History 531
Colloqium in World History:
The Rise of the West in Global Perspective
Prof. Auerbach
Tuesdays, 4:20-6:50 p.m.
Sierra Hall 108

DescriptionThis reading-intensive colloquium focuses on the vibrant and volatile debate over the Rise of the West: How did Europeans become so rich and why did they come to dominate so much of the world between the fifteenth and nineteenth centuries? Was it the result of Europe’s unique culture? Technology? Military supremacy? Politics? Religion? Science? Geography? Luck? This course is designed for students who are teachers or will one day teach world history, as well as those who are interested in trans national, trans regional, integrative history.

Required Readings (all books are available through the Matador Bookstore; additional readings can be accessed here)



Schedule of Readings:

I. The World to 1350

Jan. 19: Introduction
Jan. 26: Jared Diamond, Guns, Germs, and Steel
Feb. 2: Janet Abu-Lughod, Before European Hegemony, 1-184, 212-290, 316-373
II. European Exceptionalism

Feb. 9: Eric Jones, The European Miracle
Feb. 16: David Landes, The Wealth and Poverty of Nations
Feb. 23: Joel Mokyr, The Lever of Riches
March 2: Toby Huff, The Rise of Early Modern Science
March 9: Geoffrey Parker, The Military Revolution, 82-145; Thompson, “The Military Superiority Thesis…” JWH 10 (1999): 143-7; David Abernathy, The Dynamics of Global Dominance, 1-12, 45-63, 175-224

III. The View from the East

March 16:  Andre Gunder Frank, ReOrient, ; Flynn and Giráldez, “Born with a ‘Silver Spoon’,” JWH 6 (1995): 201-21
March 23:  John Hobson, The Eastern Origins of Western Civilization
March 30: No Class - Conference
April 6: No Class - Spring Break

IV. The "California School"

April 13: Kenneth Pomeranz, The Great Divergence
April 20: P. H. H. Vries, “Are Coal and Colonies Really Crucial?” JWH 12 (2001): 407-46
April 27: Jack Goldstone, “Efflorescences and Economic Growth…” JWH 13 (2002): 323-89 and “The Rise of the West – or Not?” Sociological Theory 18 (2000): 175-94
May 4: Conclusion
May 11: Final Paper Due