North Island College Fall 2019

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

Meeting Place:  Tyee 205

Instructor: Dan Hinman-Smith

Office: Village G6

Office Hours:  Wed. 11:40 am - 1:45 pm; Thurs. 1:10 - 3:00 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).

Mahatma Gandhi, Gandhi: An Autobiography (Boston: Beacon Press, 1993).

Tentative Class Schedule

Week 1

Wednesday, September 4

a)  Course Introduction

b)  Possible Video Clips:  Millennium Series [1999]

Week 2

Monday, September 9

a)  Discussion: The Crusades

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

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).

Paul Freedman, "Medieval Crusades And Today,"  Yale Podcasts(42 minutes)

Wednesday, September 11 

a)  Video: "Holy Warriors: Richard The Lionheart And Saladin" (2005, 110 minutes)

Week 3

Monday, September 16

a)  Discussion: The Crusades -- An Arab Perspective

b)  Introduce Bubble Gum Card Assignment

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

Viewing AssignmentWatch 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.

Wednesday, September 18   

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.

Week 4

Monday, September 23

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).

Optional Audio:

"The Meaning Of Mongol," Documentary, BBC World Service, April 8, 2015 (28 minutes).

Wednesday, September 25

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

b)  Lecture: Travelers -- Marco Polo, Ibn Battuta And Zheng He

c)  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.

Week 5

Monday, September 30 

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

***Genghis Khan and the Making of the Modern World Seminar Note Due

Wednesday, October 2

a)  Lecture: The Aztec And Inca Empires

Reading Assignment:

Browse extensively in Aztecs In The News

Browse extensively in Incas In The News

Week 6

Monday, October 7

a)  Lecture:  Conquest Of The Americas

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

Wednesday, October 9

a)  Video: "Brazil: A Racial Paradise?," Black In Latin America, PBS (2011, 60 mins.)

***Bubble Gum Cards Due

Week 7

Monday, October 14:  NO CLASS -- THANKSGIVING

Wednesday, October 16

a)  Course Check-in

b)  Discussion: Treasures Of Timbuktu

c)  Video:  "Africa's Great Civilizations" [2017] (60 mins.)

Reading Assignment:

Browse extensively in Treasures Of Timbuktu Discussion Topic.

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

Week 8

Monday, October 21

a) Lecture:  Captive Passage: The Transatlantic Slave Trade And The Making Of The Americas

Wednesday, October 23

a)  Discussion: The Ottoman Empire

b)  Video:  "The Ottomans" (Islam: Empire Of Faith)

Reading Assignment:

Browse extensively in Ottoman Empire Discussion Topic.

Week 9

Monday, October 28 

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

b)  Video Clip: China segment from "The Eighteenth Century: Century Of The Furnace" [Millennium Series, 10 mins.] or from "The Story Of China" [2016]

Wednesday, October 30

a)  Discussion: The Opium Wars

b)  Discussion: Civilizations

c)  Video: "Civilizations," PBS, [2018] (60 mins.)

Reading Assignment:

Browse extensively in Opium Wars Discussion Topic.

Browse extensively in "Civilizations" Discussion Topic.

Week 10

Monday, November 4

**Class Cancelled

Wednesday, November 6

a)  Discussion: Charles Mann, 1493

Reading Assignment:

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

Week 11

Monday, November 11:  NO CLASS -- REMEMBRANCE DAY

Wednesday, November 13

a)  Discussion: Ayodhya

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

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

Reading Assignment:

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

***1493 Seminar Note Due

Week 12

Monday, November 18

a)  Video: "Freedom And Liberation," Episode 6, The Story Of India, BBC, 2010.

Wednesday, November 20

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

Optional Viewing Assignment:

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

Optional Listening Assignment:

"Delhi's Stolen Seat Of Power,"  Museum Of Lost Objects, BBC World Service, July 26, 2017.

Week 13

Monday, November 25 

a)  Discussion: Gandhi's Autobiography

Reading Assignment:

Mahatma Gandhi, Gandhi: An Autobiography (Boston: Beacon, 1993).

Wednesday, November 27

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

Week 14

Monday, December 2 

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.

