Western Civilization II
Study Guide 1
Chapters 15 – 18
Chapter 15, Assignment 1 and Notes
Read the "Interpreting Visual Evidence" section for Ch. 15 (available in the textbook, in the "Textbook Materials" section and the "Assignments" section of the Blackboard site. Then use this forum to make at least two (2) posts: the first should be your answer to the questions below; the second and any subsequent posts should be replies to other student's posts. These replies should expand upon what the other student has written, asking questions to go deeper into the material and/or suggesting alternative answers that help get conversation going. All of your posts need to include citations to the relevant sources that you use to write your posts. (Full details on grading for this discussion board along with helpful instructions on how to make citations can be found in the "Syllabus" section of the Blackboard site.)
Who was the intended audience for the king's performance of absolute sovereignty?
~ The intended audience of the King’s performances to exert his absolute sovereignty, I believe, extended into three different groups. One group was obviously his subjects (the French), the natural world and enemies of France. On page 360 of the text book, it states that Louis XIV’s performances and the construction of the Palace of Versailles “demonstrated that his power extended over the natural world as easily as it did over the lives of his subjects” (Cole, Symes, Coffin, Stacey). This demonstration though was on display for more reasons that just power over the natural world and his subjects, in my opinion. One thing that I’ve seen become common through history is that everything that is put on display by people in power is also meant to make a statement to enemies or people that would attempt to rebel and over through the government or monarch. Louis XIV seems to be this extravagant man that was over the top with everything, as if clearly exemplified by the pictures present at the bottom of page 360. So exerting his dominance and control seemed to also be presented as it was so that enemies would withhold for attempting to go against Louis XIV and also so that enemies would know that he assumed he was an unbeatable monarch.
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Who were Louis's primary competitors in this contest for eminence through the performance of power?
~ When looking outside of the textbook information, I’ve found that during Louis XIV’s time as the King of France, there were four main conflicts that express the competitors and enemies to the Crown of France. These conflicts are as follows: The War of Devolution (16671668) which was fought against Spain to claim the right of his wife’s inheritance of the Spanish Throne. This conflict also brought about England signing a treaty with France and Switzerland even though England hadn’t been involved in this specific conflict. That could have easily made tensions between the English Crown and the French Crown worse than they had been previous to this, We also discuss several other topics like How has california’s energy use changed in the last 20 - 30 years?
making England an even larger enemy that Louis XIV wanted to exert dominance over. The next struggle that took place was the War against Holland (16721678). During this conflict, Holland made alliances with the Spanish and Austrians, pulling them into the war and thus making Austria another enemy of Louis XIV. The two other conflicts that Louis XIV faced was the War of the league of Augsburg (16891697) and the War of Spanish Succession (17021714). These also brought in other countries and mostly, I find that it seems by the time Louis XIV died and his reign ended, he had enemies of all major countries that we against him or that didn’t view him as their King and Monarch, especially since he did always view himself as being the King of the entire “natural world.” If you want to learn more check out How did ralph emerson impact american society?
What possible political dangers might lie in wait for a regime that invested so heavily in the sumptuous display of semidivine authority?
~ Politically speaking, no country in today’s world actually relies entirely on a display or belief of semidivine authority. Even countries like England, who is reigned by a Queen that was made the Queen of England by the authority of God and to carry out God’s work, have a separation of
Church and State. In another time, like the period of Louis XIV’s reign over France, they did commonly rely heavily on their belief systems and relied heavily going into certain situations that semidivine authority will take over. When we talk about things such as military regimes
relying on semidivine authority though, the first thing that honestly comes to mind for me is that the will always be at risk of being beaten in battle and that could lead to massive political upheaval in any country.
Assignment 2; Chapter 16
What do these illustrations tell us about the relationship between knowledge and observation in sixteenth and seventeenthcentury science? What kinds of knowledge were necessary to produce these images? We also discuss several other topics like Who qualifies for american with disabilities act?
~ What these illustrations tell us is that there is a massive disconnect between their knowledge and their observations. When we look at the theories that Galileo presented (which also lead to his conviction), they were based on his observations. The theory that the Earth isn’t the center of the universe, is true, and was based on Galileo’s observation, not simply his knowledge. All four illustrations show us that while the knowledge they previously had didn’t correspond directly with the observations that they were undoubtedly seeing. I think that when we actually consider where most of the knowledge had come from during this time period, then the incorrect illustrations about the universe and the order of things within our universe, make more sense, especially seeing as the Churches believes that Earth was the center of the universe, even though we clearly know now that it isn’t. In Galileo’s case though, the knowledge that he had wasn’t the same as the others had. I think that is clearly shown through the theories that he brought to light. His work that we’re able to look back on now, expresses to me that he had a knowledge that We also discuss several other topics like What is the purpose of performance?
wasn’t handed to him through someone else’s work, he had a knowledge that he developed, researched and believed once he had proven his theory to himself.
