Please put cell phones away during class unless being used to consult 

course readings. 

RUBRIC ONE: The First Civilizations and the Classical Legacy

Rubric focus: ethics philosophy

Cave of Forgotten Dreams, directed by Werner Herzog

Group Discussion prompt:

How do artistic works (visual representations, dance, literature, music, etc.) reflect the culture(s) from 

which they come?

Chapter 1


A. Study questions for the "Epic of Gilgamesh" 

1. What is Gilgamesh's position in society?

2. Who are the parents of Gilgamesh?

3. Describe Gilgamesh's behavior at the beginning of the story.

4. Who is Enkidu and what purpose does he serve in the story?

5. What changes does Enkidu undergo before he meets with Gilgamesh?

6. What is the nature of the relationship between Enkidu and Gilgamesh? Why do they go on a quest? 

7. What do Enkidu and Gilgamesh do that insults Ishtar? 

8. What purpose does Enkidu's death serve in the story? 

9. Why does Gilgamesh react to Enkidu's death the way that he does?

10. Who is Utnapishtim-the-Faraway?  


11. Why do the gods send the Flood and why does Utnapishtim escape? 

12. What does the behavior of the gods during the Great Flood tell you about the nature of the Mesopotamian 


13. What counsel does Utnapishtim give to Gilgamesh? 

14. How does Gilgamesh lose the rejuvenating plant?

15. How does Gilgamesh react to losing the plant?

16. What purpose does losing the plant serve in resolving the basic conflict presented in the story? 

17. What has Gilgamesh learned from his quest (the story's theme)?


B. Small group discussion: Code of Hammurabi

1. First discuss your reactions to the clauses in general.

2.  Next choose two clauses that your group finds particularly interesting and/or important for stable life within a community. Discuss the significance of those clauses and try to determine the reasoning behind them: for what purpose are they designed? 

3. Are the clauses just according to today's standards of justice in the communities with which you're familiar? Explain. 

C. Small group discussion: Hebrew laws

Discuss your responses to the short writing assignment you prepared (second question on page 33 of Fiero) 



Chapter 2

Discussion: Ma'at, Books of the Dead, weighing of the heart ceremony, Negative Confessions

1. Who was Ma'at? What concept did she represent?

2. What was the main purpose of a Book of the Dead?

3. What was the weighing of the heart ceremony? What is its significance?

4. Consult the list of Confessions in our textbook. (To consult the entire translated list, click here.)

5. According to the Negative Confessions, what kinds of actions did the Egyptians consider inappropriate?

6. Consider each confession as a law with a purpose. What is that purpose? 

7. Next consider what would motivate citizens to follow this code of behavior.

8. Which point(s) of the Negative Confessions do you find most important to maintaining harmony 
    within community?

9. How does the social code suggested by the Negative Confessions compare to contemporary codes of 

    morality with which you are familiar? 

Small group activity: Consult your textbook to respond to the following questions.

1. What are the Vedas

2. What is the Mahabharata?

3. What are the Upanishads?

4. What does the term "pantheism" mean?

5. What is the difference between Brahman and Atman?

6. What is the law of Karma?

7. What is nirvana?

Small group discussions

A. Review Reading 3.1, discussing passages that are unclear to members of your group.

B. Respond to Fiero's question at the end of the reading: "What are the obstacles to the state of 

   enlightenment, according to Krishna?" Cite specific lines from Reading 3.1 to support your responses.

C. Compare the social codes suggested by this reading with those represented in the Epic of Gilgamesh

   Hammurabi's Code, the Decalogue, and the Egyptian Negative Confessions.

Chapter 4

Aristotle.virtues-vices-mean.pdf Aristotle.virtues-vices-mean.pdf
Size : 82.545 Kb
Type : pdf

Small group discussion prompts

1. Aristotle notes that not all types of actions have a mean. Identify a vice that has no mean (i.e. that 

is always wrong). 

2. Think of a specific situation we encounter in daily life that requires a choice of action. 

         Example: You haven't had a chance to shop or cook, you arrive home late at night, and you're 

         tired. Your housemates are asleep. House rules state that you're not allowed to eat anyone else's 

         food, but there it is in the fridge, wrapped up and labeled. What do you do? Explain your reasoning.


