Assignments

Essay 1

The first version of this essay should be submitted by Session 7. The essay + draft will be worth 20 points: 3 points for the draft, 17 for the final essay.

Guidelines

  • Include a title and your name on a single line at the top of your essay
  • Indent paragraphs; do not quadruple space between paragraphs
  • Double space between lines; use 1" margins all around
  • Use Times or Times New Roman font; 12 point
  • Short essays should be between 4–4.5 pages
  • The essay should have a good, strong arguable thesis
  1. In his Bound Together, Chanda notes: “The relocation of peoples forced by empires brought in new languages, foods, dress, customs and cultures, a skein that would grow into an internconnected world” (192). Chamoiseau’s “The Old Man Slave and the Mastiff” is set in the Francophone Caribbean at a time when it belonged to one of the largest empires in history. Argue either that the characters absorb customs and cultures because of their relocation or that they cling to their past in a way that puts Chanda’s quote into question.
  2. In the article “What Andalusia Can Teach Us Today…” the author, Akbar Ahmed, identifies two different strains of thought that emerged in early Islam after Baghdad was sacked. One, articulated by Rumi, was open and accepting. The other, articulated by Taymiyyah, was exclusionary and aggressive. Based on your reading of Chanda, Menocal and the articles on ISIS, argue either that the Andalusian vision of an inclusive Islamic world can be resotred today or that only a fundamentalist rigid interpretation of Islam cna prevail. 
  3. In his introduction to The Ornament of the World, Harold Bloom says: “I come away from a reading of Menocal’s book with a sense of loss, another tribute to her evocative power. Our current multiculturalism, the blight of our universities and of our media, is a parody of the culture of Cordoba and Granada in their lost prime.” What does Bloom mean? Is multiculturalism today different from the tolerance exhibited by the societies of Al-Andalus? Do you agree with him? Either for or against Bloom’s position.