Early Medieval Cultures
Compare the development of one specific Islamic and one specific Christian location between 632-1000 C.E. When discussing each location, provide a more specific timeline, and consider adding examples of significant leaders, political and social structures, beliefs, and cultural products (stories, philosophies, theologies, artifacts, art, and architecture). Your comparison should identify similarities and differences in the two religious-based cultures, and also indicate influences they share. Be careful not to compare the religions as a whole but instead focus on a range of cultural elements in your two specific locations because cultures may vary even within one religion depending on time and place. What insight about the historical development of these two cultures did you gain from the comparison?
Step 1: Review the section of the Unit V Study Guide entitled, “Be Careful When Making Historical Assumptions.”
Step 2: Choose two appropriate sources, not including the textbook. At least one source must come from Islam and Christianity by John Renard. Resources should be credible and peer-reviewed by historians and cannot include Wikipedia, Biography.com, History.com, or any other .com site; resources should also not be taken from any type of message board or other encyclopedia-type sites.
Step 3: Complete your research. Choose one interesting comparison that illustrates the main point that you want to make about these cultures during this period. Gather details about your choice.
Compare similar features (known as “comparing like terms”). For example, compare cities to cities, education systems to education systems, technologies to technologies, stories to stories, ideas about the nature of God to ideas about the nature of God, and other features. Make sure you complete the comparison for all features or note why you think there is not a like term for some features.
Comparison includes consideration of both similarities and differences.
Here are some examples to consider:
the promotion and use of learning by leading figures;
the relationship between religious and political authority;
the shaping of artifacts (leader, idea, practice, or structure) by time period and environment;
the shaping of societies by artifacts and whether different people were affected differently; and
the way that different elements of culture reflect power arrangements, goals, hierarchies, and/or challenges.
Step 4: Prepare your introduction, including your thesis statement. A thesis is prepared after you have completed your research and includes the comparison of what you found. It should be a one- or two-sentence statement of the conclusions you drew from the comparison.
Step 5: Write your essay. Your essay must be at least 500 words in length.
Step 6: Reflect on how this comparison paper shaped your understanding of how to practice cultural history ethically, as discussed in the “Be Careful When Making Historical Assumptions” section of the Unit V Lesson. Write one paragraph to be placed after the concluding paragraph of your essay, reflecting on how the guidelines in the unit lesson shaped your understanding of how to use historical evidence, including artifacts, to practice cultural history ethically.
Be sure to consider the following guidelines in your essay.
The introduction should engage the reader and clearly present the essay’s thesis and summarize the main points that clarify your point of view. The last sentence of the introductory paragraph should be your specific thesis.
Organization should clearly present points arranged to illustrate your opening thesis. Paragraph order and organization should clearly present points arranged to illustrate your opening thesis rather than to narrate the chronological story.
Writing should be clear and concise with no spelling, grammatical, or punctuation errors.
The number of sources should meet or exceed any expressed assignment requirements, and the sources should be peer-reviewed or academic in nature. At least one source must be from Islam and Christianity by John Renard.
APA guidelines should be used for reference entries and in-text citations.