Schedule of Readings, Assignments, andTopics                Papers


Required Texts                                                                 Course Requirements                                                                                                                      General Policies


History 1123 Spring 2014

Modern World History, 1400-Present


Section 20981: Conwill Hall 106; TTh 9:30-10:45A

Instructor: Doug Catterall
Office: 634 South Shepler Tower

Office Hours: T-Th 11A-12P, 2-3P; W 9A-12P, 1-3P; F 8:30-9:30A.

work telephone: 581-2949

Goals and Approach:
Welcome to Modern World History.  This course will give you broad background in world historical events that unfolded from the 15th century to the end of the 20th century.  Ideally you will become familiar with the big picture while also having the opportunity to examine particular events, people, and processes of change as part of a lived history. With such a large task, we will focus on the following themes.



  1. The balance between global integration on the one hand and local and regional autonomy on the other through world exploration, trade, migration, colonization, colonialism, and interdependency vs. dependence.


  1. At the level of groups and the individual as well as that of societies we will also pay attention to identity, one of the primary motivations for much of human action.


  1. Finally, we will take on the bread and butter concerns of how people earned their daily livings.



Through these three categories we will trace how humanity went from living in a world in which multiple power blocs dominated different regions; to one in which chiefly western societies were calling the shots; to the current situation, in which western societies are still influential but other voices are clearly heard. The main focus of our attentions this term will be Africa, Eurasia, and the Atlantic World (a term for Africa, the Americas and Europe operating as a linked unit).


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 reading; writing and effective oral communication; and interpretation).


Finally, the course services this crucial General Education goal in the university curriculum:


The student will demonstrate knowledge of similarities and differences among cultures.

Course Materials:


Textbook & Reader:

Robert W. Strayer, Ways of the World: A Brief Global History, 2nd edition, vol. 2, Since 1500 (Boston: Bedford/St. Martins, 2012) [Required; ISBN: 978-0-312-48705-8]
World History in Documents: A Comparative Reader, 2nd ed., edited by Peter Stearns (New York: NYU Press, 2008) [Required; ISBN: 978-0-8147-4048-4]


Primary Sources and Other Materials:

 Mariama , So Long a Letter (Long Grove, IL: Waveland Press, Inc., 2012) [Required; ISBN: 978-1-57766-806-0]

Online secondary and primary sources linked to the online syllabus that will be necessary for the reaction papers or other class activities [Required]


All of the above readings will be required for the course and (with the exception of the supplemental readings) are available at the CU bookstore or online.


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Course work consists of four categories of graded elements: participation, 4  preparatory papers, 1 in-class source paper, 3 quizzes, and 1 comprehensive, essay-based final examination.


Participation (100 points):


a. Discussion Days (100 points): Participation in discussion is required.  I will gauge your discussion grade by your performance on particular days indicated with a *** in the schedule of assignments and readings.  On these days you can earn up to 10 points.


b. Base Points: Each of you starts with 20 points' worth of participation credit.  This is equivalent to missing two discussion days.  Thus, if you have out-of-class activities, these points will allow you to miss a few days of discussion without hurting your participation mark.


c. Credit for Participation: A perfect score in participation is 100 points, meaning that an A requires 90 points, a B 80 points, a C 70 points, a D 60 points, with anything below that an F.


Papers (200 points): You will have to write 4 preparatory papers and 1 in-class source paper in this course, each of which will be based on a primary source or document, with the preparatory papers training you to write the in-class source paper that you will all have to write at the end of the term.


a. Preparatory Papers (50 points): There will be 4 preparatory papers of 300 words in length that prepare you for the in-class source paper you will write later this term.  Each paper will emphasize the skills you need for the in-class source paper.  Each paper is worth 25 points and the lowest 2 scores will be dropped.  Word limits for these exercises will be strictly imposed and penalties applied for exceeding or not meeting these limits.  In addition, all preparatory papers are to be typed in Times New Roman font at 12-pt. pitch and all papers are to be completely in your own words unless otherwise specifically indicated.


b. In-Class Source Paper (150 Points): On April 24th you will write an in-class source paper using selections that I assign from the novel So Long a Letter.  This essay will prepare you for a similar essay that will appear on the final examination.  There WILL BE NO MAKE-UPS for this essay and I will accept nothing short of a dire medical emergency with valid documentation as a reason for scheduling it later than the date set in the syllabus.  You may, however, take the essay early if you wish, but make sure that you see me about this to make the proper arrangements:

In-Class Source Paper: (follow the instructions for paper 4g): So Long A Letter.


