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FALL 2010
Dr. Harish C. Mehta
Email: [email protected]
Office hours: Thursdays 3.45 pm to 4.45 pm
Office Location and Phone No: …
Lectures: Thursdays 6-8 pm, UL 11, Conlin Campus.
Tutorials on Thursdays at the following times:
Group One: 5 to 5.50 pm
Group Two: 8.10 to 9 pm
Group Three: 9.10 to 10 pm
Course Description
This course covers major events and personalities that have shaped the history of the
world. Students will be introduced to current historical literature, and new ways of
understanding the past.
Topics and themes to be examined are the rise and fall of early empires; women
and patriarchy; encounters between different religions and races; the formation of social
class, caste, and identity; domination, slavery, and resistance; and globalization (both
ancient and modern).
Through the readings, students will be able to identify personally with the
common origins of human beings, the interconnectedness and diversity of the world’s
people, and the idea that the globalization that is occurring at present actually had its
origin several centuries ago.
Students will get a “laboratory experience” as they read historical documents. By
doing so, students will actually engage with the sources, thereby drawing their own
conclusions. Students will not just read history, but “do history.”
Required Books
1. Ways of the World, Combined Edition (Volumes 1 & 2)
A Global History with Sources. (2011 edition).
Author: Robert W. Strayer.
Publisher: Bedford/St. Martin’s.
2. The White Castle.
Author: Orhan Pamuk.
Publisher: Vintage (1998).
3. Course Pack. Title: World History to 1800: HIST 1701H.
Written assignments, tutorial participation, and final examination
1,200-word book review of The White Castle.
2,500-word research essay based on historical documents, academic books,
and journal articles.
Note: A 2% per day penalty will apply to late essays and book reviews.
Weekends count as one day.
Tutorial discussions on books, documents, and documentary films.
Final examination consisting of two essays, and short identification questions.
Tutorial participation
Book Review
Due 14 Oct
Research Essay
Due 11 Nov
Final Exam
In mid-December
Tutorial Participation
1. Attendance is required.
2. Each student will be given a “Participation Evaluation Form,” on which
they will evaluate their performance in each tutorial and give themselves a
mark out of 10. Students will write a sentence or two on what they
contributed. At the end of the tutorial, students will return their evaluation
forms to the instructor, who will assign a countermark. Discussions will be
based on documents (that appear at the end of each chapter in the
textbook), and articles in the course pack.
Guide to Writing Assignments
For both writing assignments follow the “Guide to Writing in History” which is available
on the HIST 1701H site on WebCT. For writing and formatting style, use the Chicago
Manual of Style. Visit the website at:
Both assignments must be in12 point type, double-spaced, and submitted in paper copy,
in class on the due dates.
1. Book Review
The book review essay must have a point of view (also known as a “thesis”). Details on
how to write a thesis statement are given on WebCT. The essay must not narrate the story
of the novel, but should critically discuss the novel, as follows:
Place the novel in its proper historical context (i.e. explain when the story
takes place, which empire runs the state in Istanbul, what the social and
political system was like).
Identify major historical themes as they appear in The White Castle. For
example, these could be themes such as race, gender, hegemony and
resistance. You could also come up with other themes. Write on a few of the
more prominent themes.
It is not necessary, but you are welcome to use other scholarly books and
journal articles in order to define and explain the themes you are using, or to
develop your argument. Use footnotes and bibliography to cite any texts you
2. Research Essay
A minimum of six texts (books and/or journal articles) must be used in writing the essay.
(The textbook Ways of the World, and Course Pack material may be used but they do not
count among the six required texts). Select the six required texts from (1) the book list at
the end of each chapter in Ways of the World; (2) list of books posted on WebCT; (3) you
can also search for books and journal articles using the TOPCAT search facility on the
Library website. Make sure that you choose the most appropriate books/journal articles.
Essays that do not use a minimum of six sources will have the grade substantially
reduced. Internet sources should not be used. Only use the Internet to locate and read
scholarly journals.
Remember, the essay must have a thesis. The introduction must answer the research
question briefly, and formulate a clear argument. You need to take a clear stand on the
issue, and explain your position or argument throughout the essay. Make sure that your
views/standpoint/argument are supported by historical evidence (documents, and
scholarly books/journal articles).
