Read: selections from Menocal: The Ornament of the World
- What were some of the cultural characteristics of Al-Andalus?
- What was going on in Christian Europe between the fall of classical civilization and the end of the Middle Ages (more or less 1492)?
- What were some of the competing Moslem groups?
- What new forms of hybrid groups emerged?
- Think about: “The enemy of my enemy is my friend” as a political philosophy:does it still exist today? Consider examples. (Taliban, Shah of Iran, Battista in Cuba)
- Why was the battle “Las Navas de Tolosa” important?
- Why did the “spell of Arabic” take over Al-Andalus? What was Latin associated with? What is Mozarabic?
- Why were the “ring songs” (lyrical songs) so important? How did they break the rules of classical Arabic poetry; why were the refrains important?
Read: Chanda, Ch. 2
- Chanda and Menocal describe multi-cultural universes linked through trade. How do you predict the emergence of rapid transportation and the electronic revolution will change cultural diasporas?
- Why was the evolution of the “Arabian saddle” crucial for trade between 500 BCE and 200 BC?
- What was the Silk Road? Where did it go? Why was it important?
- Why did the speed of boats remain stable between 1st century CE and 1780? How did that affect cultural exchange?
- Who was Ben Yiju? Why was his story important?
- What are government chartered trading companies? Why is their emergence important? (think of the British and Dutch East India Company)
- What inventions speeded world trade?
- How did the invention of bills of exchange change commerce? When was the first credit card invented?
- When was the bar code invented? Why was it crucial for international trade?
- HTML, lasers, fiber-optics, computers=24 hr. a day marketplaces—virtual trade: will this change cultural exchange?