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]

Robert Boyle
cabinet of curiosities
"ceci tuera cela?"
Denis Diderot
inkhorn words
"give us back our 11 days"
Henry Oldenburg
Samuel Johnson
Mary Wortley Montague
Royal Society
Thomas Sprat
Tree of Cracow

B. Order
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 development

[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?