HIS 120: WORLD HISTORY TO 1000


North Island College Fall 2016

Meeting Time: M - W: 10:00 - 11:20 am

Meeting PlaceTyee 201

Instructor: Dan Hinman-Smith

Office:  Village G6

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

Office Phone: 250-334-5000, Extension 4024

Home Phone:   250-336-0238

Web-Site: http://www.misterdann.com/

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


Books

Neil MacGregor, History Of The World In 100 Objects (London: Penguin, 2012).

Tony Perrottet, Naked Olympics: The True Story Of The Ancient Games (New York: Random House, 2004).

Mary Beard, Fires Of Vesuvius: Pompeii Lost And Found (Cambridge, Belknap, 2010).

Lesley Hazleton, After The Prophet: The Epic Story Of The Shia-Sunni Split (New York: Anchor Books, 2009).


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.


Tentative Class Schedule

Week 1

Wednesday, September 7

a)  Course Introduction


Week 2

Monday, September 12

a)  Name That Monument!

b)  Discussion: Cyrus Cylinder

c)  Start Lecture: Between The Rivers -- Ancient Mesopotamia

Viewing Assignment:

"2600 Years Of History In One Object," Ted Global, July 2011.

Reading Assignment:

  Daniel Silas Adamson, "The Men Who Uncovered Assyria," BBC Newsmagazine (March 22, 2015).

Optional Listening Assignment:

  "The Library At Nineveh," In Our Time, BBC Radio 4, May 15, 2008 (45 minutes).

Optional Reading Assignment:

Browse  in Ancient Near East Discussion Topic

Wednesday, September 14

a)  Introduce Breaking Bread Assignment

b)  Finish Lecture: Between The Rivers -- Ancient Mesopotamia


Week 3

Monday, September 19

a)  Discussion: History Of The World In 100 Objects

b)  Video: "Egypt's Golden Empire" (PBS, 2010) [55 mins.]

Reading Assignment:

Neil MacGregor, History Of The World In 100 Objects (Part 1: Making Us Human [2,000,000-9000 BCE] and Part 2: After The Ice Age -- Food And Sex [9000-3500 BCE]), pp. 3-53.

Optional Listening Assignment:

Episodes #1-10, History Of The World In 100 Objects (Making Us Human and After The Ice Age)

Wednesday, September 21 

a)  Discussion:  Ancient Egypt In The News

b)  Lecture: "The Habit of Civilization Was Continuous Here": Ancient Egypt (3000 BCE-30 BCE)

Reading Assignment:

Browse in Ancient Egypt In The News

Optional Viewing Assignment:

"The Pharaoh And The Showman," Episode 3, Egypt: Rediscovering A Lost World, BBC (2005, 56 minutes).


Week 4 

Monday, September 26

a)  Video: "Kingdom Of David: The Saga Of The Israelites" (PBS, 2010) [60 mins.]

Optional Reading Assignment:

Browse extensively in Ancient Israelites Discussion Topic

Wednesday, September 28

a)  Discussion: Museums And Ancient History (1): Iraq And Syria

b)   Breaking Bread: Food and World Civilization Mini-Presentations

Reading Assignment:

Browse extensively in Museums And Ancient History (1): Iraq And Syria Discussion Topic.


Week 5

Monday, October 3

a)  Discussion: Museums And Ancient History (2) -- The Elgin Marbles.

b)  Lecture: "We Are All Greeks" -- The Glory That Was Greece

Reading Assignment:

Browse extensively in Museums And Ancient History (2) -- The Elgin Marbles Discussion Topic.

Optional Viewing Assignment:

  Greeks, National Geographic:

Episode 1, Cavemen To Kings:

Episode 2, The Good Strife:

Episode 3, Chasing Greatness:

Wednesday, October 5

a)  Video: "The Spartans" (2004) [60 mins.]

Listening Assignment:

  "Sparta," In Our Time, BBC Radio 4, November 19, 2009.


