Monday, March 14, 2011

History 111 Final

Here is the final I gave my History 111 students today. It covers the mix of topics we covered this quarter, Cicero, Spartacus, Christian apocalypticism, the Reformation and religion wars and Giordano Bruno. Readers will likely get a kick out of my second essay question and the bonus. Like this blog, I do try to keep my classes interesting.

I. Identify (Pick 7) – 35 pts.

1. Millennium

2. Urban II

3. Crassus

4. Charles V

5. St. Jerome

6. Verres

7. John Calvin

8. John Hus

9. St. Bartholomew’s Day Massacre

10. Triumph

II. Short Answers (Pick 5) – 40 pts.

1. Was Rome a deeply religious society? Give specific examples.

2. Describe Tiro’s position in life. Do you see him as a victim of the Roman system?

3. Define martyrdom. What purpose does it serve a religion? In which periods did the Church encourage martyrdom and in which did they discourage it? Why?

4. What is the difference between a “top-down” and “bottom-up” strategy? Give an example of each.

5. Was Erasmus an opponent of the Catholic Church? What happened at the end of Erasmus’ life to make him appear so “dangerous?” Why did this event change how Erasmus was perceived?

6. According to Norman Cohn, what attracts people to “apocalyptic” beliefs? Do modern day Christian apocalyptics in the United States fit into Cohn’s model?

7. What were some of the popular beliefs in the mid 14th century as to the cause of the Black Death?

III. Essays (Pick 1) – 60 pts.

1. Giordano Bruno was a philosopher who believed in heliocentrism and was executed by the Catholic Church as a heretic. Yet at the same he was also very much a man of the sixteenth century. What elements in Bruno’s character make him different from modern people? Do you see Bruno as a scientist or as a magician? Was Bruno a skeptic trying to bring down Church dogma with reason or was he, like many in his time, a person of faith trying to work his way out of a religious crisis brought about through the Reformation?

2. Imagine that you are trying to interest either a powerful film producer or a mad king, who might chop off your head in the morning because he thinks that all women are naturally traitorous, in a story about Spartacus. Give me a summary of the story you would choose to tell. Feel free to take all the historical liberties you desire as long as you justify your decisions in terms of “narrative thinking.”

Bonus (5 pts.)

Why, since the 1960s, have many religious people (such as my aunt) begun wearing longer sleeves and skirts? Are they leading a revival to bring things back to the way they once were?


Clarissa said...

LOVE the exam. Will you be willing to provide an answer to the Bonus question? maybe after the students write the exam?

What wouldn't I have given to get my students come to my class on Hispanic Civilization with at least some of this knowledge.

Izgad said...

I posted the exam after the test was taken.

The response I was looking for was a) My aunt is playing out the "conservative playbook" and trying to "go back" to a time when all women dressed like this.
b) My aunt is trying to demonstrate that she is not part of the big "them," all those liberal women out there who in the 1960s turned away from traditional values. The irony of this is that by doing this my aunt makes herself just as much a product of the 1960s social changes as the liberals she is trying to make war against.

If you want I could do a full post one the topic. It is one of the things I have been planing on writing about for a while.

Clarissa said...

I think that would make for a fascinating post.

"The irony of this is that by doing this my aunt makes herself just as much a product of the 1960s social changes as the liberals she is trying to make war against."

-That's how collective identity always works: it reaffirms one part of the binary opposition by denying it and structuring one's one existence as a response to it.