History of World Civilizations I WF 11:00 SB105

I knew you before the west was won
And I hear you say the past
was much more fun
You go your way, I'll go mine
But I'll see you next time

Its all been done
Its all been done
Its all been done before

- Steven Page, 1998
Professor Emerson Baker Phone: 978-542-7126 (office) 207-363-0255 (home)
Please feel free to contact me anytime


This course introduces you to the major themes of the world's civilizations from the dawn of time to about 1650. Designed for the non-history major, it will let you examine the world's rich and diverse past from an historian's perspective, and help you relate the past to modern life. This class is a whirlwind tour of thousands of years of the past and numerous civilizations, so the course will not be able to cover everything in detail. With so much ground to cover, often the lecture material will be different than the reading, so pay close attention in class! Though the class is primarily in lecture format, I encourage you to ask questions about the lectures and readings as they arise.

Course Objectives

Content Objectives - After completing this course, you should understand and be able to comment accurately on the following themes:

1. What is civilization? What makes it rise and fall? What makes a civilization special and unique?

2. The wide range of sources used by historians to explore the past.

3. The roots of Western Civilization - What have we borrowed from past civilizations?

4. The importance of non-Western traditions and interaction between cultures in shaping the world.

5. The relationship between technology, environment and civilization.

6. A better understanding of the modern world, based on its origins.

Skills Objectives - One reason for studying history, or any other course of inquiry, is to develop and improve the skills needed to prosper in modern America. In this course you will have the opportunity to develop the following:

1. Improve your ability to read and comprehend your reading

2. Effective verbal and written communication

3. Healthy skepticism and the ability to examine evidence

4. Improve your ability to take notes from lectures and readings

Course Grade

First Hour Exam 20%

Second Hour Exam 25%

Written Assignment 15%

Class Discussions 15%

Final Exam 25% - Attendance & progress may also figure into the final grade.

Course requirements

1. Required Reading (available at college bookstore as a package):

Richard Bulliet, et al, The Earth & Its Peoples: A Global History, vol. 1.

Merry Weisner et al, Discovering ther Global Past, vol. 1.

2. Two preliminary examinations. I tend to stress materials covered in my lectures in the exams, but you should have a firm grip on all the reading, even materials not covered in class. The exams will consist of several parts, including multiple choice questions and short essay questions.

3. Four class discussions, held throughout the semester. Each discussion will be on the chapter of Weisner assigned for that class. To better prepare yourself for the discussions, you will write up answers to the "questions to consider section" of the chapter. These answers will be turned in at the end of class and graded as a part of your class participation grade. Late answers will not be accepted for grading.

4. A written assignment of approximately 5 pages in length. This "documentary assignment" based on a chapter in Weisner, provides you the opportunity to interpret primary historical sources, and discuss your interpretation in a thoughtful and well written essay. Details on this assignment will be forthcoming. Papers must be typed (or word processed) and double spaced on standard 8.5"x11" paper. Papers not handed in at class on December 10 are considered late, and will be be immediately marked down a full letter grade. The later the paper the more it is marked down.

5. A final examination. The final covers material from the entire semester, but will be weighted toward materials covered after the second preliminary exam.

Attendance Policy. You are not absolutely required to attend class, however I do take attendance and failure to come may adversely effect your grade. If, at the end of the semester your average is on the border between two grades, a poor attendance record will probably get you the lower grade. Also, the lectures will be drawn upon quite heavily when I make the exams, so it is to your benefit to attend. If you can't make it, I advise you to get a copy of a classmate's class notes. Whether you are here or not, you will be held responsible for all course requirements, and for keeping up with what goes on in the course.

I do not give make up exams. Being able to meet deadlines and deal effectively with pressure situations while still facing the challenges of everyday living is part of what college is all about. If you are genuinely deathly ill, I might make an exception, but let me know absolutely as soon as possible!

Preparation. Come to classes prepared to listen, learn, and contribute to the topic at hand. Occasionally I will ask the class questions about the reading, to stimulate a brief class discussion. As with attendance, class participation may play a small role in your final grade, so I advise you to complete the assigned reading by its due date. I also welcome your questions on any aspect of the course, at any time. Your tuition for this course represents a substantial investment. I urge you to get your money's worth!

Getting Help

First off, please feel free to contact me whenever the need arises: visit my office, leave a message on my voice mail or my e-mail, or call me at home. Also, the Learning Center is located on the fourth floor of the library, and offers a variety of services, including reading and study skills services, tutoring, and counseling.

Salem State College is committed to nondiscrimination of Handicapped persons as specified in section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. Students who qualify as handicapped persons under the definition of this act should notify the instructor at the beginning of course so that reasonable modifications may be made when necessary.

HISTORY 101-12 COURSE OUTLINE - FALL 1999 Schedule is subject to change

Sept. 3 Introduction to the course

Sept. 8 The Dawn of History Read: Bulliet Ch. 1, Weisner Ch. 1

Sept. 10 The Nature of Civilization Read: Bulliet Ch. 2

Sept. 15 Early Civilizations Read: Weisner Ch. 2 (CLASS DISCUSSION)

Sept. 17 No class

Sept. 22 The Fall of Troy & Egypt Read: Bulliet Ch. 3

Sept. 24 Monotheism: Israel Read: Bulliet Ch. 4, Weisner Ch 3

Sept. 29 The Golden Age of Greece Read: Bulliet Ch. 5,

Oct. 1 The Hellenistic World Read: Weisner Ch 4

Oct. 6 First Hour Exam on all materials through October 1

Oct.8 The Might of Rome Read: Bulliet Ch. 6

Oct. 13 Han China Read: Weisner Ch. 6 (CLASS DISCUSSION)

Oct. 15 Buddism & India Read: Bulliet Ch. 7

Oct. 20 Beginnings of Global Trade Read: Bulliet Ch. 8

Oct. 22 Rise of Feudalism & The Church Read: Bulliet Ch. 9

Oct. 27 Religion & The Decline of Magic Read: Weisner Ch. 14

Oct. 29 The Crusades Read: Weisner Ch. 9 (CLASS DISCUSSION)

Nov. 3 The Rise of Islam Read: Bulliet Ch. 10

Nov. 5 A Golden Age in East Asia Read: Bulliet Ch. 11, Weisner Ch. 12

Nov.10 Second Hour Exam on all materials from October 8 through November 5

Nov.12 American Civilizations Read: Bulliet Ch. 12

Nov. 17 North America before 1492 Read: Weisner Ch. 8 (CLASS DISCUSSION)

Nov. 19 The Influence of the Mongols Read: Bulliet Ch. 13

Nov. 24 Ming China Read: Bulliet Ch. 14

Nov. 26 No class - Thanksgiving Recess

Dec. 1 The Black Death Read: Bulliet Ch. 16

Dec. 3 Islam expands into Africa and Asia Read: Bulliet Ch. 15

Dec. 8 The Renaissance

Dec. 10 The Rise of States


Dec. 21 FINAL EXAM in SB 105, 2:30-4:30 PM - PLEASE NOTE TIME!

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