F2017 Syllabus – Texas Wesleyan University

Instructor: Chris Ohan

HIS 2301-20 World History to 1648

Office: PMC 244

Phone: 817-531-4913

Meeting: MW 10

Office Hours: Mon/Wed 11-12;

1:30-3:30; Tues 2:30-5;

Thurs 9:30-1:00, or by appt.

Location: EJW B26

Web: www.historymuse.net

E-mail: cohan@txwes.edu


“The gentleman is conversant with righteousness; the small man is conversant with profit.”

—Confucius, The Analects


Course Description:  “A survey of human experience to the seventeenth century with emphasis upon the growth of Western institutions and concepts.” Because of the large time period covered by this course, the class will not be events-driven but will, instead focus on the importance of major ideas for the period surveyed.


This course fulfills 3 credit hours towards the 12 credit hour GEC requirement in Cultural Literacy.


Learning Outcomes.


Learning Objectives                                                                       Program Goals


Objective 1: Students completing this course should be able to demonstrate a basic understanding of the major events in world history to 1648

1. Develop a general knowledge of human history, including a basic chronology of both western and non-western societies covering time periods from the ancient to the modern.


Objective 2: Student ought to be able to use historical comparison as an analytic tool; recognize the different interpretations of the various themes within this half world history.



2.  Understand Historical Interpretation and Historiography.


Objective 3: Students should appreciate and interpret multiple forms of evidence (textual, visual, oral, statistical, artifacts from material culture); differentiate between primary and secondary sources and understand how each is used via

a.        reading essays and primary sources relative to the period

b.        writing DBQ essays using primary sources.

c.        using computer software to produce all assignments.


3. Learn the various skills associated with the craft of history. These skills include:

a. Reading Comprehension and Cognitive Skills

b. Historical Thinking Skills

c. Research Skills

d. Written Communication Skills

e. Oral Communication Skills

f. Computer Literacy


Objective 4:  This course is an optional course for other history majors and satisfies the 3-hour degree requirement of either HIS 2301 or HIS 2303.

4. Students completing a major in the Department of History will be prepared to enter graduate programs in History, teach History in secondary or middle schools, or enter other careers open to graduates with degrees in the Liberal Arts.




Required Materials:

Bentley et al, Traditions and Encounters Vol. 1: to 1500, Brief 4th Edition (McGraw Hill)




Andrea and Overfield, eds., The Human Record, Sources of Global History Vol. 1, 8th Edition (Cengage)


Manchester, A World Lit Only By Fire


Instructional Methods/Class Format:  Most classes will consist of a lecture (with some give and take as questions come up) and discussions of texts from the reader or website readings.  We will be using an online venue called VoiceThread as an arena for discussing topics and themes of the course.  This latter element will largely determine the 20% participation grade.   Do not hesitate to bring up relevant questions and comments.  On the university level, I assume that you will complete the assigned readings for each week.  It is also assumed that you will attend all classes.


Class Schedule: See page # below.


Evaluation and Grading:  Your grade for the semester will be based on three tests (10%, 20%, 25% respectively), one book review (25%) and 20% for participation.  Please see the Grading Guidelines sheet posted on my website for specific grading criteria regarding written work.


Tests:  Tests will follow the standard AP History Free-Response Question format.  This type of test is designed to assess your ability to work with and understand primary sources.  Each test will consist of one question and a set of accompanying documents.  Grades will be based on fulfilling the following objectives:  Your essay will contain a thesis which will be supported with evidence from the sources.  It should rely on/analyze a majority of the documents, address all parts of the question and consider the source’s point of view. 


Test topics will come from supplemental texts, lectures, class discussions, occasional video material, and the textbook.  Test dates are listed below.


1.       2 October

2.       30 October

3.       8 December (10:30-12:30)


VoiceThread Postings:  You are expected to participate on the class discussion board.  I will regularly post at least one question for further discussion after a class session.  Students are expected to participate by posting answers/comments on the board—comments can be posted as audio or video.  Please avoid using the text option.  As a rule, you should participate in at least one discussion per week.  Constructive participation in class discussions will make the difference if your final grade is borderline. Feedback will be in the form of a response to your posting and assessment will follow a standard grading rubric (see grading rubric). 


Book Review.  You are responsible for completing one book reviews on the Manchester text listed above.  The review will be turned in via Blackboard by 10am on Dec 4.  See guidelines/format below.


