History 101: World History to 1500

History is the study of humanity and change over time. In this class we’ll have lots of both: the whole world over about 4000 years (that’s about 2 years per minute of class time), from our pre-writing roots through some of the great civilizations the world has produced. Though this class ends five hundred years ago, many of the ideas will be familiar: Buddhism, Christianity, Confucianism, Hinduism, Islam, Judaism. Some will seem obscure — Zoroastrianism, Legalism, Jain, animism — but nonetheless their legacies endure.

This class will examine this history through many lenses: political, economic, social, cultural, personal. World Civilizations: The Global Experience will provide the basic survey of the history as well as documents and other sources that will give greater depth and texture to subjects we will be discussing. The lectures and discussions will guide the students through the readings and assignments, focusing on multiple perspectives, and an introduction to the challenges and pleasures of Doing History.

The textbook for Hist 101, sections 02 and 03 (MWF 12 and 2) will be

  • Peter Stearns, Michael Adas, Stuart B. Schwartz, Marc Jason Gilbert, World Civilizations: The Global Experience, Volume 1 (6th Edition), 2010, Pearson/Longman, ISBN 978-0205659586

You can purchase (or rent, I believe) the text from the Campus bookstore in the Overman Student Center, or you can get it a number of other ways, including through the publisher’s website, online stores, and as an e-pub (combined edition) through companies like Coursesmart.

There will be other readings, primarily online primary sources many of which can be found through my Resources Page.

I will send the syllabus to all registered students over the weekend, so you can look it over before class on Monday!

Let me know if you have any questions: I’m easiest to reach by email, but you can also leave a comment on this post.