TAKING SIDES: Clashing Views on Controversial Issues in World Civilizations, Second Edition
PART 1. The Ancient World
ISSUE 1. Did Homo Sapiens Originate in Africa?
New! YES: Christopher Stringer and Robin McKie, from African Exodus: The Origins of Modern Humanity
New! NO: Milford Wolpoff and Rachel Caspari, from Race and Human Evolution
Science researcher Christopher Stringer and science writer Robin McKie state that modern humans first developed in Africa and then spread to other parts of the world. Paleoanthropologists Milford Wolpoff and Rachel Caspari counter that modern humans developed simultaneously in different parts of the world.
ISSUE 2. Was Egyptian Civilization African?
YES: Clinton Crawford, from Recasting Ancient Egypt in the African Context: Toward a Model Curriculum Using Art and Language
NO: Kathryn A. Bard, from "Ancient Egyptians and the Issue of Race," in Mary R. Lefkowitz and Guy MacLean Rogers, eds., Black Athena Revisited
Clinton Crawford, an assistant professor who specializes in African arts and languages as communications systems, asserts that evidence from the fields of anthropology, history, linguistics, and archaeology prove that the ancient Egyptians and the culture they produced were of black African origin. Assistant professor of archaeology Kathryn A. Bard argues that although black African sources contributed to the history and culture of ancient Egypt, the country's people and culture were basically multicultural in origin.
New! ISSUE 3. Does Alexander the Great Merit His Exalted Historical Reputation?
New! YES: N. G. L. Hammond, from The Genius of Alexander the Great
New! NO: E. E. Rice, from Alexander the Great
Professor emeritus of Greek N. G. L. Hammond states that research has proven that Alexander the Great is deserving of his esteemed historical reputation. Senior research fellow and lecturer E. E. Rice maintains that, other than his conquests, Alexander the Great left few tangible legacies to merit his exalted historical reputation.
ISSUE 4. Did Christianity Liberate Women?
New! YES: Karen Jo Torjesen, from When Women Were Priests
NO: Karen Armstrong, from The Gospel According to Woman: Christianity's Creation of the Sex War in the West
Professor of religion and associate of the Institute for Antiquity and Christianity, Karen Jo Torjesen, presents evidence of women deacons, priests, prophets, and bishops during the first millennium of Christianity--all roles that suggest both equality and liberation for women. Professor of religious studies Karen Armstrong finds in the early Christian Church examples of hostility toward women and fear of their sexual power which she contends led to the exclusion of women from full participation in a male-dominated church. PART 2. The Medieval World
New! ISSUE 5. Did Same-Sex Unions Exist in Medieval Europe?
New! YES: John Boswell, from Same-Sex Unions in Premodern Europe
New! NO: Philip Lyndon Reynolds, from "Same-Sex Unions: What Boswell Didn't Find," The Christian Century
Yale University history professor John Boswell states that same-sex unions, which date back to pagan times, existed in medieval Europe until they were gradually done away with by the Christian Church. Reviewer Philip Lyndon Reynolds, while admitting that "brotherhood" ceremonies took place in medieval Europe, asserts that these ceremonies did not have the same authority as sacred unions and therefore cannot be equated with marriage rites.
ISSUE 6. Does the Modern University Have Its Roots in the Islamic World?
YES: Mehdi Nakosteen, from History of Islamic Origins of Western Education a.d. 800-1350
NO: Charles Homer Haskins, from The Rise of Universities
Professor of history and philosophy of education Mehdi Nakosteen traces the roots of the modern university to the golden age of Islamic culture (750-1150 c.e.). He maintains that Muslim scholars assimilated the best of classical scholarship and developed the experimental method and the university system, which they passed on to the West before declining. The late historian Charles Homer Haskins (1870-1937) traces the university of the twentieth century to its predecessors in Paris and Bologna, where, he argues, during the twelfth and thirteenth centuries the first universities in the world sprang up.
ISSUE 7. Were Environmental Factors Responsible for the Mayan Collapse?
YES: Richard E. W. Adams, from Prehistoric Mesoamerica, rev. ed.
