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UNIT 12: Transmission of Traditions

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READINGS

Reading 1

Candice Goucher, Charles LeGuin, and Linda Walton, "Traditions and their Transformations," in In the Balance: Themes in Global History (Boston: McGraw-Hill, 1998), 555–75.

Abstract: This essay explores the relationship between material conditions and ideas: that is, between economic, social, and political changes and transformations in religious, cultural, and intellectual traditions. Specifically, it focuses on the Islamic world to explain the ways in which ideas—from Sufism to Sikhism—were transformed in response to changing material circumstances. It also examines the ways new ideas could restructure whole societies.

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Reading 2

Jessica A. Coope, "Religious and Cultural Conversion to Islam in Ninth-Century Umayyad Cordoba," Journal of World History 4, no. 1 (Spring 1993): 47–68.

Abstract: This article deals with the conversion of Christians to Islam in ninth-century Cordoba, the Umayyad caliphate's capital in al-Andalus. The author addresses three questions. First, what economic improvements in social status and career opportunities did Christians receive when they converted to Islam? Second, exactly what kind of conversion did they undergo? The adoption of Arab culture and in particular, fluency in the Arabic language seems to have been as important as a formal profession of faith in Islam. Finally, how did Muslims regard recent converts, and to what extent did converts become truly integrated into the Islamic community?

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Reading 3

Colin A. Palmer, "From Africa to the Americas: Ethnicity in the Early Black Communities of the Americas," Journal of World History 6, no. 2 (Fall 1995): 223–36.

Abstract: Scholarship on the formative period of the African presence in the Americas is still in its infancy. Historians know little about the ways in which Africans sought to recreate the cultural worlds from which they came, even as they responded to new challenges. This essay explores the role of ethnicity in the construction of the lives of African-born slaves in Mexico City during the years when slaves were present in relatively large numbers. An analysis of the surviving marriage licenses shows that ethnicity was the most important factor in spousal choices; this finding has large implications for our understanding of the nature and evolution of black life in the Americas.

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Reading 4

Frances Karttunen, "After the Conquest: The Survival of Indigenous Patters of Life and Belief,"Journal of World History 3, no. 2 (Fall 1992): 239–56.

Abstract: Historians have long assumed that the conquest of Mexico and the migration of Europeans to the Americas overwhelmed the indigenous culture of the Aztecs and their Mesoamerican neighbors. Indeed, Spanish rule and Roman Catholic institutions certainly established themselves solidly in colonial Mexico. Recent scholarship has shown, however, that many indigenous values and cultural elements survived the conquest of Mexico and persist even to the present day. This article examines four of these values—cardinality, duality, reciprocity, and propriety—discussing their roles in preconquest Mexico and showing how they survive into contemporary times.

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