Tag Archives: asian-pacific history

Cultural Literacy: Joseph Stalin

After the historic (and historically disgraceful) events at the United States Capitol building yesterday, I can think of no better time to post this Cultural Literacy worksheet on Joseph Stalin. N.B. that unlike the preponderance of Cultural Literacy materials posted on Mark’s Text Terminal, this is a full-page (as opposed to half-page) document with six questions. In other words, it is suitable for use as an independent practice (i.e. homework) assignment, or for an in-class guided inquiry with struggling and emergent readers.

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.

Mogul (n)

It’s the Word of the Day at Merriam-Webster, and I was surprised to find I hadn’t already prepared work on it. So here, belatedly, I guess, is a context clues worksheet on the noun mogul. I’ve written the sentences in this document to reflect the meaning of this noun as “a person of rank, power, or influence.”

Don’t forget that this word comes to us from the noun Mughal, which means “an Indian Muslim of or descended from one of several conquering groups of Mongol, Turkish, and Persian origin.” In other words, if you’re teaching globals studies, world history, or whatever your school district names this area of study, this is a word students might need to know.

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.

United Nations

Now seems like a perfect time to post this reading on the United Nations and its accompanying vocabulary-building and comprehension worksheet. Every person on this planet would benefit, I not so humbly submit, to consider themselves members of the United Nations–all species on earth would similarly benefit, I think.

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.

Multiculturalism

“Multiculturalism: This movement focuses primarily on changing traditional canons throughout the humanities. With the expansion of canonical traditions and exposure of students at all levels to artists, writers, and historical movements previously marginalized in general bodies of knowledge, the next generation is expected to have a better grasp of an increasingly diverse society in a world in flux. In the realm of art in the United States, this has resulted in a greater emphasis on and interest in non-Western art and on works produced in communities without previous access to museum and gallery exposure (e.g. African-Americans, Hispanic-Americans, Asian-Americans, women, gays, and lesbians).”

Excerpted from: Diamond, David G. The Bulfinch Pocket Dictionary of Art Terms. Boston: Little Brown, 1992.

2 Hands—10 Fingers

“The prime motivation behind the power of 10 is that you can with some authority recite your list of laws, prophets or gods as you tick off each of your ten fingers from a pair of hands, So the decision to decimate a rebel legion, to take tithe of a tenth of the harvest as tax or to rule for a decade seems logical, absolute, and ordained. The decimal system which now rules our numerical world, our wealth, our conception of time and distance derives from dekm—the Indo-Aryan word for ‘two hands,’ the power of ten.”

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.

Salman Rushdie

In memory of Samuel Paty, and in honor of teachers everywhere struggling to promote and conduct free and open inquiry, and as a cautionary tale about religious orthodoxy and extremism across the globe, I offer without further comment this reading on Salman Rushdie and its attendant vocabulary-building and comprehension worksheet.

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.

Ancient Near Eastern Art

“Ancient Near Eastern Art: Collective term for the art of ancient cultures (ca. 3500 B.C. to ca. 650 A.D.) in Mesopotamia, Iran, and the Levant. Some of the most important were Sumerian (Mesopotamia), Assyrian (Mesopotamia, the Levant), Hittite (Anatolia), and Achaemenian, Parthian, and Sassanian Persian (Iran).”

Excerpted from: Diamond, David G. The Bulfinch Pocket Dictionary of Art Terms. Boston: Little Brown, 1992.

Akbar the Great

He’s an important, indeed representative figure, of the Mughal Empire, so here is a reading on Akbar the Great along with its accompanying vocabulary-building and comprehension worksheet.

At this writing, with the rising tide of Hindu Nationalism engendered by the current Indian prime minister, Narendra Modi and his Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), this is a timely reading. That the BJP has worked to revise Indian social studies texts to minimize and trivialize the role of Muslims (like Akbar) makes this vital reading.

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.

7 Notes

“Do * Re * Mi * Fa * So * La * Ti

As early as the seventeenth century, European musicians believed that this mnemonic for teaching musical pitch was derived from a Muslim source, though we now think this may itself lead back to a Sanskrit Bronze Age hymn. There is an equally strong tradition that it came from the first letters of each phrase of an eighth-century hymn to Saint John which goes: ‘So that these your servants can, with all their voice, sing your wonderful feats, clean the blemish of our spotted lips, O Saint John’—or, rather, in Latin, ‘Ut queant laxis resonare fibris, Mira gestorum famuli tuorum, Solve pollute labii reatum, Sancte Ioannes.’

However, for most of us the whole seven-not mnemonic is intrinsically bound up in Julie Andrews’ teaching the Von Trapp children to sing in the film The Sound of Music. This is one of the most beloved propaganda films of all time, creating an emotional case for excluding the inhabitants of the beautiful mountain scenery from any complicity with the war crimes of Nazi Germany. ‘Doe a deer, a female deer, Ray, a drop of golden sun, etc.’”

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.

Media Art

“Media Art: When ‘media’ refers to the mass media rather than to a particular art medium, this term refers to a trend in art production that involves the representation of representations, i.e., the depiction or deconstruction of mainstream images of those societal groups traditionally marginalized and depicted as stereotypes (e.g., African-Americans, Hispanics, Asian-Americans, gays and Lesbians). It has also come to include works appearing in mass media spaces, such as those usually reserved for advertising. Jenny Holzer’s fake television commercials on MTV are directed to an audience that might never enter a museum.”

Excerpted from: Diamond, David G. The Bulfinch Pocket Dictionary of Art Terms. Boston: Little Brown, 1992.