Iran<br />Fast Facts<br /><ul><li>“The word ‘Iran’ was derived from ‘AryanaVaejo,’ which means ‘the origin of the Aryans…in the sixth century B.C. Iran was referred to as Persia – it’s Greek name – until 1935’” (from the Introduction to Persepolis).
Currently an “Islamic Republic” under Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
A place of political turmoil; the results of the 2009 election were disputed; incumbent Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was declared the winner and protesters were met with violence from the government.</li></ul>Sweeping Generalizations<br />Iran has been invaded a lot; probably because of its location; they don’t call it the Middle East for nothing. <br />
Vietnam<br />Fast Facts<br /><ul><li>The Vietnam War was a civil war between the North (Communist) and the South (Democratic); the Americans jumped into the midst of things.
Historically, Vietnam was once a French colony called French Indochina.
Propaganda in Communist North sounds familiar, “There were frenzied campaigns championing the ‘Three Alerts’ and ‘Three Responsibilities,’ and harshest, the ‘Three Don’ts,’ which forbade sex, love, or marriage among the young people” – The Sorrow of War by BaoNinh, page 131. </li></ul>Sweeping Generalization<br />There was lasting ecological and psychological impacts on the countryside and the population; the nation is still healing from the war. <br />
Japan<br />Fast Facts<br /><ul><li>History dominated by long periods of isolation followed by influence from the outside world.
Japan has the longest average life expectancy of any country in the world.
There is a divide between people with a more Western cultural perspective and those who are more traditional and conservative. Spirited Away is loosely based on this divide – the little girl’s parents drive a Western car and wear Western clothing, then eat Western food—and turn into pigs. It is up to their daughter to learn about traditional values and save them, and to develop her identity. </li></li></ul><li>Ancient Mesopotamia (Iraq)<br />Fast Facts<br /><ul><li>“Mesopotamia” comes from the word “between the rivers”; referring to the Tigris and Euphrates rivers
Written language developed here for the first time in history.
The Epic of Gilgamesh was originally written in cuneiform script, a wedge-shaped script of pictograms that represents the Sumerian language.
This epic is comparable to many familiar Greek and Roman myths—though it has a distinctly Sumerian flavor to it!</li></li></ul><li>Spokane Reservation – Wellpinit, WA<br />Fast Facts<br /><ul><li>Spokane means “children of the sun”.
Sherman Alexie, author of The Absolutely True Diary of a Part Time Indian was born here. Most of his books take place on or near the reservation.
Created in part because of the Dawes Act of 1887.
It was intended to break up tribal reservations and assimilate natives as farmers.
Individual natives were given plots of land and the US government would hold that land in trust for 25 years, during which the owners could learn farming without being penalized by taxation.
This policy was largely unsuccessful—many of the land parcels were unsuitable for farming, and most American Indians didn’t want to abandon their traditional way of life. </li></li></ul><li>Universal Themes in World Literature<br />Much of the literature is written about (and probably by) outcasts, or people who are marginalized by their own society.<br />When the author comes from the dominant group within their society, they do not try to “catch the reader up” about what life is like for them. Authors from minority groups often do a bit of explaining about history or offer background information. <br />Authors make assumptions about audiences, and write to suit that audience. <br />There is always some kind of tension built into the narrative.<br />i.e. between modern and traditional, between the minority culture and the dominant one, between individual desire and responsibility to one’s country or government.<br />