Quizzes and Final Examination (300 points):


a. Quizzes (120 points):  There will be 3 online quizzes that you will take via the course's Blackboard module that are closed notes, closed book, and during which you may not consult any other websites, each of which is worth 60 points. The quizzes, which will entail analytical thinking and writing, will prepare you for the final examination.  I will drop the lowest of your three quiz scores.  For further details on these quizzes see the Assignments section of the course Blackboard module where you will find review sheets for the quizzes as well as information on the quiz format and tips on how to prepare for the quizzes.

b. Final Examination (180 points):
There will be a comprehensive final examination consisting of short-answer and essay components.  Details on the final examination will be made available in the Assignments section of the course Blackboard module in a timely fashion.


Grading Standards: General guidelines for all written work (including the source papers listed above) are as follows:

1) Papers are to be written in clear and understandable English.

2) Papers must address the question set or the analytical tasks assigned.

3) When appropriate, papers should have a main point that is clearly expressed.

A papers will meet all of these criteria in a manner that shows mastery of the material covered.
B papers will meet all of these criteria in a manner that shows mastery of the material covered across two of the above grading criteria.
C papers will meet all of these criteria and may show mastery of the material covered in one of the above grading criteria.
D papers will fail to meet at least one of the above criteria in a fundamental way.
F papers will fail to  meet two or more of the above criteria.

 Guidelines specific to a given writing assignment or examination will be available in the on-line descriptions/review sheets of the assignments and examinations on a timely basis.


Grading Breakdown:

Course Component

Component Point Value







Final Examination


Total of All Categories


Calculation of your mark: In this course 600 points is a perfect score.  Thus an A requires a minimum of 540 points, a B at least 480 points, a C at least 420 points, a D at least 360 points.  Anyone earning less than 360 points fails the course and earns a mark of F.  PLEASE NOTE: I WILL NOT DISCUSS MARKS WITH STUDENTS ONCE REGULAR CLASSES HAVE ENDED UNTIL GRADES HAVE BEEN SUBMITTED.

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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: Regular attendance is crucial to your success in this class.  If you miss class regularly, your grade will suffer.  You will not be as familiar with the course material and, if you miss class on discussion days, you will lose participation points.
All assignments, whether involving 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 discussions 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.   You will be automatically enrolled in the course Blackboard module, and all e-mail messages from me will then go to your CU e-mail account.

For those not aware of the basics of accessing student e-mail please read the following: "Students may easily access their CU email through AggieAccess by clicking on the email icon in the upper right corner after login. Please refer to for information about email addresses, usernames and passwords."
Late Preparatory Papers: The following policy applies to all late preparatory papers. All preparatory papers submitted to me at any time on the day that the paper is due will be considered on time. Preparatory papers submitted after that date, no matter what the reason may be, will not be accepted.  Since the papers with the lowest two scores are dropped, however, missing a paper will not, in and of itself, harm your grade.

Missed Quizzes and Examinations:  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 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.

Administrative Withdrawal: This instructor abides by the Cameron University Administrative Withdrawal Policy, which states that "if, during the course of the semester, a student's class average falls below a passing grade due to inadequate attendance" OR "if a student has not attended class for a sufficient period such that thirty percent of the evaluative material for the course has been missed and the drop/add period has expired," the instructor may request that you be administratively withdrawn from the course.

Early Alert: As encouraged by Cameron University, this instructor will use the Early Alert notification system.  Early Alert is a system for identifying students who are having difficulties in a given course.  The goal of the Early Alert system is not to penalize students, but rather to address problems—incomplete work, attendance, test scores, etc.—they may be experiencing. By addressing these issues early on in the semester, the hope is that students will be able to take the necessary steps to improve their standing.  Early Alert notifications will be sent to students as both an e-mail and as a physical letter.

