develop. Conclude the essay with a brief note from the you as the curator explaining any overall consequences of these world-systems. In the essay, be sure to write as though you were each of these people, using the first person (I, me, my, etc.): you would write the introduction and conclusion as the museum curator and each of the body paragraphs taking on the persona of each of the travelers. Be sure also to include as much depth and specific evidence as you can from course lectures, videos, and readings.


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