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Honors’ Freshman Sequence

HHI 21: Identity: Self in the World

Fall 2009

Themes/Discussion Handout


Monday, November 9

Medieval Contacts and Conflicts: Challenges to Identity

Text: chap. 16 (pp. 383-95).


1)       Joinville (pp. 386-95)

a)       What were the Crusades?

b)       Why would partaking in them be so important for medieval Europeans?

2)       Francis of Assisi (pp. 396-401)

What are stigmata? Why is it important?

3)       Thomas Aquinas (pp. 378-85)

What are the limits of human reason?  What then is left to humans when it fails?


Wednesday, November 11

Medieval Synthesis: Political and Legal Identities

Sources: The Common People (pp. 336-46)

The Common People (Capitulare de Villis and Charter of Liberties of Lorris in Johnson, pp 336-43)

1)       According to these documents, what kinds of activities occupied the lives of the common folk?

2)       What foods are available?

3)       From reading the Charter of Liberties of Lorris, what did its inhabitants do for a living and what did they consider important?

Magna Carta (pp. 371-77) (Skim through this document)

Who is favored in this document? Why is that important?


Friday, November 13

Joint Session Two: The Spiritual Self

History: begin reading Trading Tastes, Introduction


Monday, November 16

Eurasian Contacts and their Impact on Asia

Text: Chap. 14 (pp. 324-42); chap. 15 (pp. 354-80), chap. 17 (pp. 410-31).  Skim through the text and make sure to be able to know the following: China, Seljuk Turks, Mongols, Bubonic Plague, and Ottoman Turks.

Monograph: Trading Tastes, chaps. 1-2.

1)       What is the difference between trade and commerce?

2)       What are “spices”? For what are they used?

3)       Why were they so expensive in the West?

4)       What are the principal sources of salt?

5)       Why is salt so important?










Wednesday, November 18

Eurasian Contacts and Their Impact on Europe

Text: chap. 16 (pp. 395-99)

Sources: Marco Polo (pp. 354-70)

Find examples from the text that show that China was an advanced civilization during the thirteenth century.

Monograph: Trading Tastes, chap. 4 (Silk)

1)       How is silk produced?

2)       Why is it so valuable?

3)       Why did the “silk roads” form? Why were they important?


Friday, November 20

European Renaissance: Reconsidering Identities

Text: Chap. 16 (pp. 399-406)

1)       What does the term “Renaissance” mean?

2)       What were the expressions of “Renaissance” in Europe?

Sources: Mirandola (pp. 438-41). Skim.

Art History Exercise:

Study the following images:


Plague Victims Blessed by Priest


Doctor Treating Plague



Raphael, The Knight’s Dream


Pieter Brueghel, Triumph of Death


You have to get these addressed exactly, so I would suggest heading over to my web site (, clicking on the discussion sheet and then clicking on the live links.


What makes some medieval and some Renaissance?