HIST 110: World History to 1500

Prof. Jeffrey Auerbach
History Department
Fall 2003
TTh 11-12:15 (Sierra Hall 186)
W 4:20-6:50 (Sierra Hall 198)

Description: World history is an effort to view the past with a wide angle lens. This involves exploring history not on a local level (e.g., the history of Los Angeles), nor on a national basis (e.g., US history), nor even by focusing a specific part of the world (e.g, Africa or the Middle East), but rather by taking a truly global approach. This means examining processes of change that affected large numbers of people over long periods of time: the emergence of complex societies (civilizations), the rise of religions that have endured for thousands of years, the development and transfer of technologies that have influenced everyday life, and the establishment of systems of government that continue to serve as models up to the present day. To do this we will compare and contrast developments in different parts of the world, and analyze how various peoples and regions of the world influenced one another and became interconnected. In the interest of providing some structure, this course will focus on the theme of cross-cultural encounters, as we discuss (1) the creation and expansion of cities and empires in the eastern Mediterranean and western Asia; (2) the movement of religious ideas (especially Buddhism) from India to China along the silk road; (3) the rapid emergence and spread of Christianity from its origins in the Levant; (4) the rise of Islam and relations between Muslims and non-Muslims in the Indian Ocean, Africa, and Iberia; and (5) the expansion of long-distance contact and trade across not just Eurasia but the Atlantic as well, with the rise of the Mongol Empire and the Spanish encounter with the Aztecs.

Required Readings: (Available at Matador Bookstore)
Course Policies:
Topics and Readings (For once-a-week Wednesday schedule click here ):

I. The Emergence of Civilizations and Empires

Aug. 26

Aug. 28
Before History

Traditions & Encounters, ch. 1
Sept. 2
Traditions & Encounters, ch. 2
The Human Record, pp. 1-16, 53-61
Sept. 4
Traditions & Encounters, ch. 3
The Human Record, pp. 16-24, 31-8
Sept. 9
Traditions & Encounters, ch. 7
The Human Record, pp. 85-92
Sept. 11
Greece and the Hellenistic World
Traditions & Encounters, ch. 10
The Human Record, pp. 48-52, 109-38
II. Buddhism Travels the Silk Road

Sept. 16
The Brahman Tradition and Hinduism
Traditions & Encounters, ch. 4 and pp. 213-26
The Human Record, pp. 42-8, 64-85, 155-64
Sept. 18
Traditions & Encounters, pp. 226-36
The Human Record, pp. 164-92
First Paper Due
Sept. 23 
China in the Age of Confucius
Traditions & Encounters, ch. 5, 8
The Human Record, pp. 25-31, 93-109, 146-55
Sept. 25

Mapping the Silk Road
Group Presentations
Sept. 30
Cultural Exchange along the Silk Road
Traditions & Encounters, pp. 295-304, 310-13
The Human Record, pp. 164-76
III. The Christianization of the Mediterranean World

Oct. 2
The Roman Republic and Empire
Traditions & Encounters, ch. 11
The Human Record, pp. 139-45
Second Paper Due
Oct. 7
The Crisis of Judaism
Traditions and Encounters, pp. 48-51, 289-90
The Human Record, pp. 58-63, 89-92, 192-6
Oct. 9

The Rise and Spread of Christianity
Traditions and Encounters, pp. 305-6
The Human Record, pp. 201-28
Oct. 14

“From Jesus to Christ”
No additional reading
Oct. 16
From Rome to Byzantium
Traditions and Encounters, ch. 13
The Human Record, pp. 331-43
Oct. 21

Mid-Term Exam

IV. The Rise and Spread of Islam

Oct. 23
The Life of Mohammed
Traditions & Encounters, pp. 355-62
The Human Record, pp. 229-54
Oct. 28

The Age of the Caliphates
Traditions & Encounters, pp. 362-80
Oct. 30
The Indian Ocean Basin
Traditions & Encounters, ch. 16
The Human Record, pp. 254-64, 315-30
Nov. 4
Islam in Sub-Saharan Africa
Traditions & Encounters, ch. 19
The Human Record, pp. 376-92, 445-50
Nov. 6               

Christian Europe and the Crusades
Traditions & Encounters, ch. 17, 20
The Human Record, pp. 344-75
V. The Age of Long-Distance Travel and Exchange

Nov. 11
East Asia c. 1000 CE
Traditions & Encounters, ch. 15
The Human Record, pp. 265-307
Third Paper Due
Nov. 13
The Mongol Empire
Traditions & Encounters, ch. 18
The Human Record, pp. 426-30
Nov. 18

Merchants, Missionaries, and the Plague
Traditions & Encounters, pp. 573-93
The Human Record, pp. 432-44
Nov. 20

A Tale of Two Explorers
Traditions & Encounters, pp. 593-9
The Human Record, pp. 411-24, 450-6
Nov. 25
The Americas Before Columbus
Traditions & Encounters, ch. 6, 21
The Human Record, pp. 38-41, 392-409
Nov. 27

No Class (Thanksgiving)

Dec. 2

The Columbian Exchange
The Human Record, pp. 457-470
Fourth Paper Due
Dec. 4

Conclusion and Review

Dec. 9

Final Exam (10:15 a.m.)

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