Schedule of Readings, Assignments, and Topics                                                        Instructions for Formal Writings

Required Texts                                                    Course Requirements                      General Policies

History 1113 - Fall 2004

Early World History, Prehistory to 1400

Room: Sciences Complex 102
Sections 0500 & 0501: 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: MW, 10-11 a.m., 1-2 p.m., 3:30-4:30 p.m.; TTh, 1-3 p.m.; and by appointment
work telephone: 581-2949


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.

To see the CU General Education Skills this course emphasizes click on the hypetext in this sentence.

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Reader (Required):
Kevin Reilly, ed., Worlds of History: A Comparative Reader, Volume I: to 1550, Second Edition (New York & Boston: Bedford/St. Martin's, 2004)

Primary Sources and Other Materials (Required):

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)

Textbook (Optional): Bulliet et. al, The Earth and Its Peoples: A Global History Volume 1 to 1550 (New York: Houghton-Mifflin, 2004)

Web Sources (Some Required, Some Optional): 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 (apart from the textbook) 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:, an internet site that provides a variety of internet source-books. Feel free to explore the site if you wish.

On-line Reference Books and Helpful Resources:You may find that you have questions that the readings, lectures, and class activities do not answer. As you know, this course does not have a textbook. I chose not to use a textbook mainly to save money people money as textbooks are generally $50 or more per copy when new. Nevertheless, I understand (and am happy to hear) if there are things you want to look up and do not think you ought to have to make a trip to the campus library for a simple reference check. For these I would recommend using the online resources below by clicking on the appropriate hypertext following this sentence:

Columbia Encyclopedia and more!:
Encarta (n.b. this is the free version, so you only have access to some of what Encarta offers):

Please note, you may also access Encylopedia Britannica through the CU Library's Homepage but to do this off-campus you will need an authorization code from the CU Library staff.

CIA Factbook (country maps for geographic placement):**

There is also a web-site that accompanies the optional textbook, and which anyone can use if you find it helpful.  The web contains an extensive glossary, online sound-files demonstrating how to pronounce terms, and many many web sites with extra information on the topics covered in the course.  The web site can be found by clicking on the hypertext following this sentence:

A tutorial on using web-based primary sources as well as some guides to those sources:

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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 substantive 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 class.

          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:
 .  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 under MY COURSES (there is one discussion board for both sections)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.

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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

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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.

E-mail: I communicate a lot via e-mail, but I use Blackboard to do so.  It is your responsibility to register yourself on the class Blackboard web-site once it is up.  If you do not do so all e-mail messages from me will go to your CU e-mail account.  If this acceptable then just make sure you consult that account regularly.  If you prefer to have e-mail from me sent to another account, then go to the class Blackboard web-site.  Click the tools tab on the left-hand side of the course site.  Then select "Personal Information."  Next select "Edit Personal Information" and make the appropriate changes and click "OK" when done.  If you wish to specify whether or not people can see your e-mail return to the "Tools" page and select "Set Privacy Options" and click "OK" when you are finished.  When finished with the changes to your personal information click "OK" on the Personal Information page to complete the changes.

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.
Clarification of Formal Writings Policy: Please note that submitting an assignment means physically submitting it to me as noted at the beginning of the term.  The easiest way to do this is in class, but if you can catch me outside of class then this will be acceptable.  I cannot accept papers submitted to my departmental mailbox, under the door of my office, or pinned to the cork strip outside of my office.  Nor will I accept e-mailed papers as this again does not provide enough surity that a paper has been submitted.  

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.

Academic Dishonesty: As per Section 4.07 of the CU Student Handbook: "Each student is expected to engage in all academic pursuits in a manner that is above reproach. Students are expected to maintain complete honesty and integrity in the academic experiences both in and out of the classroom. Any student found guilty of academic dishonesty… will be subject to disciplinary action."  For examples of academic dishonesty please see the full version of Section 4.07 at:

Among the most serious offenses a student can commit is plagiarism, which 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.  Instructions on the basics of citation may be found under the general guidelines for papers.  before any formal essays come due.  If for some reason you do not choose to examine this page, 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.

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Schedule of Readings, Lecture Topics, Assignments, and Activities

Click on the unit or week for which you wish to access details.

Weeks 1-2: From Prehistory to History: the Emergence of Human Societies

Weeks 2-4: Interchange in the Ancient World, 5000 B.C.E.-500 B.C.E.
B.C.E. = Before Common Era

Weeks 5-10: The Classical Period 500 B.C.E.-500 C.E.

Weeks 11-16: The Rise of the Muslim World, 500-1400 (C.E.)

Weeks 16-17: Review and Final Examination

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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