History 1113 - Fall 2003

Early World History, Prehistory to 1400

Room: Sciences Complex 102
Sections 2500 & 2505: TTh, 9:30-10:45 a.m. & 11:00 a.m.-12:15 p.m.

Instructor: Doug Catterall
Office: 634 South Shepler Tower
Office Hours: MWF, 10-11 a.m. & 3:30-5p.m.; TTh, 1-2:15 p.m. and by appointment
work telephone: 581-2949
e-mail: dougc@cameron.edu

Goals and Approach:

As its title suggests, the purpose of this course is to give you a broad background in world historical events that unfolded from the emergence of human beings as a species to the late 14th century, the era in which human societies began to link the globe together using the world's oceans. I intend the course to familiarize you with the big picture while at the same time giving you the opportunity to look at some societies in depth.

Obviously with a task so large at hand and only one semester to work with, we will need some organizing principles and main themes to guide us. The most central concept in this course is that of culture. Rather than nations or peoples (though we will use these terms as well), this course emphasizes thinking about societies in terms of what people at all levels of all societies have done and do every day to get on. Thus while we must not and cannot ignore events, we will look at events in the context of a culture's development, rather than simply studying the events for their own sake. To understand past cultures in this course we will do two things: 1) look at how they developed practices and institutions to sustain themselves (traditions) and 2) examine their response to problems and their relationships with other cultures and peoples (i.e. their place in the world). Though we will quite literally cover the world in this term, we will give most of our attention to the places where most of the world's peoples were interacting: Eurasia and Africa.

In addition to learning about past societies and how they worked, the purpose of this course is also to teach you some skills that historians (and many who are not historians such as lawyers, doctors, and computer scientists) use all the time: critical thinking and critical reading; writing and effective oral communication; and interpretation.


Kevin Reilly, ed., Worlds of History: A Comparative Reader, Volume I: to 1550 (New York & Boston: Bedford/St. Martin's, 2000)

Primary Sources and Other Materials:

Ross E. Dunn, The Adventures of Ibn Battuta: A Muslim Traveler of the 14th Century Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 1989)
Plutarch, Plutarch on Sparta, translated with introduction and notes by Richard J. Talbert (London: Penguin Books, 1988)
Susan Whitfield, Life along the Silk Road (Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 1999)

Web Sources: Finally I will link sources and also helpful web sites to the online syllabus.  Sometimes I will ask you to analyze these. At other times the web site in question is merely provided to give you additional useful information but is not required reading.  The list of assignments below will clarify which sites must be read.  Please note, that where a ** appears next to a web-site address (URL) the site in question may not be in the public domain and you may be in violation of copyright if you download and print off pages from the site.

All of the above readings will be required for the course and (with the exception of the online materials) are available at the CU bookstore (though I do not require that you buy them there) and all are essential to the course so do purchase them.  With a few exceptions all web-based source materials will be available at the following web-site: www.fordham.edu/halsall, an internet site that provides a variety of internet source-books. Feel free to explore the site if you wish.

Course work consists of three major elements: participation in classroom and online discussions as well as class activities, formal writings, and quizzes and examinations.

a. Participation: Participation in class discussions and activities as well as in the online discussion board is a requirement for this course and will be worth 20% of your final mark.  If you miss a day in class or occasionally forget to contribute to the discussion board some extra credit opportunities in the form of informal writings will be available, but they are made available soley at the instructor's discretion (see below for more details).

1. Class Attendance, Discussion, and In-Class Activities: Participation begins with attending and participating in class discussions and in-class activities.  This is the primary way you will be able to earn participation points and participation is worth 20% of the total course mark, so attend and participate in class regularly or your grade will suffer accordingly.   Each day's in-class participation is worth up to 10 participation points.

2. Online Discussion: Beginning in week two, and each week for the rest of the semester, you
     will have the opportunity to participate in online discussion.  You will earn 10 points of participation credit for each week
     in which you make at least three contributions to the discussion board spread across two discussion threads.  You can
     earn up to 80 participation points for the semester in this way.  I will start things off with two discussion threads in week
     two.  In order to count, contributions need to be posted within a calendar week, i.e. by Saturday.  Remember, you need
     to participate in multiple threads to gain credit.  Also, don't repeat anything that's already been said and plan your
     comments carefully and be thorough.  Finally, use proper etiquette.  Don't write anything you wouldn't state aloud in

          Accessing the discussion board:

          To access the discussion board for the class you need to login to Blackboard.  The address for this at CU is:
          http://blackboard.cameron.edu .  Once you reach the CU Blackboard page you need to login using the
          following instructions rubric:

          username: fl###### (first letter of first name, first letter of last name, student ID number).

          password: fl#####(first letter of first name, first letter of last name, last 5 numbers of your Social Security Number) 

           For Example:

          Assuming that your name, student id# and SSN# are as follows:
          John S. Compute, Student ID#: 123456, SSN#: 987-65-4321      

          Your user ID would be: jc123456 
          Your password would be:  jc54321

           If you still have difficulty try the CU Blackboard for further instructions site by clicking on this hypertext sentence.