Are the illustrations A and B intended to be visually accurate, in the sense that they represent what the eye sees? Can one say the same of D? What makes Galileo's illustration of the sunspots different from the others?
~ In taking a detailed look at both A and B, I can’t justifiably say or even believe that these are representative of what they were actually seeing. I think it’s clear the more you take in the details of both A and B that they were based more on knowledge than anything they had observed. D is clearly the one that is more expressive of an observation than of Galileo’s knowledge. He put down on paper the spots on the sun that he was seeing, versus where he assumed they could have been or might have been. This observation leads to being able to measure how far the Earth moved around the sun at any given time, which isn’t possible at all with the other two. I think that the idea that the other two came from observation wasn’t something that can actually connect fully because of the detail. The lack of massive detail in illustration D is what makes it come off as being from observation alone and not based on any prior knowledge Galileo may have had. Don't forget about the age old question of What are features of the international gothic style?
Are the assumptions about observation contained in Galileo's drawing of sunspots (D) applicable to other sciences such as biology or chemistry? How so?
~ Ultimately, what Galileo’s observations came to wasn’t just the discovery he came to make at the end of it; it was the process of which he went about it. He developed a hypothesis, really and then set about proving it, which essentially came to be the Scientific Method. That method, whether it be applied to Biology or Chemistry or any other form of sciences, is applicable. Biology and Chemistry thrive on the scientific method, which is what Galileo’s work came to in conjunction with his theory about the Sun being the center of the universe. The scientific method is the process that we use constantly in every form of sciences now, because of how Galileo set about proving his hypothesis.
Assignment 3; Week 4
Does the Reynolds portrait, in its choice of posture and expression, imply that Europeans and the peoples of the Pacific might share essential traits? What uses might Enlightenment thinkers have made of such a universalist implication?
~ When you go looking for different portraits of Englishmen at the same time that the Omai portrait (as presented in the textbook) was painted or rather sketched as it seems, you tend to find a vast array of portraits that have other people positions and presented in a similar way to that of Omai in the Joshua Reynolds portrait. With that being said though, they are vastly different in one way. The portrait of Omai as presented in the textbook is extremely plain. All of the other portraits that I’ve seen as far as online and in other areas of the textbook are very elaborate. While it’s common for the backgrounds to be plain and sort of “undone,” the persons are all elaborately painted. They’re covered in their best dress and its sort of common for these people
to be painted in their best dress or at least presented as though they are. With Omai, it genuinely looks unfinished with the version in the textbook, page 412. It seems as though Reynolds didn’t care to capture anything beyond his face and his face is presented as any other portrait of an Englishmen was. He has perfect posture practically, his face is directioned just right and it’s no different than anyone else’s portrait would be except that it’s unfinished. I feel that with his face alone, it presents this image of a person of the Pacific as being no different than any of the English. It gives everyone this idea that they’re no different than them, the Pacific culture is no different either. Page 412 says that “it shored up European’s sense of their superiority” (Cole, Symes, Coffin, Stacey). I think that ultimately speaks the most about the way that the Enlightenment thinkers viewed the way that the portrait was presented and what it spoke to as far as the culture and the life Omai came from the Pacific.
How might a contemporary person in Britain have reacted to the portrait of Omai kneeling before the king?
~ To start my answer to this question, I have to prelude it by saying this: I am not the typical type of person when it comes to anything regarding the UK past or present. Outside of my college career, I’ve immersed myself into the culture and the history of the UK as a whole. I’m also currently in the middle of readying myself and family to move to the UK once I’ve finished my Bachelor’s Degree. That means that my answer to this question is based on my knowledge and understanding of the UK that isn’t based out of the information in the textbook.
Now, with that being said it’s obvious that the way the people of Britain responded or reacted to Omai kneeling to the King in 1774 is massively different than the way it would be viewed in today’s Britain. That should ultimately go without saying. In 1774, it was custom to kneel upon meeting a Monarch. It wasn’t just a bow or a curtsey, people would kneel as well as a sign of respect to the monarch they were meeting. In today’s society, kneeling to the Queen of England isn’t an everyday occurrence. You don’t see people take a knee as a sign of respect to Queen Elizabeth II with every event she’s in attendance at. It’s become tradition though to kneel when being knighted or when receiving an award from the Queen, which essentially is to tell the Queen that you are “submissive” in a way to the Crown and are a citizen of the Crown as well. So in today’s world, I think that Omai’s kneeling could be seen as a sign of respect, but mostly out of the understanding that he’s from a different culture and a different society. It could also be seen as Omai submitting to the ruling Monarch as well, in my opinion, though. It would greatly depend on the people and their individual opinions as to how it would be reacted to specifically.
