History 131: Topics in World History
Fall Semester, 2011 MWF, 2:00-3:05 PM, A Quad, BL 223
Dr. Charles Weber
Through a biographical approach, investigates selected themes in world history in light of the
liberal arts, historical perspective, and Christian thought and values. Not open to students who
have completed HIST 105, 111, or 115. (2 hours)
1. To provide an understanding of significant persons, events, movements, ideals and
values, and trends that shaped world history and cultures since 1500.
2. To study, through a biographical approach, individuals as reflective of historical and
cultural forces and who in turn have influenced world history to a greater or lesser extent;
likewise to see ourselves as shaped by historical and cultural forces.
3. To place individuals of a variety of cultural backgrounds into their historical context,
study their personal contributions to their era, and ascertain their legacy to the future.
4. To show the impact of Christianity and religion as a formative force in society and in the
lives of individuals.
5. To study the distinctions of Western civilization in comparison to other world cultural
6. To analyze how the study of the past aids in understanding and appreciating the issues of
the contemporary world.
7. To provide a more “hands-on” seminar for historical analysis and critical inquiry.
Roland Bainton, Here I Stand: A Life of Martin Luther (1977).
Robert J. Allison, editor, The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano, Written
by Himself (2006).
Jonathan Spence, Emperor of China: Self Portrait of Kang-hsi (1974).
Christopher Browning, Ordinary Men: Reserve Police Battalion 101 and the Final Solution
in Poland (1998 edition with revised Afterword).
Other selected articles on course themes as indicated on this syllabus and found on the
instructor’s web site: http://www.wheaton.edu/history/weberc [not Blackboard].
See hours posted weekly on office door, Blanchard 208 – usually Monday through Friday in
late afternoons (after 3:15). No appointment needed. Phone: 630-752-5863.
History 131, Fall, 2011
1. Class activities are designed to (1) give an overall context for an understanding of
modern world history from 1500; (2) introduce historical issues and methods; and (3) show the
role of individuals in relation to historical forces. Therefore, familiarity with the scheduled
reading assignment before each class on a specific topic listed on this syllabus is necessary and
expected. One should come to class prepared to participate.
2. Much of the material in the reading assignments will not be reiterated in class,
therefore you are encouraged to ask questions in class which arise from your readings.
3. Assignments and evaluation:
a. To encourage preparation for each class, one should expect either a quiz or a
homework assignment over that class’s assigned reading. They will be announced in advance.
b. There will be two exams, noncumulative. They will evaluate through objective
questions and written answers the readings, videos, and class material on each book.
c. Class participation will include general discussion, reaction papers and small
group discussion and these will be evaluated and become part of the final grading. In addition,
attendance at all classes (including one’s presence promptly at the time when class begins) is
expected as is the completion of all assignments on time. In the event of three consecutive
absences and/or five altogether a person will be asked to drop the course or be liable for
significant grade reduction. Class participation is equivalent to one letter grade in one’s final
course grade.
4. Grading will follow this pattern:
a. Two exams combined
= 40%
b. Weekly quizzes/homework
= 50%
c. Class participation
(mainly class comments, also
attendance, and on time)
= 10%
5. This course involves many assignments and due dates which must be strictly adhered
to, including the time for the final exam. All homework assignments are due and all quizzes are
given at the beginning of class, promptly at 2:00 at the start of class. No papers or quizzes
will be given or accepted late. In addition, being on time for class is essential.
6. In the eventuality a test or assignment must be missed due to legitimate reasons,
approval must be attained from the instructor in person at least 24 hours in advance of the due
date. The make-up will consist of a written paper.
History 131, Fall, 2011
7. Classroom courtesy. In order to encourage a learning atmosphere in class which shows
courtesy to both students and instructor and which minimizes distractions, the following
procedures will be followed: (a) the classroom is not a lunchroom and therefore snacks and
meals should be eaten before or after class or during break, but not during the class itself; (b)
beverages may be consumed during class, but containers should be opened before class and not
during class; (c) class will begin promptly at the scheduled time and in order not to disrupt class
members while the class is in session, once the door is closed latecomers will be asked to remain
outside the classroom until the break time or until invited to enter the classroom by the instructor;
(d) if a person needs to leave the classroom early it is appropriate to inform the instructor in
advance and to sit near the door. These procedures are designed to make the classroom
environment as equitable and pleasant as possible for all involved.
8. It is expected that course books and assignment material necessary for each class’s
work will be brought to each class for use in class activities.