3. Identify the actions available to you. Do any of them represent an extreme (a vice)? If so, what vice(s)?

Examples of vices named by Aristotle: greed, selfishness, laziness, stinginess, vanity, rudeness, 

cowardliness, foolhardiness 


4. Identify the mean: What is the best course of action for the circumstances and the individual(s) involved.  

5. Next explore how that mean can change: discuss how the mean is relative to the situation and to the 

    individual(s) involved in the situation.

Chapter 6

General chapter questions

1. Explain why the Romans were so successful in building and maintaining such a large empire for so long.

2. How did Gaius Julius Caesar bring stability back to Rome?

3. Identify 2 significant points concerning Roman law.

4. What is the Pantheon?

5. Who was Seneca?


View "The philosophy of Stoicism" with Massimo Pigliucci, listening for responses to the following questions:

1. Who was the founder of Stoicism? 

2. What are the Stoic virtues? 

3. What is at the core of Stoicism?

Read the textbook pages concerning Roman philosopher Seneca and the reading excerpt from "On Tranquility 
of Mind." Then respond to the questions below.

1. Seneca states that it is necessary to correctly assess our character, our strengths and our weaknesses. 

2. Seneca also states that it is essential to correctly assess those with whom we interact. Why? 

3. What qualities does Seneca suggest we seek in our friends?

4. Seneca and Stoics in general maintain that one's disciplined use of a very specific human capacity is vital to      one's peace of mind. What is that capacity?

5. Is Seneca's Stoic philosophy anchored in the past, the present, or the future? Explain.

6. What specifically does Seneca name as the "greatest source of affliction to humanity"? Why?

Small Group Activity

The Stoics distinguished what is under our control from what is not under our control, focusing on the first and

ignoring the latter, so that our satisfaction does not depend on things beyond our control. Develop a practical 

example where this distinction can be usefully applied. Share your example with the class. 

For further exploration of Stoicism:

Pop philosopher Alain de Botton: "Seneca on Anger" 

Chapter 7

Follow this link. 


Medieval Europe and the World Beyond

Chapters 8, 9, 10, 11, 13, 14

Rubric focus : religious architecture

Small-group Discussion Prompts

1. What do you consider to be a sacred space?

2. Why do humans create sacred spaces?

3. Identify several sacred spaces that you've visited or know about.

4. What feelings did you experience there?

5. What factors contributed towards those feelings?

Chapter 8

Discussion Prompts

1. What three different cultural traditions set the stage for the rise of Christianity?

2. Identify the religious belief systems that Jesus and Siddhartha Gautama reformed.

3. Discuss your short writing response to one of the questions on page 195 of Fiero's textbook (7th ed.).

4. In the context of Buddhism, what are the Four Noble Truths?

5. In the context of Buddhism, what is the "middle way"?

6. Which belief system focuses on human perfection and immortality?

7. Identify the goal of the other belief system (it's not immortality).

In-class viewing: Buddhism, from the series Heaven on Earth: Monuments to Belief 

(WCC Library website: "Films on Demand" / 26:14 minutes)

Also available to view here 

8. Describe the distinguishing features of a Buddhist stupa.


Chapter 9 


Define, identify, or explain the following:

  • Constantine
  • the Edict of Milan
  • Byzantium, Constantinople, and Istanbul
  • Augustine of Hippo
  • Justinian and Theodora
  • Hagia Sophia
  • iconography
  • the Iconoclastic Controversy

Above: plan of Roman 

basilica (Rome, Italy)

Right: plan of Christian 

basilica San Vitale 

(Ravenna, Italy) 

Above le
ft: plan of Christian basilica then Islamic 

mosque Hagia Sophia (Istanbul, Turkey)

Above right: plan of Christian basilica Saint Sernin 

(Toulouse, France)

In-class viewing (required video): Hagia Sophia: Istanbul's Ancient Mystery 

(WCC Library website: "Films on Demand" / 53:20 minutes)

Khan Academy's short video (not required) on Hagia Sophia here

Khan Academy's short video (recommended but not required) on San Vitale, Ravenna here

Post-viewing questions for Hagia Sophia: Istanbul's Ancient Mystery

1. What is Hagia Sophia?

2. Where is Hagia Sophia?

3. When was Hagia Sophia built?

4. Who built Hagia Sophia? (name both the architect and the ruler)

5. What is the greatest geological threat to Hagia Sophia?

6. What cultural threats have impacted Hagia Sophia?

7. What is the purpose of the windows in the second dome designed and constructed for Hagia Sophia?

8. What religious groups have worshipped in Hagia Sophia?

9. What is Hagia Sophia's function today?

10. What is the purpose of the thin gold leafing in the mosaics? 

11. What is the purpose of building a model of Hagia Sophia?

12. What 2 physical aspects of Hagia Sophia do you think the architects privileged when designing its 

      interior? Justify your response by referring to specifics (of the building).

