World Civilizations 1453 to the Present

CORE 133


Spring 2009



Office:             Hafey-Marian Hall 312


Phone:             208-5900 ext. 5637 (o)

                         735-4762 (h)

Section A:
       T/Th 8:00-9:15   H-M 213     

Section B:       T/Th 9:30-10:45 H-M 213    

Office Hours: M/W 12:00-3:00 / T/Th 11:00-3:00



Moodle Site:


I. Description:

While contact between cultures and civilizations is as old as recorded human history, in the 15th century the world became knitted together through trade and conquest as never before.  This class traces the development of this interconnectivity between and among cultures and civilizations from the mid-fifteenth century to the present in order to better understand the history and meaning of globalization, its horrors and triumphs, perils and possibilities. 

II. Purpose:

A. Mission Statement:

This class fulfills King’s College’s Core requirement in the civilizations category. 


Civilizations courses are intended to study humanity’s shared past, its hopes and frustrations, failures  and triumphs in order to help the student both understand a complex world in a historical framework and to take responsibility for shaping its future. 

Civilization courses are designed to explore in some depth the complex dimensions of world history and the cumulative experience of the past, to provide an understanding of how yesterday influences today and the outlook for tomorrow. Ultimately history and the civilizations categories are intended to be self-reflective and we engage them because they tell us something of who we are.

Further, these courses are geared towards introducing the student to the historical method as a powerful tool to shape and understand the past and present.  As George Orwell noted: “Who controls the past controls the future: who controls the present controls the past.” The mechanics of this maxim will be a guiding question of the class.  

B. Objectives for the student:

Among the objectives for the student is that he or she will become familiar with important, social, cultural, political and economic events and trends in world civilization in the last 500 years.  Central to the course is the principle that in taking the class the student will become familiar with historical methodology and thinking.  He or she should be able to locate, evaluate and interpret historical sources and place them in context.  The course’s paper will ask the student to critically engage and evaluate primary and secondary sources and present analyses of them in clear and persuasive writing.  These everyday tools of the historian will serve the student well in any field he or she chooses to enter. 


C.  General Learning Outcomes for the Student:

In addition to the more content-related objectives described above, this course has some general liberal-learning goals of developing academic skills. It is expected that successful completion of this course will help you improve your ability to: manage information, which involves sorting data, ranking data for significance, synthesizing facts, concepts and principles; to understand and use organizing principles or key concepts against which miscellaneous data can be evaluated; to frame questions so as to more clearly clarify a problem topic or issue; to compare and contrast the relative merits of opposing arguments and interpretations, moving between the main points of each position; to organize your thoughts and communicate them clearly and concisely in written form; to obtain practice in selecting and presenting information and arguments within a restricted environment, especially the limitations of time in exams


III. General Requirements

A. Course Readings:


Bentley and Ziegler, Traditions and Encounters: A Global Perspective on the Past, vol. II, from 1500 to the Present, Fourth Ed., McGraw-Hill, 2008.


Satrapi, Marjane, Persepolis, vol. I and II, (or complete boxed set) Pantheon, 2005.


B.  Course Film:


Ernst D. Schoedsack, King Kong, 1933


C.  Course Readings, Primary Sources:


Each week you will also be expected to examine a series of primary sources consisting of texts, visual art and/or short video clips.  These sources will either be websites (links are provided in the syllabus) or files found on the course sharepoint site:


These primary sources are to supplement the readings in the textbook and place you in dialogue with another time and place.  You will need to examine these sources as a historian.  What can they tell us about the past and the worldview of past cultures?  How do they help us understand the historical theme of the week and the class as a whole?  Further, these documents will be the source upon which you will base your microthemes and paper for the class. 


C.  Microthemes:


Five times during this semester you will be responsible for writing a 1-2 page microtheme on the assigned primary source material covered during that time.  These microthemes are intended to allow you the opportunity to analyze and write about these sources historically and should consist of two parts: first, you should summarize the argument of the sources—you should ask and elucidate what the author, director or artist was trying to say.  Second, you should place the piece and argument within the larger context of the time and place.  What historical themes and trends is the artist or author tapping into?  How does it relate to larger issues in the class?  How are we to make sense of the work historically? 