Attendance is mandatory.  If you miss more than 3 classes (for us, the equivalent of one week) consider the effect on your grade.  Should you miss more, please do not offer excuses, notes or request special consideration.  Keep in mind a) that “dropping a course” is perfectly legitimate when circumstances arise that prevent you from completion, and b) that I should not be expected to change class expectations based on your circumstances.  You are responsible for all class assignments regardless of attendance.  Quizzes covering assigned readings may be given at any time and factored into the course grade at the discretion of the instructor.  If you are unable to complete this course, you must withdraw from it.  Please note that if you miss more than the equivalent of one-week’s worth of class, I reserve the right to drop you from the course.  The last date to drop is Tuesday, November 14.


Classroom Participation:  Class discussion is an integral part of any class.  Students are expected to complete the required readings before coming to class.  If you do not complete the assigned readings prior to a class meeting, you may be quizzed or asked to leave the classroom.  Participation in class discussions will make the difference if your final course grade is borderline.  Note that VoiceThread discussions make up a large part of your discussion grade.


Make-up for the exams is discouraged and will be administered only for officially excused absences.  Students normally perform poorly on make-up exams.  Please note that the format of any makeup exam will be at the discretion of the instructor.


Internet/Blackboard:  Feel free to send email to the address above.  Please assume I have no idea who you are so include your name and course number in the message.  Keep in mind that I will not entertain discussion about grades, missed classes &etc over email—that’s why faculty have office hours.  In addition, this syllabus, the lecture/reading schedule, some of the course readings and any other class handouts will be posted on the above web address.  Announced changes to the lecture/reading schedule will be reflected in the schedule’s online version.  All student work will be turned in through Blackboard.


Academic Integrity:


Familiarize yourself with Texas Wesleyan’s Student Code of Conduct.  Academics are not only devoted to learning, research, and the advancement of knowledge, but also to the development of ethically sensitive and responsible persons. By accepting membership in this class, you are joining a community characterized by free expression, free inquiry, honesty, respect for others, and participation in constructive change.  All rights and responsibilities exercised within this academic environment shall be compatible with these principles. 


Academic Dishonesty is a breach of the Student Code of Conduct.  Dishonesty includes:

  1. Plagiarism, representing the work of another as one's own work;
  2. Preparing work for another that is to be used as that person's own work;
  3. Cheating by any method or means;
  4. Knowingly and willfully falsifying or manufacturing scientific or educational data and representing the same to be the result of scientific or scholarly experiment or research;
  5. Knowingly furnishing false information to a university official relative to academic matters;
  6. Soliciting, aiding, abetting, concealing, or attempting conduct in violation of this code.


Academic Dishonesty will not be tolerated in this course. Any offense will result in an F in the class (not simply on the assignment) and be referred to the appropriate academic officials for adjudication. If you have any questions regarding this subject please see me.  For a detailed description and further clarification, please see the link for “Plagiarism and Academic Dishonesty” on my website, the 2017-2019 Wesleyan Catalog (p. 84-86), or the Student Handbook.


Writing for this course should employ standard academic formatting—double spaced, typed—with citations following either MLA or Chicago style.  If you need help with this see the guides on the links page of the class website, the Wesleyan library or the instructor.  Correct use of source information and citations is assumed on the college level.  Failure to cite or format according to one of the styles listed will result in a lower grade.  See Grading Guidelines on the class webpage for specific grading criteria regarding written work. 


Book Review Format (please consult the book review rubric: https://lat.taskstream.com/rubricExternal/awcwcscwcyc2cqct)


1.       5-6 pages typewritten, double-spaced.  Title page, if used, does NOT count.  Observe the normal rules of writing such as standard one-inch margins, page numbering, etc. 

2.       Full bibliographic citation on the title page or at the top of the first page.  (Consult an MLA or Chicago style guide if you’ve forgotten how to do this.  Do NOT make up your own form.)

3.       Brief introduction to the topic or subject of the book.  Why is this topic or subject important to the period of history being covered?

4.       Summarize the author’s thesis (argument) and main points concisely but fully.  (What do you think the author is trying to accomplish by writing the book?)

5.       Briefly say something regarding the author’s qualifications.

6.       Critique the book.  (What you’re doing is analogous to what happens in a courtroom. Consider yourself the judge and the author a lawyer who has presented an argument/case.  It’s up to you, having read his/her argument/case to decide whether or not her claims have validity.)  Based on your answer to #4 do you find his/her arguments and conclusions convincing?  How does s/he do in terms of accomplishing his purpose for writing?  Do not walk fences or resort to elementary tactics such as pleading ignorance.  (This should be about one-half of your paper.)

