A. What was the importance (or infamy) of Bunce Island?
Bunce Island was once home to the largest slave castle in West Africa. It exported tens of thousands of slaves to North America and the West Indies until the British Parliament closed it down in 1808.
B. Who was Edward Hopper and why was he important?
Edward Hopper is the best-known American realist painter of the inter-war period. Most of his works depict loneliness and the struggle of living in the city. His most famous work is “Nighthawks,” which we saw that the Chicago Art Institute.
C. Who was Telemann?
Telemann is considered to be one of the best German composers of all time. He composed what is now considered “classical music” from 1720 until his death in 1767. We heard selections from Telemann at the Chicago Symphony.
D. What was India's Great Kumbha Mela Pilgrimage?
India’s Great Kumbha Mela Pilgrimage is the largest pilgrimage in the entire world, taking place four times every twelve years. During this gathering, Hindus travel to the Ganges River, where they believe the waters will cleanse them form past sins.
E. What is the Great Rift?
The Great Rift Valley is a name given to the geographic trench, approximately 3,700 miles in length, which runs from northern Syria in Southwest Asia to central Mozambique in East Africa. In millions of years, eastern Africa could break away from the continent to from a separate land mass, as a result of the constant erosion of land along the Great Rift Valley.
F. What's a savanna?
A savanna is a plain characterized by coarse grasses and scattered tree growth, particularly on the margins of the tropics where rainfall is seasonal, as in eastern Africa.
G. What is Porte de L'Afrique?
This term can be translated to “Gateway to Africa.” Roger Broders created a French travel poster, which depicts the port of Marseille, the French port to Africa.
H. Identify 3 ingenious innovations of the people of Mesoamerica.
1. Tools – For hunting, these people created spears, which were initially made of stone and later made of copper. For fishing, they created fish hooks, canoes, and a salmon trap, which worked by allowing the fish to swim in, but not out.
2. Architecture – These people began creating “pueblos” made of sod, which were sturdier than their former huts made of sticks and grasses. They assembled scale models of their homes prior to the actual building of the houses.
3. State Power Triad – These people lives on the same basic principles that we do today. They created systems of military, religion, and economy in order to properly run their societies.
Discuss in correct grammatical prose two of the following:
2. How do you think art is a reflection of a society's fundamental beliefs and actions? Reference your experience at the Art Institute, the Islamic Center, the Spertus Museum and the DuSable Museum?
Art is a direct link to society’s fundamental beliefs and actions because it is a type of honest, visual story-telling. An artist’s beliefs and actions will always appear in his or her art, and these characteristics will differ, depending upon what society a particular artist lived in.
Our guide at the DuSable Museum advised us to look at art in a way that we might not be used to in order to gain a better understanding of the work. He recommended we first look at the artist’s name, then the date the piece was created, what stage of life the artist would have been in at that time, what the artist’s society was like during the time the artwork was created, and finally look at the piece of art and interpret it based on our previous observations. This technique of viewing art is evidence that a society’s beliefs are reflected in its artwork.
The Islamic center featured little artwork, most likely because they do not believe in praying to idols. Therefore, there were no pictures or statues of who they worship, only a mural of the ninety names they have for their god. The Spertus Museum contained work done by Jewish artists, but the theme of the exhibit was “What does it mean to you?” I believe this sheds light on how understanding the Jewish community is because they are allowing viewers to interpret the pieces in many ways, not only according to the intentions of the artist. The Art Institute contained the largest variety of artwork. Much of the ancient cultures’ art reflected the societies’ religious beliefs. For example, located in the Asian exhibit were statues of the gods the Asian culture worships and of artifacts found in tombs, exemplifying how that society viewed the afterlife. In the African exhibit, there was a sculpture with nails driven into it. This statue illustrated the African culture’s belief that the gods would right any wrongs done to a person if that person drove a nail into the statue, which demonstrates that society’s belief in justice. It was interesting to see the differences between the post-modern and the contemporary American works. Knowing that the realist painters were thought of as rebels because their work was not considered acceptable shows how strict and close-minded Americans were at that time. Seeing some of the shocking images in the contemporary section of the Art Institute represents the open-mindedness of today’s Americans.
4. What "thoughts" have you had from the remarks of Reza Aslan and his description of the complexity of working with Islamic/Muslim/Arab nations? How are the "pressure groups" different ala Aslan and what conclusions have you made about the Middle East situation ala Aslan? "What does it mean to you?"
The speech made my Reza Aslan at the Chicago Council for Global Affairs was packed with information that was new to me. However, I found two comments made by Reza Aslan to be particularly interesting. One being that Jihadist groups are a made up of wealthy, educated people. I have always been told that all terrorist groups consist of poor, uneducated people and that these people join terrorist groups because they do not know any better. I do believe this is true in some instances, but not in the case of the Jihadist group. Aslan pointed out that fact that Jihads are a group of social reformers, and that uneducated people are not likely to be concerned with social movements.
The second comment that struck me was that Jihadist groups cannot be negotiated with because they do not want anything attainable. The United States is able to compromise with Islamic groups that are only concerned with ruling their particular countries (i.e. Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran) because they want something that is seemingly possible. However, the United States cannot make compromises with Jihadists because they do not want only to rule their region, but to control the entire world. This is a scary, but real problem that the United States is facing as a result of the war on terror.
Posted at 12:50 AM by Katie Harris