This course is a survey of World Civilization from the mid eighteenth century through the twentieth century. Our primary historical focus will be on the issue of imperialism since 1750. However, we will explore a number of other themes, including those of class, race, and gender. Our primary theoretical concern will be with the nature of historical change itself. Who makes history? What is the role of the individual in the process of history? What is the role of the community in the process of history? In what ways are individuals and communities able to effect change? In what ways are individuals and communities constrained by their contexts?
As with any course in the humanities, H109 requires you to read a fair amount of material. In addition to the textbook readings, we will be making detailed analyses of historical documents. You will have to read, comprehend, memorize, and analyze a substantial amount of material with which you may be unfamiliar.
The course consists of eighteen modules. Everything in this course is cumulative until an exam. So, you will be responsible for all material from the beginning of the course to Exam 1 for the first exam. However, you will be responsible only for the material between Exam 1 and Exam 2 for Exam 2. That said, history by its very nature is cumulative. So, while you may not be re-examined on an earlier module, a later module may refer back to the material in an earlier one.
Class lectures will not repeat the information in the textbook. You already have chapter outlines and summaries in the online study guide, making a lecture of this nature redundant. Instead, lectures will focus on topics that mirror the concepts in the textbook. Lectures will show you how, when used in tandem with primary sources, basic textbook comprehension can help elucidate “big” historical questions. While lectures will help you understand what you have read, they will also show you the ways that historians approach problems. These skills will help you when we focus on analyzing historical documents, something we will do in every lecture.
At the end of this course, my goal is that each of you have a basic comprehension of global history between 1750 and present. You will also have the skills to comprehend, interpret, analyze, and compare historical documents and material culture. Finally, you will be able to think more historically and develop a stronger sense of yourself and your community as historical actors.