World History Seminar (820)

World History as Discipline
Hist 820 (Spring 2011)

This is not a survey of World History, that ubiquitous introductory course, but a study of the way in which scholars have broadened the study of history by crossing national and regional boundaries. The focus of the course is on the fields of comparative and transnational history as a whole, so we’ll be looking at examples of regional, topical and global histories which go beyond traditional methods and boundaries. There’s a great deal of creative and productive history being done at this level, and we’ll be looking at some good work as well as discussing the problem of translating complex global histories into narratives that undergraduates and secondary students can understand.

I will primarily be using Angel for course materials and discussions, but this website is my primary vehicle for my undergraduate World History surveys, and the resources and syllabi here may be of use during the course. (In the event of an Angel failure, this website will have the major assignments, course schedule, etc.) I will have a detailed syllabus available soon, but here is the list of books for purchase and study. Feel free to get the books for purchase from any source; the campus bookstore should have copies as well. The books listed in the library are almost all available as e-books through the ACLS digitial humanities library collection, so you will not need to purchase them (though you may, of course) nor will you need to physically go to the library to read them.

For Purchase:

  • Thomas Bender, A Nation among nations: America’s Place in World History, Hill and Wang (2006), 978-0809072354 or 0809072351
  • Sidney Mintz, Sweetness and Power: The Place of Sugar in Modern History, Penguin (Non-Classics) (August 5, 1986), 0140092331
  • Bernard Bailyn, Atlantic History: Concept and Contours, Harvard University Press (March 31, 2005) 0674016882
  • Ross Dunn, ed., The New World History: A teacher’s companion, Bedford/St. Martins 2000, 0312183275
  • Jane Burbank & Frederick Cooper, Empires in World History: Power and the Politics of Difference. Princeton UP, 2010 0691127085


  • Ichioka, Yuji, Before Internment (will be on reserve)
  • Richards, John F. The Unending Frontier: An Environmental History of the Early Modern World. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2003. (Electronic version through Axe)
  • William McNeil, Plagues and Peoples (Electronic Version through Axe)
  • Dunn, Ross E., The adventures of Ibn Battuta, a Muslim traveler of the fourteenth century (E-book through Axe)
  • Iriye, Akira, Global community the role of international organizations in the making of the contemporary world. (Electronic Version through Axe)