          Once you have logged in, simply look for the course identification number, which is Hist1113_2500 or
          Hist1113_2505 (depending on the section in which you have registered) under MY COURSES and click on the
          hypertext there.  Once you’re into the course itself, click the Communication button and then the Discussion
          Board button, which will take you to the following hypertext for both sections: Early World Coffee Klatsch.
          Click on that hypertext and you will be in the discussion board.  Then you can either choose to reply to an
          ongoing thread or reply to an existing one, using the Add New Thread or Reply options.

3. Informal Writings: Occasionally I may assign short writing exercises to help focus our discussions.  These are extra-credit opportunities that you can take advantage of to make up for other participation opportunities that you may have missed.  They are offered solely at the instructor's discretion and are offered only to the class as a whole, thus not on an individual basis. 

4. Credit for Participation:
Informal writing(s), class discussion etc. will be worth 20% of the final grade. I will count each week of discussion-board participation as 10 points, and for each day you show up in class and each extra  informal writing you can also receive up to 10 points. To have a fair shot at an A in participation you must have a minimum of 30 measurements or a potential to receive 300 points (a perfect score in participation). If you have less than 30 measurements, then your participation grade will naturally suffer.  Keep in mind though, that at least 360 participation points are available in the course, so you have a cushion and can choose to some extent how you wish to participate.

b. Formal Writings:
You will have to write four two-page reaction papers or formal writings in this course, each worth 10% of the total grade or, as a group, 40% of the total grade.  They focused on the following works: A collection of Mesopotamian Laws, Plutarch on Sparta, Life along the Silk Road, and The Adventures of Ibn Battuta. General guidelines for the papers are available by clicking the hypertext in this sentence. Specific guidelines for each of the three papers will be made available online in a timely fashion.  You will be able to access them when they are available by clicking the hypertext highlighted titles you see immediately above.

c. Quizzes and Final Examination:
There will be four quizzes worth 20% of the final grade in total and a final examination worth 20% of the total grade. The quizzes, which will entail analytical writing, will increase in complexity as the term progresses (quiz 1: 5%, quiz 2: 5%, quiz 3: 5% & quiz 4: 5%) and will prepare you for the final examination. I will drop the lowest score of your four quizzes, so only three of the quizzes actually "count" in the final balance.

Grading Standards: General guidelines for my Grading standards for all written work (including the formal writings listed above) are available by clicking the hypertext in this sentence. Guidelines specific to a given writing assignment or examination are available in the on-line descriptions/review sheets of the assignments and examinations.

d. Grading Breakdown:

Component:                                Percentage:        

Participation                                            20
4 Formal Writings                                   40
4 Quizzes                                                 20    
Final Examination                                   20       
Total                                                        100

General Policies:

Classroom Environment: Talking to your classmates or others outside the context of classroom activities is rude and will not be tolerated.  Reading outside materials, listening to music, taking telephone calls on your cell-phone, and similar non-class related activities are equally unacceptable.  I expect all students to be respectful of one another's right to speak and express opinions.  Disagreements and different viewpoints are welcome, but debates should not involve insults.  Finally, food and drink are permitted in class as long as courtesy is observed; e.g. if you haven't quite finished your cup of coffee, do bring it along to class, but turning the classroom into a cafeteria is not permissible.  

Attendance: As noted above, regular attendance is crucial to your success in this class.  If you miss class regularly, your grade will suffer.  I would also like to note that frequent lateness in coming to class and frequent early departures will also be penalized as these habits are rude to your fellow classmates and to me as the instructor.  I will take attendance daily in this class and an absence is an absence and will be counted as such.  

Preparation: All assignments, whether reading or writing, for a given day are to be completed before the class meets on that day.  I also recommend that you take notes as you read and during lectures and dicussions as this will make studying for the quizzes and writing the papers for the class less of a challenge.

Late Formal Writings: The following policy applies to all late papers or formal writings for this course that will receive a letter grade. All papers submitted at any time on the day that the paper is due will be considered on time. Papers submitted after that date, no matter what the reason may be, will be automatically marked down one grade. You will then have seven days from the original due date to turn in the paper. If in that time you are unable to complete the work, the paper will receive a zero.