Wednesday, December 4

a)  Discussion: Meiji Japan

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

c)  [If Time]  Video Clip: "Horror In The East," BBC (2000, 98 mins.)

Reading Assignment:

Browse extensively in Meiji Japan Discussion Topic.

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

***Gandhi: An Autobiography Seminar Note Due

***Late assignments for Time Frames Worksheets, the Second Half Journal, or the Gandhi Seminar Note will not be accepted after Friday, December 13th.

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.

Learning Outcomes

Trace in broad outline the basic chronology and major contours of world history during the last millennium.

Demonstrate a more in-depth knowledge of particular societies and topics featured in the course.

Discuss the relationships between the economy, the political structure, the culture, and the social organization of individual societies

Identify central themes and issues from the past, compare and contrast different societies, and theorize about the complex connections between the medieval, early modern and modern eras.



Seminar Note And Textbook Option: Details And %

Journal Option:  Details And %




Letter of Introduction



Millennium Bubble Gum Cards



Class Participation



Genghis Khan Seminar Note



Second Seminar Note (1493 or Gandhi: An Autobiography)



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?  Can you provide some background about yourself as a person and as a student that might be helpful to me as an instructor? Why are you taking this course? Do you have any questions, concerns, or suggestions as we start the course? Write two or three paragraphs for the second class of the semester to introduce yourself to me.  Although this is not a graded assignment, I would appreciate it if you took several minutes writing a thoughtful introduction.

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)  Class Participation (14%)

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 strong class participation.

2)  Regular class attendance and 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.  Students in Category 2 are most likely to receive no specific participation grade but rather have the 86% total for their written work pro-rated to a 100% scale (there are particular cases in which the participation component is used to help a Category 2 student's final grade, but in no instance will it lower that 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 Seminar Note And Textbook Option (60%) or The Journal Option (60%)

Pick either the Seminar Note and Textbook Option or The Journal Option early in the course.  I do want you to be firm in your choice here.  The assignment for the Seminar and Textbook Option included two book reviews and 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.

Choosing The Option That Is Right For You

The Journal Option is the more challenging one.  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 the course subject matter.  You should be a strong reader and have the ability to write analytically offering your own responses to and interpretations of books, videos, and other curricular materials.

1)  The Seminar Note And Textbook Option (60%)

a)  Seminar Notes  (15% x 2) = (30%)

Seminar notes are commentaries of approximately two-to-three double-spaced pages apiece about the course books.  You will be expected to write seminar notes about Genghis Khan and the Making of the Modern World and one of the other two core course texts (1493 or Gandhi: An Autobiography).  These responses must be based upon your reading of the book rather than upon book reviews.  The latter are unacceptable.

The purpose of the seminar notes is to provide you with the opportunity to organize your thoughts about the major course readings.  The notes should be analytical in nature and should highlight key themes from the reading.  Your own interpretations must be at the centre of each seminar note.  I want to see you engaging directly with the text.  Seminar notes are due one week after our class discussion about that particular book.

Each of you will write a seminar note about Jack Weatherford book on the Mongols during the first half of the semester.  We will be reading two books in the second half of the semester.  You will have your choice of writing about either of them.

Bonus Option:  There is the option of writing about all three of the books.  In that case, your two top seminar notes will count 15% apiece, while the lowest of the three will add up to 5% to your course grade (depending on its quality).

b)  Time Frame Worksheets (30%)

There are 13 volumes from Time Life Time Frames series in the NIC Library that cover world history from 1000 AD to contemporary times.  One copy of each book is in the Main Stacks while there are two or three copies of each on Reserve.  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.  There is no set number that you must complete in the first half of the course, though I do want to record how many worksheets you have completed by the mid-way point.

The purpose of this exercise is offer you a brief introduction to a wide range of historical topics that we will not have a chance to explore in the classroom and to give you a chance to browse very carefully in the Time Frames World History series.

The worksheets themselves are designed both to help you to pick out major terms from the different chapters and as an accountability measure for grading purposes.  But the experience of reading or slowly scanning through these volumes will be of much value than the fill-in-the blank part of the exercise.  While I do expect you to fill the worksheets out with care, I will not mark each answer but rather give you a full credit for a worksheet so long that it seems that you approached it with good faith and found most of the answers.  Don't spend too much time looking for individual answers.