Do you think image C is an accurate representation of life in the South Pacific? What purpose did such imaginary and idyllic scenes serve for their audience in Europe?
~ To answer this question I would like to point to page 412, in the green “Interpreting Visual Evidence” box with the following quote – “These artists documented what they saw, but their vision was also shaped by the ideas that they brought with them and by the classical European styles” (Cole, Symes, Coffin, Stacey). That quote from the text alone leads me to believe that image C is absolutely not an accurate representation. When it is implied that the images and the
art that was created from this South Pacific venture is biased and not very close to being accurate, it makes a person doubt what is shown to them following that. By presenting imagery that is like this, imagery that is biased and also shapeable to be used by Enlightenment thinkers, it has this ambiguity that left it all open to opinion and perspective. The Enlightenment thinkers could read the images one way, while others could see it differently. It’s presented in a way that makes the inaccurate representation still have a purpose.
Week Five;Assignment 4
Image A depicts an event from July 1789—that is, before the August publication of the Declaration of the Rights of Man. How does this image portray the crowd's vengeance on Foulon? What possible political messages are contained in this image?
~ In image A, we see gathering crowds that seem to have a vast array of weapons at their disposal. That alone tells me that the image portrays the crowd’s vengeance as being extremely violent and almost reactive at a moment’s notice. It’s also portrayed in the image as being the people versus one person, which I assume is the person that is being strung up from the building (Foulon). The message that comes across from this is one that should be sponsored by the government. The accompanying information on pages 440 and 441 don’t really give any information as far as which side was in charge of this image that is expressed on page 440 (Cole, Symes, Coffin, Stacey). I say that it looks to be sponsored by the government because of the position of the image itself, it is overlooking the murder of Foulon, not close enough to give detail, but not quite far enough away to not realize what is happening to the man the exceedingly large crowd is going after. That alone says to me that it’s viewed as if from a bystander and the French government at the time more than likely looked upon the murder of one of their own in that same fashion, as if it was uncalled for and unjust to have happened. If the image had been depicted closer to the actual murder, then I would have said it was likely commissioned by the side opposing the government because then it would have been close enough to be someone actually in the thick of the action that occurred that day.
Image B, on the other hand, chooses to display the people celebrating their own birth as a political body, by convening on the anniversary of the fall of the Bastille. What emotions is this painting designed to invoke, and how is it related to more disturbing images such as image A?
~ Image B, in comparison to that of Image A is much more upbeat, in my opinion. Image B is a very celebratory view versus the violent and bloody view of Image A. I think that Image B is supposed to give people this feeling of celebration that comes across in the picture. The fall of the Bastille was a historic day for the people that were fighting for their rights and also to overthrow the French government. It was also historic that they were able to form their own government as well. No other nation had faced anything as deadly or as historic as the French Revolution was. The image gives that away easily with the way that everyone seems to be in their best clothing or their uniforms that they can now wear with honor. It also seems to be from the perspective of someone that was in attendance and celebrating the occasion with everyone else there.
How are the positive and negative portrayals of sansculottes as political actors (images C and D) constructed? Can one imagine a painting of a worker like image C being produced before 1789? What does image D tell us about how the revolution was viewed from Britain?
~The images of sansculottes are constructed in a way that expresses both sides of the fight that occurred with the French Revolution. On one side (Image C) the people fighting for their rights are expressed through the single person in the portrait and it has an air of the person being extremely proud of their fight against the French government. With image D though, we get the feeling that it’s a baseless fight (probably from the government’s opinion) and that the people fighting are essentially just killing their own people for no reason. We really see how there are two sides to every story with the two versions of this image. Previous 1789 I don’t believe image C would have ever been painted. I say that because previous to the revolution everything in the French society was very much about the upper classes and the lower classes were thought of as the lowest of the low. They didn’t have a proper place in society, so they never would have been painted previous to 1789. Image B shows us though that the British very much looked upon the French Revolution as a war that was simply the French killing the French. They equated it to cannibalism because they were fighting within themselves and if they had lost the fight, it would’ve been a massive break down of the entire French system.