(History 100/ver. 7.1)
Professor T. Mills Kelly
Robinson Hall B377a
or by appointment
In this course we will investigate the events and issues in Western civilization from the
advent of that civilization before the Common Era (C.E.) to the Second World War, and
maybe beyond if we make it that far. Because that leaves us with more than two thousand
years of history to investigate in only 14 weeks, our approach will be highly selective.
Unlike other history courses you may have taken, this course does not survey these
events in a strict linear progression. We will not be memorizing lots of names and dates.
Instead, we will take a thematic approach that focuses on a number of the most important
developments during the two plus millennia we will cover. Our main organizing theme
throughout the semester will be the ways that something that came to be known as
science (previously philosophy, magic, etc.) developed and had an impact on society as a
Right from the start of the semester we will also concentrate our attention on how
historians think, analyze and write about the past—in other words, on what historians do
and how they do it. After that, we will devote two or more weeks to five different topics.
Each of these segments includes a mixture of readings, discussion, and analysis of
primary sources and what historians have written about those sources. As you will see,
we will attack those topics in an interesting and, I hope, enjoyable way.
By the end of the semester you will know a lot more than you do now about the history of
the West and you will be able to apply that knowledge to not only the events of modern
European history, but also to many other areas of scholarly investigation. I am sorry to
say that you will not have an encyclopedic knowledge of the names, dates, battles,
treaties, kings, queens, artists, and philosophers in modern European history. If
memorization of these pieces of information is what you crave, you'll be better off in
another section of this course.
Weekly Pattern of Activity
Each two-week segment of the course will follow the same general pattern. You will
have assigned readings, both from secondary and primary sources, and you are expected
to do these readings
class. In addition to doing the readings before class, you will
also be expected to post a response to the questions for the week in our class weblog
(blog)—more on this below. Our class sessions will be devoted to discussions of the