13. Discuss how the 2 physical aspects you named in #12 relate to Justinian's dual roles as secular ruler 

     and self-proclaimed representative of the Christian God.

Chapter 10

Crash Course History of Science: "The Medieval Islamicate World"  

["Islamicate" is an adjective used to describe regions where Muslims are culturally dominant.]

Small group exercises 

A. Locate the paragraph on page 233 that discusses Charles Martel and the battle of Tours in 732. Discuss the 

significance of this event. Studying the map on page 227 may help your analysis.

B. Turn to page 235. What does the term "Islamic" indicate?

Video: What's the difference between "Islamist" or "Islamic"? 

C. Study the information about Islamic culture (science, technology, poetry) on pages 235-237 of the Fiero 

textbook. Make a list of essential points, grouping them under these headings: 

1. theocratic rule

2. preservation of scholarship

3. transmission of scholarship

4. original scholarship

5. poetry

When your list is complete, discuss the impact of these contributions to the humanistic tradition.

Islamic Architecture

Useful references:

Two well known examples of Islamic architecture that are not mosques

The Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem 

The Taj Mahal mausoleum in Agra, India 


Mosque: the term for a Muslim place of worship.

Mecca: The birthplace of the prophet Mohammad (570–632CE), Mecca is a city in modern-day western Saudi 

           Arabia, considered by Muslims to be the holiest city of Islam.

Hajj: This Muslim pilgrimage to Mecca takes place in the last month of the Islamic calendar year. All Muslims 

         are expected to make this trip at least once during their lifetime. 

Kaaba: A square stone building in the center of the Great Mosque at Mecca, this is the most holy site in the 

           Muslim faith. It stands on the site of a pre-Islamic shrine said to have been built by Abraham. Muslims 

           worldwide are supposed to face in the direction of the Kaaba during prayer.

Qibla: the term for the direction of the Kaaba, to which Muslims turn at prayer. The qibla is indicated in a  

          mosque by the position of the mihrab.

Mihrab: A niche in the wall of each mosque at the point nearest to Mecca, the congregation faces the mihrab 

            to pray.

Minaret: A tall slender tower, typically part of a mosque, a minaret contains a balcony from which a muezzin 

            calls Muslims to prayer.

Muezzin: The muezzin is a man who calls Muslims to prayer from the minaret of a mosque.

Minbar: a raised podium from which a religious leader speaks to those gathered in the mosque

Ablution fountain: where those who gather to pray wash themselves first

The 3 principle architectural styles of Islamic mosques 

1. The hypostyle mosque

Mosque of Uqba (Kairouan, Tunisia)

Read about the Great Mosque of Kairouan here (not required reading).
Read about the Great Mosque of Córdoba here (not required reading).

2. The iwan mosque (1-4 iwans)

Read about the Great Mosque of Isfahan here (not required reading).

3. The centrally-planned mosque, also called the central-dome mosque

Mosque of Selim II (Edirne, Turkey)

Example of contemporary mosque architecture, with a blending of styles: King Faisel Mosque in Islamabad, 



1. Based on the images we've seen, what features do mosques typically have in common?

2. Islamic mosques are not decorated with images of people. Instead, what decorative motifs and techniques 

    are used?

Personal Reflection Question: What types of natural and architectural spaces do you find inspirational? Why?

Suggested links for further exploration of this idea:

"The Psychological Effect of Architectural Design," by Natali Ricci (Senior Thesis, Claremont McKenna College) 

"The Hidden Ways That Architecture Affects How You Feel": BBC article by Michael Bond

Architecture Now article (2017): "Sacred Spaces" 

Suggested Critical Analysis topic: 

What role do light and space serve in sacred spaces? Cite specific examples to support your ideas.

You may prefer to discuss public places instead of sacred spaces. Use specific examples.


