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HSTCMP 406 A: Issues in World History to 1500

Meeting Time: 
TTh 1:30pm - 3:20pm
Location: 
SMI 306
SLN: 
15091
Joint Sections: 
HSTCMP 506 A
Instructor:
Patricia Ebrey
Patricia Ebrey

Syllabus Description:

This lecture-discussion class explores some of the really big questions in history: Why did empires rise in some places rather than others? What accounts for the size and durability of civilizations? Topics include the spread of peoples and languages; the significance of technologies such as agriculture, writing, and the stirrup; links between trade and the spread of religions and diseases; and primary and secondary state formation. Students will write two short and one long paper.

 

Week 1  3/27, 28  Thinking about world history

Tuesday Lecture topic: Some world historians: Arnold Toynbee, William McNeill, Felipe Fernandez-Armesto

Thursday readings:    

William McNeill, “The Changing Shape of World History,” History and Theory 34.2 (1995):8-26. (online access via JSTOR)

Jerry H. Bentley, “Myths, Wagers, and Some Moral Implications of World History,” Journal of World History, 16.1 (2005) :51-82. Online access from Journal of World History.

Lynda Norene Shaffer, “Southernization,” Journal of World History 5 (1994), 1-21. Access via JSTOR

 

Week 2  4/3, 5  Asking big questions

Tuesday Lecture topic:  Food in world history. Reading: Guns, Germs, and Steel, 13-191

Thursday video:  Guns, Germs, and Steel. I will be out of town this day, so please what this three-hour program on your own, most easily done on Youtube.

 

Week 3  4/10, 12  Languages in World History

Tuesday Lecture topic: The Rise and Fall of Languages

Thursday readings:

Guns, Germs, and Steel, 193-401. 

 

Week 4  4/17, 19  The role of technologies, 1

Tuesday: Transportation Technology

Thursday readings:

Jack Goody and Ian Watt, “The Consequences of Literacy,” Comparative Studies in Society and History, 5.3 (1963):304-345. Online access via JSTOR

 

Week 5  4/24, 26  The impact of disease

Tuesday Lecture topic: History of disease in early China and Japan

Thursday readings:

William McNeill, Plagues and People, pp. 19-207.

  

Week 6  5/1, 3  The Rise and Fall of Empires

Tuesday Lecture topic: The Impact of Environmental Change 

Thursday readings:

            Burbank and Cooper, Empires in World History, 1-115

 

Week 7    The Spread of Religions

Tuesday Lecture topic: Less Successful Religions

Thursday readings:

Jerry Bentley, “Missionaries, Pilgrims, and the Spread of World Religions,” in Old World Encounters (1993), 67-110.  Online reserve

Week 8  5/8, 10 Cross-regional Trade

Tuesday Lecture topic: Shipwrecks as Evidence

Thursday readings:

Janet Abu-Lughod, “The World System in the Thirteenth Century: Dead-End or Precursor? In Michael Adas, ed. Islamic and European Expansion: The forging of a Global Order (1993), 75-102. Online access

Jennifer L. Gaynor, “Ages of Sail, Ocean Basins, and Southeast Asia,” Journal of World History, 24.2 (2013), 309-333. Access via JSTOR

 

Week 9  5/15, 17  Role of Technology, 2

Tuesday Lecture Topic: Printing        

Thursday reading:

Tonio Andrade, “Late Medieval Divergences: Comparative Perspectives on Early Gunpowder Warfare in Europe and China.” Journal of Medieval Military History, 13 , 247-276. Access via JSTOR

 

Week 10  5/29, 31  Summing up  LONG PAPER DRAFTS DUE

Tuesday: Presentations

Thursday: Presentations

 

EXAM WEEK  Monday Final Papers Due

 

Catalog Description: 
Explores important questions about development of civilizations. Topics include the spread of peoples and languages; the significance of technologies such as agriculture, writing, and the stirrup; links between trade and the spread of religions and diseases; and primary and secondary state formation.
GE Requirements: 
Individuals and Societies (I&S)
Credits: 
5.0
Status: 
Active
Last updated: 
October 17, 2018 - 9:07pm
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