Rise_of_Civ_Syllabus_2007

Rise_of_Civ_Syllabus_2007 - THE RISE OF CIVILIZATION...

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1 T HE R ISE OF C IVILIZATION Prof. Terence D'Altroy Anthropology V1008y Office: 962 Schermerhorn Extension Spring 2007 Tel.: 854-2131; e-mail: [email protected] T-R: 1:10-2:25 PM Office hours: M 4-5, T 3-5 702 Hamilton Hall S YLLABUS In the human past, only a half a dozen regions gave rise to the pristine states that formed the core of the earliest civilizations: Mesopotamia, Egypt, the Indus Valley, northern China, Mesoamerica, and the Andes. Their societies occupy a special place in human history, because they produced the world’s first social classes, economic specialists, state governments, and cities. Their peoples created the earliest formal philosophies, religions, monumental architecture, legal codes, market economies, institutionalized militaries, and writing systems. In some places, people began to define separate spheres of secular and religious activities and public and private life. In short, if we want to understand how human societies were transformed from simple, small-scale groups to diversified empires organized on a grand scale, these are the regions that we explore. This course examines the appearance of those civilizations through archaeological and documentary sources. It has three related goals: (1) tracing the historical formation and collapse of complex societies; (2) examining explanations that attempt to account for their trajectories; and (3) exploring the ways in which those issues can be studied. The class has no prerequisites and it is open to any undergraduate student. Each week the course has two lectures given by the professor and a recitation (lab) section taught by a Graduate Teaching Assistant. The recitation sections will review the lectures and the readings and will clarify points made unnecessarily obscure by the professor. NB: The Rise of Civilization is an A-list course for the Columbia College Major Cultures requirement. For V1008 to count as such, it may be taken only with another A-list course from any of the five civilizations and must be taken first. G RADING The basic course requirements for grading are the following: a mid-term examination (33% of the grade) and a final examination (67%). Both exams will consist of identification and essay questions. Students have the option of writing a 7-10 page paper, using the information presented in class to evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of a major museum exhibit on any of the civilizations discussed in class.
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