Week 6

Monday, October 10:  NO CLASS -- THANKSGIVING

Wednesday, October 12

a)  Discussion: Naked Olympics

b)  Discussion: Sapiens

Reading Assignment:

Tony Perrottet, Naked Olympics

Browse extensively in Sapiens Discussion Topic

Listening Assignment:

  "The Delphic Oracle," In Our Time, BBC Radio 4, September 30, 2010.


Week 7

Monday, October 17

a)  Discussion:  Herodotus And Thucydides

b)  Lecture:  Athens -- The Dawn Of Democracy

Reading Assignment:

Browse extensively in Herodotus And Thucydides Discussion Topic.

Wednesday, October 19

a)  Discussion:  Greece Vs. Rome

b)  Lecture:  The Grandeur That Was Rome -- The Republic

Viewing Assignment:

  "Greece Vs. Rome, With Boris Johnson And Mary Beard," Intelligence Squared, November 19, 2015.

***First-Half Journal Due


Week 8

Monday, October 24

a)  Video: "Meet The Romans" (BBC, 60 mins.)

Wednesday, October 26

a)  Discussion:  Cleopatra In History And Myth

b)  Lecture: Rome -- The Age Of Empire

Reading Assignment:

Browse extensively in Cleopatra In History And Myth Discussion Topic

Optional Listening Assignment:

"From Gladiator Duels To Caesar's Last Words: Myths Of Ancient Rome," Fresh Air, NPR, November 30, 2015.

Optional Reading Assignment:

Emily Wilson, "The Secret Of Rome's Success," Atlantic (December 2015).

Optional Listening Assignment:

  "The Augustan Age," In Our Time, BBC Radio 4, June 11, 2009 (45 minutes).


Week 9 

Monday, October 31

a)  Video: "Rise Of Christianity: When Rome Ruled"

Reading Assignment:

Ariel Sabar, "Unearthing The World Of Jesus," Smithsonian Magazine (January 2016).

Viewing Assignment:

  "Christianity From Judaism To Constantine," Crash Course World History #11, April 5, 2012 (12 minutes).

Wednesday, November 2

a)  Discussion:  Fires Of Vesuvius

b)  Discussion Topic:  Pompeii

Reading Assignment:

Mary Beard, Fires Of Vesuvius: Pompeii Lost And Found

Optional Reading Assignment:

Browse extensively in Pompeii Discussion Topic.


Week 10

Monday, November 7

a)  Video:  "The Power Of Ideas" (The Story Of India, 2008) [60 mins.]

Wednesday, November 9

a)  Discussion: Early Christianity In The News

b)  Lecture: Early Christianity

Reading Assignment:

Browse extensively in Early Christianity In The News


Week 11

Monday, November 14

a)  Discussion:  The Battle Of Talas

b)  Video:  "The Messenger" (Islam: Empire Of Faith, 2000) [60 mins.]

Listening Assignment:

  "The Battle Of Talas," In Our Time, BBC Radio 4, October 9, 2014.

Wednesday, November 16

a)  Discussion: After The Prophet

Reading Assignment:

Lesley Hazleton, After The Prophet: The Epic Story Of The Shia-Sunni Split


Week 12

Monday, November 21

a)  Lecture: The Axial Age

Wednesday, November 23

a)  Mini-Lecture:  Sunni-Shia Slides

b)  Lecture: Indian Civilization (I)

Listening Assignment:

    "Ashoka The Great," In Our Time, BBC Radio 4, February 5, 2015 (43 minutes).


Week 13

Monday, November 28

a)  Lecture: Indian Civilization (II)

b)  Discussion:  Great Wall And The Silk Road

Viewing Assignment:

  "Age Of Gold," Episode 4, Story Of India, 2013.

Reading Assignment:

Browse extensively in Great Wall And Silk Road Discussion Topic

Wednesday, November 30

a)  Lecture: China -- The Middle Kingdom (I)

Listening Assignment:

  "China: The Warring States Period," In Our Time, BBC Radio 4, April 1, 2004.


Week 14

Monday, December 5

a)  Discussion:  The Mayans

b)  Video:  "Cracking The Mayan Code" (54 mins.)

