Dr. Martin Secker Office hours: TR
Class hours: TR Phone:
Course website: http://mdsec.tripod.com The weekly reading schedule, links to online readings and websites, and handouts will all be posted on the website. You will need to check it continually.
Course weblog: http://mdsec.tripod.com/fifty Announcements, changes, writing prompts, discussion questions, and other course materials will be posted here. A link to the log will be on the online syllabus, or you can type the address directly.
Course Forum- This venue is provided as a place for you to pose questions, discuss course materials, and assignments with other students, as well as with me. If you are having problems with a text or a topic, or have questions about something, this is the place the throw out the issue for discussion. The use is the forum is purely optional for this class. It is simply there to facilitate the exchange of information and a limited kind of cooperative effort or study.
Stearns, Peter, World History in Brief, Volume One to 1450, 4th edition, (Pearson Education).
Stavrianos, Leften, Lifelines From Our Past, Revised edition, (M.E. Sharpe: 1997).
We will also read extensively from primary sources in handouts and on the internet.
This course is designed to provide an overview of the nature and course of human history. Along the way, the student will have the opportunity to acquire a superficial familiarity with most of the major civilizations of the world. At the same time, the course will suggest some of the factors that have affected and continue to affect the way societies work and people live. By the end of the course it is hoped that each student will have gained some sense of the cultural and historical roots of contemporary human societies as well as an appreciation of the universal character of human history.
Upon completion of the course students will be able to demonstrate an understanding of:
Ø The origins and roots of western civilization.
Ø The contributions of different peoples and cultures to the mix that eventually becomes a whole new civilization in western Europe.
Ø The chief characteristics of the institutions and value systems of the societies studied here.
Ø The processes of change and development within societies and civilizations.
Ø The complex interplay of value systems, social structure, geography and ecology, technology, economics, and political institutions in human societies.
Ø How societies and civilizations have confronted issues of diversity and cultural differences within their populations.
Students will also be able to demonstrate:
Ø University-level methods of historical inquiry, text interpretation, analytical writing, and critical thinking.
Ø The ability to reflect upon their own lives in the light of world history.
Attendance is required. You are allowed four absences without penalty. Each absence beyond that will result in a one grade reduction in your course grade. With eight absences you automatically fail this course.
Class preparation and participation. I expect students to come to class each day having read thoroughly all materials assigned for that day and ready to discuss the topics covered that day. Consistent thorough preparation will greatly help your grasp of the sometimes complex subject of this class, and will improve the chemistry within the classroom making the class itself a better learning experience. I cannot emphasize enough how important it is to be mentally “into” this course.
Text glosses- (5%) Each student must submit brief glosses of required source readings four times during the semester. These glosses will be the basis for class discussions of the texts.
Internet/website sources and commentaries. (15% = 3 x 5%): 1) Art or music sample. Each student must submit at least one example of art from one of the cultures under study in this class in the time periods covered by this class. You must also provide a brief commentary on the example, and identify the website (URL) from which it comes; 2) Brief web-based research on “kinship societies” or “people without a history.” Comment on how your research affects your understanding of Stavrianos’s first part. Documentation (URL) and commentary required; and 3) description of and commentary on website dealing with some aspect of history prior to 1600 C.E. The website must be fully identified. This website must not be used for either the Art/Music or “kinship societies” assignments.
Responses to prompts (5%): Writing prompts will be posted for each week’s readings. You must respond in writing to a prompt from five weeks throughout the semester.
Extended analyses of writers and documents (20%- 2 x 10%). You are allowed to use one the writers and documents assigned for our readings. You may use other writers or documents, but these choices must be approved by the instructor in advance.
Exams (55%) There will be two exams- a midterm (20%) and a final exam (35%). Please note: You must average a passing grade on the exams to pass the course!!! There are no make-up exams without an acceptable, verifiable, written excuse, or unless arranged in advance.
All your work should be kept in a portfolio throughout the semester and resubmitted at the end of the semester.
