Primary Source Analysis: Ibn Battuta in Mali

Enjoy your three day weekend, guys!  You do have some homework this weekend, but hopefully it’s nothing too onerous.  Please thoroughly read and annotate Ibn Battuta’s account of his travels in Mali– if you’ve lost your copy, you’ll find a digital version on the Unit Three materials page.

Ignore the questions at the bottom of page 64– instead, I want you to focus on the discussion points below.  One point of caution, however: as you respond to these point, you are to avoid using the words ‘bias‘ or ‘biased.’  Those words don’t exist in AP World History.  Find another, more precise way of explaining what you mean.

1. What does Ibn Battuta find admirable about the people of Mali?

2. Many of Ibn Battuta’s concerns regarding Mali involve the freedoms and behaviors of women.  What do Ibn Battuta’s responses suggest about his cultural and social background?  Is Battuta’s reaction surprising, given his personal background?

3. Is Ibn Battuta’s account useful as a source when studying Mali?  What are the problems inherent in using texts written by people who are from outside of the culture about which they are writing?  What are the problems in relying ONLY on sources drawn from within a culture?

We’ll be working heavily on analyzing primary sources over the next several weeks, so you can expect us to spend a good chunk  of time working on reading texts for content, evidence, and perspective.

You do NOT need to post your responses as a comment to this blog; you can just write out your responses and bring them to class on Tuesday.

Don’t forget to keep up with your reading over the weekend!