Reading Assignment:

Browse extensively in Mayans Discussion Topic

Eric Vance, "Lost Empire Of The Maya," National Geographic (September 2016): 76-95.

Optional Listening Assignment:

  "The Maya Civilization," In Our Time, BBC Radio 4, March 10, 2016 (45 minutes).

Wednesday, December 7

a)   Discussion: History Of The World In 100 Objects

Reading Assignment:

Neil MacGregor, History Of The World In 100 Objects, pp. 55-303.

Browse extensively in History Of The World In 100 Objects Reviewed Discussion Topic

Optional Listening Assignment:

Episodes #11-20, History Of The World In 100 Objects (The First Cities And States and Beginning Of Science And Literature)

Episodes #21-30, History Of The World In 100 Objects (Old Powers, New Powers and The World In The Age Of Confucius)

Episodes #31-40, History Of The World In 100 Objects (Empire Builders and Ancient Pleasures, Modern Spice)

Episodes #41-55, History Of The World In 100 Objects (Rise Of World Faiths and Silk Road And Beyond and Inside The Palace)

***Second-Half Journal And Final Seminar Note Due Wed. Dec. 14


Evaluation

Letter of Introduction

 1%

First-Half  Journal 

30%

Second-Half  Journal 

30%

Seminar Notes

24%  (4 x 6%)

Class Participation

15%

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)  Journal (60%)

The student journal is the main assignment in this class.  The purpose of the journal 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 in 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 30% of the course grade.  The journal will then again be due at the end of the semester.  This installment will also contribute 30% towards the course grade.

In order to give you a basic structure and to clearly communicate my expectations, I will specify certain mandated entries and suggest a format for some responses.  However, while it is required that all work in the journal be your own original writing, you are encouraged to be imaginative in your own investigation and analysis of the core curriculum and of World History more generally.  Part of the logic of the journal is that it provides you with some space to pursue topics of particular interest.

The embedded tension within the assignment between structure and flexibility is deliberate.  The entries will, no doubt, vary in format, length, and quality.  Do not hesitate to take risks and to express your own opinion.  It's fine if some entries read more like summary than analysis; it can be helpful to put what you have learned from an article or a video into your own words.  This is an assignment designed to encourage and to reward extensive student effort and learning.  My expectation is that a good-faith approach to the course will lead to success.

I recommend that each Journal installment be at least 10 double-spaces in length and include a minimum of six entries.  There is no need to write about any of the course texts in the journal, since you will be writing seminar notes on those.  There may become circumstances in which you decide extra commentary upon one of the texts is appropriate.


c)  Seminar Notes (24%) [4 different short seminar notes in total]

Seminar notes are commentaries of approximately two pages apiece upon the major course readings.  Your choice of seminar notes are due in connection with any four of the five core discussion readings (History Of The World In 100 Objects #1-10; Naked Olympics; Fires Of Vesuvius; After The Prophet; and History Of The World In 100 Objects #11-55).  Hand in or e-mail me your seminar notes within one week of our discussion.  Please send me your electronic files in .doc, docx or .rtf format and label your files so that I can identify both you and the reading by the file title.

The purpose of the seminar notes is to provide you with the opportunity to organize your thoughts after each of the common major readings.  This exercise is also designed to facilitate analytical group discussion on our seminar days.  The notes need not be formal in style but should be at least a couple paragraphs in length and should highlight key themes from the reading.  Although you should write concisely, it is fine if some of your seminar notes are more than two pages in length.

Rather than being graded on a letter scale, the seminar notes will be evaluated on a check, check-plus, and check-minus basis:

Check:  A fully satisfactory seminar note (7.7/10, B)

Check-Plus:  A strong note that offers particularly strong analysis and/or a well-developed commentary upon the text (9.2/10, A)

Check-Minus:  A weak seminar note that does not successfully engage with the reading (6.2, C)

Particularly outstanding seminar notes may receive a Check-Plus-Plus (10.0/10, A+)


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 90% 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.


WELCOME TO THE COURSE

 

 

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