Homecoming Convocation and Schedule Change, Homework

As you can see from the course schedule page, I have adjusted next week to allow students to participate in the Homecoming Convocation, Wednesday noon. To keep things even, I am also cancelling the 2pm section, and encouraging those students to attend the Convocation, if their noon classes allow.

I have had to shift the schedule a bit to accomodate: most importantly, rather than do a lecture on the Roman Religion questions, I’m going to rely more heavily on the Frontline From Jesus To Christ series that I had assigned. You will now be required to not only watch it, but to write a short (1 page) summary and reaction paper for each of the 3 assigned hours (parts 1, 2 and 3), due by email no later than Friday the 14th.

Test Prep #1


  • The study terms for the test can be found here
  • A selection of the question submitted as part of the review can be found through Angel.
  • I will provide all necessary test papers.
  • The test will consist of 50 multiple choice questions, and the essay question provided in the study guide.
  • The tests will be proctored by Graduate Assistants from History.

Syllabus Addenda, Study Terms, etc.

There have been a few minor changes to the syllabus since I printed and copied it last week: If you’re relying on the printed copy, note the following changes

  • A slight shift in the end of semester schedule, because of a day I will be absent for travel: this affects very little except for the number of catch-up days I have available. If I run out, I will provide a video lecture for any further missed lecture days.
  • Addition of the following language to the Technology section: “The use of recording equipment, audio, photographic or video, or speech-to-text transcription software is not permitted. Alternative arrangements may be made for students with documented disabilities. Students violating this restriction will be asked to leave and may face grade penalties and disciplinary action.”

Note: I need at least one volunteer who will be taking good notes on my lectures to share them with me for a student who needs notetaking assistance. Preferably someone who types their notes and can provide the text quickly. Contact me after class or by email as soon as possible. This is not a paid position, but we do need someone responsible, reliable.

And for those of you who want to get a jump on studying for the first test (which is September 28th, over a month away, but it’s a lot of history!), here is the list of study terms:

Chapter 1

Neolithic Revolution

Chapter 2

Epic of Gilgamesh
Hammurabi’s Code
Instructions of Ptah-Hotep

Chapter 3

Harappa & Mohenjo Daro
Mandate of Heaven

Chapter 4

The Great Learning
Han dynasty
Qin dynasty

Chapter 5

Alexander the Great
Peloponnesian War
Royal Road
Thucydides, Funeral Oration of Pericles
Thucydides, Melian Dialogue

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.

Test 4 Grades

On the test, as usual, I gave plus and minus grades (A+, A, A-, B+, B, B-, etc) which translate into a 100 point scale in my gradebook (100, 96, 92, 88, 85, 82, etc., down to 58, 55, 50 for F-level). The high score in the class was 56 out of a possible 58, not counting extra credit: I used 55 as the top, for simplicity, and a slightly extended scale for grades. The median score was B-, meaning that about as many people got above a B- or above as a B- or below; the average score was right between B- and C+. The extra credit was worth up to 5 points: Being Africa, fewer people attempted the extra credit, and the scores were, on the whole, not as helpful. Next time, I guess. Here’s how the grade scale worked out:

Grade minimum points distribution
A+ 55
A 51 20%
A- 47.5
B+ 45
B 42.5 30%
B- 40
C+ 37.5
C 35 20%
C- 32.5
D+ 30
D 27.5 25%
D- 25
F Below 25 5%

Not only did the average and median scores go up on this test, but most of you either equalled or exceeded your average score, which means that your overall grade either held steady or went up, in all but a few cases. Good work!

Unrelated Note: I’m already running a little behind on lectures for this section. I’ll be trying to catch up, but just in case, I’ve pushed the last document assignment due date back to Friday the 29th. This ensures that we’ve covered the relevant history before you have to turn it in.

Doc Assignment 4 Grades

On the Meiji Constitution assignment, I gave grades and plus grades (A+, A, B+, B, etc.) Here’s how the grade scale worked out, approximately:

Grade Level distribution
A 10%
B 15%
C 30%
D 20%
F 25%
Did not Attempt 50%

I know that adds up to 150%. The DNA ratio is for the whole class. The grade distributions include only students who turned in the assignment. DNA is a grade of zero.

Test 3 and Doc Assignment 3 Grades

On the Declaration of Rights of Man and Citizen assignment, I gave grades and plus grades (A+, A, B+, B, etc.) Here’s how the grade scale worked out, approximately:

Grade Level distribution
A 5%
B 20%
C 50%
D 20%
F 5%

On the test, I gave plus and minus grades (A+, A, A-, B+, B, B-, etc) which translate into a 100 point scale in my gradebook (100, 96, 92, 88, 85, 82, etc., down to 58, 55, 50 for F-level). The high score in the class was 49 out of a possible 49, not counting extra credit, and I used a slightly extended scale for grades (if you’re not sure whether that helped you, just double your raw score to get your percentage score before the adjustment). The median score was C/C+, meaning that about as many people got above a C+ or above as a C or below; the average score was a solid C as well. The extra credit was worth up to 5 points: about a quarter of the people who attempted extra credit got no benefit; over half went up one grade level (B to B+, etc.), about a sixth went up two grade levels (B- to B+, etc.). Here’s how the grade scale worked out:

Grade minimum points distribution
A+ 49
A 45 15%
A- 43
B+ 41
B 39 25%
B- 37
C+ 35
C 33 25%
C- 31
D+ 29
D 27 25%
D- 25
F+ 23
F Below 23 10%

On a related note, I realized that my grading scale for the previous tests was based more on my experience with essay and short-answer tests than multiple choice tests. I’ve adjusted the grades on previous tests to compensate: B-level grades added a point; C-level grades 2 points; D-level grades 3 points; F-level grades 4 points. So your average may be a little higher than you think.

Some thoughts on the Declaration of Rights of Man and Citizen

In no particular order

  • Context/Author: most people mentioned either the Declaration of Independence (and sometimes the English Bill of Rights) or the Enlightenment (Locke, Rousseau, Montesquieu), but almost nobody mentioned both. Similarly, many of you mentioned Lafayette’s American sojourn but ignored the fact that he was an educated Frenchman to begin with, well-versed in philosophe writings.
  • Responses: The United States did, generally, welcome the Declaration, but it also reacted very badly to the radical turn of the Revolution, eventually passing the Alien and Sedition acts to criminalize revolutionary positions and restrict French immigration. The Haiti slave revolts were very worrying to the plantation states as well. But buying the Louisiana Territory when Napoleon needed cash to try to put down the Haitian revolt was a good deal.
  • Historical Use: Similarly, very few people noted that the Declaration was only operative for a few years, though the principles it establishes do influence later French governments. The effect of the Declaration was both minimal in the short term and extraordinary in the long term. History’s a funny thing, sometimes.
  • I’m still writing “weak paraphrase” on too many papers. Summarizing or condensing primary sources is a challenge sometimes: the temptation to quote extensively is strong. If you’re not using exact quotes with quotation marks, though, what you write needs to be your words, not a slightly modified version of the words you read.

Don’t forget: the document assignment for Japan’s Meiji Constitution is due Monday the 28th.

Hope you’re having a fun and productive break!