World Civilizations to 1500

Professor: Robert W. Brown

Course Description and Overview

HST 1140 surveys the birth and diffusion of world civilizations from prehistory to about 1500, the beginning of European overseas expansion. Attention is given the major cultural, social, economic, and political trends within each civilization. The course begins with the birth of civilization in the ancient Near East and the outward diffusion and transformation of that civilization. It turns next to the rise of civilizations in India and China and their history before the sixth century AD. The course then treats the rise and fall in succession of Greek, Hellenistic, and Roman civilizations, stressing the role of the Roman Empire in transmitting both classical civilization and the Christian religion to Europe. In the aftermath of the collapse of the Roman Empire in the fifth century AD, consideration is given to how the Byzantine Empire preserved and transformed the Roman heritage and the parallel rise and spread of the Islamic religion and culture. Studied next is the history of Western Europe during the Early, High, and Late Middle Ages. Then attention is turned to first East Asia and second to Africa and the Americas. The course concludes with the beginnings of the Modern Age in Europe, and emphasis falls on contact between Europeans and non-European peoples, the Italian and Northern Renaissances, and the Reformation of the sixteenth century. Perennial themes include the origin and diffusion of civilizations; the emergence and character of the major religious and philosophical traditions; the frequent clash of systems of thought and how they expanded, spread, and were transformed; the rise and fall of empires; technological innovations and the diffusion of technologies; population growth and its consequences; the development and spread of commerce; and the origins and ever-greater importance of cities.

This course meets the criteria set out in UNC Pembroke's General Education Program.  It provides the student with "knowledge of, appreciation for, and understanding of the contributions to society of major world civilizations and their histories."

Course Goals

***a chronological survey of the development of world civilizations from prehistory to 1500, with
      attention to the interaction between these civilizations;

***an introduction to major historical periods and a synopsis of the distinguishing political, social,
      economic, and geographical characteristics of each;

***an introduction to the major achievements in art, architecture, culture, and intellectual life of each civilization;

***an introduction to history as a field of academic study;

***an appreciation of the relevance of the study of history for the contemporary world, with an
      emphasis on the historical foundation of current world developments.

***an introduction to resources on the World Wide Web for the study of history and world

Course Requirements

1. Required Readings.

    Text: Craig, Albert M. and others. The Heritage of World Civilizations (Teaching and Learning Classroom Edition/Brief
    Third Edition, Vol. 1). Upper Saddle River, New Jersey: Prentice Hall, 2007.

    Primary sources are printed in the text, on the CD-ROM which came with the text, and on the web site for the text:  A more direct link is:  The
    primary sources are also available on the Hst 1140 web site.  You will need the Adobe Acrobat Reader to access them.

    Links to Internet materials are available on the UNC Pembroke History Home Page (
    and the web site for this course (

    Each student is expected to keep up with the readings in the assigned text. Lectures in class will  supplement rather than
    repeat the material covered in the textbook. Illustrated summaries of the lectures are posted on the Hst 1140 web site.
   When combined, the readings, the lectures, and the illustrations will provide a comprehensive overview of the development of
    world civilizations to 1500.

2. Tests. There will be three tests and an final examination, each consisting of short answer, matching,
    and multiple-choice questions. Tests will cover both the assigned readings and the material
    discussed in class. At the beginning of each unit of study, a list of the important names, terms,
    events, and so on will be distributed; test items will be drawn from this study sheet. Make-up tests
    will be given only if the student notifies the instructor in advance of an assigned test date;
    make-up tests [of the original test] must be taken before the next scheduled class meeting.
    Make-up tests taken after the class meeting following the original test will consist of twenty
    identification questions. Approximate test dates may be found on the Course Outline.

3. Discussion Questions.  Discussion questions based on the text and the primary sources will also be assigned
    throughout the semester. Answers to these questions will be written outside of class and will serve
    as the basis for structured class discussions. These answers, which will be collected and graded,
    active participation in the class discussions, and arrendance are worth 5% of the total course grade.

4. Essays. Two essays of approximately five pages each will be written outside of class. One essay
    may be a critical analysis of a supplementary reading, a review of a book relevant to the content
    of Hst 1140, or a response to essay questions made up by the instructor. One essay must be a
    review and analysis of World Wide Web Materials on a topic relevant to Hst 1140. Handouts
    with directions for the essays will be distributed in class. Essay 1 is due on 15 February 2008;
    Essay 2 is due on 26 March 2008.

5. Grading. Course Grades are based on the four tests, the essays, and the quiz scores.

                4 Tests                70%
                2 Essays              25%
                Discussion Q's/
                Attendance          05%
                Extra credit          05%

                Total                   105%

    To receive a grade in HST 1140, ALL assignments (except the final exam) must be submitted
    by the last day of class (25 April 2008).  Late work will not be accepted during exam week.

6. Grading Scale.

        A= 93-100; A-=90-92; B+=88-89; B=83-87; B-=80-82; C+=78-79;
        C=73-77; C-=70-72; D+=68-69; D=63-67; D-=60-62; F=0-59

7. Required Class Attendance. Students are expected to attend every class, beginning with the first
    day. Absence from class, no matter what the cause, does not excuse a student from any course
    requirements. Make-up work is at the discretion of the instructor. Excessive absences will adversely
    effect a student's course grade and the instructor may encourage a student with excessive absences
    to withdraw from the class and/or seek assistance from on-campus resources.  Attendance will be taken.
    Cell phones should be turned off while in class.

8. Late Work. Work submitted late will be accepted without penalty if arrangements are made in
    advance; otherwise, late work will be accepted but penalized five points per class period.

9. Extra Credit. A maximum of five (5) points (added to your final course average) may be earned
    by writing a third essay. Your letter grade on this essay will determine the number of extra credit points
    earned. The essay must be turned in on or before 23 April 2008. A=5 extra credit points;
    A-/B+=4; B/B-=3; C+/C=2; C-=1.  Late essays will not be accepted.

10. Web Pages. Materials and handouts for this course are posted on the Hst 1140 Web Page.
    Also available is a supplemental Web Page with links to resources for World Civilizations on the
    World Wide Web. Web address: Click on the course
    title.  There is a second set of links to resources on World Civilizations on the History Department's Home Page.

11. Office and Office Hours. 212 Classroom North; phone 910.521.6229 or 910.521.6438;
    E-mail: Office hours are posted on my door.

12. Honor Code: Students are expected to comply with the provisions of the Academic Honor Code and the
    Code of Conduct, both of which are printed in the Student Handbook and are available on the web site
    of the Office of Student Affairs.

13. Emergency Information Hot Line: For information about possible university closings or delays in opening, call
    910.521.6888 or access the UNC Pembroke web page.

14. Students with Documented Disabilities: Any student with a documented disability needing academic adjustments
    should  speak directly to Disability Support Services and the instructor during the first two weeks of class week.
    All discussions will remain confidential.  This syllabus is available in alternative formats upon request.  For assistance,
    please contact Mary Helen Walker, Disability Support Services, D. F. Lowry Building (910.521.6695)
    or visit the Office of Disability Support Services web site.

This page is maintained by Robert W. Brown
Last update:  07.I.2008

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