Chapter 11

Video on medieval society by Ryan Reeves, Assistant Professor of Historical Theology at Gordon-

Conwell Theological Seminary (not required viewing)

GROUP ACTIVITY focused on Chapter 11, pages 250-267 (7th edition of our textbook)

Divide into 4 groups to discuss the following points and questions about the Middle Ages (circa 500-1450 CE). 

Each group is responsible for identifying responses to 4 points, then sharing the group's ideas with the rest of 

the class.


1. Why is it inaccurate to refer to the Middle Ages as the "dark ages"?

2. Identify the 3 traditions that together produced a new culture.

3. What similarities did Germanic law have with Hammurabi's Code from ancient Mesopotamia?

4. What do Beowulf and the Song of Roland have in common?

Listen to an excerpt from Beowulf in Old English here.


5. Who was Charlemagne?

6. Identify several of Charlemagne's notable accomplishments.

7. Briefly explain the feudal contract between lord and vassal.

8. What does the term chevalier mean?


9. What role did women play in feudal society?

10. What is a chanson de geste?

11. What was the Norman Conquest and when did it take place? 

12 What is the Bayeux tapestry?


13. What was the Magna Carta signed and what was its significance?

14. Describe the lives of medieval serfs.

15. What were the Christian Crusades?

16. Did Charlemagne fight in the Christian Crusades? Give facts supporting your response.

Post-viewing group discussion prompt: Based on the limited information you have about the feudal 

system, develop a list of pros and cons of this type of social arrangement.

Code of chivalry

To fear God and maintain His Church

To serve the liege lord in courage and faith

To protect the weak and defenseless

To aid widows and orphans

To refrain from the wanton giving of offense

To live by honor and for glory

To despise pecuniary (monetary) reward

To fight for the welfare of all

To obey those placed in authority

To guard the honor of fellow knights

To eschew (avoid/refrain from) unfairness, meanness and deceit

To keep faith

To speak the truth at all times

To persevere to the end in any task undertaken

To respect the honor of women

Never to refuse a challenge from an equal

Never to turn the back upon a foe

General Comprehension Questions: Song of Roland

1. What type of literature is the Song of Roland?

2. When did the historical event happen?

3. When was the Song of Roland composed? 

4. Who are the principle characters in the story?

5. What two groups oppose each other in the Song of Roland?

6. The representation of the conflict is not historically accurate. Propose reasons for the inaccuracies.

7. What are the main points of the story (what happens)?

8. What is the disagreement between Roland and Oliver?

9. Why does Roland refuse to call for help on his Olifant (horn)?

10. What do you think about Oliver's and Roland’s decisions? Would you have acted differently? Explain.

11. Both Roland and Oliver are presented as role models. Using the story's descriptions of the two, describe 

      the ideal knight (a balance between the characteristics of Roland and those of Oliver).


1. What does this text reveal about the social order in early medieval Europe? Consider in particular the social 

hierarchy and the division of society into "those who pray," "those who fight" and "those who work.”

2. What does the text reveal about Christian attitudes towards Muslims (Saracens) during the Middle Ages? 

Are the Saracens capable of doing good or are they portrayed as totally evil?

3. How did the Franks (Christians) view their relation to God in the Song of Roland?

4. Read Roland's death scene carefully - what causes his death?

5. Does Turpin fit your image of a Catholic archbishop?  Explain.

6. What role does religion play in this excerpt from the epic poem?


Chapter 13: "Medieval Synthesis in the Arts"

What does the chapter title mean?

Medieval Romanesque architecture 

  • emerged in Western Europe in the early 11th century.
  • was characterized by rounded arches; thick walls, vaults, and columns.
  • lasted until the advent of Gothic architecture in the middle of the 12th century.
  • Early Romanesque ceilings and roofs were often made of wood.

Examples of Romanesque architecture:

Medieval Gothic architecture 

  • emerged in the middle of the 12th century
  • was characterized by: stone structures, large expanses of glass, clustered columns, sharply pointed spires, intricate sculptures, pointed arches, ribbed vaults, and flying buttresses. 

