HST 203: World History to 1500
Syllabus Version: Summer 2010 (pdf)
Section: TR 12:00-3:20/D-1-141 MAK (#30666)
Course Description and Objectives
This course explores the basic content and methods of history through an introductory study of world cultures before 1500. It focuses on specific societies in Africa, Asia, Europe, and the Western Hemisphere, analyzing and comparing the ways in which political, economic, social, cultural, and demographic factors influenced the development of these various cultures. This course is required for majors, fulfills the Historical Perspectives Foundation of the university’s General Education Program, and counts as a Supplemental Writing Skills (SWS) course.
In this course, students will:
- Demonstrate active knowledge of world history to 1500 CE, as well as the contexts in which ancient peoples and civilizations interacted with and influenced each other;
- Develop a broader cultural literacy through exposure to the key concepts, ideas, and events of the major ancient world civilizations;
- Work collaboratively with each other in exploring the intersection of history and new media;
- Gain experience in evaluating and interpreting various types of primary and secondary sources and materials; and
- Improve their writing skills through thorough attention to the writing process, including editing and revision.
Students will be evaluated in this course based on the following criteria:
- In-Class Activities: 10%
- Editing Quizzes: 10%
- Critical Book Review: 20%
- Midterm Exam: 25%
- Final Exam: 35%
Editing Quizzes: Twice during the semester, you will be quizzed on your editing skills in two areas vital for successfully developing college-level writing skills in history, namely punctuation and the use of active voice in sentence construction. Before taking the quizzes, we will explore both areas in class together.
Critical Book Reviews: For more detailed information on the critical book review, please see the assignment sheets attached to this syllabus. Please note: failure to provide a rough draft for peer review by the required date will incur an automatic one third of a grade (e.g., from an A to an A-) reduction on your final paper grade.
Exams: The midterm and final exams will consist of an objective section of matching questions and a subjective section consisting of one formal essay all taken from course readings, lectures, and class discussions. You will receive study guides for both exams.
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 workshop 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
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, please let me know so I can develop a plan to assist you.
I reserve the right to alter any aspect of this course and its assignments and readings schedule as necessary during the semester. As a rule, reading assignments signify the reading that should be done before the class it is listed for (i.e., the reading for 1 July should be read before class on 1 July). Finally, listings for readings from the Reilly text are asking you to read specific selections from the text listed in the table of contents, not page numbers. For instance, the reading “Reilly Ch.1: 3-4” means you should read selections 3 & 4 in chapter 1.
29 June (Tuesday)
- Introduction and Syllabus
- Workshop: Introduction to the Critical Book Review
- Digging in Dirt: The Neolithic Revolution
- Strayer Ch.2; Reilly Ch.1: 3-4
1 July (Thursday)
- Bronze Age Eurasia: Hydraulic Despotisms & the Urban Revolution to 2000 BCE
- Strayer Ch.3; Reilly Ch.2: 5-6, 8
- Workshop: “How to Write Good Well”
6 July (Tuesday)
- Beyond the Riverine Cities: Nomadic Incursion & Territorial States, 2000-1200 BCE
- Editing Quiz #1
8 July (Thursday)
- Empires in the Classical Age: Assyria, Persia, and Greece
13 July (Tuesday)
- Culture and Hierarchy in the Classical Age: China, India, and the Hellenistic World
- Strayer Ch.5-6: Reilly Ch.3: 10-17
- Editing Quiz #2
15 July (Thursday)
- Midterm Exam
20 July (Tuesday)
- Empires in the Classical Age: Comparing Imperial Rome and Han China
- Strayer Ch.4: 108-124; Reilly Ch.4: 18, 21
22 July (Thursday)
- Opening the World: Traveling the Silk Road and the Spread of Universal Religion
- Strayer Ch.8
- Workshop: Peer Review, Critical Book Review
- Critical Book Review Rough Draft DUE
27 July (Tuesday)
- Ending Antiquity: Christianity, the Fall of Rome, and the Byzantine Empire
- Strayer Ch.10: 269-278; Reilly Ch.7: 37-39
29 July (Thursday)
- The Postclassical World: The Rise of Islam
- Strayer Ch.11; Reilly Ch.7: 42-44
- Critical Book Review DUE
3 August (Tuesday)
- The Postclassical World: Early Medieval Europe and the High Middle Ages
- Strayer Ch.10: 278-298; Reilly Ch.8: 45-47 & Ch.11: 69-70
- The Postclassical World: China Tang and Song Dynasties
- Strayer Ch.9; Reilly Ch.8: 51-53
5 August (Thursday)
- The World System: Global Economics and the Mongol Yoke
- Strayer Ch.12; Reilly Ch.11: 68, 73-74
10 August (Tuesday)
- Final Exam