History 21A – World History

History 21A is a general survey of world civilizations from Antiquity to the 15th Century CE. The course not only emphasized the major civilizations, but also their interconnectedness throughout history. In this course we will see how ideas are passed from one civilization to another, how the economy of the world was connected, and how geography and ecology may have influenced societies in the pre-modern world. The course will also deal with the development of religious ideas around the world such as Judaism, Zoroastrianism, Hinduism, Buddhism, Christianity, and Islam and how they influenced the mentality of the people. Religions will have an everlasting influence on not only how people will view their world, but also will be a major reason for the development of major philosophies, wars and the processes of coexistence.

The major goals and objectives of this course is as follows:

  1. To understand holistically the origins and historical development of world civilizations within a global context.
  2. To describe and analyze critically the reciprocal influence of Western and non-Western institutions, values, and ideas.
  3. To recognize the forces that contributed to the particular development of diverse societies and shaped our present world.
  4. To recognize and understand the contributions of ethnic and gender groups to past and present societies in contexts of accommodation and resistance.
  5. To understand and describe critically major political, economic, intellectual, and cultural themes recurring throughout the history of the world.

Grades: There will be a midterm and a final. Each exam will include short identification as well as long essay questions. If you miss an exam you will receive a ZERO. THERE ARE NO MAKEUP EXAMS. You are also required to write two 3 page papers on The Epic of Gilgamesh& Ethics of the Aristocrats. Your TAs will assign the grades based on your exams, review and section participation. Plus and minus grades are given for this class. Grades: 40% midterm / 40% final / 10% 2 papers and 10% participation in section.

Participation: You must attend your section. That means that you should not only be present, but also ask questions and discuss the material when it is time to do so. There will have weekly discussions in the section in regard to the lectures and the primary sources.

-S. Wallech, et. al. World History: A Concise Thematic Analysis, Harlan Davidson, 2008.

-Obeyd-e Zakani, Ethics of the Aristocrats and Other Satirical Works, Mage, 2008.

-The Epic of Gilgamesh (any edition would be fine).

-T. Daryaee, World History: A Journey Through Ancient and Medieval Texts, Cognella, 2011.

Week 1: (Sept. 28th – Sept. 30): Preliminary Remarks: Time, History & World History READINGS: Wallech (pp. 1-21) I. Biology & World History How did the world begin? History vs. Pre-History; Pre-History: Paleolithic and the Neolithic Periods; Writing and History; Visions of World History.

Week 2: (Oct. 5, 7) The Four Hydraulic Civilizations: Asia and Africa
READINGS: Wallech (pp. 23-68 / 69-79) Mesopotamia; Tigris & the Euphrates; The Sumerians; Akkadians; Babylonians; Assyrians; Mesopotamian Religion; Mesopotamian Society; The Nile; Early Dynastic Egypt; Old Kingdom, Middle Kingdom, and New Kingdom; The Indus River; the Dravidians; Mohejno-daro & Harappa; Yellow River; Shang Dynasty; Shangoi; Zhou, Mandate of Heaven; Han Dynasty.

Week 3: (Oct. 12, 14) Hydraulic Civilizations and the Indo-European Migration
READINGS: Wallech (pp. 23-68 / 60-79) The Indus River; the Dravidians; Mohejno-daro & Harappa; the arrival of the Aryans; Aryan society; the Veda; the Indo-European Migration: Language, Race and Racism: From the Indo-Iranians to the Germanic People.

Week 4: (Oct. 19, 21) Indian and the Iranian World: Early Indo-Europeans and Early World Empires READINGS: Wallech (pp. 47-56 / 76-79 / 158-164) Hinduism, Jainism, and Buddhism; Mahabharata and the Bahgavad Gita; Gupta Kingdom; Chandra Gupta and Ashoka; Avestan People; Zoroaster, Zoroastrianism; Achaemenid Persia; Persepolis; Alexander the Great; the Seleucids; Parthians, and Sasanians. The Epic of Gilgamesh should be turned in to your TA (in your section)

Week 5: (Oct. 26, 28) The Other Indo-Europeans on the Mediterranean: Greek and the Roman World READINGS: Wallech (pp. 80-108) The Minoans; Knossoss; Mynecneans; Greek arrival; Linear A & B; the formation of Greek city-states; Sparta and Athens; Tyrants and Statesmen; Drakon and the laws; Democracy; Women; The Etruscans; Rome; Romans; the Roman Republic; Patricians and the Plebeians; the Senate; First and Second Triumvirate; Augustus and the Roman Empire; Roman Society.

Midterm November 2nd [Essay(s) in class and Identification Questions in the sections]

Week 6: (Nov. 4) The Silk Road: Religion and Spice from Asia to Persia
READINGS: Wallech (123-144 / 168-182) The Silk Road; Spice and Silk; the Manicheans; Mani; the Elect and the Hearers; Rome in decline; The Sui, Tang, and Song Dynasties; The Grand Canal; Paper Money; Flying Cash; Gunpowder; Magnetic Compass / Korea and Japan.

Week 7: (Nov. 9, 11) The Silk Road: From Japan to Byzantium
READINGS: Wallech (123-144 / 168-182) (192-194) 4 Diocletian and the division of the Empire; Constantine the Great and Constantinople; Justinian and Theodora; Iconoclasm; Byzantine Christianity; Hermits; Stylite Saints; 1453 and the Ottomans.

Week 8: (Nov. 16, 18) The Islamic World: Asia & Africa
READINGS: Wallech (147-157 / 164-167 / 215-225) Mecca and Pagan Arabia; Pre-Islamic Arabian Gods; Muhammad; the Quran; the Umma; the Rashidun Caliph; the Ummayyads; Abbasids at Baghdad; Islamic law and science; Islam in Africa.

Week 9: (Nov. 23) The Christian World
READINGS: Wallech (187-213) Germans and the Germanic Invasion; Medieval European Society; The Pope and Christianity; Feudalism; the Crusades. Obeyd-e Zakani, Ethics of the Aristocrats and Other Satirical Works should be turned in to your TA (in your section)

Thanksgiving Holiday Nov. 24th

Week 10: (Nov. 30th, Dec. 2nd) Turko-Mongols Invasion and the “New World” of Mesoamerica

READINGS: Wallech (182-186 / 114-121) The Turks: Seljuks; Ghaznavids; Ottomans; Karakurum; Mongols; Temujin; Ghenghis Khan; Yurt; Khan and Sultan; Il-Khanids; Mesoamerica; the Olmecs; the Maya; the Mexica; the Inca; Cuzco; Huitzilopochtli; Azatlan; Montezuma II; Spanish Conquest and the changing world.

Final Exam (Dec. 10th 10:30-12:30) HIB 100