The ideals of medieval Gothic architecture included:

1. A belief that the church structure must be a visible “text”

2. Mathematical Harmony: a belief that sacred reality was reflected in the truths of math, proportion and 


3. Luminosity: a strong emphasis on light as a symbol of divinity and the light of revelation

Group exercise: Consult Chapter 13 of The Humanistic Tradition to identify the terms and places indicated on 

the list below. Provide the following information in your identifications: a) a definition of the term when 

possible and b) an example from an illustration in our textbook. Be sure to note the page number and the 

edition of the book you're using as a reference. 




Latin cross


rose window

pointed arch

stained glass windows

flying buttress


Chartres Cathedral 

Notre-Dame of Paris Cathedral

Sainte-Chapelle of Paris (this isn't a cathedral)


Post-viewing questions
1. Which of the following is not true about the Cathedral of Notre Dame de Chartres?
a. The Gothic features of the cathedral emphasized the idea that the building was a divine space.
b. Gothic architects tried to maximize the space for stained glass windows. The development of rib vaults      and flying buttresses made this easier.
c. An important symbol in this church is the light, which was considered as a symbol of divine presence.
d. The architect used rounded arches, thick walls, and massive piers to support the weight of the                  building internally.
2. What is the basic, symbolic shape of a Gothic cathedral?
3. Pointed arches, flying buttresses, and rib vaults are all features of Gothic architecture. What did      these features allow architects to do? 

Video: Sainte-Chapelle 

Gothic cathedral Notre-Dame-de-Paris 


Chartres Cathedral (UNESCO)     

The Royal Portals of Chartres Cathedral   

NYC's St. Patrick's Cathedral  

Chapel of the Cross 

Gothic architecture on the American college campus   

    Below left: West façade of Chartres Cathedral (Chartres)             Below right: West façade of Notre-Dame (Paris)

Chapter 14

Japanese Buddhist temples 

Video: Japan Under the Shoguns (from Video Education America, via WCC Library's Films on Demand)

Video: Samurai Japan (from Video Education America, via WCC Library's Films on Demand)

Samurai armor (from Asian Art Museum, San Francisco)

How to put on a suit of samurai armor (from Asian Art Museum, San Francisco)

You can read the Diary of Murasaki Shikibu here. 

You can listen to Murasaki Shikibu's Tale of Genji on LibriVox (not required for this course).

Group discussion prompt

Create a chart comparing the European and Japanese feudal systems; include both similarities and differences.

map of Japan

Part one

1. Name 4 people we studied in this rubric who made substantial contributions to the world in which they 

lived. Also: identify the contributions made by those 4 people.

2. Identify 2 factors that contributed to the spread of Christianity.

3. Identify 3 principle characteristics of each of the following:

a. Buddhist stupas

b. Islamic mosques

c. Christian Gothic cathedrals.

4. Identify 2-3 similarities between Islamic mosques and Christian cathedrals.

5. Identify 2-3 differences between Islamic mosques and Christian cathedrals.

6. Identify the name and location of at least one Buddhist stupa, one Islamic mosque, and one Christian 

Gothic cathedral referenced in this rubric.

7. Explain how the Song of Roland represents the medieval European feudal system. 

8. Identify 3 scientific or technological contributions made by Islamic or Arab civilizations.

9. Identify the date and significance of each of the following: 

a. the Edict of Milan 

b. the Norman Conquest (Battle of Hastings)

c. the Magna Carta

10. The teachings of the Buddha, Jesus, and Muhammed share some common points. Identify at least 2.

Part two

Working in small groups, compose 5 questions about Rubric Two material. It would be useful to consult 

the exam study guide posted on Canvas for this activity!

When everyone is ready, each group will challenge the other groups to respond to their questions.

Choose 1 answer:

RUBRIC THREE: The European Renaissance, the Reformation, and Global Encounter

Chapters 15, 16, 18 + supplemental material

Rubric focus: literature (oral and written)

Chapter 15

Group Discussion Questions:

1. How does literature reflect culture?

2. How can literature shape culture?

3. What do the two excerpts from Boccaccio reflect about the culture and time period in which he lived and 

    wrote? Refer to specific quotations from the reading to support your response(s).

4. What does the excerpt from Christine de Pisan reflect about the culture and time period in which she lived 

    and wrote? Refer to specific quotations from the reading to support your response(s).