Due dates for Microthemes:


First Microtheme:                     Jan. 22        

Second Microtheme:                 Feb. 5

Third Microtheme:                    Feb. 26

Fourth Microtheme:                  March 19

Fifth Microtheme:                     April 16


D.  Written Assignment:


Your larger writing assignment is due in its final form on April 28th.  This paper will be much like a longer, more in depth, microtheme.  Your final paper will be between 8-10 pages.  You are to take any of the primary sources and place them in historical conversation with one another.  Like the microthemes, you should seek to answer the meaning of the primary sources: what argument or worldviews were the authors/artists seeking to put forward?  How was this a product of the time and place in which they were living?  Importantly you are also to relate the sources to one another.  How do these sources help us understand global history of the past 450 years?  What problems and opportunities do they articulate?  What larger issues are they wrestling with?  You are free to chose any two sources from the course—you may find it easiest however, to chose two within a similar theme (i.e. "the place of religion and society," "the growth of the individual," "voyages of discovery," etc.).  Several possible combinations and topics are listed here


This paper is to take place in several stages: 


1)  Chose a topic that you are interested in answering and then begin thinking about the primary sources that you will need to utilize to answer these questions.  You will need to turn in a topic sentence January 27th. 


2)  Visit the Library  for a tour of potential sources and databases.  This will be done in class on Jan. 29th.


3)  Refer to at least three printed scholarly, detailed works (namely, not electronic from the internet or CD-ROM and not tertiary such as the textbook, handbooks or encyclopedias).  These sources should be the basis of your preliminary bibliography.  These sources should be secondary sources (i.e. monographs or journal articles written by professional historians) which closely examine the period and topic.  You will also need to list three primary sources which you will incorporate into your paper.  You cannot use encyclopedia articles for the paper and any use of internet sources must be checked first with the instructor.  You can use the primary sources from your textbook but should also look at the Modern History Sourcebook.  If you have any doubts about the appropriateness of your professional sources, please see the instructor.  Your preliminary bibliography is due in class on February 12th.


4)  By the middle of February you should have some idea what you will be arguing in your paper.  How are you reading the sources?  How does your understanding fit with other scholar's interpretations?  You will need to hand in a brief thesis statement that will set the tone for your paper outlining the major claim that you will be making in your paper.  A thesis is an argument based on an intelligent reading of sources (and something that intelligent informed people should be able to disagree with).  To this end your thesis should include both your argument and a counterargument.  You should also produce a working outline detailing the major points and sources that you will be using in your paper.  This is due in class Feb 24th.


5)  Visit the Writing Center to review your work and think about revisions.  You must visit the center before April 2nd  and have the reader-reviewer stamp your draft in order to have them critique your work and offer constructive criticism (you will need to turn in the rough draft with a stamp from the writing center).  On April 7th you will turn in a polished rough draft of your final paper.  This draft must be at least six pages double spaced.  


6)  Rest, review, and revise repeatedly.  Then write a final draft to be turned in on April 28th


Please turn in all of the material from all of the steps to this assignment together with the final draft on April 28th.


E. Exams:


There will be three exams in this class: two midterms (due on February 17th and March 26th respectively) and a final given during finals week.  These will be taken on the course moodle site: <> (****).  All exams will consist of short identifications quizzing knowledge of detail and significance, geographical content and essays demanding your understanding of the course material through logical presentation of facts and explanation of historical trends.  The exams will cover both the material from the textbook and the primary sources.  You may take a missed exam only at the discretion of the instructor. 


G.  Quizzes


There will be ten short quizzes this semester taken on the course moodle site: <>.  These exams will primarily cover material covered in the course textbook.


