Assignment 2/ World Civilization

Part of what we will try to establish in this course are connections that tie events that are often centuries and continents apart.  Think of it as big picture over time.

I would like you to reflect upon the possible connections that would tie the rise of Genghis (Chinggis) Khan to the era of intense spiritual and intellectual upheaval and questioning that preceded what came to be known as the Protestant Reformation over two centuries later in Europe. The Mongol expansion sparked a series of events that might provide us with at least one piece of the puzzle to explain what led society to question everything it had more or less quietly accepted before.  (I stress, this is a possible explanation of some of the many factors). Very specifically, I am asking you to consider disease as the particular engine of change here.

In essence I am asking you to follow the domino pieces.  Some of the domino pieces include the Mongol conquests, Mongol Empire, Trade, Plague, Depletion of Monastic Orders, Expanded Charity Requirements…. Making the correct connections and linkages and expressing them well is crucial. I am asking you to follow one particular argument  focused mostly on disease, so although there are many other interesting factors (knowledge transfers and the like) please focus on disease.

In other words try to provide a fleshed out narrative that could explain the connections between these seemingly unconnected events (fleshed out refers to the need to provide some level of detail on each event and a clear explanation of the connections – please be sure to establish a timeline and to provide dates.)

Notice that there is already an argument inherent to this prompt.  You do not need to create and original argument. Part of the exercise here is to see how well you can succinctly express this argument in your thesis statement.


To answer this question you will want to use the Power Points, the “Three Days in October 1630” and the “Siege of Caffa” articles. Please be sure to cite. DO NOT use arguments from outside sources. I expect this to be typed, proofed, edited and polished.  Double space, use 12 size font and employ regular margins (1 inch).  You should be able to answer this in no more than 4 pages.

Send me or your TAs any questions you might have and we will do our best to answer them. 

There are a few issues I would like to elaborate on in order to dispel any possible confusion.

Assignment II – Elaboration

  1. This particular assignment is NOT about the Protestant Reformation itself – that topic we will be covering later on in the semester – but about some of the many possible precursors to the Reformation.
  2. When you are asked to look at possible connections between the rise of Genghis Khan and the changes in Europe, I am not asking for a direct connection!! The Mongol unification gave rise to a certain set of events.  Those then set other events off, which in turn set off yet others until we finally have the events that I have referred to as possible precursors to the Reformation (Those things that caused people to question the Church and so on and so forth.) That is what I am asking you to discuss and explain. The events leading to the preconditions for a movement of intellectual and social revolt (so to speak.)
  3. The articles we read should be useful since if you draw the right information from it you can describe the effects of the plague and how it affected society, to support the argument that this was a time of chaos and fear and so on a so forth…Be sure to review the lecture notes carefully when appropriate.
  4. Please use Chicago Manual of Style referencing style – simple guides readily available online. You may also want to use our library resources: Citations & Plagiarism (Links to an external site.)
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