As the title suggests, I decided to apply the historical thinking perspective of “Analyzing Cause and Consequence”. Rapa Nui and its islanders underwent a severe collapse as a result of resource shortage. Or was it really because of a resource shortage? In Module 11, Ponting’s parable led me to believe that Rapa Nui’s society went under simply because of a resource shortage that was self-inflicted. With quotes like, “Yet they were unable to devise a system that allowed them to find the right balance with their environment”, it is very easy to jump to that conclusion. …

To answer question D: my conclusion is that there is still much to learn about “Aztec” (Mexica) and the nature of its human sacrifices. There are very few things that historians agree on when it comes to Mexica’s history of human sacrifices. Michael Harner theorized that Mexica’s indigenous peoples performed human sacrifices out of necessity as they lacked a reliable source of protein and fat. Patricia R. Anawalt set out to dispel some common rumors about Mexica’s human sacrifices. Kurly Tlapoyawa, however, did not even think that human sacrifice took place. His perspective is that the Spaniards fabricated human sacrifice…

In this lesson, we assessed change and continuity by comparing Europe prior to the Black Death to Europe after the Black Death. What I learned about assessing change and continuity is to make sure to get enough information. The SCIM-C strategy definitely helps with that, as it provides a great guideline to search for information with. The changes I found to be quite significant were the economic changes. As mentioned in a Slack post, I assessed the difference in medieval peasants’ wages before Yersinia Pestis started spreading to their wages after it had died down.

Surviving peasants found this to…

This unit’s focus on Africa brought many things about it to light in my mind. The first of which was how truly big Africa is. I had no idea that Africa was over 14x the size of Greenland. That just goes to show how inaccurate the scaling and visual representation typically is on maps we use. Another typical inaccuracy is how Africans are represented in media. I already knew that Africans are far more technologically advanced than they are often portrayed in Hollywood movies. What I did not know is the extent of their capabilities. This unit blew my mind…

The context in which organized religion, and more specifically monotheism came about is quite muddy. Abrahamic “traditions” (as Colin Wells calls them) such as Islam, Christianity, and Judaism can all be traced back to one man named Abraham. Many would believe that this is where monotheism began. However, another example might be Stonehenge combined with Durrington Walls. These two monuments were built to face the rising sun on a mid-winter’s day. Historians tend to assume that this meant the ancient Britons who created these monuments worshiped the sun as a god. …

Before I learned more about this topic, historical significance, at face value, meant that it was a big, significant event such as WWI or WWII. However, after learning more about it, my definition of the topic changed entirely. I would consider historical significance to be a combination of personal interest as well as significance to a bigger picture. Even if you are studying something obscure, if you are able to link it to some bigger event that is more historically relevant, you have established its historical significance. A peasant’s life in Rome might not be significant on its own, but…

Prior to this section on Romans, I had no idea that the SCIM-C strategy existed. It is an extremely valuable strategy when it comes to analyzing primary source evidence, but the true value of the SCIM-C strategy transcends analysis and history as a topic. The SCIM-C strategy forces you to drastically change your mindset and look for clues you may not have even considered. The mindset provoked by SCIM-C makes it much easier to be historically empathetic with questions like, “What might have been the purpose of this object?” Questions similar to this one force you to put yourself in…

For this case study, the answer may lie in some middle ground to our core question, “Are there sufficient continuities to justify the claims of the ‘Take Back Yoga’ campaign, or has Yoga changed so dramatically it has become something different?” The reason it may lie in some middle ground is that there are truths to each side of the story. Yoga can be drastically different today than when it first originated (likely thousands of years ago), because as with most other activities, topics, and sciences, it has continually evolved throughout its history. It has been slightly altered many times…

Historical perspectives are hard for most people to take, and for good reason. None of us were around for most of the events being studied! It’s very hard to put yourself in the shoes of an Aztec warrior preparing for battle, or in the shoes of a mad Nazi scientist like Josef Mengele performing morally abhorrent experiments on humans. This doesn’t mean, however, that you should not try to imagine what these historical events were like, and how they differ from the present. This is the core foundation of historical empathy. Historical empathy is vastly different than emotional empathy. To…

Previous to doing this research, I had thought that agriculture carried very few downsides, and inevitably led to the bettering of society. I was deeply misinformed. After finding out more about farming, I’ve found that it is neither A: inevitable, nor B: solely beneficial. Farming comes with a large amount of societal consequences including (but not limited to): non-producing elites, obesity, gender role gaps much wider than those of a hunter-gatherer society, social parasites, malnutrition, overpopulation, and a far higher rate of diseases/ailments. A hunter-gatherer society would suffer almost none of these problems in any significant way. Farming led to…

Nicholas Wagner

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