Dates for Quizzes:


Quiz 1    Jan. 15th

Quiz 2    Jan 22nd

Quiz 3    Feb. 3rd

Quiz 4    Feb. 10th

Quiz 5    Feb. 19th

Quiz 6    March 10th

Quiz 7    March 17th

Quiz 8    March 24th

Quiz 9    April 2nd

Quiz 10  April 23rd



H.  Class Discussion and Participation


As well as providing you with the methodological and analytical tools for engaging in historical thinking, this class will ask you to actively take part in a larger conversation of historical issues within the class.  I expect this class to allow us to delve deeply into the historical topics of each week’s readings.  To that end you need to make sure that you arrive to class on time ready to discuss the weekly readings, having carefully read and thought over the material.  You must take an active role in the class discussions.  Thus a portion of your grade will depend on your in-class performance and presence. 


In a class of this nature it goes without saying that a classroom environment in which everyone feels comfortable is essential.  You should treat your fellow classmates with respect, listen carefully to their comments and respond to them in a polite manner. 


I. Grading:


It is your responsibility to understand why you have achieved a certain grade, and what steps you can take to maintain or improve your grade.  You should consult with the instructor during office hours or by appointment before and after exams and written assignments.


For your protection, in case of errors in record keeping, you should keep copies of all exams and assignments until you have received official notice of your final grade.


Your final grade will be based on the following percentages
























Your grade distribution for class assignments is as follows:


First Midterm 15%
Second Midterm 15%
Final Exam 20%
Quizzes 10%
Microthemes 10%
Class Participation 10%
Paper 20%


J. Academic Integrity:


The Department of History adheres to guidelines on academic integrity outlined in the Student Conduct Code in the Student Handbook:


Cheating and plagiarism will be penalized in accord with the penalties and procedures indicated in that source.  All students are responsible for familiarizing themselves with the definition of these infractions of academic honesty. 


K. Absences:


I will regularly take attendance in this class. Absences due to college activities, emergency or extended illness may be excused by the appropriate college official. You should consult with the professor about making up missed work in advance or as soon as possible after your return.  Other absences are unexcused and will lower the class participation portion of your grade. After any absence, you are responsible for requesting hand-outs and already returned assignments from me or borrowing notes from other students. If you miss an exam, contact me as possible. You may take a missed exam only at the discretion of the instructor.


L.  Dissabilities:


King’s College and I will make every effort to accommodate students with a bona-fide disability that impacts on their ability to learn the course material.  Please meet with me privately so that appropriate arrangements can be made to help in the learning process.


IV. Course Schedule


Introduction: 1453

Jan. 13th

Question:  How did globalization impact the development of national communities during the early modern period?  How were notions of difference used? 


Exploration, Conquest and Global Trade

Jan. 15th

*Readings:  Bentley and Ziegler, Chapter 23 (597-630)

*Primary Source:  Christopher Columbus’ First Impression, Bentley, 607

Question: Why did Europeans become the leaders in 15th century overseas exploration, conquest and discovery?  What models of colonization did they establish?

**Quiz 1***


Early Modern Europe

Jan. 20th

*Readings:  Bentley and Ziegler, Chapter 24 (631-664)

*Primary Source:  Adam Smith on Capitalist Markets, Bentley, 655

Question:  How did the Protestant Reformation and the Wars of Religion remake Europe?  What are the connections between the reformation, absolutism, colonialism and capitalism in Europe in the early modern era?


“New Worlds” / “Old Worlds”

Jan 22nd

*Readings:  Bentley and Ziegler, Chapter 25 (665-694)

*Primary Source: Captain Cook on the Hawaiians, Bentley, 690

Question:  How and why did the Spaniards conquer the Aztec Empire?  How is this conquest emblematic of other European conquests of the non-European world? How did this conquest transform American Societies?

***Quiz 2***

***First Microtheme Due***


Black Atlantic

Jan 27th

*Readings:  Bentley and Ziegler, Chapter 26 (695-722)

*Primary Source: King Alfonso I Protests the Slave Trade, Bentley, 701

*Primary Source: Equiano on the Middle Passage, Bentley, 710

Question: How did racial slavery develop in contact between Africans and Europeans?  What were its effects on the Atlantic World? 

