Midterm Exam

THE CITY STATE: SUMER TO SINGAPORE
NHIS 3123A    WILSON    SPRING 2011

Instructions

For each question you answer, use the assigned readings, to provide relevant evidence, then use your own analysis and interpretation of this evidence to make conclusions in response to the question. In other words, your response should consist both of evidence and your analysis of that evidence. Broad speculation and generalizations are less helpful; you must start from what the readings suggest to us.

Remember that all documents are written to convince a reader of some idea and are constrained by point of view and at least unintentional bias. When examining the readings, both the first-hand accounts and the modern scholarly discussions, look beyond what the writer is trying to tell us to find the full range of evidence and attitude a document can provide.

Be specific and use specific examples. You should also deal with (specific) counterexamples.

References to the readings should be cited with the name of the source and the page or section number (e.g., Parker, 123) in the text and a full citation of the work in a Bibliography at the end. Both direct quotes and paraphrases must be cited.

Each answer should be about 23 pages. Due date: 6 p.m. on Thursday, March 24.

Questions

Answer TWO of the following.

1.   Discuss the role of religion in the city-state. Do institutionalized religions seem to be a key component in the formation of the city-state, and if so, what are their common elements?

2.   Hansen suggests in his characteristics of the city-state[1] that its reliant on the participation of the citizen. Do you support this assertion? How does it play out in practice?

3.   In some cases we find that the citizens cultural identity belongs to something broader than his political identity: an Athenian might think of himself as an Athenian but of his culture as Greek, perhaps, and so with other examples of what Hansen calls city-state cultures (e.g., Sumer). What kinds of factors inhibit the fuller expansion of political identity alongside cultural identity, toward a (say) Greek or Sumerian nation? Can this inhibition be generalized as a property of the city-state, or is each case isolated by its own circumstances?



[1] The concepts of city-state and city-state culture.