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Master Syllabus

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Administrative Unit: History and Political Science Department
Course Prefix and Number: HIST 111
Course Title: World History to 1500
Number of:
Credit Hours 3
Lecture Hours 3
Lab Hours 0
Catalog Description:

This course surveys the major developments that have shaped the human experience from the earliest civilizations to 1500 CE. The course will examine overall patterns of early global history, characteristics of the world’s major pre-modern civilizations, and the relationships and exchanges among these societies. Major themes include humans and their environment, culture, politics and government, economics, and social structures.  Students will also gain insight into the historical roots of many of the world’s major cultural traditions. Offered Fall semesters.  G.E.  Course meets multicultural graduation requirement.

Course Rotation for Day Program:

Offered Fall.

Text(s): Most current editions of the following:

A textbook and the use of primary sources are both required.

- Main textbook:  Choose one from texts 1-6 below.
- Primary sources:  Choose one from texts 7-9 below or build primary sources from online material.
  -- A recommended site:  World History Sources at George Mason University (

Traditions & Encounters: A Brief Global History, Volume 1
By Bentley, Zeigler, and Streets (McGraw Hill)
Category/Comments - MAIN TEXT
The Earth and Its Peoples: A Global History, Vol. 1, To 1550
By Bulliet, Crossley, Headrick, Hirsch, Johnson, and Northrup (Houghton Mifflin)
Category/Comments - MAIN TEXT
World History to 1500
By Duiker and Spielvogel (Cengage Publishers)
Category/Comments - MAIN TEXT
The Human Venture: a Global History, Volume 1 (to 1500)
By Esler (Pearson)
Category/Comments - MAIN TEXT
World Civilizations: The Global Experience, Volume 1
By Stearns, Adas, Schwartz, and Gilbert (Pearson)
Category/Comments - MAIN TEXT
Ways of the World, Volume 1
By Strayer, Robert W. (Bedford/St. Martins)
Category/Comments - MAIN TEXT
Sources of World Civilization: A Diversity of Traditions, Volume 1
By Johnson and Halverson (Prentice Hall)
Category/Comments - PRIMARY SOURCE
Documents in World History, Volume 1: The Great Traditions: From Ancient Times to 1500
By Stearns, et al. (Longman)
Category/Comments - PRIMARY SOURCE
Discovering the Global Past: A Look at the Evidence, Volume 1: To 1650
By Weisner-Hanks, Wheeler, Doeringer, and Curtis (Wadsworth)
Category/Comments - PRIMARY SOURCE
A Pocket Guide to Writing in History
By Rampolla, Mary Lynn (Bedford/St. Martins)
Course Learning Outcomes
  1. Analyze and interpret primary sources from the period to 1500 CE and use them as evidence to support historical arguments.
  2. Identify and describe the context and significance of major figures, ideas, and events of world history to 1500CE.
  3. Construct an historical essay based on primary documents.
  4. Analyze other time periods and cultures to 1500CE with little or no ethnocentrism or modern bias.
Major Topics/Skills to be Covered:

    The course should provide chronological coverage of the following topics and require students to read, to write, and to speak about them:

  • Human Prehistory, 35,000 - 3000 BCE: first cultures and economic environmental adaptation; 4th millennium revolutions
  • First civilizations or city-states, 7500 - 750 BCE.  First civilizations in river valleys: Tigris and Euphrates, Nile, Indus Valley, HuangHo.  Other centers of civilization: Americas and the near east.  The question of the Goddess: gender, religion, and society.
  • Classical civilizations or world empires, 2000 BCE - 1100 CE: classical Greece and the Hellenistic world; Rome and its empire; Chinese imperial traditions: Zhou to Song dynasties State and society in classical India.
  • Rise of World Religions, 2500 BCE - 1500 CE:  Hinduism and Buddhism; Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.
  • The Americas before the Europeans, 200 BCE - 1500 CE.
  • Africa before the Europeans, 300 BCE - 1400 CE.
  • Australasia before the Europeans, 40,000 BCE - 1500 CE.
  • The Rise of Europe, 400 - 1500 CE:  Traditional Europe, 300 - 1000 CE; Europe’s Political/Religious Challenges, 1000 - 1500 CE; Europe’s Economic and Social Challenges, 500 - 1200 CE; Europe’s cultural Transformation--Renaissance.
  • Movement of Goods and Peoples, 300 - 1600 CE:  the last Nomadic challenge: Turco-Mongols; Trade, transportation, and exploration (Prince Henry and Zheng-He); The World before the European Hegemony
  • A transformed globalized system

Recommended maximum class size for this course: 35

Library Resources:

Online databases are available at the Columbia College Stafford Library.  You may access them using your CougarTrack login and password when prompted.

Prepared by: David Karr Date: August 12, 2015
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 learning outcomes and cover the subjects listed in the Major Topics/Skills to be Covered section. 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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