9. Extensive study guides are provided for each of the four required textbooks and the
supplementary readings listed below. Homework assignments, quizzes, tests and class discussions
are based on these study guides. The guides as well as the supplementary readings are available on
the instructor’s web site http://www.wheaton.edu/history/weberc [not Blackboard]. Each student
will be expected to make a personal copy of these study guides and readings in the early weeks of the
course for study purposes.
10. Proper Academic Procedure: Academic dishonesty occurs when a student or any
member of an academic community fails to truthfully represent the sources of their work,
whether on tests, in papers, presentations and projects, or in any academic assignment.
Academic dishonesty involves both stealing and lying, in that we steal the ideas and expressions
of another contrary to their intent and, in representing them as our own we lie regarding their
authorship. Academic dishonesty includes cheating, plagiarism, fabrication, any
misrepresentation or deception related to assigned or voluntary academic work, any deliberate
attempt to gain unfair advantage in completing requirements, and colluding, aiding or abetting
the academic dishonesty of another student. Such dishonesty is a violation of our obligation to
follow Christ in moral obedience and a violation of our shared commitment to the Wheaton
College Community Covenant (http://www.wheaton.edu/welcome/aboutus_community.html).
The College-wide policy on academic honesty is presented in the Student Handbook,
[http://intra/studentresources/studenthandbook/student_handbook.pdf)] and in accord with that
policy, incidents of academic dishonesty in this course will be dealt with decisively. All
academic work involves engagement with and presentation of the ideas of others, and so students
should not hesitate to use the work of others. However it is how that work is used that matters,
and this instructor is very willing to assist students in this class in learning how to properly use
and give credit for the work of others.
11. In order to encourage full participation and concentration during class sessions,
electronic devices are not permitted during class time.
12. Additions or corrections to the following syllabus, as are necessary, will be made
in class.
History 131, Fall, 2011
1. Aug. 24 and 26
The Historical Approach: The Universal Culture Pattern and the Role of
the Individual in History and Society
2. Aug. 29 and 31
I. Martin Luther: Product of a Medieval World View
Bainton, chaps. 1-5
3. Sept. 2
II. Martin Luther: A Renaissance-Reformation Figure and Leader of a New
Bainton, chaps. 6-10
4. Sept. 7 and 9
III. Martin Luther: Contributions to the Modern World
Bainton, chaps. 11-18 and additional pages
Article on Luther’s legacy from Time’s commemorative issue
“Luther: Giant of His Time and Ours”*
5. Sept. 12
I. Equiano: Participant in the Atlantic System and the Cultural Forces
of the Eighteenth Century
Equiano, pp. 1-69
Article on the Atlantic trading system by Philip Curtin: “The
Tropical Atlantic in the Age of the Slave Trade”*
6. Sept. 14
II. Equiano and the Age of Revolutions: The Atlantic Trade and Slave
Equiano, pp. 70-182
7. Sept. 16 and 19
III. Equiano: Christian Providence in an Era of Change
Equiano, pp. 183-214
Documents on Enlightenment political ideals: Declaration of
Independence, French Declaration of Rights of Man and the
Citizen, and Declaration of the Rights of Woman and the
Female Citizen*
8. Sept. 21
Mid-term Exam over Units 1-7 (Aug. 24-Sept. 19)
*Available on instructor’s web site: http://www.wheaton.edu/history/weberc [not Blackboard]
History 131, Fall, 2011
9. Sept. 23 and 26
I. Kang-hsi: Heir of an Ancient Chinese Tradition
Spence’s Emperor of China, pp. xi-xxvi and pp. 141-175.
Chapters on Chinese history and culture from World of Asia*
10. Sept. 28
II. Kang-hsi in an Era of Absolutism Worldwide
Spence, pp. 3-89
11. Sept. 30 and
Oct. 3
III. Kang-hsi and the Role of Christianity in China and the Future of China
Spence, pp. 93-139
Chapter on Christianity in China, “Wise Men from the West”
by G. Thompson Brown (from Christianity in the People’s
Republic of China)*
12. Oct. 5
I. Background to Ordinary Men: Modern Nationalism and the Rise of
Communism and Fascism
Browning, pp. xv-54
Article on Fascism by Mussolini*
13. Oct. 7
II. Ordinary Men and the Heyday of Nazism and the Holocaust
Browning, pp. 55-96, 120-142
14. Oct. 10 and 12
III. Ordinary Men and Postwar Responses to Nazism and the Shaping of
the Cold War
Browning, pp. 143-223
Selection by Victoria Barnett on “Christians and the Holocaust”*
15. Oct. 14
*Available on instructor’s web site: http://www.wheaton.edu/history/weberc [not Blackboard]

Dr. Charles Weber