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BEFORE YOU WATCH: Water and Classical Civilization

Use the “Three Close Reads” approach as you watch the video below (next in the lineup!). If you want to learn more about this strategy, click here.

First read: preview and skimming for gist

Before you watch, you should skim the transcript first. The skim should be very quick and give you the gist (general idea) of what the video is about. You should be looking at the title, thumbnails, pictures, and first few seconds of the video for the gist.

Second read: key ideas and understanding content

Now that you’ve skimmed the video transcript and taken a quick peek at the video, you should preview the questions you will be answering. These questions will help you get a better understanding of the concepts and arguments that are presented in the video. Keep in mind that when you watch the video, it is a good idea to write down any vocab you read or hear that is unfamiliar to you.
By the end of the second close read, you should be able to answer the following questions:
  1. What is water control, or “hydraulic engineering”? Why is this important?
  2. The Maya culture, which flourished between 250 and 900 CE was not ideally located in terms of access to fresh water. How did the rulers and people ensure their survival?
  3. What happened to Maya society as a result of sustained droughts, and why?
  4. The Khmer culture flourished between 802 and 1327 CE in what is today Cambodia. They built extensive reservoirs and water works. Where were their most important series of temples constructed, and how do they relate to water control?
  5. How do water control issues continue to present challenges to people today, and what advantages do we have that might possibly prevent the same kind of societal collapse presented in this video?

Third read: evaluating and corroborating

Finally, here are some questions that will help you focus on why this video matters and how it connects to other content you’ve studied.
At the end of the third read, you should be able to respond to these questions:
  1. How do issues of water management and water control connect to issues of globalization? In what ways do you think water access reflects the “lumpy” or “spiky” aspects of globalization? How does the broader ecological crisis of climate change reflect a potential “flattening” of globalization?
  2. Can you relate to the issues of resource management of ancient societies in your daily life? How do these issues play out in the world around you? As a global society, our beliefs about natural phenomena like weather are generally not as faith-based as those of our ancestors, and legitimacy of rulers is not routinely tied to earthquakes, volcanoes, or the weather. But consider how a society’s response to a hurricane, an earthquake, or a water crisis might still lead to a crisis in political legitimacy even today. What would that look like?
Now that you know what to look for, it’s time to watch! Remember to return to these questions once you’ve finished watching.

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