***Paper Topic Due***


Library Session

Jan 29th


Modernization and Centralization in East Asia

Feb. 3rd

*Readings:  Bentley and Ziegler, Chapter 27 (723-752)

*Primary Source: Quianlong on Chinese Trade, Bentley, 736

*Primary Source: Fabian Fucan Rejects Christianity, Bentley, 748

Question: How did Japan and China seek to modernize and centralize their states during the 15-19th centuries?  How did they respond to the challenges of European colonialism and capitalism?

***Quiz 3***


Islam and Empire

Feb. 5th

*Readings:  Bentley and Ziegler, Chapter 28 (753-778)

*Primary Source: Ghilsan de Busbecq on the Ottoman Empire, Bentley, 757

*Primary Source: Babar on India, Bentley, 760

Question:  How did the Safavid, Ottoman and Mughal Empires seek to organize their societies?  What role did religion play?  What were the causes of their slow decline?

***Second Microtheme Due***


Revolution, Part One (France and Napoleon)

Feb. 10th

*Readings:  Bentley and Ziegler, Chapter 29 (781-814)

*Primary Source: Declaration of the Rights of Man and Citizen, Bentley, 789

*Primary Source: Declaration of the Rights of Woman and Citizen, Bentley, 804

Question: How did the French and Haitian Revolutions reorganize their societies?  In whose interests were they fought?  How revolutionary were they?

***Quiz 4***


Revolution, Part Two (Industrialization)

Feb. 12th

*Readings:  Bentley and Ziegler, Chapter 30 (815-846)

*Primary Source: Malthus on Population, Bentley, 830

*Primary Source: Marx and Engles on the Bourgeoisie and Proletariat, Bentley, 836

Question: How did the Industrial Revolution remake European Society?  How did it change the place of Europe in the World?

***Preliminary Bibliography Due***


Revolution, Part Three (Haiti and the Latin American Criollos)

Feb. 17th

*Readings:  Bentley and Ziegler, Chapter 29 (781-814)

***First Midterm Due***


19th Century Nationalism

Feb. 19th

*Readings:  Bentley and Ziegler, Chapter 29 (781-814)

*Primary Sources: Johann Gottlieb Fichte, To the German Nation, 1806 <>

*Sharepoint: Europe in Empire /Empire in Europe

Question: What factors contributed to the development of European nationalism?  What forms did it take?  What was its impact on the traditional European state system?  What impact did it have across the world?

***Quiz 5***


European Imperialism (Scramble for Africa)

Feb 24th

*Readings:  Bentley and Ziegler, Chapter 33 (909-944)

*Primary Source: Kipling, White Man’s Burden, Bentely, 913

*Primary Source: Lord Lugard, Imperialism and Indirect Rule, Bentley, 924

Question: What were the motivations for European imperialism in the 19th century? What role did imperialism, racism and nationalism have to play?  What did European imperialism look like on the ground in Africa?

***Thesis Due***


Middle Class Society and its Discontents

Feb 26th

*Primary Source: Nietzsche, Genealogy of Morals (excerpts)

Question: How did the Bourgeoisie and the Proletariat seek to reorganize the world around them in the 19th Century?  What were the results of these processes? 

***Third Microtheme Due***


Asia and “the West”

March 10th

*Readings:  Bentley and Ziegler, 892-904 and Chapter 33 (909-940)

*Primary Source: Ho Chi Minh, Declaration of Independence of the Republic of Vietnam <>

Question: What were the major challenges facing China, Japan and India in the 19th century?  How did they come to terms with European Colonialism? Modernization?  Nationalism?

***Quiz 6***


World War I and Versailles

March 12th

*Readings:  Bentley and Ziegler, Chapter 34 (945-976)

*Sharepoint: World War I Poetry

Question: How did World War I complete the 19th Century process of creating European nation-states?  What was the war’s impact on the culture of the interwar years?  What was the war’s impact on interwar politics?


