Note Taking Strategies

Note Taking Strategies
RCC: Discovering Atlantis
29 August 2012 

Visual Images
1.) A few ways to take notes on visual images include: 
a. Printing out the PowerPoint before class and writing notes on top of it
b. Taking notes and finding the images after class 
c. Taking notes and referring to images while in class (finding images on google during class and putting them in your notes or taking notes while having the powerpoint pulled up on your computer) 
2.) Name, Artist (if there is one), Date, Location, Material, etc 
3.) Focus on Iconography (what the different symbols mean) 
4.) What story do the figures/ iconography tell? 
5.) How does this fit within the culture we’re looking at? How was it used/ looked at in its time, and what does it tell us about its culture? 

Architecture/ Archaeological Sites 
1.) Name, Location, Date, Important Facts 
2.) What architectural elements are used here? What elements are unique to the culture? 
3.) Look at the plan: what is the function of this building/complex? How did it fit into the context of the civilization we’re looking at? 

Note Taking on Readings 
1.) Look for the Author’s main argument (Thesis) and the evidence he/she uses to support it
2.) Highlight/ Underline terms and concepts 
3.) Find definitions
4.) Use Quotations 
5.) You should be able to understand the argument/support of the article by just reading your notes! 
Sample Notes
  • Collapse is a “little understood process” (39) 
  • This study: understand past and how if affects current/ future political philosophy 
  • What Collapses? 
  • New concept of civilizations changing as “cultural forms” (39) 
  • Most important theorists: Spengler, Toynbee, Kroeber, Coulborn, Gray 
  • By end of civilization, the article refers to transformation to another culture/civilization- forget old traditions and adopt new ones 
  • Civilization: “display artistic, architectural, and literary styles that are similar in structure (if not in form and content) to our own” (40) (don’t like the wording on this) 
  • Complexity: intertwined with civilization, the two exist together puts all traditions into practice 
Classification of Theories 
  • • Internal v external, conflict v integration
  • • 11 major themes to explain collapse: (see later in notes) 
  • • there are more, but these are the major themes we should be concerned with 
  • Framework for Discussion
  • • Goal of Reading: “understand collapse as a general phenomenon”- understand specific cases but more importantly how they apply universally 
11 Themes of Collapse: 
Resource Depletion 
• Loss of resources due to changing environmental conditions or due to human interference 
• Theory attributed mainly to Huntington, Winkless, and Browning 
• Changing physical factors impact human condition and people are unable to adapt to changing environments  
• The possibility that resource depletion is a recurring phenomenon- “a major concern to contemporary forecasters” (45)
• Examples:  

  • Mesoamerica 
    • Soil erosion and land scarcity caused a decline in water supply and an increase in mosquitos and therefore malaria 
    • Haas- argues that Mayan collapse happened due to a weakening of resources and trade goods 
  • Peru 
  • The American Southwest 
    • “agricultural mismanagement” (46) – agricultural mismanagement leading to malnourishment (Adams and Weaver) 
  • Eastern North America 
  • Egypt 
    • Dependent on Nile flood levels 
    • Butzer suggests the Old Kingdom weaknesses can be attributed to changes in the Nile 
    • “the failure of the Egyptian king to maintain proper flood levels through ritual intervention led to reduced legitimacy of, and confidence in, the central government at a time when the power of regional nobles was increasing” (48) 
  • Harappan Civilization 
  • Mesopotamia 
    • Fluctuation in resources for complex irrigation systems
  • Mycenaen Civilization
    • Climatic change “leading to famine, depopulation, and migration” (49) caused the civilization to collapse
  • Roman Empire
    • Climatic change (Huntington and Wikless/ Browning) caused the barbarian invasions on Rome
    • Food shortages/ population decline
  • Weaknesses:
    • Assumes economic inefficiencies (problems with supply/ demand)- which is already assumed
    • Complex societies are formed on decision making- they should have ways of adapting to/dealing with changes in climate
    • Complex society has the resources to re-allocate/adapt to changing environmental conditions
    • Can’t fully prove this theory yet
  • What prevents a society from being able to deal with changes in environment? What does this say about our culture today, are we subject to fatal climate changes?
New Resources 
  • Reversal of resource depletion- New resources lead to collapse
  • From the integration school sees complexity as a response to stress conditions
    • Myceneans and Hittites
      • Problems: can only apply to very simple societies
      • Catastrophes
      • The theory that a single event can cause the extinction of a civilization
      • These theories date back to antiquity: Plato and the Bible
      • Examples:
        • Mesoamerica
        • Minoan Civilization- often attributed to the volcanic eruption on the island of Thera nearby
        • Roman Empire- wiped out due to spread of malaria.
      • Weakest explanation of collapse
      • Problem: societies can withstand routinely catastrophes as evidenced throughout history.
      • Too simple to include human complexities

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