Late Informal Writings: As they are extra credit, no late informal writings will be accepted, so don't ask. Remember, though, that your participation grade is a composite of your performance in class, discussion-board participation, and your performance on informal writings. As long as you manage to achieve a total of 30 measurements, it will not matter to me how you do so. Although I will obviously keep track of what you do by way of participation I would advise you to remain aware of where you stand for yourself so that you know whether or not you are achieving the necessary minimum level of participation.

Missed Quizzes and Examinations: As noted above, there are a number of quizzes for this course. There will be no make-ups for quizzes. I will, however, drop your lowest quiz score, so if you happen to miss a quiz, I will only count the scores on the other four quizzes that you do take.  Make-ups for the final examination are granted to the student at the instructor's discretion and only with a legitimate (e.g. a medical emergency) and documented reason.

Plagiarism: Plagiarism is the representation of the work of another as your own. In all of the writing you do for this course you must make clear to me which ideas in a paper are your own and which come from someone else. This is especially important for any formal essays you write. In such essays you must cite all primary and secondary sources you use in accordance with the proper conventions. I will hand out a sheet explaining the basics of citation before any formal essays come due.  If for some reason you do not receive a copy of this hand-out, know that you will not be exempt from following its guidelines.  In cases of plagiarism, the Department of History and Government at CU follows the plagiarism policy in the current "Student Handbook," as described in sections 4.07 and 4.08 of the CU Code of Student Conduct.  Penalties for plagiarism as defined by the Student Code of Conduct include:

1) The student may be required to perform additional academic work/project not required of other students in the course;

2) The student may be required to withdraw from the course with a grade of "W" or "F"; or

3) The student's grade in the course or on the examination or other academic work affected by the dishonesty may be reduced to any extent, including a reduction to failure. 

Please heed this warning as I am quite serious about it.

Disability Statement: If you have a documented disability or suspect that you have a learning problem and need reasonable accommodations, please notify me as soon as possible so that appropriate arrangements can be made.

Schedule of Readings, Lecture Topics, Assignments, and Activities

From Prehistory to History: the Emergence of Human Societies

Week 1

(8.19) Introduction and Get Acquainted
(8.21) Prehistory I: The First Humans and the First Human Societies
Read: Worlds of History, 1-22.

Further Paleolithic Reference Materials for the Interested (optional):

Week 2
(8.26) Prehistory II: Difference in Neolithic Societies and the Role of Geography in the Origins of the First Human Societies
Read: Worlds of History, 23-46.
Activity: Island-Hopping Through the Millenia (Excellent Prep for Quiz #1)
Interchange in the Ancient World, 5000 B.C.E.-500 B.C.E.
B.C.E. = Before Common Era

Mesopotamia (~=Present-Day Iraq) and Ancient Egypt

(8.28)  The Origins of Egyptian and Mesopotamian Societies
Read: Worlds of History, 47-58.

Week 3

(9.2)  Crime and Punishment: Law and Society in Ancient Babylonia and New Kingdom Egypt
Read: Worlds of History, 68-71
and excerpts from the Precepts of Ptah-Hotep: http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/ancient/ptahhotep.html
For additional information on Egypt see (optional):

(9.4) Societies and Resources: the First Inter-State Conflict in the Middle East
Read: http://www.hillsdale.edu/academics/history/War/Classical/Egypt/1469-Megiddo-Egypt.htm

Examine: http://ancienthistory.about.com/library/bl/blneareast.htm

Take: Quiz #1

Week 4

(9.9) Religion and Death in Ancient Egypt and Mesopotamian Societies
Read: Worlds of History, 58-67, 71-83.
China to c. 250 B.C.E.: Another Solution to the Problems of Order
(9.11) Early History to 221 B.C.E.
Read: Worlds of History, 126-129.
Pronunciation Guide for Chinese Terms, #1**
Pronunciation Guide for Chinese Terms, #2

The Classical Period 500 B.C.E.-500 C.E.

Week 5

(9.16) Philosophies of Order and Conduct in Classical China
Read: Worlds of History, 130-140, 215-223.

Turn In: Formal Writing #1

Sparta: A Slave-Based, Command Society

(9.18)  The Origins of Sparta 1
Read: Plutarch on Sparta, 1-25.

Week 6

(9.23) The Origins of Sparta 2
Read: Plutarch on Sparta, 25-46.