The essay should be on one of the following questions:
1. Were the Classical Empires in Persia, Greece, Rome, China, and India in 500
BCE to 500 CE truly great, or were they destructive and oppressive? Does their
greatness outweigh their destructiveness, or vice-versa? Do these Classical
Empires provide any lessons to the world in the 21st Century?
2. In the Classical Era (500 BCE to 500 CE) religions were a double-edged sword
because they both supported and undermined political authority and social elites.
In your answer, provide evidence to show how religions played both roles.
3. Social inequality was both accepted and resisted in Classical Civilizations (500
BCE to 500 CE). In your answer, provide evidence to support both sides of this
4. Cultural and commercial connections that flourished in the form of Silk Roads,
Sea Roads, and Sand Roads (500 CE to 1500 CE) resembled the globalized world
of present times. Do you agree? Provide evidence to support this statement. In
your answer also explain why did the Eastern societies develop long-distance
trade more extensively than Western societies.
5. How did China influence the outside world, and how was China transformed by
its encounters with the wider world from 500 CE to 1300 CE? In your answer
examine how China’s neighbours experienced the power of China, and how they
responded to China.
6. How did Western Christendom interact with the larger world in the Postclassical
Era (500 CE to 1300 CE)? In your answer examine the Crusades, and other forms
of interaction between different cultures.
7. How do you explain the religious, political, and military success of Islam in the
early centuries after its creation? In what ways can Islamic civilization be
described as cosmopolitan, international, or global?
8. In what ways were China and Europe similar and different in the 1500s?
9. Explain the different ways in which Europeans exercised colonial rule in the
Americas. How did the indigenous people experience colonial rule?
10. Why did the European empires in the Americas have such an enormously greater
impact on the conquered people than did the empires of China, the Mughals, and
the Ottomans?
11. Describe and account for the differing outcomes of European expansion in the
Americas, Africa, and Asia.
12. How have historians viewed the Atlantic slave trade? What are the debates and
controversies surrounding the topic of slave trade in the Americas?
13. Do revolutions originate in oppression and injustice, in the weakening of political
authority, in new ideas, OR in the resistance shown by small groups of rebels? In
your answer compare the North American, French, Haitian, and SpanishAmerican revolutions.
14. Examine the power of patriarchy, and the status and role of women in the various
societies you have studied in this course. Why did women have greater social
mobility and freedom, and higher social standing in some societies than in others?
15. Examine the role of social class and caste. How have historians interpreted and
explained the existence of class and caste in different cultures and societies?
Academic Integrity
Academic dishonesty consists of misrepresentation by deception or by other fraudulent
means and can result in serious consequences, e.g. the grade of zero on an assignment,
loss of credit with a notation on the transcript, and/or suspension or expulsion from the
All papers must be entirely your own original work. You may not collaborate with
other students in the outlining, drafting, or writing of the paper. You may not submit
substantially the same paper in two courses for credit. If you borrow the ideas or words of
others without acknowledgment, you are guilty of plagiarism. If you use more than three
words in a row from any source, including the course readings, you must properly
attribute the quote with quotation marks and a complete citation in a footnote. Closely
paraphrasing a source and merely changing a few words is still plagiarism. Translating
from a text in another language is also plagiarism.
For information on the various kinds of academic dishonesty please refer to the
Academic Integrity Policy, specifically Appendix 3, located at
The following illustrates only three forms of academic dishonesty:
1. Plagiarism, e.g. the submission of work that is not one’s own or for which
other credit has been obtained.
2. Improper collaboration in group-work.
3. Copying or using unauthorized aids in tests and examinations.
Access to Instruction
Trent University strives to create an inclusive learning environment. If a student has a
disability and/or health consideration and feels that he/she may need accommodations to
succeed in this course, the student should contact the Disability Services Office (BL Suite
109, 748-1281, [email protected]) as soon as possible. Complete text can be
found under Access to Instruction in the Academic Calendar.
Class and Tutorial Schedule
Ways of the World is referred to as WW, and the Course Pack as CP
Introduction to the course
1. First Peoples: Populating the Planet.
2. First Farmers: The Revolutions of Agriculture.
Background Readings:
1. WW Chapter 1: 11-31.
2. WW Chapter 2: 49-60; and 68-75.
(Number of pages for reading this week: 38).
