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World Civilizations to 1600 - 1st year

Concentrates on the development of the various political, social, economic and cultural features of the world's principal civilizations to about AD 1600. Frequent comparisons between the civilizations surveyed will also be made. The course will investigate the process of cross-cultural encounters between peoples of different cultural regions or civilizations. Attention is paid to migrations of peoples, the creation of long-distance trade networks, the transfer of technology, and the spread of civilization itself as effective agents of cultural change.


By the end of this course, students will be able to:

1. Distinguish the characteristics of the world's major civilizations in their geographical settings;

2. Trace the development of traditional civilizations and recognize their enduring influences;

3. Describe significant global processes, such as: emergence and growth of civilization; agricultural and urban revolutions; human migration; effects of disease and ecological forces; imperialism; decolonization; industrialization.

4. Describe the interactive roles, which social, religious, political, economic, scientific and technological forces have played among the civilizations of the world;

5. Discuss the historical dimensions of contemporary world affairs and issues;

6. Compare and contrast the responses of the world's peoples as a result of intercultural contacts and the diffusion of ideas, institutions, and inventions;

7. Draw upon one's knowledge of the varieties of human experiences and sympathetic understanding of cultures other than one's own, to define one's role as a global citizen of the contemporary world.


Course topics will include the following:

1. The Civilizations of the Ancient Near East

2. The Greek Achievement: Aegean, Hellenic and Hellenistic Civilizations

3. Early Rome and the Roman Republic from 509 BC to AD 180

4. Ancient India and China to AD 220

5. Byzantium and the Rise of Islam to 1300

6. The Growth and Spread of Asian Culture from 300 to 1300

7. Emerging Civilizations: Sub-Sahara Africa and the Americas to 1492

8. Europe in the Early Middle Ages from 500 to 1000

9. The Emergence of European States from 500 to 1500

10. Renaissance Art and Though from 1300 to 6000

11. The Protestant Reformation and the Roman Catholic Counter-Reformation from 1500 to 1555

12. The Global Impact of European Colonialization and Expansion from 1492 to 1660

13. The Transition to Modern Times in Asia, 1300 to 1650

Method of Instruction:

1. Lectures

2. Class Discussions

3. Small-Group Work

4. Student Presentations

5. Use of Library for Research Projects

6. Use of Audio-Visual Media Resources (Videos; Films; Slides; Transparencies)

Types of Assignments:

1. Chapter-length assignments in required textbooks and selected supplemental readers.

2. Additional appropriate assignments may include library research in preparation for short papers, book reports, term papers or individual reports.

3. Note-taking from reading and lecture materials.

4. Well-organized essays and/or reports reasonably free of major errors in grammar, spelling, and punctuation.

Sample Text:

1. Traditions and Encounters. Vol. 1. Jerry Bentley, Herbert Ziegler; McGraw Hill 2000.

2. Atlas: Harper-Collins World History Atlas (Rand-McNally, 1994)