History according to the Male Historian Essay

Published: 2020-04-22 08:06:56
1845 words
7 pages
printer Print
essay essay

Category: Story

Type of paper: Essay

This essay has been submitted by a student. This is not an example of the work written by our professional essay writers.

Hey! We can write a custom essay for you.

All possible types of assignments. Written by academics

Gender plays a very important role in the definition of history. Male historians are often presented as scientific thinkers. But the truth is that they merely perpetuate religious, ethnocentric or class-based versions of the past under the guise of neutrality. Female historians, on the other hand, are usually dismissed as propagators of amateur or irrelevant historical accounts. This observation most likely stemmed from their preference to study domains such as the lives of queens and other accomplished women, as well as manners, mores and everyday life.

The accounts of Marco Polo and Ibn Khaldun are two evidences of historys male-oriented nature. Their versions hail men and or patriarchal values as the agents of change in a given society. Such a pro-male stance is no longer surprising history as a discipline has traditionally been regarded as a male preserve. Apart from the proliferation of male historians, focus is given on men and male-dominated spheres such as war, politics and industry. Inside the Middle Kingdom Marco Polo was a Christian Venetian merchant who traveled to and lived in Yuan China from 1271 to 1292.

His accounts of his travels and experiences in China offered Europeans a firsthand view of Asian lands, turning him into one of the most famous Western medieval travelers. Furthermore, the works of Marco Polo aroused fascination with Asian trade. Traders and cartographers used these as a guide to be able to come up with their own routes to the East. Marco Polo, however, grossly misunderstood several aspects of life in Yuan China. For one, he conjured a very paternalistic image of Mongol ruler Kublai Khan.

In addition, Marco Polo came up with a superficial description of the city of Kin-sai. His observations on the way of life of the citys inhabitants clearly lacked further analysis, if not overly romanticized. The Grand Khan Marco Polo regarded Kublai Khan as a benevolent leader who brought prosperity and stability to Yuan China. The city of Kanbalu (present-day Beijing), for instance, possessed an opulence which (was) greater than the mind can comprehend. Its dwellers lived in handsome houses and stately buildings in the suburbs. The capital, meanwhile, was groaning with merchandise.

At least a thousand pack-horses would go there everyday to unload raw silk, which would then be used to manufacture market items such as gold tissues and silk cloth. Kublai Khan lived even more luxuriously than his subjects in Kanbalu. Marco Polo wrote of an instance in which Khan threw a feast which lasted for three days. Merchants and other important personalities attended this banquet in the hopes of securing Khans favor for their respective endeavors. The guests were treated to a fare which included overflowing amounts of game animals, raisins, fish, fruits and Greek partridges, as well as wine and horse and camel milk.

As they ate and drank, Khans acrobats entertained them with juggling acts, magic tricks and amazing feats of contortion. Kin-sai: A Cautionary Tale Marco Polo described Kin-sai as a noble and magnificent city. Its facilities extensive streets and canals, spacious marketplaces, numerous bridges rendered it a modern veneer for the standards of its time. Kin-sais markets sold a wide variety of goods, including meats, fruits, fishes, herbs, spices, drugs, trinkets and pearls. These bazaars are constantly full due to the citys capacious stone warehouses, which are frequented by merchants from India and other countries.

Marco Polo attributed Kin-sais prosperity to the rule of Khan. The former described the citys previous ruler as a morally decadent individual who preferred hunting and orgies over administering to the needs of his people. His negligence of his duties reared its ugly head when the Khan was easily able to conquer Kin-sai. Marco Polo then concluded that Khan brought peace and stability to Kin-sai by controlling the licentiousness of its citizenry. Behind the Myth. What Marco Polo did not know was that the Chinese people resented the existence of the Yuan Dynasty primarily because of its Mongolian origin.

Furthermore, the Yuan Dynasty marginalized the Han Chinese in the latters own country. Only Mongols and other foreigners were allowed to assume government positions. Neither was the Han Chinese permitted to engage in external trade and or learn other languages. While Marco Polos account of Kin-sai was merely a romantic tableau, its realistic descriptions of Yuan China can be interpreted in two ways. The tragic end of the citys former ruler is a possible warning against excessive indulgence in worldly pleasures.

It must be noted that during Marco Polos time, the nobles of the West were notorious for living lavish lifestyles while the commoners starved. He is therefore warning Western monarchs that they will share the same fate with the former ruler of Kin-sai if they dont mend their ways. Another probable construal is that Kin-sai is a reflection of what the West really intends to do with China. Marco Polos focus on the citys courtesans and the promiscuous way of life of its former ruler can be a means of fetishizing the East.

Portraying China as an exotic location can increase Western expeditions to the country both for trade and for converting more people to Christianity. But what Marco Polo probably did not understand was that in Kin-sai, the practice of polygamy was considered acceptable. In ancient societies, polygamy was used as a means of replenishing the population after it has been reduced by wars and other calamities. From the Desert to the Desert Ibn Khaldun was a North African statesman, scholar and historian who traveled to various parts of the Arab world.