NO: George L. Cowgill, from "Teotihuacan, Internal Militaristic Competition, and the Fall of the Classic Maya," in Norman Hammond and Gordon R. Willey, eds., Maya Archaeology and Ethnohistory
Professor of anthropology Richard E. W. Adams argues that although military factors played a role in the Mayan demise, a combination of internal factors was more responsible for that result. Professor of anthropology George L. Cowgill contends that although there is no single explanation for the Mayan collapse, military expansion played a more important role than scholars originally thought.
New! ISSUE 8. Were the Crusades Motivated Primarily by Religious Factors?
New! YES: Hans Eberhard Mayer, from The Crusades, 2d ed., trans. John Gillingham
New! NO: Ronald C. Finucane, from Soldiers of the Faith: Crusaders and Moslems at War
German historian Hans Eberhard Mayer states that although there were other factors important to the development of the Crusades, the strongest motivation was a religious one. British historian Ronald C. Finucane counters that although the religious influence on the Crusades was significant, political, social, economic, and military factors in medieval Europe also played a role in their origin, development, and outcome.PART 3. The Premodern World
ISSUE 9. Did Women and Men Benefit Equally from the Renaissance?
YES: Mary R. Beard, from Woman as Force in History: A Study in Traditions and Realities
NO: Joan Kelly-Gadol, from "Did Women Have a Renaissance?" in Renate Bridenthal, Claudia Koonz, and Susan Stuard, eds., Becoming Visible: Women in European History, 2d ed.
Historian Mary R. Beard contends that during the Renaissance, Italian women of the higher classes turned to the study of Greek and Roman literature and committed themselves alongside men to developing well-rounded personalities. Historian Joan Kelly-Gadol argues that women enjoyed greater advantages during the Middle Ages and experienced a relative loss of position and power during the Renaissance.
New! ISSUE 10. Were Christopher Columbus's New World Discoveries a Positive Force in the Development of World History?
New! YES: Felipe Fernández-Armesto, from Columbus
New! NO: Kirkpatrick Sale, from The Conquest of Paradise: Christopher Columbus and the Columbian Legacy
Historian Felipe Fernández-Armesto states that although Columbus was far from perfect, the overall results of his work merit consideration as one who helped to shape the modern world. Writer Kirkpatrick Sale sees Columbus as a product of a sick, dispirited Europe and concludes that the selfish nature and results of his voyages prevented Europe from using the New World discoveries as an opportunity for the continent's salvation.
New! ISSUE 11. Were the Witch-Hunts in Premodern Europe Misogynistic?
New! YES: Anne Llewellyn Barstow, from Witchcraze: A New History of the European Witch Hunts
New! NO: Robin Briggs, from Witches and Neighbors: The Social and Cultural Context of European Witchcraft
History professor Anne Llewellyn Barstow asserts that the European witch-hunt movement made women its primary victims and was used as an attempt to control their lives and behavior. History professor Robin Briggs states that although women were the European witch-hunts' main victims, gender was not the only determining factor in this sociocultural movement.
ISSUE 12. Did the West Define the Modern World?
YES: William H. McNeill, from The Rise of the West: A History of the Human Community
NO: Steven Feierman, from "African Histories and the Dissolution of World History," in Robert H. Bates, V. Y. Mudimbe, and Jean O'Barr, eds., Africa and the Disciplines: The Contributions of Research in Africa to the Social Sciences and Humanities
Professor of history William H. McNeill states that in 1500, western Europe began to extend its influence to other parts of the world, bringing about a revolution in world relationships in which the West was the principal benefactor. History professor Steven Feierman argues that because historians have viewed modern history in a unidirectional (European) manner, the contributions of non-European civilizations to world history have gone either undiscovered or unreported. PART 4. The Modern World
ISSUE 13. Did the Industrial Revolution Lead to a Sexual Revolution?
