Saturday, April 2, 2016

Reading Period 23: March 25 - April 7: Morocco

Short Read:

Selections from the Travels of Ibn Battuta, pages 41, 43-53 (Ibn Battuta travels from Tangiers to Cairo)

Poem:

"One Hand Isn't Enough to Write With" by Abdellatif Laâbi

"Next to Nothing" by Paul Bowles (American living in Tangiers in the 60s) Just read enough to get a sense of it, from this PDF replica of an actual copy. 

Writing Assignment:

Ibn Battuta was a Moroccan explorer in the 14th century, kind of an Islamic Marco Polo. If you believe his travel journal, titled A Gift to Those Who Contemplate the Wonders of Cities and the Marvels of Travelling, or simply The Journey, he visited Africa, China, Russia, India, and many other places. It's unclear whether he actually did go to all the places he wrote about, or whether he just heard about them and wrote about them as if he had been there, but either way, his travels journal gives us an interesting picture of the medieval Islamic world. Visit this site to learn about Battuta's travels

Now imagine you are a game designer tasked with creating a video game based on Ibn Battuta's travels. Would you set it in the past? In the present with time travel? In the present entirely? Would the purpose of the game be purely educational, teach strategy, or would it be purely violent shooter? How would you incorporate educational elements in an entertaining game? For inspiration, watch this trailer for the game Unearthed: The Trail of Ibn Battuta. If you want, you can drop $5 and play the game itself. But for our purposes, you just need to watch the trailer. The game is rated T for Teen but the trailer is not terribly violent. Write a 300 word proposal for a game, including the title, the audience, a description of game play. If you want, you can draw up some screenshots.

OR

Take a look at this collection of images of the souk (or market) in Marrakech, Morocco. Write a 300 word first person description of a trip through the market, based on what you see and what you imagine you might smell, hear, touch and taste. Make sure you specify the time of day (or night!) and any weather conditions, and include all the senses in your description.

OR

Revise and rework the essay you wrote for your midterm. Some of you wrote absolutely great essays that need to be kept for future use. Don't let them wither away, hand-written, in a folder that may get lost. Get them into a Google document and save them forever. 

Creative Assignment:

Ibn Battuta was a Moroccan explorer in the 14th century, kind of an Islamic Marco Polo. If you believe his travel journal, titled A Gift to Those Who Contemplate the Wonders of Cities and the Marvels of Travelling, or simply The Journey, he visited Africa, China, Russia, India, and many other places. It's unclear whether he actually did go to all the places he wrote about, or whether he just heard about them and wrote about them as if he had been there, but either way, his travels journal gives us an interesting picture of the medieval Islamic world. Visit this site to learn about Battuta's travels

If you look at his Wikipedia page, the maps are a completely unreadable mess. Choose a part of his journey that includes at least ten stops, and make your own map. You can start with a blank map or trace one onto a larger sheet. Illustrate in whatever way you choose. Use Photoshop or other computer graphic resources. You can use other resources around the internet to help you -- there are better maps and more interesting ones available. Be aware when you're Googling that his name is spelled about 8 different ways. 

OR

After reading this article about patterns in Islamic art, create a piece of art. It can be a posterboard with geometric cut-outs, a pen and ink drawing, a colorful painting, or whatever you choose. It can even be a copy of one of the pictures you see in the article. You could also write a computer program to produce it. Your art can be as simple as you need it to be, or as complicated as you can make it. A particular challenge would be to create a 96-pointed star, as referenced in the article. 

Paper

A rough draft of the first 1000 words is due on Tuesday in class. Please print it out and bring it with you. You must (MUST!) must cite your sources. That means if you got information from a book or article, you must include a parenthetical notation that includes the page number and author if it's a book or at least the author if it's an article. The purpose of parenthetical notation is to show you know your stuff and have the proof for what you're saying, and also to allow people who want to know more to follow in the footsteps of your research and expand on what you've said. If you don't cite your sources, you will not get credit for this draft. It's a ROUGH draft so don't worry over the wording and phrasing and transitions and details too much, but do DO DO!! DO do worry about getting your citations straight. This site will help you cite. I will also help you with formatting once you get them in there. At the end of your paper you'll include a "Works Cited" page with full info on your sources. 

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