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Homework Assignment for Module 9
**Reminder** “The Courtesan’s Tale” from Life Along the Silk Road, by Susan Whitfield, Director of the International Dunhuang Project, is a synthetic account, not a primary document. Whitfield, former director of the International Dunhuang Project has created Larishka’s tale from a composite of primary sources, this story is entirely plausible, and many of the specifics are documentable, but the narrative is created by Whitfield.
SEE: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZnZEoOJ-cxE AND THE ATTACHED DOCUMENTS
1. What are some of the ways that trade, politics, ethnicity and gender are related to each other in Larishka’s life? Give specific examples from Whitfield’s article.
2. What choices does Larishka have? What choices does she not have? What surprises you about this account of Larishka’s “life”? What questions do you have about it?
3. Does the Larishka ‘biography’ change your view of life in Tang dynasty China? How does it compare with Strayer and Nelson’s descriptions of the period?
4. Why do you think your instructor assigned the primary sources The Dancing Horses and Iranian Whirling Girl? What aspects of Tang dynasty Chinese culture described in Strayer and Nelson do these documents illustrate? Do they change, enhance, confuse or contrast with the world described by Strayer and Nelson?
5. How would you compare Susan Whitfield’s goal in writing about Larishka with John Green’s goal in talking about Heian Japan? How would you describe Whitfield’s writing and conceptual style? For a few points of extra credit: How did you like the readings for today? Was anything particularly interesting? Was anything particularly frustrating? Has the work this week been easier or harder for you than last week?
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