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BEFORE YOU WATCH: Mansa Musa and Islam in Africa

Use the “Three Close Reads” approach as you watch the video below.
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. John Green points out that most sub-Saharan African histories were preserved by oral tradition rather than written down. He also says there is a prejudice against oral tradition. What evidence does he use to argue that oral tradition is in fact important?
  2. Who was Mansa Musa, and why was his hajj (pilgrimage to Mecca) so significant?
  3. What was Mali like when Mansa Musa ruled it, in terms of both politics and religion?
  4. What kinds of states were built along the eastern coast of Africa at this time, and how were they linked?
  5. For a long time, scholars incorrectly believed the Swahili city-states in east Africa must have been founded by Arabs, rather than local Africans. Why did they believe that, according to John Green?
  6. What kinds of goods and other resources were traded through the Swahili city-states?

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. Why do you think two different kinds of states formed in different African regions (large empires in the interior of west Africa and city-states along the coast of east Africa)?
  2. How is Ibn Battuta’s life evidence of the Islamic World as a network?
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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