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Master Syllabus

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Administrative Unit: History and Political Science Department
Course Prefix and Number: HIST 101
Course Title: Western Civilization I
Number of:
Credit Hours 3
Lecture Hours 3
Lab Hours 0
Catalog Description:

European History from the Ancient Near East to 1715. G.E. Offered Fall and Spring.

Course Rotation for Day Program: Offered Fall and Spring.
Text(s): Most current editions of the following:

Choose a main textbook from among the most current editions of the following.

Consider choosing a supplementary reading:

  • A primary source reader keyed to main textbook selected above.
  • Aristophanes, Lysistrata (Signet Classics or Hackett)
  • Natalie Zermon Davis, The Return of MArtin Guerre (Harvard UP)
  • The Broken Spears: The Aztec Account of the Conquest of Mexico, ed. Miguel Leon-Portillo (Beacon)
  • Jonathan Lyons, The House of Wisdom: How the Arabs Transformed Western Civilization (Bloomsbury)
  • Machiavelli, The Prince (Penguin)
  • Montaigne, An Apology for Raymond Sebond (Penguin)

Western Civilization: A Brief History
By Perry, Marvin (Wadsworth)
A History of Civilization to 1715
By Winks, Robin (Prentice Hall)
The Making of the West: Peoples and Cultures: A Concise History, Volume 1
By Lynn Hunt, et al. (Bedford St. Martins)
Western Civilization, Volume I: To 1715
By Jackson J. Spielvogel (Cengage)
Course Objectives

  • To understand the major events, people, ideas and basic evolutionary structure of western civilization from Neolithic times to 1715.
  • To understand the development of political, social, economic, cultural, and intellectual aspects of each civilization and engage in “historical-mindedness” in their critical evaluation of how the present civilization in the West has evolved.

    Measurable Learning

  • Identify key characteristics of Paleolithic and Neolithic societies.
  • Describe the emergence of the Polis, the conflicts between Greece and its neighbors, and the transition between the Greek Golden Age and the Hellenistic World.
  • Describe the rise, fall, and legacy of Roman civilization.
  • Explain the rise of Christianity and its political, religious, social, and cultural impact throughout the western world.
  • Explain how the rise of Islam contributed to the growth of a new empire and a resulting divergence between empires.
  • Describe the issues which resulted in the growing conflict between the Monarchy and the Pope between 1000 and 1600.
  • Define and explain the fundamental concepts of medieval society.
  • Describe the reformation and its impact on society. 
  • Explain the religious and state conflicts which existed.
  • Define absolutism and illustrate how it impacted state building and the struggle for order.

    Topical Outline:

    Faculty in Missouri should review these DESE Standards
    before teaching the class:

  • Social Studies as a Field of Study (CR 1-6)
  • Principles Expressed in Documents Shaping Constitutional Democracy in the United States (SS 1, CR 1, 3; NCSS 1.3)
  • Continuity and Change in the History of Missouri, the United States and the World (SS 2, CR 1, 2; NCSS 1.1, 1.2)
  • Principles and Processes of Governance Systems (SS 3; CR 3; NCSS 1.3)
  • Relationships of lndivid.uals and Groups to Institutions and Cultural Traditions (SS 6; CR 6; NCSS 1.6)
  • Social Science Tools and Inquiry (SS 7; CR 1-6; NCSS 4.0)
  • Critical discussion of the concept of "civilization" 

  • Ancient Near East/Africa
  • Ancient Greece
  • Ancient Rome
  • Early Middle Ages
  • Late Middle Ages
  • Renaissance
  • Reformation
  • Early Modern Europe
  • Additional areas in which the instructor has expertise

    Culminating Experience Statement:

    Material from this course may be tested on the Major Field Test (MFT) administered during the Culminating Experience course for the degree. 
    During this course the ETS Proficiency Profile may be administered.  This 40-minute standardized test measures learning in general education courses.  The results of the tests are used by faculty to improve the general education curriculum at the College.


    Recommended maximum class size for this course: 35

    Library Resources:

    Online databases are available at You may access them from off-campus using your CougarTrack login and password when prompted.

    Prepared by: David Karr Date: June 13, 2013
    NOTE: The intention of this master course syllabus is to provide an outline of the contents of this course, as specified by the faculty of Columbia College, regardless of who teaches the course, when it is taught, or where it is taught. Faculty members teaching this course for Columbia College are expected to facilitate learning pursuant to the course objectives and cover the subjects listed in the topical outline. However, instructors are also encouraged to cover additional topics of interest so long as those topics are relevant to the course's subject. The master syllabus is, therefore, prescriptive in nature but also allows for a diversity of individual approaches to course material.

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