Assignment sheet: History 50 assignments
Written work is due at the beginning of class on the due date. Late work is accepted, but a one grade penalty is applied for each day (not each class period) it is late, beginning at the end of class.
Course grades are determined on a 1000 point scale. Weight is given to assignments according to the above percentages. For instance, the journal is worth 300 points.
900-1000=A 600-699 =D
800-899 =B Less than 600=F
Resources on the Web
History texts: Academy for Ancient Texts; Internet Sacred Text Archive; Internet Classics Library; From Primitives to Zen (Eliade site); Exploring Ancient World Cultures; The Labyrinth; ORB: the Online Reference Book for Medieval Studies; Internet History Sourcebook Project; world civilizations
Online textbook: http://fsmitha.com/index.html
Part I. The Rise of Agriculture and Agricultural Civilizations
9/2 What is World History?
9/4 People Without a History?
Stavrianos, Introduction, ch. 1; Stearns, Preface IX-XI, pp. 1-13
For sources on the religious practices of “kinship” societies see:
9/9 Elites and the Masses: Tributary Societies and the Origins of Civilization
Stavrianos, ch. 2; Stearns, pp. 13-16
9/11 Disease, Climate and Resources: Geography and Climate in History
9/16 Ziggurats and Pyramids:
Stearns, pp. 16-21
9/18 Aryans, Oracles Bones, Myth and Mystery:
Yellow (Hwang He) River
Stearns, pp. 21-31
Part II. The Classical Period, 1000 B.C.E.-500 C.E.
Sons of Heaven and Filial Piety: Social Order and Cultural Integration in Classical
Stearns, pp. 33-59;
9/25 Harmony, Humaneness, and the Dao
9/30 Brahmans and Sudras:
Order and Integration in Classical
Stearns, pp. 60-80
10/2 Karma, Dharma, Enlightenment, and Illusion
10/7 Helots, Hetaerae, and Useless Questions
Stearns, pp. 81-103
10/9 Civic Duty and Personal Allegiances
10/14 World Religions and the Axial Age
Stearns, pp. 104-127
10/16 Mid-term Exam
10/21 Bedouins, Merchants and Revelations
Stearns, pp. 129-145
Handout: Early Islam
10/23 Veils, Shari'a, the Millet system, and ijtihad
Stearns, pp. 146-161
10/28 India and Southeast Asia under the Impact of Islam
Stearns, Ch. 7
Primary sources: Sidi Ali Reis
Stearns, Ch. 8
The World of Eastern Orthodoxy
Stearns, ch. 9 11/6 The First European Civilization Stearns, ch. 10, pp. 199-218 Week 11 11/11 Kings, Saints, and Clerics 11/13 The Harvest of the Middle Ages Week 12 11/18
Aztecs, Anasazi, and Cahokia Stearns, ch. 12, pp. 236-246 11/20 Stearns, ch. 11, pp. 219-228 Week 13 11/25 Neo-Confucianism, Li-Po and the Chinese Golden Age 11/27
Thanksgiving Week 14 12/2   Samurai, Ikebana, and the Sound of One Hand Clapping Stearns, ch. 11, pp. 229-235 12/4 The Last of the Great Steppe Conquerors. Stearns, ch. 13, pp. 247-251
Stearns, ch. 9
11/6 The First European Civilization
Stearns, ch. 10, pp. 199-218
11/11 Kings, Saints, and Clerics
11/13 The Harvest of the Middle Ages
11/18 Aztecs, Anasazi, and Cahokia
Stearns, ch. 12, pp. 236-246
Stearns, ch. 11, pp. 219-228
11/25 Neo-Confucianism, Li-Po and the Chinese Golden Age
12/2   Samurai, Ikebana, and the Sound of One Hand Clapping
Stearns, ch. 11, pp. 229-235
12/4 The Last of the Great Steppe Conquerors.
Stearns, ch. 13, pp. 247-251
12/9 The World in Transition
Stearns, ch. 13, pp. 252-256
12/11 Rise of Capitalism
Stavrianos, ch. 3