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Activity Overview

The era of imperialism was, at its core, a great, ironic contradiction. The allegedly enlightened Europeans were behaving in barbaric fashion, while the supposed “barbarians” of China, Africa, and India were protesting in a very enlightened fashion. In this activity, students will create a grid that compares points of view between imperialist Europeans and the inhabitants of the lands they wished to colonize. This activity should be focused on discovering and using primary source documents, and the grid should include POV statements from China, Africa, and India.

The storyboard above uses the following comparisons:

  • Africa: Rudyard Kipling vs Chief Machemba of the Yao tribe
  • China: William Melbourne vs Lin Zexu
  • India: Herbert Kitchener vs Ram Mohun Roy

Extended Activity

One way to extend this activity is to ask students to use their research to write a one-page response paper or create a traditional storyboard that addresses the following question:

“What does the development of imperialism say about how deeply the Enlightenment actually had an impact on European policy making?”

Lesson Plan Reference

Grade Level 9-10

Difficulty Level 4 (Difficult / Complex)

Type of Assignment Individual or Group

Common Core Standards
  • [ELA-Literacy/RH/11-12/6] Evaluate authors' differing points of view on the same historical event or issue by assessing the authors' claims, reasoning, and evidence.

Template and Class Instructions

(These instructions are completely customizable. After clicking "Use This Assignment With My Students", update the instructions on the Edit Tab of the assignment.)

Student Instructions

Create a storyboard that compares the views of imperialists and the indigenous people they colonized.

  1. Click "Start Assignment".
  2. In the top row, provide direct quotes from the imperialist point of view regarding Africa, India, and China.
  3. In the bottom row, do the same for the indigenous people.
  4. In the description boxes, write a summary of the quotes.
  5. Create an illustration alongside the quote using appropriate characters, scenes, items, or photos from Photos for Class.
  6. Save and submit your storyboard.

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History of Imperialism

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