North Island College Winter 2018

Meeting Time: T, TH: 2:30 - 3:50 pm

Meeting Place:  Discovery 204

Instructor: Dan Hinman-Smith

Office: Village G6

Office Hours:  Wed. 11:30 am - 12:30 pm; Thurs. 1:00 - 2:00 pm (or by appointment)

Office Phone:  334-5000, Extension 4024

Web- Site for Course: http://www.misterdann.com/contentsmillennium.htm

E-Mail: dan.hinmansmith@nic.bc.ca

Course Description

This course surveys world history from the early Medieval period to contemporary times.  The focus will be upon identifying broad themes, issues and patterns in world history, and upon accounting for political, social, cultural, intellectual, religious and economic change.  The approach will combine sweeping analytical overviews with recurrent intensive investigation of selected societies and topics.  Class time will be divided between lecture and slide presentation, video documentaries, and discussion based upon common course readings and a series of student research exercises.


Jack Weatherford, Genghis Khan And The Making Of the Modern World  (New York: Three Rivers, 2004).

Charles Mann, 1493:  Uncovering the New World Columbus Created  (New York: Vintage, 2012).

Tamim Ansary, Destiny Disrupted: A History of the World Through Islamic Eyes (New York: Public Affairs, 2010).

Tentative Class Schedule

Week 1

Thursday, January 4

a)  Course Introduction

b)  Discussion: The Crusades (I)

c)  Possible Video Clips:  Millennium Series [1999]

Listening Assignment:

  "The Crescent And The Cross, Part Two," [The Third Crusade]  BBC World Service, November 16, 2009.  (Click on download to listen to this 25-minute audio documentary).

Week 2

Tuesday, January 9

a)  Discussion: The Crusades (II)

b)  Lecture: "God Wills It!" -- The Crusades (I)

Listening Assignment:

Paul Freedman, "Medieval Crusades And Today,"  Yale Podcasts. 

Thursday, January 11 

a)  Introduce Bubble Gum Card Assignment

b)  Video: "Holy Warriors: Richard The Lionheart And Saladin" [2005] (110 minutes)

Week 3

Tuesday, January 16 

a)  Discussion: The Crusades -- An Arab Perspective

b)  Lecture: "God Wills It!" -- The Crusades (II)

Viewing Assignment Watch at least one of the following episodes --

"Shock: The First Crusade And The Conquest Of Jerusalem," Crusades: An Arab Perspective, Al Jazeera, December 7, 2016.

"Revival: The Muslim Response To The Crusades," Crusades: An Arab Perspective, Al Jazeera, December 14, 2016.

"Unification: Saladin And The Fall Of Jerusalem," Crusades: An Arab Perspective, Al Jazeera, December 21, 2016.

"Liberation: Acre And The End Of The Crusades," Crusades: An Arab Perspective, Al Jazeera, December 28, 2016.

Optional Reading Assignment:

Browse extensively in Crusades Discussion Topic.

Thursday, January 18   

a)  Discussion: Genghis Khan And The Making Of The Modern World

b)  [If Time]:  Video Clip: Genghis Khan and Kublai Khan segments from "The Thirteenth Century: Century Of The Stirrup" [Millennium Series, 20 mins.]

Reading Assignment:

Jack Weatherford, Genghis Khan and the Making of the Modern World (New York: Three Rivers, 2004).

Week 4

Tuesday, January 23

a)  Discussion: Caliphate And Islamic History

b)  Video:  "The Awakening" [Islam: Empire Of Faith, 50 mins.]

Reading Assignment:

Browse extensively in Caliphate And Islamic History Discussion Topic.

Thursday, January 25

Class Canceled

Week 5

Tuesday, January 30 

a)  Discussion: Travelers -- Marco Polo, Ibn Battuta And Zheng He

b)  Lecture: Travelers

c)  Possible Video Clip on Zheng He segment from "The Fifteenth Century: Century Of The Sail" [Millennium Series, 10 mins.]

Reading Assignment:

Browse extensively in Travellers: Marco Polo, Ibn Battuta And Zheng He Discussion Topic.

Thursday, February 1

a)  Video:  "When Worlds Collide" [2010]  (87 minutes]

Week 6

Tuesday, February 6

a)  Lecture: The Aztec And Inca Empires

Reading Assignment:

Browse extensively in Aztecs In The News

Browse extensively in Incas In The News

Thursday, February 8

a)  Discussion: Charles Mann, 1493

Reading Assignment:

Charles Mann, 1493: Uncovering the New World Columbus Created (New York: Vintage, 2012).

***Bubble Gum Cards Due

***Family Day And Reading Break, February 12-16

Week 7

Tuesday, February 20

a)  Course Check-in

b)  Lecture:  Conquest Of The Americas

c)  Possible Video Clip on Diego de Landa and the Mayans from "The Sixteenth Century: Century Of The Compassl" [Millennium Series, 10 mins.]