(6a. If the book is a work of literature, you’ll still consider what the author is trying to accomplish, but you’ll need to think about what the work says about the time period or place in which it’s set, the characters, the environment, etc.  For example, you’d look at it the same way an historian would look at More’s Utopia or possibly Stowe’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin.  Those works are good literature but say a lot about the time period in which they were written.)

7.       While a review does not usually include the readers own opinion, you may provide a brief personal evaluation of no more than one paragraph.  Be sure to explain and support your opinion carefully and coherently.  At this point in your academic career, you ought to have an informed opinion.  Informed” suggests that you’re offering specific evidence as to how and why you agree or disagree.

8.       This is not a research paper, so formal footnoting is not necessary.  If you do quote or draw on information that is not your own, simply use a parenthetical reference according to MLA or Turabian/Chicago style. 

9.       Papers which are turned in after the time they are due will be penalized one letter grade for each day.  No papers which are more than four days late will be accepted.  If you or someone close to you is looking like they’re coming down with the latest disease or that they might need emergency surgery, turn it in early.  If you want mercy, pray.




·         I grade the quality of your work rather than the amount of time and effort you spend on it.

·         I will strive to help you perform at your best.


My Goal in teaching this class is not that you learn the history of the period covered in this course.  (Learning about the past is, however, an important consequence.)  Rather, my goal is to teach you how to think critically about the major events and developments of the past which is more useful.  For our purposes, therefore, ideas will hold precedence over facts, dates, and the like.  It is important that you consider the classroom (and the Blackboard discussion board) an open forum for discussion—of anything related to the themes and topics of the course.  (Of course, any argument—whether spoken or written—must be supported.)  While I (or other students) may challenge beliefs/perspectives, realize that the purpose is not to change them.  An open/tolerant attitude is essential in this class.  Remember—this is a college course where you ought to be able to discuss things openly and intelligently.  If you choose to be intolerant and interrupt class discussion, I reserve the right to ask you to leave the classroom.


Small Print:


Texas Wesleyan University Policies


·  Students should read the current Texas Wesleyan University Catalog and Student Handbook to become familiar with University policies.


·  Cheating, plagiarism (submitting another person’s material as one’s own), or completing assignments for another person who will receive academic credit are impermissible. This includes the use of unauthorized books, notebooks, or other sources in order to secure or give help during an examination, the unauthorized copying of examinations, assignments, reports, or term papers, or the presentation of unacknowledged material as if it were the student’s own work.  Disciplinary action may be taken beyond the academic discipline administered by the course instructor. Course exams may not be printed out. Any person possessing a hardcopy of a course exam will be in breach of copyright and may be held liable.]


·  Texas Wesleyan University adheres to a disability policy which is in keeping with relevant federal law. The University will provide appropriate accommodation as determined by the Director of the Counseling Center, Dr. Michael Ellison. Students must notify instructors of any permanent or temporary disabilities and must provide documentation regarding those disabilities prior to the granting of an accommodation. For assistance, students should consult with Dr. Ellison at mellison@txwes.edu or (817) 531-7565.


·  Course syllabi are intended to provide students with basic information concerning the course. The syllabus can be viewed as a 'blueprint' for the course; changes in the syllabus can be made and students will be informed of any substantive changes concerning examinations, the grading or attendance policies and changes in project assignments.


·  Any course taken at Texas Wesleyan University and repeated for a grade must be repeated at Texas Wesleyan University. Any course taken at another university may be repeated at Texas Wesleyan, and the most recent grade on the course will be counted. When a course is repeated, the grade point average will be computed using the most recent grade achieved.


·  As noted in the catalog under the Unified Discrimination and Harassment Policy, Texas Wesleyan University is committed to providing an environment free of all forms of prohibited discrimination and sexual harassment.  If you have experienced any such discrimination or harassment, including gender- or sex-based forms, know that help and support are available from the following resources:

o Complete online incident report at https://txwes.edu/student-life/report-a-concern/

o Contact Campus Conduct Hotline (24 hours a day): (866) 943-5787

o Campus security (24 hours a day): (817) 531-4911

o Dean of Students: deanofstudents@txwes.edu OR (817) 531-4872

o Please be aware that all Texas Wesleyan University employees, other than designated confidential resources (i.e., Community Counseling Center) are required to report credible evidence of prohibited discrimination or harassment to the University’s Title IX Coordinator, or to one of the Title IX Assistant Coordinators.  If you wish to speak to someone confidentially, please contact the Community Counseling Center at (817) 531-4859 to schedule an appointment.



