Bruce A. McMenomy, Ph.D. and Christe A. McMenomy, Ph.D. for Scholars Online
2018-19: Mondays and Wednesdays, 4:00 - 5:30 p.m. Eastern Time
45: Wed, Feb 20, 2019
Please post in the forum for the day a short essay in response to this question:
In looking at sub-Saharan Africa for the last unit, we explored some of the practical limitations of studying the history of a society that left so few written records over so much of its existence. Here we seem to be confronting some of the same problems — but they aren’t exactly the same. Whereas Europe and the Middle East were at least fitfully in touch with sub-Saharan Africa, and with the penetration of Islam into the region, there was a constant flow of trade goods and written ideas, pre-Columbian America was cut off from any external history-making perspectives. Some of the meso-American cultures in particular (Olmecs, Mayans, and Aztecs) did develop writing and did in fact keep historical records — and yet often (or at least too often) destroyed them when there was a change in political power or perspective. How, then, is this different from what we saw in Africa, and (in particular) what are some of its unique problems? Consider:
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