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History 51

World Civilizations: 1600 to the Present



Fall 2004                                                                                              Office: Benicia 1011 

Dr. Martin Secker                                                                                Office hours: TTh 11:00-12:00 a.m.

Class hours:  TTh    12:00-1:15 p.m.                                                   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.)


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:

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

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

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

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.

Ø      The increasingly global nature of civilization today

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

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. 


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

Resources on the Web


Writing Guides: Brown University; Carney; Bowdoin College

History texts: Internet History Sourcebook Project; world civilizations;

Online textbook:


Course Handouts: Journal Assignment; Terms; Synopsis of Stavrianos, Parts I and II; Notes from McNeill; Notes from Pomeranz; The Early Islamic World; Overview of the Ottoman Empire; Early Modern China; Overview of Tokugawa Japan; Overview of the Mughal Empire; Tradition and Authority In Early Modern Europe; Politics in Early Modern Europe; The Scientific Revolution and the Enlightenment; Industrial Revolution; The Old Regime; The French Revolution; Overview of Intellectual Developments; The "New Imperialism"; Imperialism in Asia ; American Imperialism to 1914; Imperialism in the Near East; The Russian Revolution; China, 1898-1940; Turkey and the Arab World to World War II; India to World War II; Japan to World War II; The Rise of Totalitarianism; The World Since 1945


Weekly Schedule



Part I.  Constructing a Framework


Week 1


8/31            People Without A History


9/2             “Mr. Order Meets Mr. Chaos”

Required readings: Stavrianos, pp. 3-43

                           "Mr. Order Meets Mr. Chaos"   



Week 2


9/7               Kings, Priests and Peasants- the Tributary Basis of Civilization

Required readings: Stavrianos, pp. peruse 43-89


9/9             Explorers, Pirates, or Merchants?  The Faces of Early Commercial Capitalism

Required readings: Stavrianos, pp. 90-105

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



Week 3


9/14             Aztecs and Africans. The Destuctive  Side of Commercial Capitalism.

Required readings: Stavrianos, pp. 105-111

       Pomeranz, 1.6; 3.1, 3.5, 3.6, 3.7, 3.10, 5.1, 5.2, 7.1, 7.2


9/16            Steam Engines, New Cities, and Revolution

Required readings: Stavrianos, pp. 111-126

       Pomeranz-pt. 6, and 4.2, 4.5-4.7, 6.2-6.6, 6.8, 6.12, 7.12



Week 4


9/21             War, Evil and Transformation: A Century of Crisis

Required readings: Stavrianos, pp. 126-153


9/23            Gender Relations and the Environment in a Capitalist Age.

Required readings: Stavrianos, pp. 153-187



Week 5


9/28           First Exam

Exam #1 Preparation; Stages of Capitalism


Part II.  A Look at the Sources


9/30     Sultans, Ulema, and Veiled Women: the Islamic World to 1800

Required readings: RWC, pp. 1-10



Week 6


10/5      Scholar-Gentlemen and Heavenly Mandates: the Confucian World to 1800

Required readings: RWC, pp.46-52

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


10/7     Geishas and Samurai: the Confucian World to 1800

Required readings: RWC, 109-111



Week 7


10/12     Moghul India: Shiva, Allah, Cloth, and the Great Moghul.

Required readings: RWC, pp. 27-30

       Pomeranz,  1.4 , 1.11,


10/14     Tradition and Change in Europe: Columbus, Luther,  and Galileo

Required readings: RWC, pp. 136-152



Week 8


10/19    Tradition and Change in Europe: Absolute Monarchs and Coffee-houses

Required readings: RWC, 153-173

                               Pomeranz, 3.1, 3.2, 3.6, 3.7.


10/21      Dickens’s London and a Shrinking World: The Industrial Revolution and its Consequences.

Required readings: RWC, pp. 174-187

       Pomeranz, 6.12



Week 9


10/26     Liberty, Equality, and  Fraternity (But not Sorority!)  in 19th Century Europe

Required readings: RWC, pp. 188-193; Marx, The Communist Manifesto, pp. 8-31


10/28      We Rejoin the Animal Kingdom and Lose Our Reason: Darwin and Freud.

Required readings: RWC,194-201, 214-236



Week 10


11/2     Veni, Vidi, Vici or Just the Survival of the Fittest?

Required readings: RWC, 202-213

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


11/4       Lenin, Hitler, and the Fall of Western Civilization

Required readings: RWC, pp. 237-254





Week 11


11/9      Total War, Cold War, and the Rise of America

Required readings: RWC, pp. 255-256

Exam #2 due


11/11     Napoleon, a Canal, and the Destruction of the Ottomans

Required readings: RWC, 11-22

       Pomeranz, 2.7-2.8



Week 12


11/16    Oil, Zionists, and Mandates

Required readings: RWC, pp. 23-26


11/18    Tea, Opium and Gun Boats.

Required readings: RWC, pp. 53-61

       Pomeranz, 3.9, 6.8, 7.3



Week 13


11/23    Sun Yat-Sen,  Mao Tse-Tung, Deng Xiaping and Ho Chi Minh: Missionaries of Westernization?

Required readings: RWC, pp. 62-71


11/25               Thankgiving



Week 14


11/30      The Raj and the Knife of Sugar

Required readings: RWC, pp. 27-39

       Pomeranz, 1.13, 2.9, 3.2, 6.4


12/2    Non-Violence, Religious Division, and the Search for True Independence.

Required readings: RWC, pp. 39-45



Week 15


12/7      Africa: Westernized Elites, Boy Soldiers, and Tribal Masses

Required readings: RWC, pp. 72-108


12/9   Gender Relations, the Environment  and Coming Anarchy?

Required readings: Stavrianos,  189-251

      “The Coming Anarchy”