(9.25) Sparta After Lycurgus through 400 B.C.E.
Read: Worlds of History, 106-111.
Take: Quiz #2

Week 7
(9.30) Sparta under Agis IV and Cleomenes III
 Read: Plutarch on Sparta, 47-105.
(10.2)  Sparta compared with Athens
Read: Worlds of History, 103-105, 112-122.
Week 8
(10.7) Caste versus Polis: Belonging in India and Greece and the Revolution Against Caste: The Rise of Buddhism in Classical India
Read: Worlds of History, 84-97, 163-176 and
Greek View of India: http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/ancient/greek-india.html
(10.9) The Rise of Christianity in Imperial Rome
Read: Worlds of History, 184-213 and ONE of the following:
Jesus: http://ccat.sas.upenn.edu/~humm/Topics/JewishJesus/josephus.html**
and Immigrants in Rome: http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/ancient/martial9-3.html
and Stoicism: http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/ancient/persius2.html
Week 9
(10.14) Integration and Disintegration in the Late Classical Era & the Rebirth of China
Read: Worlds of History, 261-274
Turn In: Formal Writing #2
(10.16) Fall Break--NO CLASS 
Week 10
(10.21) The Middlemen of the Silk Road
Read: Life along the Silk Road, 1-54.
Quiz #3
(10.23) Governance in Tang and Song China
Read: Life along the Silk Road, 189-205, Worlds of History, 261-274.
The Rise of the Muslim World, 500-1400 (C.E.)

Week 11
(10.28) The Tibetan State and the Nomadic Empires of the Silk Road
Read: Life along the Silk Road, 55-94, 113-136.

(10.30)  Women in the Societies of the Silk Road
Read: Life along the Silk Road, 95-112, 138-154.
Week 12
(11.4) The Spread of Islam and the Rise of Christian Societies in Western Europe 
Read: Worlds of History, 233-261  and
Muslim Policy for Non-Muslims: http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/source/pact-umar.html
Look At:
either Map of Islam in West Africa: http://baobab.harvard.edu/narratives/islam/WestTrade.html** or
Map of Islam in East Africa: http://baobab.harvard.edu/narratives/islam/EastTrade.html**
Watch: Selections from Documentary on Islam
(11.6) The Crusades: A European Holy War
Read: Worlds of History, 311-346.
Watch: Selections from Documentary on Islam
Turn In: Formal Writing #3, Rewrite of Formal Writing #2 (with the graded first draft)

Week 13
(11.11) Mongols and Europeans Against Islam
Read: Worlds of History, 386-426.
Examine (optional):
Picture of Ghengis Khan: http://academic.brooklyn.cuny.edu/core9/phalsall/images/genghis.jpg**; Picture of Kublai Khan: http://academic.brooklyn.cuny.edu/core9/phalsall/images/kublai2.jpg**;
Picture of Mongol Archer: http://academic.brooklyn.cuny.edu/core9/phalsall/images/mongarch.jpg**

Turn In: Informal Writing #2
(11.13) The World of Ibn Battuta, Western Islam in the 14th Century
Read: The Adventures of Ibn Battuta, 1-26, 41-64 and Worlds of History, 436-438, 453,455, 457-461.
Watch: Selections from Documentary on Islam
Week 14
(11.18) Mecca, Persia, and Iraq in the 14th Century
Read: The Adventures of Ibn Battuta, 65-105.

(11.20) Anatolia (Turkey) and the Sultanate of Dehli (India)
Read: 137-158, 183-212.
Take: Quiz #4
Week 15
(11.25) Malabar and the Maldives and Yuan China
Read: The Adventures of Ibn Battuta, 213-265.
(11.27) Thanksgiving: No Class.
Week 16
(12.2) The Mali Empire
Read: Adventures of Ibn Battuta, 290-309 and
either An Arab View of Africans: http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/source/860jahiz.html
or Account of Ghana: http://www.humanities.ccny.cuny.edu/history/reader/ghana.htm**
Examine (optional): Mansa Musa's Kingdom (map): http://www.bnf.fr/enluminures/images/jpeg/i8_0000m.jpg**
Turn In: Formal Writing #4
(12.4) Review
 Final Exam Week
(12.10) Final Examination: Wednesday, 8:00-10:00 a.m. for section 2505 (the section meeting 11:00 a.m.-12:15 p.m.)
(12.11) Final Examination: Thursday, 8:00-10:00 a.m. for section 2500 (the section meeting 9:30-10:45 a.m.)
Please note, the syllabus is subject to change if I judge that this is necessary
and that the web-syllabus is the syllabus of record.

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