Russian Revolutions

March 17th

*Readings:  Bentley and Ziegler, 886-890, 962-964, 991-994

*Primary Source: Lenin, State and Revolution, Bentley, 965

Question: Whose revolution (in theory) was the Russian Revolution?  How did the Russian revolution seek to reorganize soviet society?  How did it transform the politics and economy of the Russian Empire? What effect did it have on society and culture? 

***Quiz 7***


Age of Anxiety

March 19th

*Readings:  Bentley and Ziegler, Chapter 35 (977-1004)

*Primary Source: Tristan Tzara, Dada Manifesto <>

Question: How did the Great Depression and the Destruction of the First World War Transform the worldview of the west in the 1920s and 1930s?  How was this age of anxiety reflected in art of the time?  How was it reflected in politics?

***Fourth Microtheme Due***


Class Discussion: King Kong

March 24th

Film: Schoedsack, King Kong

***Quiz 8***


Collapse of the Ottoman Empire and the Chinese Civil War

March 26th

*Readings: Bentley and Zeigler, 880-886 and 1008-1014


***Second Midterm Due***



March 31st

*Reading: Bentley and Zeigler, 990-998

*Sharepoint: Trust not a Fox

Question: What accounts for the rise of Fascism in Europe?  What are its motivating principles?  How does fascism as an ideology seek to order society?  How is fascism’s relationship to art a metaphor for its larger programs?


World War II / Holocaust

April 2nd

*Readings:  Bentley and Ziegler, Chapter 37 (1031-1062)

*Sharepoint: Jager Report

Question: How is the Holocaust a reflection of Nazi ideology?  How does it compare to other attempts to create order in Europe and in the colonial world?  How does the Holocaust help us come to terms with the modernist attempt to create subjects?

***Visit the Writing Center before this Date***

***Quiz 9***


Cold War

April 7th

*Readings:  Bentley and Ziegler, Chapter 38 (1063-1094)

*Primary Source: Khrushchev on the Capitalist Iron Curtain, Bentley, 1074

*Primary Source: “Make Mine Freedom,” John Sutherland Production, Extension Department of Harding College, 1949. <>

*Primary Source: “Journey to Bananaland,” produced by William J. Ganz Co., 1950. <>

Question: What role did ideology play in the development of the Cold War?  How did the United States and the Soviet Union work to reorganize European societies?  How was the "good life" defined in each camp?

***Rough Draft Due in Class***


Decolonialization in British India: Satayagraha

April 14th

*Readings:  Bentley and Ziegler, Chapter 36 (1005-1030) and  Chapter 39 (1095-1130)

*Primary Source: Muhammad Ali Jinnah on the Need for a Muslim Pakistan, Bentley, 1099

*Primary Source: Kwame Nkrumah on African Unity, Bentley, 111

Question:  How was the question of the nation-state understood by political actors in British India as they worked towards independence?  What were the challenges faced by the independence movements?  How did they meet these challenges?  What challenges remained after independence?


Decolonialization in Africa: The Vampire State

April 16th

*Readings:  Bentley and Ziegler, Chapter 36 (1005-1030) and 39 (1095-1130)

*Primary Sources, Marcus Garvey, Africa for Africans, Bentley, 1019

Primary Source, Bal Gangadhar Tilak, Self Rule is my Birthright, Bentley, 1009

Question:  What is the “Curse of the Nation-State”?  What is a Vampire State? What were the challenges of the Independence movements in Africa?  How did they meet their goals?  What role did the cold war play in Africa in the mid to late 20th century?

***Fifth Microtheme Due***


Class Discussion: Persepolis

April 21st

*Readings: Satrapi, Persepolis (entire)


New World Order

April 23rd

*Readings:  Bentley and Ziegler, Chapter 40 (1131-1166)

*Primary Source: Nelson Mandela, Inaugural Address, 1994

*Primary Source: Osama bin Laden, Jihad against Jews and Crusaders, 1998

Question:  What accounts for the collapse of socialist regimes in Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union?  Do the revolutions of 1989 and 1991 represent the triumph of liberal democratic capitalism? 

***Quiz 10***


Review for Final

April 28th

***Final Paper Due***