Jennifer Chen
AP World History
Ms. Gardiner
May 3, 2012
Analysis of Bulliet and AP Key Concepts
Bulliet and the AP key concepts both analyze how women, races, and class-consciousness influence politics and societies in the 20th century, but they address different emphasis and examples that are not the best ways for students to learn. Their similarities are their strengths, since they touch on the same events that are must-know to students; however, Bulliet has a broader and more conservative perspective when AP is too concise and ignores the details. It will be better if the two can neutralize with each other and lessen the possibility for bias. Although both Bulliet and AP Key Concepts overview the major events on women and ethnic changes in the 20th century, Bulliet is too broad and American-centric when the AP concepts are too concise and too easy to miss. My recommendation for improvement includes neutralization between the two, so that Bulliet has a more concentrated text and AP concepts can provide more details to draw readers’ attention.

Bulliet focuses more on the broad trend, which is how fertility and globalization affect the overall improvement of the society, and here is the summary of his arguments. For women, Bulliet first remarks Gladys Acosta’s, a feminist, idea of women rights in associate with neo-liberalism.[1] Bulliet then provides some specific statistics for the decrease of fertility in relation to level of advancement. For example, fertility was to remain constant from today, with a world average of 2.5 children per women, and African woman has 5.1 children in comparison to Japanese women, who have an average of 1.4 children.[2] He argues that higher levels of female education and employment, the material values of consumer culture, and access to contraception and abortion explain the low fertility of mature industrial nations.[3] For women rights organizations, he mentions briefly about Beijing Women’s Conference in 1995 and United Nations General Assembly adopted the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women.[4] Besides women’s situation, Bulliet also make an analysis on ethnicity and class-consciousness in modern days.

Bulliet spends more time on women than ethnic and class problems, but he still manages to consider some main events of ethnic and racial conflicts in the 20th century. He defines ethnic cleansing and uses the conflicts that accompanied the disintegration of Yugoslavia in the 1990s as an example. Another major ethnic conflict is in 1994, African nation of Rwanda incited Hutu people to massacre their Tutsi neighbors, and in 1998, violence spread from Rwanda to neighboring Congo. Bulliet, surprisingly, adds in current event such as Obama’s presidency, which is the living emobodiment of the ability of the Americans to see past skin color in selecting a leader, and he chose for his cabinet men and women strongly associated with the protection of rights and the country’s natural heritage.[5] Lastly, Bulliet creates the word “Americanization,” and illustrates the word by using Japanese women’s response to the American and European feminist advocacy of equality in economic and social relations.[6] Overall, Bulliet touch on some of the major points on female and ethnic conflicts, but those are not necessarily similar from what AP key concepts provide.

The AP Key Concept, compare to Bulliet, involves more key events that are related to ethnic violence and organizations, and here is the summary. First, it says birth control gave women greater control over fertility and transformed sexual practice.[7] Then it starts to talk about ethnic conflicts from redistributing power within the existing order and restructure empire. Examples are Armenia, the Holocaust, Cambodia and Rwanda.[8] It states that people conceptualized society and culture in new ways; some challenged old assumptions about race, class, gender and religion. Increased interactions among diverse peoples sometimes led to the formation of new cultural identities, such as negritude and Anti-Apartheid Movement, and exclusionary reactions, such as xenophobia, race riots, or citizen restrictions.[9] There are also some humanitarian organizations like UNICEP, the Red Cross, Amnesty International, Doctors Without Borders or the WHO.[10] The AP key concepts are extremely concise, but those successfully emphasize major points that AP readers are supposed to know.

Both of them share some common strength, and they should keep those great qualities. They discuss about the relationship between women and fertility; however, Bulliet spends more time on taking about growing population and demographic transition, which are a bit redundant. Both of them then synthesize the expanded female employment with older age at marriage and more effective family planning, and they show how those factors have increased women’s importance in the 20th century. Furthermore, Rwanda is highly addressed in their points, which is critical since it is the origin of the ethnic problems in Africa. Therefore, their commons are their strength and are what they should maintain in the text with the new improvement.

