WORLD HISTORY II -- CLASS NOTES (Revised Fall 2002)
Class Introduction – Syllabus
Text: The Heritage of World Civilizations (Craig, Graham, Kagan, Ozment, Turner), N.J.: Prentice Hall, 2002.
Chapter 16 The Late Middle Ages and The Renaissance in the West (1300 – 1527) Calamity and New Beginnings
His pregnant wife
Med. Stud./Bl. Militant
Culture: the language, beliefs, values, norms, behaviors, and even material objects that are passed from one generation to the next. It is unique to humans.
Examples: have students look around – what are the cultural differences between men and women? - what meaning does this give to men and women?
Two elements of culture – material and nonmaterial
Material: such things as jewelry, art, buildings, weapons, machines, eating utensils, hairstyles, and clothing. Nonmaterial: a group’s ways of thinking (its beliefs, values, and other assumptions of the world).
Our speech, our gestures, our beliefs, and our customs are usually taken for granted. We assume that they are natural and we almost always follow them without question. Except in unusual circumstances, the effects of our own culture generally remain imperceptible to us. Henslin’s handout on Morocco?
Culture’s significance is profound; it touches almost every aspect of who and what we are. We came into this life without a language, without values and morality, with no ideas about religion, war, money, love, use of space and so on. We possessed none of these fundamental orientations that we take for granted and that are so essential in determining the type of people we are. Yet at this point in our lives we all have them. Sociologists call this culture within us. These learned and shared ways of believing and of doing penetrate our beings at an early age and quickly become part of our taken-for-granted assumptions concerning normal behavior. Culture becomes the lens through which we perceive and evaluate what is going on around us.
Principles regarding culture:
1. There is nothing “natural” about material culture. Arabs wear gowns and Americans wear jeans. 2. There is nothing “natural about nonmaterial culture. It is just as arbitrary to stand in line as it is to push and shove. 3. Culture penetrates deep into the recesses of our spirits, becoming a taken-for-granted aspect of our lives. 4. Culture provides the lens through which we see the world and obtain our perception of reality. 5. Culture provides implicit instructions that tell us what we ought to do in various situations. It provides a fundamental basis for our decision making. 6. Culture also provides a “moral imperative”; that is, by internalizing a culture, people learn ideas of right and wrong. 7. Coming into contact with a radically different culture challenges our basic assumptions of life. 8. Although the particulars of culture differ from one group of people to another, culture itself is universal. That is, all people have culture. There are no exceptions. A society cannot exist without developing shared, learned ways of dealing with the demands of life. Cultural universals… 9. All people are ethnocentric, which is both good and bad.
10. Culture is the social construction of reality.
Values: are ideas of what is desirable in life. They are the standards by which people define good and bad, beautiful and ugly. Norms: are rules of behavior that develop out of values.
Folkways:; norms that are not strictly enforced – example: washing one’s hands before eating; holding the door for someone. Mores: norms that are strictly enforced and that often have a moral component to them. Taboos: norms so strongly ingrained that even the thought of violating it meets with revulsion.
Subculture: a world within the larger world of the dominant culture Counterculture: a...
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