Week 10 Module–World Literature, Spring 2021

Teaching, research, and more


Week 10


As we turn our attentions fully to The Secret History of the Mongolsit’ll be important not to lose sight of the major events and relationships of the text among the many characters and different peoples we’re introduced to. At the same time, this complex network of relationships indicates Timothy May’s argument about the many ways Chinggis Qa’an might have failed to become the Genghis Khan we’re familiar with today: “there is no particular reason why Temujin, as he was named, should have become the greatest conqueror in history as well as a lawgiver and the founder of a nation. While one should not consider him a reluctant hero, there are a myriad of possibilities whereby he could have failed, been killed, or simply disappeared in history.”1

In reading The Secret History, it may be useful to keep the following questions in mind:

  • What impressions do we get of Temujin/Chinggis Qa’an in these chapters, and why might the author have depicted him in this way?
  • What roles did this text play for its audiences, and how does that affect the selection of material?
  • How does this text account for Chinggis Qa’an’s successes?
  • What different reasons motivate Chinggis Qa’an’s allies and opponents as they position themselves in relationship to him? 

Any “in-class assignments” assigned at the beginning of the week (Sunday night) will be due by the end of the week (Saturday at 11:59), though you can do them at any time during the week, and this page offers a recommended schedule to help keep us on the same page.

1 Timothy May, The Mongol Empire. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2016, p. 18.


Reading for this week


Due this week


Monday, March 8

  • Watch the lecture video:


Participation activities: 


Homework for next class: Read the requirements on the Research Project assignment carefully, then write and submit a Research Project Proposal by 11:59 PM Wednesday night. If you’re doing the project as a group, I only need one proposal per group, but you do need to make it clear who’s actually in the group and what your plans so far look like.

Recommended reading for next class: The Secret History of the Mongols: A Mongolian Epic Chronicle of the Thirteenth Century, chapters 7-9


Wednesday, March 10



Participation activities:

  • For the Mapping Out The Secret History of the Mongols activity, I’ve posted links to several Jamboards, kind of like Google Docs whiteboards. Pick one of the Jamboards to contribute to, and when you’ve put something on there, drop a comment on the discussion board here to explain what you added or changed. Feel free to draw, add text, find and add images, whatever you think would be helpful to you in understanding the characters, events, or ideas of The Secret History.

    Here are the Jamboards to pick from:

    • Chinggis Qa’an’s supporters
    • Chinggis Qa’an’s opponents
    • Important battles/events
    • Chinggis Qa’an’s family
    • The new social order after Chinggis Qa’an’s victories
    • Main themes and characters/events that illustrate them
  • Over on the Filmmaking Choices: Adapting The Secret History discussion board, watch the clip from the film Mongol (2007). Give your thoughts on the writers’, directors’, or actors’ choice in adapting this scene from The Secret History, and tell us what scene you would most want to adapt from The Secret History of the Mongols if you were making a film about it, what you would do for it, and why. 


Homework for next class: 

Write a response to the prompt for Reflection Post #7–The Secret History of the Mongols, and respond to at least one other person’s post.

Recommended reading for next class: The Secret History of the Mongols: A Mongolian Epic Chronicle of the Thirteenth Century, chapters 10-12


Friday, March 12


  • Read through the Paper #2 assignment and/or watch the brief lecture introducing the assignment:


Participation activities:

On the Secret History Wrap-up discussion board, consider the following question: What, to you, was the most important, surprising, or interesting thing that you learned about Činggis Qa’an and the Mongols from The Secret History of the Mongols that you didn’t get from our other accounts or your prior knowledge?



Homework/Reading for Next Week

Nothing! Enjoy your spring break, and travel safely!