Video: "Christine de Pisan, the first feminist" (from the Irish Audio Project)

"Christine de Pisan Defends Women": 4 minute film segment available via "Films on Demand" on WCC 

Library's website 

Chapter 16 

Group Discussion Questions:

1. During the European Middle Ages, is the focus on humankind or on a divine external force?

2. In the ancient Greek and Roman philosophies we studied, is the focus on humankind or on a divine external 


3. Where is the focus in the Buddhist, Islamic, and Confucian belief systems we've considered?

4. Why is it important to learn about context when studying different aspects of a culture?

5. What influences our perception and understanding of a culture?

Questions on Reading 16.5 (Marinella)

1. Marinella divides the false, slanderous accusations made against women into 2 categories. What are they?

2. Why won't Marinella respond to arguments based on "specious reasonings"?

3. How does Marinella explain the errors that intelligent, educated men make about women?

4. Identify the passage in the reading that discusses invalid, inductive reasoning.

5. How does Marinella use the arguments of men to prove her point (that women are better and less weak of 

    will than men)? 

6. What does the excerpt from Marinella reflect about the culture and time period in which she lived 

    and wrote? Refer to specific quotations from the reading to support your response(s).


→To explore further the topic of violence against women during the European Renaissance, follow these links:

2.  Joan of Arc  

To learn more about Machievelli's The Prince, you may enjoy watching a short video (22:54) available 

   through Films on Demand via the WCC Library website. In the search box, type Machievelli: The Prince.


Chapter 17 (not covered Spring quarter 2019)

To explore more about linear perspective, check out this video: "Understanding Linear Perspective"  


1. Share the image you've chosen for today's assignment with the members of your group: identify the type of 

    art work (painting, sculpture, etc.), the title, artist, and time period; then explain why you chose the work 

    of art. 

2. When your group has completed point 1, turn to page 410 of our textbook and study the painting  
   at the top of the page. Identify the artist, medium, and the time periods represented. 

3. Next study the iconography (= the imagery within an artwork). Make a detailed list of what you see, noting 

   images, colors, shapes, lines, etc.

4. Examine the clothing of each of the figures in the fresco. Which figures (people) appear more than once

    Consider possible reasons for those repetitions.

Come to a consensus about the primary theme of this art work. Then write a theme statement, using a 

    complete sentence (or sentences). Points to consider: historical context, subject matter and medium, 

    composition and line, shape, color, focal areas, balance and perspective.


Leonardo da Vinci’s Renaissance paintingThe Last Supper is a fresco commissioned by Ludovico 

Sforza, the Duke of Milan. It measures 15' by 29' and depicts a very particular moment in biblical history: 

the moment just seconds after Jesus explained to his disciples that one of them would betray him. 

Choosing this particular moment allowed the artist to explore the emotions and psyches of the figures in 

the painting as they react to the announcement of the central figure, Jesus.

6. Share your group's theme statement with the rest of the class.


1. Turn to page 400 of our textbook and study Donatello's sculpture David. Describe the figure, making a list 

    of what you see. 

2. Now turn to page 423 of our textbook and study Michelangelo's sculpture David. Describe this figure.

3. Compare the two sculptures of David. Which is more realistic? Explain your reasoning.

4. Which sculpture appeals to you more? Why? If neither sculpture appeals to you, explain why.


Chapter 18

Crash Course video, via a Big Think article on the Manden Charter of the Mali Empire

The video is also available here. 

Explore more about the Sundiata here and here.

Sibo Bangoura plays the kora and sings about the importance of Western African griots here  

Usifuh Jalloh explains the difference between a griot and a storyteller here

Learn more about the role of the griot here and/or watch Keita: the Heritage of the Griot via the WCC Library's 

Films on Demand.

Film Description: 
In this story-within-a-story, Mabo Keita, a young boy living in contemporary Burkina Faso, receives a message from a traditional storyteller (griot) that he must “learn the meaning of his name.” Mabo is a descendent of Sundiata Keita, legendary founder of the Mali Empire and hero of The Epic of Sundiata. As Sundiata Keita comes to understand his role in Mandé history, so the younger Keita grasps the scope and significance of his heritage—a lesson that was not taught in his school’s Westernized curriculum. French and Jula with English subtitles. (94 minutes)

Watch a performance of the Sunjata (Sundiata), with musical illustrations, here.


Maiden of Deception Pass, Guardian of Her Samish People (DVD viewed in class, also available on the Reserve 

shelf of the WCC Library and online)

[You can read and/or listen to the tale here and/or here. Note, however, that this will only familiarize you with 

the story, not the content of the documentary film Maiden of Deception Pass, Guardian of Her Samish People.]