***First Half Time Frames Worksheets and First Half Journal Due

Thursday, February 22

a)  Discussion: Treasures Of Timbuktu

b)  Video:  "Africa's Great Civilizations" [2017] (60 minutes)

Reading Assignment:

Browse extensively in Treasures Of Timbuktu Discussion Topic.

Week 8

Tuesday, February 27

a)  Introduce You So You Want A Revolution Assignment

b)  Discussion: Tamim Ansary, Destiny Disrupted

c)  [If Time]:  Mini- Lecture: Captive Passage -- The Transatlantic Slave Trade And The Making Of The Americas

Reading Assignment:

Tamim Ansary, Destiny Disrupted: A History of the World Through Islamic Eyes (New York: Public Affairs, 2010).

Thursday, March 1

a)  Discussion: The Ottoman Empire

b)  Mini-Lecture: The Ottoman Empire

c)  [If Time]  Video Clip:  "The Ottomans" (Islam: Empire Of Faith)

Reading Assignment:

Browse extensively in Ottoman Empire Discussion Topic.

Week 9

Tuesday, March 6 

a)  Discussion: Ayodhya

b)  Lecture: India -- From The Mughals To Midnight (I)

Reading Assignment:

Browse extensively in Indian History (I): Ayodhya Discussion Topic.

Thursday, March 8

No Class: Instructor Illness

Week 10

Tuesday, March 13

a)  Discussion: The Indian Mutiny

b)  Lecture: India -- From The Mughals To Midnight (II)

Reading Assignment:

Browse extensively in Indian History (II): The Indian Mutiny Discussion Topic.

Optional Viewing Assignment:

"Meeting Of Two Oceans,"  Episode 5, The Story Of India, BBC, 2010.

"Freedom And Liberation,"  Episode 6, The Story Of India, BBC, 2010.

Thursday, March 15

a)  Video: "Japan -- Memoirs Of A Secret Empire" [2004, 160 minutes]

Week 11

Tuesday, March 20

a)  Lecture: Among Samurai And Shoguns -- Japan, 1000-1868 CE (I)

Listening Assignment:

  "The Samurai,"  In Our Time, BBC Radio 4, December 24, 2009.

Optional Listening Assignment:

"Japan's Sakoku Period,"  In Our Time, BBC Radio 4, April 4, 2013.

Thursday, March 22

a)  Video: "The Story Of China" [2016, 60 minutes]

Week 12

Tuesday, March 27

a)  Discussion: Meiji Japan

b)  Lecture: Among Samurai And Shoguns -- Japan, 1000-1868 CE (II)

c)  [If Time]:  Video Clip: China segment from "The Eighteenth Century: Century Of The Furnace" [Millennium Series, 10 mins.]

Reading Assignment:

Browse extensively in Meiji Japan Discussion Topic.

Thursday, March 29

a)  Discussion: The Opium Wars

b)  Video:  "Egalite For All: Toussaint Louverture And The Haitian Revolution" (2009, 60 mins.)

Reading Assignment:

Browse extensively in Opium Wars Discussion Topic.

Week 13

Tuesday, April 3 

a)  Revolutions Workshop

b)  Lecture: China -- From Ming To Mao, 1405-1949 CE

Thursday, April 5

a)  Discussion:  You Say You Want A Revolution

***Second Half Journals And You Say You Want A Revolution Assignments Due April 5

My Assumptions About This Course

That you are interested in world history and eager to learn as much about it as possible in this course.

That it will be impossible to learn all that you would like to learn given the massive amount of relevant material and the time constraints involved.

That history should involve not merely the struggle to understand past events but also to find meaning from those events.

That my job as instructor is to strike an appropriate balance between providing a common core curriculum and setting up structures that also allow you to study materials of personal interest.

That this course should help to set you up for future formal or informal study of world history rather than being a survey that teaches you "all that you need to know" about the ancient past.



Textbook Option: Details And %

Journal Option:  Details And %




Letter of Introduction



Millennium Bubble Gum Cards



You Say You Want A Revolution



Class Participation



Time Frame Worksheets



First-Half Journal



Second-Half Journal










a)  Letter of Introduction (1%)

Who are you? Where are you from? What are your interests? Why are you taking this course? Do you have any questions, concerns, or suggestions as we start the course? Write two or three informal paragraphs for the second class of the semester to introduce yourself to me.

b)  Millennium Bubble Gum Cards (25%)

This first-half assignment will ask you to research assorted significant figures from world history and then to portray each through in over-sized bubblegum card biographical format.

c) You Say You Want A Revolution (25%)

This second-half assignment will involve comparative analysis of three different revolutions.

d)  Class Participation (15%)

The class participation grade will be based upon attendance; pre-class preparation; and the willingness to contribute thoughtfully to full-class and small-group discussion.  Although attendance is not required, I will take roll, and those who are not in class regularly will receive a poor grade for this component of the course.  I would like to encourage a classroom environment in which all are eager to share their ideas and in which lectures are accompanied by thoughtful dialogue.

