History 240B – Topics in World History: World History & Eurocentrism

This course is a review and critique of Eurocentric approach to world history. We will be reading major texts that have attempted to bring about a corrective view to the established Eurocentric accounts of world and regional histories. Each week articles and books are assigned for reading and you are to write a response to these texts. Furthermore, each week two to three students are assigned to discuss the readings and in dialogue with the professor. If there is more than one book assigned for a specific week, the readings will be divided among more students. Then all students are required to join the discussion about the topic at hand. You are also required to write a well researched essay on a topic pertaining to the study of world history. 80% of the grade will be assessed based on this essay and the remaining 20% will be based on your weekly response essays and participation.

Week 0: (Sept. 24): Introduction

Week 1: (Oct. 1) Eurocentrism

  • -Samir Amin, Eurocentrism, Monthly Review Press, 1989.
  • -M. Shahid Alam, “Through Racist Eyes: Is Eurocentrism Unique?”
  • http://www.counterpunch.org/alam0718.html
  • -Immanuel Wallerstein, “Eurocentrism and its Avatars: The Dilemmas of Social Sciencehttp://fbc.binghamton.edu/iweuroc.htm
  • -Alain Gresh, “The West’s Selective Reading of Eastern History and Values:
  • From Thermopylae to the Twin Towers” http://www.japanfocus.org/-Alain­
  • Gresh/3004
  • -John M. Hobson, Countering the Eurocentric myth of the pristine West: discovering the oriental West
  • http://assets.cambridge.org/97805218/38351/excerpt/9780521838351_excerpt.pdf

Week 2: (Oct. 8) Imagining the Past: Annales & World-Systems

  • -Braudel, Fernand. A History of Civilisation, New York: Penguin press, 1993
  • -Wallerstein, Immanuel. World-Systems Analysis: an Introduction, Durham: Duke  University Press, 2004.

Week 3: (Oct. 15) Criticism of Eurocentric Historiography

  • -Blaut, James. The Colonizers’ Model of the World, London: Guilford Press, 1993.
  • -Wolf, Eric. Europe and the People Without History, CUP, 1982.
  • -Goody, Jack. The Theft of History, Cambridge: CUP, 2007.
  • -Benjamin Isaac, The Invention of Racism in Classical Antiquity, Princeton University Press, 2006.

Week 4: (Oct. 22) Responses to Eurocentrism

  • -Frank, Andre Gunder. ReOrient, Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1998.
  • -Abu Lughod, Janet. Before European Hegemony, Oxford: OUP, 1989.
  • -Hobson, John M. the Eastern Origins of Western Civilisation, Cambridge: CUP, 2004.

Week 5: (Oct. 29) Ancient World History?

  • -Frank, Gunder. The World System: Five Hundred Years or Five Thousand?. London: Routledge, 1996.
  • -Garnsey, Peter, Keith Hopkins and C. R. Whittaker. Trade in the Ancient  Economy. Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1983.
  • -Bernal, Martin. Black Athena, Rutgers University Press, 1991.
  • -H. Sancisi-Weerdenburg, “The Fifth Oriental Monarchy and Hellenocentrism,” Proceedings of the Groningen 1984 Achaemenid History Workshop, ed. H. Sancisi-Seerdenburg and Am. Kuhrt, Leiden, 1987.
  • -G. Traina, “Hellenism in the East; some historiographical remarks,” Tradition and Innovation in the Ancient World, ed. E. Dabrowa, Electrum, vol. 6, 2002.

Week 6: (Nov. 5) Migration and World History of Central and West Asia

  • -Kuzmina, Elena. Pre-History of the Silk Road, Penn.  University Press, 2007.
  • -David. M. Anthony, The Horse, the Wheel, and Language: How Bronze-Age Riders from the Eurasian Steppes Shaped the Modern World, Princeton University Press, 2007.

Week 7: (Nov. 12) Examples: Trade in World History

  • -Hodges, Richard and David Whitehouse. Mohammed, Charlemagne & the Origins of Europe: Archaeology and the Pirenne Thesis, Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell University Press, 1983.
  • -Horden, Peregrine and Nicholas Purcell. The Corrupting Sea: a Study of Mediterranean History. Oxford; Malden, Mass.: Blackwell Publishers, 2000.
  • -Jones, A. H. M. “Asian Trade in Antiquity,” in Islam and the Trade of Asia, ed. D. S. Richards (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1970).

Week 8: (Nov. 19) Late Antique World History

  • -Fowden, Garth. Empire to Commonwealth: Consequences of Monotheism in Late Antiquity, Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1993.
  • -Daryaee, Touraj. “The Persian Gulf Trade in Late Antiquity.” Journal of World History, vol. 14/1, 2003

Week 9: (Nov. 26) Thanksgiving

Week 10: (Dec. 3) Technology and World History

  • -Mokyr, Joel. The Lever of Riches. OUP, Oxford, 1990.