Syllabus Version: Winter 2012 – T (pdf)
Sections: T 6:00-8:50/D-1-227 MAK (#28433)
Designed to support general education goals and develop historical perspectives, this course emphasizes the comparison of selected African, American, Asian, and European civilizations from ancient times to the present, exploring the variety of activities that divide and unite human beings across cultures, time, and space. This course fulfills the Historical Perspectives Foundation of the university’s General Education Program.
The learning objectives of this course are divided into two broad categories. These are historical skills and content knowledge. For historical skills, students will gain experience in:
- Reading, interpreting, and evaluating primary and secondary sources;
- Developing and framing historical questions and arguments;
- Integrating primary and secondary sources, historical data, and historical arguments into narratives that interpret, evaluate, and impart meaning upon past events;
- Attributing source materials properly in your historical writing;
- Conforming to the standards and conventions of written expression;
- Presenting historical narratives through oral expression; and
For content knowledge, students will:
- Demonstrate active knowledge of world history, as well as the role of empires in shaping human experience and the usefulness of comparison in constructing historical knowledge; and
- Develop a broader cultural literacy through exposure to the key concepts, ideas, and events of major world civilizations and empires.
Students will be evaluated in this course based on the following criteria:
- In-class Writing & Group Work: 20%
- Critical Book Review: 25%
- Midterm Exam: 25%
- Final Exam: 30%
In-class Writing & Group Work: Throughout the semester, there will be a number of different activities in class, such as primary source analyses, response papers, and group work, in addition to the regular lecture/discussion format. These activities will count as 10% of your final course grade.
Critical Book Review: For more detailed information on the critical book review, please see the Critical Book Review assignment sheet.
Exams: The midterm and final exams will consist of a primary source analysis exercise that you will complete in class. You will be allowed to use your class materials (e.g., notes, textbook, etc) for these exams. Further information will be provided to you later in the semester.
Attendance and Participation: It really goes without saying that attending class every session is rather important, if you are actually interested in learning anything in university. That being said, I am not your mother, your babysitter, or your high school principal. I will not be counting you every day. You are all adults now; you can make your own decisions. But be forewarned: we will be doing several in-class activities to better both your writing and your grasp of the historical content. Failure to attend class during these sessions will severely impact your success in this course. Also, the material covered in this course is significant, and the sheer volume of facts, names, places, and dates can become overwhelming for some. Excessive absences will only exacerbate this dynamic. In other words, we’ll be going over a lot of stuff rather quickly, and once you’re behind, it’s very difficult to catch up.
Late Work: Make-up exams are allowed provided the student contacts me before the exam is scheduled to take place. Students who fail to follow this set-up will not be allowed to make-up the missing exam. Assignments turned in late will be reduced one third of a grade (e.g., from an A to an A-) for each class period late. There are NO EXCEPTIONS to these rules.
Grading Scale: I will be using the following grading scale in this course:
A 100-94 B 86-83 C 76-73 D 65-61
A- 93-90 B- 82-80 C- 72-70 F 60-0
B+ 89-87 C+ 79-77 D+ 69-66
Classroom Technology Policy: Because this has become a problem lately in my classes, I have decided to impose a blanket ban on using handheld technology during class. Use of cellphones, smartphones, and other PDA-like devices is strictly prohibited. The only exceptions to this policy are laptop computers and e-book readers. However, during class discussions, laptops and e-book readers must be closed. You will receive one verbal warning during the semester for transgressing this policy; after that, you will be asked to leave class for the day and your final course grade will be lowered by one third of a grade for each subsequent infraction. Please note: this policy will be strictly enforced.
Academic Honesty: The principles of truth and honesty are recognized as fundamental to a community of teachers and scholars. This means that all academic work will be done by the student to whom it is assigned without unauthorized aid of any kind. In addition, plagiarism, cheating and other forms of academic dishonesty, including dishonesty involving computer technology, are prohibited. Any instances of academic dishonesty in this course (intentional or unintentional) will be dealt with swiftly, and potential penalties include receiving a failing grade (F) on the assignment in question or in the course overall. For further information, students should make themselves familiar with the Academic Honesty section within the Undergraduate Catalog.
Accommodations for Students with Disabilities: If you need academic accommodations because of a learning, physical, or other disability, please contact Disability Support Services (1 Campus Drive, STU 200, telephone 616-331-2490). Furthermore, if you have a physical disability and think you will need assistance evacuating the classroom and/or building in an emergency situation, please make me aware so I can develop a plan to assist you.
Course Outline: I reserve the right to alter any aspect of this course and its assignments and readings schedule as necessary during the semester. Abbreviations for the primary sources contained in the various Strayer chapters, such as Doc.3.2, should be read as Document, Chapter, Source (i.e. “Doc.3.2” stands for the second primary source document in chapter three).
Introductory Module (Week 1)
- 10 January: Introduction and Syllabus; What is History? Primary Source Assignment
Clash of Empires?: Persia and Greece (Weeks 2-3)
- 17, 24 January (PWPT Slides)
- Required Reading: Strayer Ch.4: 143-154; Doc.4.1; Ch.5: 202-205; Doc.5.3
- Further Primary Sources:
- Cyrus Cylinder Inscription
- Behistun Inscription
- Homer, The Iliad, Book 18, Lines 388-613
- Aristotle, The Athenian Constitution, Books 1-2
- Herodotus, “Persian Debate on Styles of Governance” III. 80-97
- BBC Radio 4 “A History of the World in 100 Objects” podcast
Classical Empire: Imperial Rome and Han China (Weeks 4-5)
- 31 January (PWPT Slides)
- 7 February: Critical Book Review Selection Due
- Required Reading: Strayer Ch.4: 154-165; Doc.4.3; Ch.5: 189-197; Doc.5.1
- Further Sources:
- S.A.M. Adshead, China in World History, pgs 4-21 (link)
Religion and Empire: Byzantium, the Islamic Caliphate, and the Carolingian Empire (Weeks 6-7)
- 14, 21 February (PWPT Slides)
- Required Reading: Strayer Ch.10-11; Doc.11.1, Doc.11.2, Doc.11.3
- Further Sources:
- Strayer Doc.10.1, Doc.10.2, Doc.10.3, Doc.10.4, and Doc.10.5
- An Arab Ambassador in Constantinople, Late 10th Century
- Anna Comena, The Alexiad, Selections 1-3
Midterm Module and Break (Weeks 8-9)
- 28 February: Midterm Exam
- 6 March: SPRING BREAK – NO CLASS
Imperial Discovery: the Aztec and Spanish Empires (Weeks 10-11)
- 13 March (PWPT Slides)
- 20 March
- Movie: THE MISSION
- Critical Book Review Due
- Required Reading: Strayer Ch.13: 588-599: Doc.13.1-2; Ch.14:626-639; Visual Sources: 664-671
- Further Sources
New Imperialism: the British and French Empires (Weeks 12-13)
- 27 March
- 3 April
- Movie: ZULU
- Required Reading: Strayer Ch.15, 20; Doc.20.2, Doc.20.4
- Further Sources:
Communist Empires: the USSR and the Peoples’ Republic of China (Weeks 14-15)
- 10 April
- 17 April
- Movie: OKTOBER (TEN DAYS THAT SHOOK THE WORLD)
- Required Reading: Strayer Ch.22; Doc.22.1, Doc.22.2, Doc.22.3, & Doc.22.4
Final Exam Week (Week 16)
- 24 April: Final Exam (6:00-7:50pm)