his midterm essay

Midterm Exam Questions

World History to 1500 – HIS 1122

Defend or Refute ONE (and only one) of the following statements:

  1. The sciences of genetics, linguistics, geology, and biology provide a complete and incontrovertible picture of humanity’s pre-literate past.

(Hint: This essay should specify what information, or at least what type of information, each of these sciences does illuminate, as well as with what types of information they are less helpful).

  1. Sacred texts (like the Bible, the Vedas, etc.) are completely useless as sources of historical documentation.
  1. Any population of humans that began farming was guaranteed to create a successful empire.

(Hint: This essay should also discuss how such a population would progress from basic agriculture to empire).

  1. The Xia dynasty of China did not actually exist, but were rather a fictional, propagandistic creation of the Shang dynasty.
  1. The Persian Empire conquered Iran, the Middle East, Anatolia (modern-day Turkey), Egypt, and parts of Central Asia with diplomacy, rather than with warfare.
  1. City-states, like (for example) those found in 5th c. BCE Greece, are ultimately ungovernable.

Instructions:

Pick one of the above prompts, and write a clear, nuanced essay that makes an argument that is supported by appropriately-deployed facts and examples from lectures and the textbook.

DO NOT GOOGLE THESE QUESTIONS and copy. You will not earn a good grade. I know the Google results.

You are permitted to bring in one 3” x 5” notecard with anything you want written on it (no typed material is permitted). Please bring a blank blue book (which you can buy at the bookstore) to the exam. You will exchange this blank blue book for another one at the beginning of class.

Be aware: these questions do not have “correct” answers. Your opinion on these questions will not affect your grade. You are being graded solely on the quality of your essays.