YES: Edward Shorter, from "Female Emancipation, Birth Control, and Fertility in European History," The American Historical Review
NO: Louise A. Tilly, Joan W. Scott, and Miriam Cohen, from "Women's Work and European Fertility Patterns," Journal of Interdisciplinary History
Historian Edward Shorter argues that employment opportunities outside the home that opened up with industrialization led to a rise in the illegitimacy rate, which he attributes to the sexual emancipation of unmarried, working-class women. Historians Louise A. Tilly, Joan W. Scott, and Miriam Cohen counter that unmarried women worked to meet an economic need, not to gain personal freedom, and they attribute the rise in illegitimacy rates to broken marriage promises and the absence of traditional support from family, community, and the church.
ISSUE 14. Was the French Revolution Worth Its Human Costs?
YES: Peter Kropotkin, from The Great French Revolution, 1789-1793
NO: Simon Schama, from Citizens: A Chronicle of the French Revolution
Peter Kropotkin (1842-1921), a Russian prince, revolutionary, and anarchist, argues that the French Revolution eradicated both serfdom and absolutism and paved the way for France's future democratic growth. History professor Simon Schama counters that not only did the French Revolution betray its own goals, but it produced few of the results that it promised.
New! ISSUE 15. Did the Meiji Restoration Constitute a Revolution in Nineteenth-Century Japan?
New! YES: Thomas M. Huber, from The Revolutionary Origins of Modern Japan
New! NO: Ruth Benedict, from The Chrysanthemum and the Sword: Patterns of Japanese Culture
Professor Thomas M. Huber states that the Meiji Restoration produced revolutionary changes in nineteenth-century Japan. Examples of reforms that he asserts are the direct result of the Meiji Restoration are cited. It was the Choshu leaders' dedication to change during this period that enabled these reforms to occur. Ruth Benedict, one of the twentieth century's leading anthropologists, argues that while substantive changes were brought to Japan by the Meiji Restoration, they were based on Japanese traditions that had been present for centuries.
ISSUE 16. Were Confucian Values Responsible for China's Failure to Modernize?
YES: John King Fairbank, from The Great Chinese Revolution: 1800-1985
NO: Jonathan D. Spence, from The Search for Modern China
History professor John King Fairbank makes the case that conservative forces, rooted in the Confucian virtues, subverted attempts by some to bring China into the modern world. History professor Jonathan D. Spence offers an economic analysis that draws on the ideas of Adam Smith and Karl Marx to explain China's initial failure to modernize and the role that foreign powers played in its eventual modernization. PART 5. The Early Twentieth Century
New! ISSUE 17. Were Indigenous Sex Workers Under British Imperialism Always Powerless?
New! YES: Denis Judd, from Empire: The British Imperial Experience, from 1765 to the Present
New! NO: Luise White, from "Prostitution, Differentiation, and the World Economy: Nairobi 1899-1939," in Marilyn J. Boxer and Jean H. Quataert, eds., Connecting Spheres: Women in the Western World, 1500 to the Present
British historian Denis Judd finds that throughout the British Empire sexual contact with "native" women was one of the perks of the imperial system. He documents the abuse and exploitation of indigenous sex workers, or prostitutes, calling it part of a pattern of conquest wherever the British flag was raised. Historian of African history Luise White interviewed indigenous sex workers in Nairobi, Kenya, and concluded that rather than being passive victims, these women acted as historical agents, doing through prostitution what in better times they would have done through marriage--stock their fathers' herds and keep livestock values competitive.
ISSUE 18. Did the Bolshevik Revolution Improve the Lives of Soviet Women?
YES: Richard Stites, from The Women's Liberation Movement in Russia: Feminism, Nihilism, and Bolshevism, 1860-1930
NO: Françoise Navailh, from "The Soviet Model," in Françoise Thébaud, ed., A History of Women in the West, vol. 5: Toward a Cultural Identity in the Twentieth Century
History professor Richard Stites argues that in the early years of the Bolshevik Revolution, the Zhenotdel, or Women's Department, helped many working women take the first steps toward emancipation. Film historian Françoise Navailh contends that the Zhenotdel had limited political influence and could do little to improve the lives of Soviet women in the unstable period following the revolution.
New! ISSUE 19. Was German "Eliminationist Anti-Semitism" Responsible for the Holocaust?