1. Cities, States, and Unequal Societies; and Eurasian Empires.
2. The Case of India’s Emperor Asoka: From Extreme Violence to Non-violence.
Background Readings:
1. WW Chapter 3: 86-98.
2. WW Chapter 4: 145-158 and 163-167.
Tutorial Readings:
1. CP: Romila Thapar, “Early Life, Accession, and Chronology of the Reign of
Asoka.” Read pages 20-33.
2. WW: “Governing and Indian Empire,” 176-178.
(Number of pages for reading this week: 44).
FILM: Two films on the ancient world will be shown.
1. Eurasian Cultural Traditions.
2. Birth of World Religions (Analysis of Karen Armstrong’s The Great
Background readings:
1. WW Chapter 5: 192-209.
Tutorial Readings:
1. CP: Karen Armstrong, “Knowledge.”
Read pages 125-130;
138-141 (“Meanwhile, the Greeks ….);
146-150 (“The Chinese, however, ….);
157-162 (“In Israel, ….)
2. WW: Documents, 217-225.
(Number of pages for reading this week: 42).
1. Eurasian Social Hierarchies.
2. The Life of the Slave in Rome (Analysis of Keith Bradley’s Slavery and Society
at Rome).
Background readings:
1. WW, Chapter 6: 247-259.
Tutorial readings:
1. CP: Keith Bradley, “Resisting Slavery.” Read the entire article.
2. WW, Documents, 262-271.
(Number of pages for reading this week: 45).
1. Africa and the Americas, and Commerce and Culture.
2. Types of Globalizations in World History.
Background readings:
1. WW, Chapter 7: 294-303.
2. WW, Chapter 8: 335-351.
Tutorial readings:
1. CP: A.G. Hopkins, “Introduction, Globalization: An Agenda for Historians.”
Read the entire article.
2. WW: Documents: 356-366.
(Number of pages for reading this week: 44).
No Class – Reading Week
1. East Asian Connections.
2. The Married Woman in Ancient China (Analysis of Patricia Buckley Ebrey’s The
Inner Quarters: Marriage and the Lives of Chinese Women in the Sung Period).
Background reading:
1. WW, Chapter 9: 380-399.
Tutorial readings:
1. CP: Patricia Buckley Ebrey, “Husband-Wife Relations.” Read the entire article.
2. WW, Documents, 412-416.
(Number of pages for reading this week: 42).
1. The Worlds of European Christendom.
2. The “Folly” of the Crusades.
Background reading:
1. WW, 425-445.
Tutorial reading:
1. CP: Christopher Tyerman, “The Business of the Cross.” 86-99.
2. WW, Documents, 455-464.
(Number of pages for reading this week: 42).
1. The Worlds of Islam.
2. The Arab Gaze (Analysis of Nabil Matar’s In the Lands of the Christians: Arabic
Travel Writing in the Seventeenth Century).
Background reading:
1. WW, Chapter 11, 474-495.
Tutorial readings:
1. CP, Nabil Matar, “Introduction: Arab Travelers and Early Modern Europeans.”
Read pages xii-xxiv (12 pages).
2. WW, Documents, 502-510.
(Number of pages for reading this week: 41).
1. Pastoral Peoples on the Global Stage; and The Worlds of the Fifteenth Century.
2. The World’s First Regional Superpower (Analysis of Colin Imber’s The Ottoman
Empire, 1300-1650: The Structure of Power).
Background readings:
1. WW, Chapter 12: 532-541.
2. WW, Chapter 13: 584-594.
Tutorial Reading:
1. CP: Colin Imber, “The Army.” Read pages 252-272.
(Number of pages for reading this week: 39).
1. Empires and Encounters; and Global Commerce.
2. Slavery and Resistance.
Background readings:
1. WW, Chapter 14: 632-639; and 643-650.
2. WW, Chapter 15: 674-680; and 689-695.
Tutorial readings:
1. CP: Gad Heuman, “From Slavery to Freedom.”
2. WW, Documents: 700-709.
(Number of pages for reading this week: 45).
1. Religion and Science; and Atlantic Revolutions and their Echoes.
2. Fall of the Colonial Plantation Complex.
Background readings:
1. WW, Chapter 16: 722-730; and 742-744.
2. WW, Chapter 17: 780-803.
Tutorial readings:
1. CP: E.J. Hobsbawm, “The French Revolution.” Read pages 53-64.
(Number of pages for reading this week: 43).
FINAL EXAM – Date to be announced.