Within many similarities, they are slightly different. Bullliets argues that the decrease of the fertility rate is a symbol for the increase of women’s abilities and rights. Through Acosta, Bulliet successfully reveals the concept of “female inequality is caused by low level of women’s participation because women are not always aware of the system of submission and repression.”[11] Although those are accurate analysis and great statistics, Bulliets spend too much text writing about the effect of fertility. On the other hand, AP concepts cover some major events, like Rwanda conflict, with big vocabulary such as negritude and xenophobia, which are hatred towards black and fear towards foreigners. Whereas AP key concepts have more big vocabularies, Bulliet simply describes the process of the events with more details. Overall, Bulliet involves less important vocabularies than AP on the similar events; instead, he focuses more on descriptions that are sometimes redundant.

Although they have several similarities, they have many differences that should be fixed or eliminated. Content-wise, Bulliet argues about the trend and rights improvement, while AP concepts remark on special events and organizations. Whereas Bulliet classifies the trend to neo-liberalism, AP concepts categorize the events with imperialism and nationalists. Also, Bulliet has too much specific examples, but he misses the events that are actually important for the AP testers. For example, Bulliet only concentrates on several ethnic conflicts in few places, such as Africa, but he never introduce other situation in other countries. If the two can neutralize a bit, it can make the text more concise and understandable for readers. In terms of textual evidence and paragraph grouping, Bulliet does not really provide a section for ethnicity and female changes, but insert bits and pieces into random paragraphs, which are easy to miss. However, Bulliet does a better job on modern incident than AP concepts, as he includes current event such as President Obama in the text. Still, Bulliet is obviously trying to be biased and avoid interpreting issues about racial distinction, words like negritude and xenophobia are the best examples, and he neglects the fact that he is way too “American-centered” as he creates the word “Americanized.” Therefore, the materials would be better if those weaknesses from the AP concepts and textbook can get reorganized.

If the textbook and AP concepts are designed only for AP exam takers, both of them have defects to improve. There are limited discussions about class-consciousness in both, but the social classes are pretty mixed up and equalized. Both of them fail to include intermarriage, even though they both slightly touch on globalization. Intermarriage should be an important topic that makes cultural and political exchange for women and ethnicity possible. Specifically to Bulliet, he should introduce more ethnic conflicts in other countries, not just in Africa. Also, he should connect with the AP key concepts in terms of vocabulary, since AP concepts are the guideline for AP takers. On the organization part, they should put ethnicity and women topics together, so readers can avoid jumping around and skipping many pages and paragraphs. To make better review materials for AP takers, both Bulliet and AP concepts should modify and replace the flaws with suggested improvements.

  • AP World History Key Concepts. Collegeboard. November 2, 2009.
  • Bulliet, Richard W. The Earth and Its Peoples: AP edition. Cengage Learning. January 2010.

[1] Bulliet, Richard W. The Earth and Its Peoples: AP edition. Cengage Learning. January 2010. p920.
[2] Bulliet, Richard W. The Earth and Its Peoples: AP edition. Cengage Learning. January 2010. p928.
[3] Bulliet, Richard W. The Earth and Its Peoples: AP edition. Cengage Learning. January 2010. p929.
[4] Bulliet, Richard W. The Earth and Its Peoples: AP edition. Cengage Learning. January 2010. p963.
[5] Bulliet, Richard W. The Earth and Its Peoples: AP edition. Cengage Learning. January 2010. p961.
[6] Bulliet, Richard W. The Earth and Its Peoples: AP edition. Cengage Learning. January 2010. p967.
[7] AP World History Key Concepts. Collegeboard. November 2, 2009. p20.
[8] AP World History Key Concepts. Collegeboard. November 2, 2009. p21.
[9] AP World History Key Concepts. Collegeboard. November 2, 2009. p22.
[10] AP World History Key Concepts. Collegeboard. November 2, 2009. p23.
[11] Bulliet, Richard W. The Earth and Its Peoples: AP edition. Cengage Learning. January 2010. p920.