YES: Daniel Jonah Goldhagen, from Hitler's Willing Executioners: Ordinary Germans and the Holocaust
New! NO: Christopher R. Browning, from Ordinary Men: Reserve Police Battalion 101 and the Final Solution in Poland
Professor of government Daniel Jonah Goldhagen states that due to the nature of German society in the twentieth century--with its endemic, virulent anti-Semitism--thousands of ordinary German citizens became willing participants in the implementation of Holocaust horrors. Holocaust scholar Christopher R. Browning argues that Goldhagen's thesis is too simplistic and that a multicausal approach must be used to determine why ordinary German citizens willingly participated in the Holocaust.
New! ISSUE 20. Was Stalin Responsible for the Cold War?
New! YES: John Lewis Gaddis, from We Now Know: Rethinking Cold War History
New! NO: Martin J. Sherwin, from "The Atomic Bomb and the Origins of the Cold War," in Melvyn P. Leffler and David S. Painter, eds., Origins of the Cold War: An International History
Historian John Lewis Gaddis states that after more than a half a century of cold war scholarship, Joseph Stalin still deserves most of the responsibility for the onset of the cold war. Historian Martin J. Sherwin counters that the origins of the cold war can be found in the World War II diplomacy involving the use of the atomic bomb, and he places much of the blame for the cold war on the shoulders of Franklin D. Roosevelt, Harry S. Truman, and Winston Churchill.
PART 6. The Contemporary World
ISSUE 21. Does Islamic Revivalism Challenge a Secular World Order?
YES: John L. Esposito, from The Islamic Threat: Myth or Reality? 2d ed.
NO: Albert Hourani, from A History of the Arab Peoples
Professor of Middle East studies John L. Esposito sees the Iranian Revolution against Western-inspired modernization and Egypt's "holy war" against Israel as examples of the Islamic quest for a more authentic society and culture, which challenges a stable world order. Albert Hourani, an emeritus fellow of St. Antony's College, Oxford, finds hope for a stable world order in modern Islam's moderate position, which blends the traditional religious commitment to social justice with a more secular strain of morality and law.
ISSUE 22. Should Africa's Leaders Be Blamed for the Continent's Current Problems?
YES: George B. N. Ayittey, from Africa Betrayed
NO: Ali A. Mazrui, from The Africans: A Triple Heritage
Economics professor George B. N. Ayittey contends that since achieving independence, many African countries' interests have been betrayed by their own incompetent, corrupt, power-hungry leaders. Political science professor Ali A. Mazrui argues that colonialism's legacy is at the root of many of the problems facing African countries today.
New! ISSUE 23. Were Ethnic Leaders Responsible for the Disintegration of Yugoslavia?
New! YES: Warren Zimmermann, from Origins of a Catastrophe
New! NO: Steven Majstorovic, from "Ancient Hatreds or Elite Manipulation? Memory and Politics in the Former Yugoslavia," World Affairs
Career diplomat Warren Zimmerman, the United States' last ambassador to Yugoslavia, argues that the republic's ethnic leaders, especially Slobodan Milosovic, bear primary responsibility for the nation's demise. Political science professor Steven Majstorovic contends that while manipulation by elite ethnic leaders played a role in the disintegration of Yugoslavia, the fragile ethnic divisions within the country also played an important role in the country's demise.
New! ISSUE 24. Will the Oslo Peace Accords Benefit Both Israelis and Palestinians?
New! YES: Mark Perry, from A Fire in Zion: The Israeli-Palestinian Search for Peace
New! NO: Edward W. Said, from Peace and Its Discontents
Journalist Mark Perry was allowed access to major participants of the Israeli and Palestinian peace process. He states that, as a result of the Oslo peace accords, Israel is returning to its borders, as well as its ideals, and that Palestine is reinvigorating the movement for national independence. Columbia University professor Edward W. Said insists that peace was not achieved by the signing of the Oslo Agreement; instead, Israel achieved all its tactical and strategic objectives at the expense of the Arab and Palestinian struggle for national independence.