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UNIT 6: Order and Early Societies

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READINGS

Reading 1

Candice Goucher, Charles LeGuin, and Linda Walton, In the Balance: Themes in World History (Boston: McGraw-Hill, 1998). Selections from chapter 3, "Settled Societies: The Emergence of Cities."

Abstract: This essay considers the emergence of early cities, where growing populations of sedentary peoples were concentrated in increasingly complex settlements. In so doing, it explores the causes of early urbanization such as agriculture and the desire for safety, and documents the rise of cities in diverse regions of the world. At the same time, this essay emphasizes that there was no inevitable pattern that led to urbanization, and that the transition from gatherer-hunter societies to settled societies was slow.

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Reading 2

Candice Goucher, Charles LeGuin, and Linda Walton, In the Balance: Themes in Global History (Boston: McGraw-Hill, 1998). Selections from chapter 3, "Settled Societies: The Emergence of Cities," pp. 88–109.

Abstract: This essay explores the process of urbanization in North Africa, South Asia, East Asia, and Europe. While each society was characterized by different urban forms and cultures, they shared similar problems of feeding large populations, of interacting with and depending on local environments, with establishing centers of cultural expression and worship, and with relations between rural areas. Throughout, the theme of complexity recurs as both a necessary condition for and a consequence of larger communities.

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Reading 3

Richard Smith, "What Happened to the Ancient Libyans? Chasing Sources across the Sahara from Herodotus to Ibn Khaldun," Journal of World History 14, no. 4 (December 2003): 459–500.

Abstract: Determining group identity in the ancient world, especially when peoples were lumped under the constructs of tribe and ethnicity, was based on point of view, and labeling was a haphazard process. A case in point is the fate of those North African ancient writers called Libyans. Did their descendants become the people Arab writers referred to as Sanhaja and Zanata? Despite a significant degree of cultural discontinuity, the answer seems to be yes. A principal issue is the reliability of sources, which are markedly better for the era of Arab domination than for the ancient period.

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