Category Archives: Social Sciences

You’ll find domain-specific material designed to meet Common Core Standards in social studies, along with adapted and differentiated materials that deal with a broad array of conceptual knowledge in the social sciences. See the Taxonomies page for more about this category.

Bhartrihari

“Bhartrihari: (7th century AD) Hindu poet. Bartrihari is considered by many to be the greatest writer of Sanskrit lyric poetry. Some of his verses have been widely translated, under the titles Good Conduct, Passion of Love, Renunciation. It is disputed whether or not he is the grammarian of the same name and author of Vakyapadiya (Treatise on Words and Sentences), who probably lived in the 6th century AD.”

Excerpted from: Murphy, Bruce, ed. Benet’s Reader’s Encyclopedia, Fourth Edition. New York: Harper Collins, 1996.

Cultural Literacy: Hinduism

Here is a Cultural Literacy worksheet on Hinduism. This is a full-page document; the reading is four sentences long from which five comprehension questions follow. Hinduism–particularly its lineage leading to Buddhism–is a complex subjects to which. I’ll hazard a guess, entire academic careers are dedicated. Accordingly, there is a compound sentence in the middle of this reading on Hinduism and the caste system that may cause a bump in the road for emergent readers and new users of the English language.

If you find typos in this document, I would appreciate a notification. And, as always, if you find this material useful in your practice, I would be grateful to hear what you think of it. I seek your peer review.

Ahmadabad

“Ahmadabad: City (population 2020: 8,253,000) Gujarat state west central India. It is located on the Sabarmati River 260 miles (467 kilometers) north of Bombay, Founded in 1411 by Sultan Ahmad Shah, Ahmadabad reached its height later that century but subsequently declined. It was revived under Mughal emperors in the 17th century and came under British rule in 1818. With the opening of cotton mills in 1859, it became India’s largest inland industrial center. The city is associated with Hindu nationalism; Mahatma Gandhi’s political agitation began there in 1930.”

Excerpted from: Stevens, Mark A., Ed. Merriam Webster’s Collegiate Encyclopedia. Springfield, Massachusetts: Merriam-Webster, 2000.

Buddhism

“Buddhism  A major world religion numbering over 300 million followers (exact estimates are impossible since Buddhism does not preclude other religious beliefs). Early Buddhism developed from Hinduism thought the teaching of Siddartha Gautama and his disciples, around 5th century BC in northern India. Under leaders such as the emperor Asoka, who converted to Buddhism and encouraged it spread, the religion provided a stabilizing structure throughout India. Offering a way to salvation that did not depend on caste or the ritualism of the Brahmin priesthood of Hinduism, and strengthened by a large, disciplined monastic order (the sangha), it made a very great impact; but by the end of the 1st millenium AD it had lost ground to a resurgent Hinduism, and the subsequent Muslim invasions virtually extinguished it in India. Meanwhile, however, monks had taken the faith all over Asia, to central and northern areas now in Afghanistan, Mongolia, China, Japan, Korea and Vietnam; and in south and southeast Asia to Sri Lanka, Myanmar (Burma), Thailand, Cambodia and Laos. The final phase of Buddhist expansion, after the 7th century, saw the emergence of Tantric and Tibetan Buddhism.

Owing to its linguistic diversity and geographical extent, Buddhist teaching, scripture and observance are complex and varied, but certain main doctrines are characteristic. Buddhism asserts that all phenomena are linked together in an endless chain of dependency. Buddhism teaches that the suffering of the world is cause by desire conditioned by ignorance, but that by following the path of the Buddha, release from the cycle of rebirth can be achieved….”

Excerpted from: Wright, Edmund, Ed. The Oxford Desk Encyclopedia of World History. New York: Oxford University Press, 2006.

The Weekly Text, 20 May 2022, Asian Pacific American Heritage Month Week III: A Reading and Comprehension Worksheet on The Dalai Lama

In its continuing observance of Asian Pacific American Heritage Month 2022, Mark’s Text Terminal offers this reading on The Dalai Lama with its attendant vocabulary-building and comprehension worksheet.

Were you aware that the succession of the Dalai Lama has become primarily a political, rather than spiritual, process? Neither had the Tibetans who await the next reincarnation of the Dalai Lama–Martin Scorsese did a fine job of relating this process in his film Kundun. I’ve followed this story for several years. I don’t know about you, but I watch with interest to see the outcome. That may mean two Dalai Lamas enter the world stage after Tenzin Gyatso, the current (14th) Lama, leaves this world: one a geopolitical figure representing China, the other serving Tibetan Buddhists wherever they may be in their diaspora.