Googling the answers is unacceptable.  That's not the point of the exercise.  Copying other students' worksheets is also unacceptable and qualifies as plagiarism.  Dividing up work as a team is not o.k. either.  I do think it is acceptable to work with one partner on one or more worksheets so long that you each have a Time Frames volume and are reading the same chapter at the same time and discussing things as you go.  Please be responsible.  I am more interested in setting things up so that you can learn than obsessing about how one might cheat, but that takes cooperation from you.  If you do take volumes out on loan from Reserve, be extra careful to return the books on time.  Reserve fines are expensive.  Thanks.

The grading scale is as follows:

C= 3 worksheets completed

C+= 4 worksheets completed

B-= 5 worksheets completed

B= 6 worksheets completed

B+= 7 worksheets completed

A-= 8 worksheets completed

A= 10 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 (60%)

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.  I will be very happy to talk to you if you select this option so that you can get more individualized guidance.

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.  That installment will also contribute 30% 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 25+ pages long.

include approximately 12+ individual entries

include seminar notes on the three core course 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.

Time Commitment

Although the time it takes individual students to complete course responsibilities varies individually, I have set up the course with the expectation that you devote at least an average of 5 hours a week of out-of-class study to HIS 121.  In general, one should set aside two hours of out-of-class time for each hour of university course class contact time.  In the case of HIS 121, I expect you to complete not only the assignments but also the regular much smaller reading, viewing, and listening mini-assignments that are coordinated with the class schedule so that you are engaged with the course and can contribute to class discussion.

Late Policy

Due dates are clearly indicated for each assignment.  I expect you to plan ahead and to meet those due dates.  I do, however, appreciate that at certain times of the semester you can become overwhelmed with responsibilities.  As a result, I am providing a two-week grace period for any assignment without academic penalty.  Late assignments do inconvenience me and there may be a lengthy delay before I have a chance to grade these.  I will not accept assignments beyond the two-week window and an F will be awarded for that particular assignment.

Writing Support And Peer Tutoring

Writing Support is available to all students at no additional cost.  Go to Writing Support for any or all of your assignments.  Every visit is a step toward becoming a better writer.  Use Writing Support as many times as you like, and at any point in your writing process.  The writing support faculty can help you understand the assignment, develop your ideas, outlines, thesis, and revision -- and anything else in-between.  Book your appointment through the library website, or visit the library desk to inquire about drop-ins.  There's also WriteAway, an online tutoring platform that allows you to upload your papers and assignments for detailed written feedback.  Both services may be found at https://libguides.nic.bc.ca/WritingSupport .

Peer Tutoring is available at no additional cost for a wide range of courses offered at NIC.  Students are hired and trained to tutor in a wide variety of content areas, in addition to supporting other students with basic study skills.  These students have been successful in the courses they have taken and can help support other students become successful in their own courses.  To see the list of tutors currently available, request a tutor in a course, or apply to become a tutor, please visit the library website: https://libcal.nic.bc.ca/appointments/ .

A Note On Plagiarism

Everything that you hand in should be your original work unless otherwise indicated.  You need to respond to the course books and other curricular materials with your own thoughts and interpretations.  The Bubble Gum Cards are part of a research exercise, but one that calls upon you to condense information and offer your own distinct portraits of the individuals in question.  Any cutting-and-pasting for this assignment qualifies as plagiarism.  So too does putting passages into a programme that replaces the original text with synonyms.  Violations of this policy may result in being reported to the Academic Integrity Committee, and in failing the assignment and/or the course in its entirety.  Please talk to me if you have any uncertainty  about what is permitted here.  I want to help you to get as much out of this course as possible but, for this to happen, you need to put forth strong and honest effort.

Related Policy

Community Code of Academic, Personal and Professional Conduct (3-06)

Sexual Violence and Misconduct Policy (3-34)

Evaluation of Student Performance Policy (3-33)

Student Complaint Resolution Policy (3-31)

Student Appeals Policy (3-30)

Instructional Accommodation and Access Services for Students with Disabilities (3-17)

Course Outline Policy (3-35)

Academic Standing and Progression (3-37)

Grading System (4-41)

Welcome To The Course


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