Tentative Class Topic and Reading Schedule

                (Bentley=textbook.  Other readings come from the Andrea/Overfield (AO) reader and are referred to by document number (see AO table of contents), while links are readings found online.)


Aug 21


Aug 23

How to read primary sources

Readings: Andrea P1-P15

Aug 28

Order: Mesopotamia

Readings: Bentley 1 (pp. 8-17); AO 1, 2; The Myth-Making Outlook of the Ancient Near East; Jonah

Aug 30

Ancient Hebrews

Readings: Bentley 1 (pp. 18-24); AO 12, 13, 19; Leviticus 19; Isaiah; Job

Sept 6

Order: Egypt

Readings: Bentley 2 (pp. 26-40); AO 3, 4, AO Multiple Voices I

Sept 11

Classical Societies: Introduction

Readings: Bentley 3; AO 7, 8, 9

Sept 13

China and Confucius

Readings: Bentley 6; AO 20, 21, 22, 23

Sept 18

India and Salvation

Readings: Bentley 7; AO 14, 15, 16, 17

Sept 20

Persia and Zarathustra

Readings: Bentley 5; AO 18, Inscriptions of Cyrus and Darius I

Sept 25

Persia and Greece in the Ancient World

Readings: Bentley 8 (pp. 136-141); AO 10, Selections from the Iliad, Xenophon, A Spartan Childhood,

Sept 27

DBQ Test Primer

Oct 2

Test 1

Oct 4, 9

Classical Greece and Hellenism

Readings: Bentley 8 (pp. 139-147); AO 24, Thucydides, Method of Historical Inquiry, Thucydides, The Funeral Oration of Pericles, Selections from Antigone, 27, Aristotle, "Nicomachean Ethics"

Oct 11

Republican Rome

Readings: Bentley 8 (pp.147-149); Polybius, The Roman Army, Livy, Lucretia & Sabine Women, Livy, The Second Punic War, Dio Cassius, In Defense of Caesar and Monarchy, Cicero, On Duty

Oct 16

Imperial Rome

Readings: Bentley 8 (pp. 149-154), 9 (pp. 170-174); AO 35, 36, Aurelius, Meditations; Jerome, The Fate of Rome

Oct 18

Rome and Christianity

Readings: Bentley 8 (pp. 154-157); 9, AO 42, 43, 44, Augustine, City of God

Oct 23

Legacies of Rome: Byzantium/Western Europe

Readings: Bentley 10; AO Multiple Voices VIII

Oct 25

Legacy of Rome: Islam

Readings: Bentley 11; AO 45, 46, 47, Multiple Voices VI

Oct 30

Test 2

Nov 1

The Mongol Conquests

Readings: Bentley 14; AO 77, 79, 81

Nov 6

Migration, trade, and empire in Sub-Saharan Africa

Readings: Bentley 15; AO 66, 67, 68

Nov 8

Medieval Europe

Readings: Bentley 16; Manchester, Feudal documents; Innocent III, On the Misery of the Human Condition

Nov 13

Europe: the High Middle Ages

Readings: Bentley 16; AO 64, Aquinas, Summa, Abelard, Inquiry into Divergent Views of Church Fathers, John of Salisbury, On the Liberal Arts, What is a Scholar?

Nov 15

Tolerance and Intolerance: Islamic and Christian Spain

Readings: Bentley 16; Ibn Abd-el-Hakem: The Islamic Conquest of Spain; Royal Grants to the Jewish Community of Barcelona; The Expulsion from Spain

Nov 27

Discussion of Manchester text

Readings: Manchester, A Word Lit Only By Fire

Nov 29

European Renaissance

Readings: Bentley 18; Jean de Venette, The Black Death, Boccaccio, Decameron; Pico, Oration on the Dignity of Man, Machiavelli, Prince

Dec 4

Beginnings of European Dominance (Manchester review due)

Readings: Bentley 18; AO 72, 84, 85, Sale, Conquest of Paradise, Machiavelli’s The Prince; Treaty of Westphalia;

Dec 8

Final Exam (10:30-12:30)