"Why do I make time capsules for my heritage?" by artist Kayla Briët (not required)

Learn more about the Haudenosaunee Confederacy here (not required).

Learn about the Narragansett Indian Tribe here (not required).

Watch "The Man, the Snake and the Fox" (not required).

Watch April Charlo's "Indigenous Language Revitalization" (TEDxUMontana) here (not required).



The Haudenosaunee Confederacy and "Hodadenon: the last one left and the chestnut tree"

1. Who are the Haudenosaunee?

2. What is a confederacy?

3. What is a participatory democracy?

4. What kind of constitution did the Haudenosaunee Confederacy originally have?

5. What are the three principles of the Great Law?

6. What do you think is the meaning of "the power of the good mind"?

7. What is a clan? (give details pertaining to the Haudenosaunee Confederacy)

8. How do you interpret the statement, "peace is a state of mind"?

9. Read together as a group the Haudenosaunee values and ethics. 

10. Find examples of those values in the story, "Hodadenon: the last one left and the chestnut tree."

11. Re-read question 6 then cite other cultures we've studied that have addressed the question of the "good 

     mind" and its power. Be specific.

12. Re-read question 8 then cite other texts we've studied that treat this subject. Be specific.


Discussion Questions: “Hodadenon, the Last One Left and the Chestnut Tree”

1. What is the setting of the story?

2. Who are the characters in the story?

3. Hodadenon’s uncle makes sure his nephew is sleeping before he prepares dinner for himself. Why? 

   What does this tell us about the uncle?

4. Where are the other family members? Cite specific passages from the story’s beginning and end to support 

   your response.

5. This is a coming of age story that represents Hodadenon’s transition into an ideal citizen of the 

    Haudenosaunee Confederacy. Cite specific passages in the story that demonstrate his evolution from a 

    mischievous, self-centered child to a responsable, engaged, and caring member of his clan.


Samish Indian Nation website 

Post-viewing questions for Maiden of Deception Pass: Guardian of Her Samish People

1. What is the purpose of this documentary?

2. Who was Ko-kwal-alwoot?

3. What is the significance of the Ko-kwal-alwoot story to the Samish people?

4. What is the significance of the family in Samish culture?

5. Why was the story pole created? Be specific.

6. Did a member of the Samish Indian Nation carve the story pole?

7. For a long period of time, the Samish people were not recognized as a tribe by the United States federal
   government. Why?

8. Why did so many Samish people move away from the region where they had lived for so long?

9. Who is Tracy Powell and what was his initial reaction when he first saw the log for the story pole?

10. Where is the story pole located?

11. What do the two sides of the story pole represent?

12. What is the significance to the Samish Indian Nation of the Maiden of Deception Pass story pole 


Discussion Question

What do the Native American stories we’ve considered have in common? Identify at least three points and give 

specific references from the stories to support your ideas.


Chapter 19 (not covered Spring quarter 2019)

Discussion Prompts: Reading 19.5 excerpts from Montaigne's On Cannibals (1580)

Before discussing the reading:

1. Identify important movements, trends, discoveries, figures, and 

inventions that defined the period in which Montaigne wrote. 

2. Look up the definition of the term "barbarism."

Now focus on the reading: 

3. Why does Montaigne trust the knowledge of the man he presents in the first paragraph of the reading?

4. What does Montaigne say about direct experience compared to conjecture?

5. What does Montaigne indicate about the word "barbarian"?

6. How does Montaigne contrast the "natural" world and the "civilized" world?

7. How does Montaigne evaluate the practice of cannibalism in the society he describes? How does he 

compare it to certain European practices?

8. What does Montaigne's declaration that "we may well call these people barbarians, in respect of the rules of 

reason" tell us about whether he believes in moral absolutes?  (i.e. Moral absolutism is an ethical view that 

particular actions are intrinsically right or wrong, irrespective of culture.)

9. "'Each man calls barbarism whatever is not his own practice,' writes Montaigne. What illustrations does he 

offer? Does this claim hold true in our own day and age?" (Fiero, p.496)

10. Analyze how Montaigne set up his argument. What similarities do you notice between Montaigne's style of 

argument and Christine de Pisan's?

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