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History 51

World Civilizations: 1600 to the Present



Spring 2005 Office: Benicia 1011

Dr. Martin Secker Office hours: W 5:15-6:00

Class hours: W 6:00-8:30. Phone:



Course website: 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 Texts:


Stavrianos, Leften. Lifelines From Our Past, revised edition. New York: M.E. Sharpe, 1997. (Required for all students.)

Readings for World Civilizations, 1600-Present. (CSUS bookstore). (Required for all students.)

Pomeranz, Kenneth, and Topak, Steven. The World That Trade Created. New York: M.E. Sharpe, 1999. (Required for all students.)

Marx, Karl, and Engels, Frederick. The Communist Manifesto. New York: International Publishers, 1948. (Required for all students)

McNeill, William. A World History, 4th edition. New York: Oxford University Press, 1998. (Recommended for all students.)


Optional text by instructor: World History outline, pt. 1


In addition, we will read a few other articles or primary sources off the internet.


Course Description


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.


Course Goals


Upon completion of the course students will be able to demonstrate an understanding of:

      The transformations of European civilization that were to have enormous consequences for the rest of the world. (cause and effect relationships)

      The impact of Western civilization on other cultures since the sixteenth century.

      The concepts of Westernization, cultural accommodation, and cultural resistance.

      The complex interplay of value systems, social structure, geography and ecology, technology, economics, and political institutions in human societies.

      How societies and civilizations have confronted issues of diversity and cultural differences within their populations.

      The increasingly global nature of civilization today

      The nature of political, environmental, social, economic, and cultural issues facing the world today.

Students will also be able to demonstrate:

      University-level methods of historical inquiry, text interpretation, analytical writing, and critical thinking.

      The ability to reflect upon their own lives in the light of world history.


Course Requirements


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 (5%) Although not a major portion of your calculated grade, 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 enhance your grasp of the sometimes complex subject matter 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.

Exam 1 (10 %)- Exam 1 will cover Lifelines From Our Past.

Exam 2 (15%) Exam 2 will cover all materials from Week 5 to Week 10.

Exam 3 (30 %)- The Final Exam will be cumulative but will focus on later


Journal (30 %) see assignment sheet.

Essay on Pomeranz (5%)- see assignment sheet

Identification List (5%)- Fully identify terms listed on term sheet.



Please note: new assignments can be made at any time. Students are responsible for all assignments. I reserve the right to make changes or adjustments in the syllabus at any time. Students are responsible for keeping up with any such adjustments.




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.


900-1000=A 600-699 =D

800-899 =B Less than 600=F

700-799 =C



Weekly Schedule


Part I. Constructing a Framework


Week 1


1/26 Introduction/Early Social Evolution in World History


Week 2


2/2 The Tributary Basis of Civilization/Faces of Early Commercial Capitalism

Required readings: Stavrianos, pp. 1-89 (peruse), read carefully pp. 90-115

Pomeranz, Intro and pp. 3-9, 44-51, and 5.4, 5.5, 7.1

Week 3


2/9 Aztecs, Africans, Steam Engines and Revolution

Required readings: Stavrianos, pp. 105-126

Pomeranz, 1.6; 3.1, 3.5, 3.6, 3.7, 3.10, 4.2, 4.5-4.7, 5.1, 5.2, 6.2-6.6, 6.8, 6.12, 7.1,

7.2, 7.12


Week 4


2/16 War, Evil and Transformation: A Century of Crisis

Required readings: Stavrianos, pp. 126-187


Part II. A Look at the Sources


Week 5


2/23 First Exam/ Sultans, Ulema, and Veiled Women: the Islamic World to 1800

Required readings: RWC , pp. 1-10


Week 6


3/2 Scholar-Gentlemen and Geishas: the Confucian World to 1800

Required readings: RWC , pp.46-52 , 109-111

Pomeranz, 1.1-1.3, 2.1, 3.2, 4.9,


Week 7


3/9 Moghul India: Shiva, Allah, Cloth, and the Great Moghul.

Required readings: RWC, 27-30

Pomeranz, 1.4 , 1.11,

Tradition and Change in Europe: Columbus, Luther, and Galileo

Required readings: RWC, 136-152


Week 8


3/16 Absolute Monarchs, Coffee-houses, and the Industrial Revolution

Required readings: RWC, 153-187

Pomeranz, 3.1, 3.2, 3.6, 3.7, 6.12.

Sadler Report


Week 9


3/23 Spring Break!


Week 10


3/30 Revolution, Evolution, and Ideology

Required readings: RWC, 188-201, 214-236

Marx, The Communist Manifesto, pp. 8-31

Declaration of the Rights of Man


Week 11


4/6 The Survival of the Fittest, Global Empire, and the Fall of Western Civilization

Exam #2 due

Required readings: RWC, 202-213, 237-254

Pomeranz, 1.13, 7.3, 5.5, 5.4, 2.7-2.8, 2.9, 4.2, 4.778


Week 12


4/13 Total War and Cold War

Required readings: RWC, 255-256

Napoleon, a Canal, and the Destruction of the Ottomans

Required readings: RWC, 11-22

Pomeranz, 2.7-2.8


Week 13


4/20 Oil, Zionists, and Mandates / Tea, Opium and Gun Boats.

Required readings: RWC, 11-22, 53-61

Pomeranz, 3.9, 6.8, 7.3


Week 14


4/27 Sun Yat-Sen, Mao Tse-Tung, Deng Xiaping and Ho Chi Minh: Missionaries of Westernization?

Required readings: RWC, 62-71

Fundamentals of National Reconstruction


The Raj and the Knife of Sugar

Required readings: RWC, 27-39

Pomeranz, 1.13, 2.9, 3.2, 6.4


Week 15


5/4 Non-Violence, Religious Division, and the Search for True Independence.

Required readings: RWC, 39-45

Week 16


5/11 Africa: Westernized Elites, Boy Soldiers, and Tribal Masses

Required readings: RWC, 72-108


Gender Relations, the Environment and Coming Anarchy?

Required readings: Stavrianos, 189-251

The Coming Anarchy