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History Notes 151

History Notes 151 - Syllabus Wednesday 10:29 AM History...

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History 151.001 - Summer Session 1, 2011 - Williamson “The History of Western Civilization to 1650” MTWRF 9:45-11:15am Peabody Hall, Room 217 Instructor: Office: 407 Hamilton Hall Tel: 919-843-4309 E-mail: [email protected] (this is the BEST way to contact me) Office Hours: Tuesdays and Thursdays, 12:30pm-2:00pm J. Franklin Williamson 1.) Machiavelli, The Prince (available at UNC Student Stores), 2.) Primary Document Reader (available via Blackboard under “Course Documents;” you will need to download and print out these materials , which will comprise the vast majority of the assigned readings for the class) Required textbooks: In this course we will explore the history of major events, people, ideas, concepts, beliefs and practices that have together defined the history of Western Civilization, from the Ancient Mediterranean World until Early Modern Europe. While the idea of “Western Civilization” itself can be problematic, the influence of Western Europe (more precisely) on the rest of the world’s history, for better or for worse, is crucial for understanding the modern era we live in and many assumptions, beliefs and values that underline it. This class will provide you a richer historical basis from which to consider concepts such as democracy, the basis of political authority, church-and-state relations, and the dynamic interplay between the pursuit of knowledge and maintenance of religious traditions, to name a few. Besides learning lots of “stuff” about history, the class will also help you to practice thinking historically . Thinking historically is, in short, learning to approach a problem or event in the past from a variety of perspectives, with attention to the short-term and long- term contexts and consequences for historical actors’ choices. It means recognizing that history changes over time (but some things can remain the same) and thus, the world at any moment can be explained as a product of both circumstances and humans’ interactions with those circumstances. Thinking historically also means looking for evidence and analyzing that evidence into an interpretation that explains the past events in question. Finally this class will help you improve your ability to think critically and write clearly and effectively . You will have the opportunity to read, evaluate and then discuss a variety of primary sources from different historical eras. Additionally you will hone your critical thinking skills through writing two short (5 PP) papers, in which you will use historical evidence to mount an argument in favor of your interpretation of a discrete historical question. These separate dimensions of the course all reinforce each other and, by building up your skills in one area, you will be able to improve other areas more easily. Ultimately, I hope that, by the end of the course, you will be able to say that you know some facts, that you understand those facts’ relationship to each other, and that you can think of a way to make an argument using those facts and their relationship to each other.
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