If you find typos in these documents, I would appreciate a notification. And, as always, if you find this material useful in your practice, I would be grateful to hear what you think of it. I seek your peer review.

Vinaya–The 227 Rules

Vinaya are the 227 rules by which a Buddhist monk of the Theravada tradition must conduct himself—conspicuous in his orange robes, shaven head, and barefoot—though he is free to disrobe himself of this obedience at any time.

As the Buddha’s preaching and influence spread, it became the habit of his various beggar-followers to gather together during the time of the monsoon, when traveling was impossible. In these informal forest gatherings, his followers would ask for guidance about the various practical problems that had come their way, The Buddha’s responses were not written down during his lifetime but three months after his death it is believed that his chief followers recited what they could remember, dividing this oral spiritual inheritance into either Dharma ‘doctrine’ or Vinaya ‘discipline.’ There were 227 pieces of Vinaya advice for male followers—and 311 for women. An attempt was made to order them into some sort of priority but this was abandoned. By the time of the Third Buddhist Council, assembled at the invitation of the Emperor Ashoka, this heritage had already expanded into eighteen different scholarly traditions.

The Theravada tradition is that followed in modern Burma, Cambodia, Laos, Thailand and Sri Lanka.”

Excerpted from: Rogerson, Barnaby. Rogerson’s Book of Numbers: The Culture of Numbers–from 1,001 Nights to the Seven Wonders of the World. New York: Picador, 2013.

Cultural Literacy: Indian Ocean

Here is a Cultural Literacy worksheet on the Indian Ocean. This is a half-page document with a reading of two sentences followed by two comprehension questions. In other words, as Detective Joe Friday liked to say, grimly, on the old Dragnet series, “Just the facts, ma’am” (or sir, though in my memory he is always saying it to women, as though women need constant reminders to remain focused and rational).

If you find typos in this document, I would appreciate a notification. And, as always, if you find this material useful in your practice, I would be grateful to hear what you think of it. I seek your peer review.

Tigris River

“Tigris River: Arabic Shatt Dijla: biblical Hiddekel. River, southeast Turkey and Iraq. It is 1,180 miles (1900 kilometers) long. It originates in the Taurus Mountains at Lake Hazar, Kurdistan, and flows southeast through Turkey and past Baghdad to unite with the Euphrates River at Al Qurnah in southeast Iraq; there it forms the Shatt al Arab. With the Euphrates it defined the ancient religion of Mesopotamia. Important for its irrigation capacity, it gave rise to sustained civilization. The ruins of many ancient cities lie on its banks, including those of Nineveh, Calah, Ashur, Ctesiphon, and Seleucia.”

Excerpted from: Stevens, Mark A., Ed. Merriam Webster’s Collegiate Encyclopedia. Springfield, Massachusetts: Merriam-Webster, 2000.

Cultural Literacy: Euphrates River

This Cultural Literacy worksheet on the Euphrates River is a full-page document with a two-sentence (one of them a longish compound) reading and five comprehension questions. Incidentally, the second sentence in the reading goes thus: “It was important in the development of many great civilizations in ancient Mesopotamia.” Yes it was. It was also important, given the development of agriculture along its banks, to the advancement of our species as a whole–for better or worse, that is.

If you find typos in this document, I would appreciate a notification. And, as always, if you find this material useful in your practice, I would be grateful to hear what you think of it. I seek your peer review.

Abbas I, known as Abbas the Great

“Abbas I known as Abbas the Great: (1571-1629) Shah of Persia 1587-1629. Succeeding his father, Sultan Muhammad Shah, he strengthened the Savafid dynasty by expelling Ottoman and Uzbek troops and creating a standing army. He made Esfahan Persia’s capital, and under Abbas it became one of the world’s most beautiful cities. Persian artistic achievement reached a high point during his reign, when illuminated manuscripts, ceramics, and painting all flourished, and the Portuguese, Dutch, and English competed for trade relations with Persia. Tolerant in public life (he granted privileges to Christian groups) and concerned for his people’s welfare, his fear of personal security and ruthlessness led him to blind or execute many of his immediate family.”

Excerpted from: Stevens, Mark A., Ed. Merriam Webster’s Collegiate Encyclopedia. Springfield, Massachusetts: Merriam-Webster, 2000.