Academic Dishonesty: The following statement encapsulates university policy on academic misconduct: "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."  Additional information is provided in the Cameron University Code of Student Conduct 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 and can and should be consulted 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 policy for academic dishonesty in the CU Code of Student Conduct.  Penalties for plagiarism as defined by the Student Code of Conduct include:

a. The student may be required to perform additional academic work/project not required
of other students in the course;
b. The student may be required to withdraw from the course with a grade of “W” or “F”;
c. 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:
As per the Office of Student Development,
"It is the policy of Cameron University to accommodate students with disabilities, pursuant to federal and state law.  Students with disabilities who need classroom accommodations must make their requests by contacting the Office of Student Development at (580) 581-2209, North Shepler Room 314."

Website for this office:

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Schedule of Readings, Lecture Topics, and Assignments


List of Topics

Readings, Assignments, and Activities





Zheng He and Chinese Expansion

Read: Ways of the World, 383-393; World History in Documents, 154-159.


Chinese Society c. 1450-1650: Scholars, Merchants, Eunuchs, and Peasants

Read: Online Reading Concerning the Chinese Educational System:


Approaches to Empire: China, the Mughals, the Ottomans, the Russians, the Safavids.

Read: Ways of the World, 400-404, 443-456; World History in Documents, 202-210.


Mughal Society: The State and the People

Read: The Mughal Empire (Beginning of Article through "Reign of Aurangzeb and decline of empire.") at:

Turn In: Preparatory Paper 1


Hindus, Marathas, and Sikhs in a Muslim State

Read: the Maratha Empire (Beginning up to "Shambaji c. 1681-1689")
Sikhism (the section of the article entitled "History") at: - History


Europe and the Beginnings of the Atlantic World, 1350-1500

Read: Ways of the World, 393-400.


The Inca and the Aztecs, 1300-1500

Read: Ways of the World, 404-415.


The Spanish Americas

Read: World History in Documents, 163-176; the New Laws of the Indies (Spanish):

Examine: A Tlaxcalan Account of Interactions Between the Expedition of Cortés and the Peoples of the Mexico Valley:





Empire in the Americas After 1500

Read: Ways of the World, 425-443.
Quiz #1 Window Opens at 12:00 a.m.

Turn In: Preparatory Paper 2


A Comparative Look at Trade, 1450-1750

Read: Ways of the World, 459-488; World History in Documents, 211-217.


The Slave Trade as a Global Enterprise

Read: World History in Documents, 177-189; Thomas Bluett, Some Memoirs of the Life of Job, the Son of Solomon at:**, Section 2, pp. 19-24.
Quiz #1 Window Closes at 12:00 a.m.


Religious and Scientific Change in Eurasia, 1500-1800

Read: Ways of the World, 491-524.


Religious and Scientific Change in Eurasia, 1500-1800

Read: World History in Documents, 190-201.


Atlantic Revolutions: Revolution or Reform?

Read: Ways of the World, 535-565; World History in Documents, 222-231, 252-264.


Atlantic Revolutions: Revolution or Reform?

Turn In: Preparatory Paper 3


Industrial Change

Read: Ways of the World, 567-600; World History in Documents, 278-290.
Quiz #2 Window Opens at 12:00 a.m.


Different Paths Forward?: China, Indonesia, Japan, and the Ottoman empire

Read: Ways of the World, 639-664; World History in Documents, 242-251, 273-277.


Spring Break--No Class



Spring Break--No Class



Strategies of Colonialism in Asia and Africa

Read: Ways of the World, 603-635.
Quiz #2 Window Closes at 11:59 p.m.


Strategies of Colonialism in Asia and Africa

Turn In: Preparatory Paper 4


World War I and II and their Consequences for the Non-Western World

Read: Ways of the World, 675-710.


World War I and II and their Consequences for the Non-Western World

Read: Ways of the World, 675-710.


Ultra-Nationalism and Its Consequences

Read: World History in Documents, 232-241, 318-331.
Review: Ways of the World, 555-559.



Read:  Ways of the World, 749-780; So Long a Letter, 1-20.



Read:  So Long a Letter, 21-45.

Quiz #3 Window Opens at 12:00 a.m.



Read: So Long a Letter,  46-70.


The Cold War in Europe and the Non-Western World

Read:  Ways of the World, 713-735; World History in Documents, 303-317; So Long a Letter, 71-96.

Quiz #3 Window Closes at 12:00 a.m.



Read: Ways of the World, 783-817; World History in Documents, 347-383.

Write: In-Class Source Paper



Read: World History in Documents, 384-416.





Final Examination

May 8th: 8-10A


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Please note, the syllabus is subject to change if I judge that this is necessary.

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