Mid-term exam study guide.
March 2, 2009
The mid-term in March 17, 2009 at 9:30 am.
Please bring a blue book.
A. Short Answer Question
You will be given five of the
following, plus five similar items you have not seen, and asked to
identify or define, with a brief example. [10 points]
cabinet of curiosities
"ceci tuera cela?"
"give us back our 11 days"
Mary Wortley Montague
Tree of Cracow
You will be asked to put the items in
two of the following three lists in chronological order. You will
be given a third list that is not on this guide. [6 points]
Chinese Sutra fold, Hebrew Codex, Christian codex, Islamic codex
typography, lithography, xylography,
Society of Antiquarians, Royal Society, Académie Française
C. Short Essay
You will be given three questions
from the following list, from which you must chose two. You will
be given one more compulsory question not on this list. Give
references to the reading where appropriate. [28 points ea for a total
of 84 points]
[i] Robert Heilbroner asked "Is industrial technology the
necessary and sufficient condition for capitalism" Equally, we
might ask "is the computer the necessary and sufficient condition for
the "Information age?" What is the difference between a necessary
and a sufficient condition? Why is the distinction important for trying
to understand the role of technology in society? Give an example from
the reading or class discussion of the difference between the two.
[ii] "The invention of the Greek alphabet, as opposed to all previous
systems, including the Phoenician, constituted an event in the history
of human culture, the importance of which has not as yet been fully
grasped. Its appearance divides all pre-Greek civilizations from those
that are post-Greek." Eric Havelock, "The Preliteracy of the
Greeks." What are some of the cultural developments that Havelock
ascribes to the introduction of the alphabet in Greece? Are there any
advantages to logographic writing systems that Havelock ignores? Be
sure to include examples in your answer.
[iii] What was the relationship of the advent of the dictionaary and
the functioning of public discourse?
[iv] Discuss the significance of Scribner & Cole's work with the
Vai in understanding the difference between literacy and cognitive
[v] Thomas Sprat wrote about seventeenth century superstition that
"this melancholy, this frightful, this Astrological humor disarms mens
hearts, it breaks their courage; it confounds their Councils, it makes
them help to bring such calamities on themselves." In what ways was the
Royal Society a response to this kind of superstition and to the
political and social turmoil of seventeenth-century Britain?
[vi] Elizabeth Eisenstein argues that the printing press was an
important "agent of change." Outline some of the areas which it
affected and show how it worked. Discuss how we may or may not
assess the extent to which the changes that followed print were the
result of the technology.
[vii] Why was it so hard to predict the spring equinox
accurately? Why did it matter? Who was involved in establishing
the new calendar to set the equinox, and what kinds of political
and social resistance did it meet with and why?