In his journeys, he was able to make observations on the geopolitical climate during his period. These observations eventually became the basis for his ideas in the fields of historiography, sociology and economics. The Muqaddimah was the compilation of these concepts. Although The Muqaddimah was actually a reflection on 14th-century Arab politics, it has striking parallelisms with modern-day Arab geopolitics. For one, self-reliance is seen as more desirable than the unity and conformity being espoused by an established dynasty. Furthermore, luxury and interaction with strangers (foreigners) are regarded as the causes of corruption.

The strong emphasis of The Muqaddimah on independence which already borders on isolationism was probably intended to make it more appealing to male than female audiences. The Bedouins In The Muqaddimah, Ibn Khaldun began his discussion on human civilization by describing Bedouin life. He believed that the Bedouins are the models of strength and self-reliance, as they focus only (in) the necessities of life and not (in) luxuries or anything, causing, or calling for, desires and pleasures. Furthermore, the Bedouins live according to the principle of asabiya (group feeling).

Asabiya refers to a higher form of unity it espouses the cohesive force of the group (which seeks) power through conquest. The Dynasty Ibn Khaldun was quick to clarify that the dynasty was not without asabiya royal authority cannot be established and function without the group (society). But he also pointed out that the asabiya being practiced by the dynasty was a weaker form of the principle. This was because most dynasties were based in the city a venue of luxury products and a thriving intellectual life, as well as specialization and diversification of labor.

For a dynasty to thrive in the city, the army must shoulder the expenses of the royal family. Doing so, in turn, means greater taxes from the commoners. Another detrimental effect of luxury is interaction with foreigners people during Ibn Khalduns time were able to obtain luxury items only from foreign merchants. Interrelating with outsiders would result in the inhabitants of the city acquiring values that contrast sharply against asabiya. It would come to a point that succeeding generations would have already forgotten the Bedouin values of independence and resilience values on which a dynasty is supposed to be based.

When that time comes, the dynasty would start to break down. Behind the Myth. Ibn Khaldun overly romanticized the Bedouins. While it is true that the latter is strong and independent, it is because it has to acquire these traits in order to survive. The Bedouins are a nomadic tribe that roams the deserts of the Middle East. Given the scarcity of resources in the desert, they have to be hardy in order to last. These traits of the Bedouins, however, are not without negative effects. In order to compete with scarce resources, Bedouin tribes constantly wage war with one another.

In addition, they observe the practice of burying female infants in the sand. Because females ultimately leave their families to get married, the Bedouins consider feeding and rearing them a waste of already scarce resources. In sharp contrast, inhabitants of the city do not have to worry as much when it comes to their daily sustenance. Thus, they have more time to pursue other endeavors, such as education, arts and the sciences. The influx of new ideas may have also prompted them to change social institutions and or policies that they consider to be obsolete and or inefficient.

Indeed, The Muqaddimah shows the enduring conflict between the patriarchal values of conformity and permanence and change and modernity. Conclusion Historical accounts of male historians are scientific only in the sense that they relieve the past in terms of religious, ethnocentric or class-based ways of thinking. Consequently, they end up misrepresenting certain ideas and or romanticize concepts that are actually detrimental to society to begin with. Marco Polo, for instance, portrayed Kublai Khan as a ruler which brought peace and stability to China.

But the truth was that the Yuan Dynasty was an imperialist rule it expanded itself by invading China and marginalizing the Han Chinese. Ibn Khaldun, meanwhile, adhered strongly to the Bedouin values of hardiness and self-reliance. But these values could likewise promote conformity and absolutist thinking, which, in turn, could result in groups which view violence as the only way to attain their objectives. When female historians write about the lives of queens, manners and everyday life, it is not because they want to come up with irrelevant accounts of the past.Rather, they simply want to show how seemingly unimportant persons, events and or ideas are the ones that make a bigger impact on society as a whole.

References Barnes and Noble. (2009). The Travels of Marco Polo: Forewords & Introductions. Retrieved January 30, 2009, from http://search. barnesandnoble. com/The-Travels-of- Marco-Polo/Marco-Polo/e/9780760765890 Chowdhry, S. DinarStandard. (2006, October 4). Ibn Khalduns Philosophy of Management and Work Excerpts from the Muqaddimah. Retrieved January 30, 2009, from http://dinarstandard. com/management/IbnKhaldun_Mgmt100206. htm Lach, D.

F. (1994). Asia in the Making of Europe. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. MNSU. edu. (n. d. ). Yuan Dynasty. Retrieved January 29, 2009, from http://www. mnsu. edu/emuseum/prehistory/china/later_imperial_china/yuan. html On Distance. (2006, October 16). The Desert and the City. Retrieved January 30, 2009, from http://woodeneyes. wordpress. com/category/ibn-khaldun/ Polo, M. (1997). The Travels of Marco Polo (Benjamin Colbert, Trans. ). Wordsworth: Wade UK. (n. d. ). Smith, B. G. (1998). The Gender of History: Men, Women and Historical Practice. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.

Warning! This essay is not original. Get 100% unique essay within 45 seconds!


We can write your paper just for 11.99$

i want to copy...

This essay has been submitted by a student and contain not unique content

People also read