Assigning class participation grades can be quite arbitrary.  When I assign participation grades at the end of the semester, I place each student in one of three following categories:

1)  Regular class attendance and excellent class participation.

2)  Regular class attendance and  fully satisfactory class participation.

3)  Irregular class attendance and preparation.

Those in Category 1 receive top participation grades.  Those in Category 3 receive poor participation grades.  Those in Category 2 are most likely to receive no specific participation grade but rather have the 85% total for their written work pro-rated to a 100% scale (in some cases the participation component may help a Category 2 student's final grade but in no instance will it lower the final grade).  Thus, shy students are not penalized for class participation so long that they attend faithfully and I need only to distinguish between strong, satisfactory and weak participation rather than attempt to make fine distinctions.

e)  The Textbook Option (34%) or The Journal Option (34%)

Pick either the Textbook Option or The Journal Option early in the course.  I do want you to be firm in your choice here.  The main assignment for the Textbook Option is completion of several Time Life Time Frames worksheets as explained below.  The main assignment for the Journal Option is a semester-long Journal that offers critical commentary upon required and supplementary curriculum materials.  The Journal Option is the more time-consuming option and I recommend choosing that option only if you enter the course with a great deal of intellectual enthusiasm about World History and if you think you could benefit from intensive writing about our subject matter.

1)  The Textbook Option (34%)

There are 13 volumes from Time Life Time Frames series on Reserve in the NIC Library that cover world history from 1000 AD to contemporary times.  There are corresponding fill-in-the-blank worksheets on the Assignments page of the web-site.  You will be required to complete several of these worksheets during the semester.  Your completed worksheets should be handed in with your first-half and/or second-half portfolio.  I expect you to fill these out with care but, instead of each answer being marked, you will be graded on the following scale:

C= 3 worksheets completed

C+= 4 worksheets completed

B= 5 worksheets completed

B+= 6 worksheets completed

A-= 7 worksheets completed

A= 8 worksheets completed

A+= 11+ worksheets completed

Note that there are also Time Frames volumes on Reserve for HIS 120 (World History To 1000 AD).  Those books are not intended for this assignment.

The relevant volumes for HIS 121 are those that are chronologically situated between 1000 AD and the Present.  These include:

Light In The East: Time Frame AD 1000-1100

Divine Campaigns: Time Frame AD 1100-1200

Mongol Conquests: Time Frame AD 1200-1300

Age Of Calamity: Time Frame AD 1300-1400

Voyages Of Discovery: Time Frame AD 1400-1500

European Emergence: Time Frame AD 1500-1600

Powers Of The Crown: Time Frame AD 1600-1700

Winds Of Revolution: Time Frame AD 1700-1800

Pulse Of Enterprise: Time Frame AD 1800-1850

Colonial Overlords: Time Frame AD 1850-1900

World In Arms: Time Frame AD 1900-1925

Shadow Of The Dictators: Time Frame 1925-1950

Nuclear Age: Time Frame AD 1950-1990

2)  The Journal Option (34%)

The purpose of the Journal for those of you who choose this option is to provide you the opportunity for frequent thoughtful, analytical and personal commentary upon course-related material.  The advantages of the Journal, to my mind, are that it breaks work down into regular and manageable chunks, and that it enables you to seize hold of the curriculum in a way which reflects your own interests and style.

The Journal will be graded in two installments.  It will be due at the mid-point of the semester.  This installment will count for 17% of the course grade.  The Journal will then again be due at the end of the semester.  That installment will also contribute 17% towards the course grade.

The Journal is premised upon the assumption that you will not just be regularly reflecting upon the course material but regularly writing about it as well as part of that reflective practice.  I recommend that you write approximately one Journal entry week.  The individual entries can vary in style, format, and length.

The excellent journal will:

be approximately 20+ pages long.

include analytical reviews of at least three of the core books.

include at least 3 Discussion Topic commentaries.

include a variety of Reading, Viewing and/or Listening Responses to the required and supplementary course material

include other entries that draw upon class material and/or your independent research.

demonstrate that you are approaching the readings and the course with care and effort.

The above list of entries is meant as a firm guide rather than as an absolutely-everything-here must be completed.  The embedded tension within the assignment between structure and flexibility is deliberate.  It possibly to excel in the course either by closely following my guidelines or by diverging from these significantly.  The entries will, no doubt, vary in format, length and quality.   Do not hesitate to take risks and to express your own opinions.  It's fine if some entries read more like summary than analysis; it can be useful to put what you have learned from an article or a video into your own words.  Try, however, not to succumb to the temptation to write in an easy, stream—of—consciousness style.   There is no inherent tension between analytical rigour and personal insight.  This is an assignment designed to encourage and to reward extensive student effort and learning.  The work-load is heavy but my expectation is that a good-faith approach to the course will lead to strong success.

A Note On Plagiarism

Everything that you hand in should be your original work unless otherwise indicated.  Violations of this policy may result in failing an assignment or the course in its entirety.  Please talk to me if you have any uncertainty  about what is permitted here.

Welcome To The Course


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