Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Passages and Arcades...and 19th century Paris

What a lovely picture--and believe it or not--that is downtown Salem, Oregon, not Paris, France! AP European History students will be learning about the remodeling of Paris during the 19th century.  During this time, the ancient city of Paris almost entirely disappeared and streets were torn up for sewers and new buildings were put up under strict building codes.

Mrs. Olsen seriously walked the city of Paris this summer.  She passed through many arcades and secret passages.  They reminded her of some of the secret passages in Salem, Oregon, where, during the summer there are wisteria vines that cover the tops, or another passage which is topped by metal sculptures of Chinook Salmon.  The idea of "hidden" passages has appealed to many.  However, as cities modernize, many of  these  passages have been torn down.   Secret passages have their role in literature--when Harry Potter goes to shop for his magic kit and wand, he fades into a hidden passage.

Perhaps the most famous book about arcades is by Walter Benjamin, a German Jew who wrote about the Arcades of Paris.  Walter Benjamin's work was a fascinating hodgepodge of his own ideas, observations and snippets about past lives and history. 

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Medicine and Imperialism....

Ninth grade students are learning about Imperialism during the last few weeks of the semester.   They will be learning about old imperialism vs. new imperialism:

Old Imperialism:  God (religion), glory, and greed....

New Imperialism:  Humanitarian reasons, Strategic areas, New Markets

There were differences between the New Imperialism and Old Imperialism.  New Imperialism was in many ways more intrusive and harmful to native cultures.  However, not all of Imperialism was bad....for many who lived in less developed countries, medicine was available that was life saving.  Here is a picture that shows both a religious and medical influence.  It depicts an idealized picture of how Western societies view medical help to the "primitives" in the societies they sought to dominate.