“Yeah, about the test: the test will measure whether you are an informed, engaged and productive citizen of the world, and it will take place in schools and bars and hospitals and dorm-rooms and in places of worship. You will be tested on first dates; in job interviews; while watching football; and while scrolling through your twitter feed. The test will judge your ability to think about things other than celebrity marriages; whether you’ll be easily persuaded by empty political rhetoric; and whether you’ll be able to place your life and your community in a broader context. The test will last your entire life, and it will be comprised by the millions of decisions that when taken together, make your life yours. And everything - everything - will be on it.
Yeah, I know, right? So pay attention.” [Crash Course World History, x]
We’re Europe! *sing-song* The Prime Meridian runs through us; we’re in the middle of every Map; and we get to be a continent even though we’re not a continent.
“Hi there! My name’s John Green; this is Crash Course World History and today we’re going to talk about the Dark Ages, possibly the most egregious Eurocentrism in all of history, which is really saying something.” (x)
In which John Green returns to teaching World History! This week, we’ll be talking about the idea of civilization, some of the traditional hallmarks of so-called civilization, and why some people would choose to live outside the civilization model. It turns out, not everyone who lives outside of what we traditionally think of as a “civilized” social order is necessarily a barbarian! To defuse any tension you may be feeling, I’ll just tell you now, the Mongols are back. You’ll learn about Zomia, swidden agriculture, and even a little about anarchy!
In which John Green teaches you about Imperialism, but not from the perspective of the colonizers. This week John looks at some Asian perspectives on Imperialism, specifically writers from countries that were colonized by European powers. We’ll look at the writings of Sayyid Jamal ad-Din al-Afghani from the Middle East, Liang Qichao from China, and Rabindranath Tagore from India. these voices from the countries that were colonized give us a sense of how conquered people saw their conquerors, and gives an insight into what these nations learned from being dominated by Europe. It’s pretty interesting, OK? A lot of this episode is drawn from a fascinating book by Pankaj Mishra called The Ruins of Empire: The Revolt Against the West and the Remaking of Asia. You should read it.
This is not only one of my favorite John Green quotes, it is one of my favorite quotes ever. I want a poster of it, not to put up in a classroom, but to put in my room. I want it to remind me to think bigger than myself and to think about how everything I do is because of the actions of everyone who came before me. How everything I do is going to influence everyone who comes after me. Not just my future children, but the children of the man who cut me off in traffic today, or the person who sold me the new cell phone I got last week, or the girl who made the watch that my roommate is wearing. Everything I do effects everyone. And that’s part of the test too.