GMU Western Civilization Syllabus

GMU Western Civilization Syllabus - HIST 100: Western...

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HIST 100: Western Civilization Section 001: MWF 7:30-8:25 and Section 002: MWF 8:30-9:25 Robinson Hall Rm. B111 Prof. Nicholas Wolf E-mail: nwolf2@gmu.edu Office: Science and Technology II, rm. 8 Phone: (703) 993-4527 Introduction: Western Civilization—A Tale of Two Seas Exchanges, encounters, and expansion will provide the basic themes of this course as we explore the formation of western civilization from ancient to modern times. To provide a framework for our historical investigation, the semester will be divided into two units, each dedicated to one of the two major bodies of water at the heart of events: the Mediterranean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean. The first unit, covering roughly 1000 B.C.E. to 1400 C.E. focuses on the height of Mediterranean civilization. Starting with the ancient near eastern peoples of the Levant, this unit will continue by exploring the world of the Greeks and Romans and the rise of new ports and cities in the western Mediterranean. This first unit will culminate in a study of Italy near the end of the medieval period. The second unit (c.a. 1400 C.E. to present) will trace the gradual shift of western history away from the Mediterranean and toward the Atlantic as new locations of power—first Spain and Portugal and later England, France, and the Netherlands—began to project their influence around the world. The rise of the Atlantic system, the impact of the Enlightenment, nineteenth-century imperialism and industrialization, and finally, select major events of the twentieth century will occupy the remainder of this unit. In addition, a portion of the second unit dedicated specifically to the French Revolution, one of the most important events influencing the Atlantic region (as well as world history), will receive extra attention this semester through a one-day symposium of lectures and presentations conducted by history department faculty. Course objectives : Students will leave this course with a better understanding of the major ideas and events that have shaped the world they live in today. These include the phenomenon of colonization, the evolving nature of political power, and changing cultural trends in societies, households, roles of men and women, and notions of citizenship. The interaction between civilizations and the ways in which those historical encounters helped define each respective society will receive particularly close attention. In addition, students will work to improve their overall skills in written communication, research,
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GMU Western Civilization Syllabus - HIST 100: Western...

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