Assignment: In a 10-15 page-essay (not Q&A), answer the following questions on Robert Marks book, ORIGINS OF THE MODERN WORLD, which deals with globalization and the rise of the West. You may rearrange the questions to facilitate the flow of your essay; but remember to answer all questions and all parts of a question to avoid losing credit. Indicate which edition of the book youre using. Note that the purpose of this assignment is three-fold: (i) It is to present students with an alternative view of human history. (ii) It is to give students practice in unpacking a dense reference, which is what you will need to do for your future research papers in your advanced courses and for your senior thesis. (iii) It is to provide students with background on colonialism and imperialism, which will be covered in this course. 1. In his introduction, Marks asks if the rise of the West was inevitable. (a) What is the usual narrative about the Wests rise to dominance? And what is Marks view of it? (b) What does he mean by contingency, accident, and conjuncture? (c) What is the authors alternative narrative? 2. Marks deals with the ecological aspects of human history. (a) What is meant by the biological old regime (BOR)? (b) How did the ecological aspects of human activity intersect with other kinds of phenomena or developments that shaped society; and what were the results? 3. The author describes an early world system before the rise of modern globalization. (a) What was the world like before Columbus accidental discovery of the Western Hemisphere? How old was this system in the Eastern Hemisphere? (b) What was Europes place in the pre-Columbian world system? (c) What blocked Europes expansion to the East? (d) Which countries or regions were active or dominant in this world system? How did accidents, contingencies and conjunctures influence the dominance of these powers? 4. In the period after 1500, what changed the world system? (a) What were the interrelationships among the following developments; and which were accidents, contingencies and conjunctures? (i) the Columbian Exchange, (ii) the Great Dying, (iii) labor problems in the New World, (iv) the discovery of silver, (v) sugar, (vi) slavery, (vii) European nation-state building, and (viii) mercantilism. (b) How did wars in Europe lead to new institutions, policies and practices? And why does Marks see the Seven Years War of 1756-63 as the first world or global war rather than the Great War of 1914-1918? 5. The Industrial Revolution was a transformative development that enabled some European countries and later America to acquire wealth and power. The usual narrative is that the Industrial Revolution started in England and resulted from the Wests Scientific Revolution. What is Marks view of this narrative, as well as his perception of the Scientific Revolution? 6. Marks discusses convergences and divergences. (a) What convergences were there between the East and the West, i.e. what eventually caused them to reach parity with each other in terms of wealth, and when? (b) What caused the East and the West to diverge; when & by how much? (c) What divergences existed within the West, according to Marks? E.g. Was Englands Industrial Revolution a universal experience even among Western nations? Did most of Europe and North America industrialize? What were the experiences of those Western states that attempted industrialization; and how were they similar to and/or different from Englands? (d) How did the Industrial Revolution impact Western societies, socially and in other ways? (e) What was/were the impact(s) of coal, steam, iron, nitrogen and oil on the BOR? I.e. How did such elements help some countries break out of the constraints/limits of the BOR into a new biological regime? And what problems did this new biological regime create in its turn? 7. The Industrial Revolution also affected areas beyond the West. (a) What impact(s) did the Industrial Revolution have on non-Western societies? (b)Which non-Western country industrialized first? How was this development related to or affected by imperialism? Did this countrys industrialization follow the English model; or did it diverge from Englands experience? 8. Besides industrialization, colonialism and imperialism were two other transformative developments for both Western and non-Western societies. (a) What is the difference between the two? How are they similar or overlapping? (b) How did they impact societies within the West and beyond it? E.g. What were the domestic or internal changes that colonialism/imperialism had on countries? (c) What was the conjuncture of tea, silver and opium; and how did these lead to new developments in areas beyond the West? 9. Marks notes a number of other developments arising from the modernization of the West, which affected domestic and international affairs. Explain what the following are, and how they impacted societies in the West & beyond it: (a) Ruralization; (b) bust and boom cycles; (c) the rise of the modern state & modern nation-state; (d) biological and Social Darwinism; (e) eugenics and the different hierarchies based on it (describe those hierarchies).
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