Sample Syllabus - Rowan University

Professor James Heinzen
Rowan University
Fall 2010
Office hours: Monday and Weds, 2-3:00
[email protected]
This course outlines the emergence of a distinctive European society and civilization out
of Mediterranean and European antiquity. The relations between Europe and other
contemporary civilizations will be emphasized. This course will address major
intellectual, religious, social, and political developments through primary and secondary
readings, and a mixture of lecture and class discussion. The goal of the course is
threefold. To begin with, it seeks to deepen the students' knowledge of the early history
of the civilization in which we live and how the human experience has evolved over the
centuries. Furthermore, it aims to introduce students to some of the debates among
scholars about the interpretation of major historical questions, and to some of the sources
from which our historical knowledge is drawn. Finally, the course is intended to
strengthen students' writing, analytical, and study skills.
Class attendance is required. Class participation is also required. This means having
completed the assigned readings and it means answering questions as well as asking
questions in class. Do not hesitate to participate in discussions and ask or answer
Required textbooks: (available at the Rowan University Bookstore)
Mark Kishlansky, Civilization in the West, vol. 1, to 1715
Mark Kishlansky, editor, Sources in the West, vol. 1, to 1715.
Einhard, Life of Charlemagne
Other photocopied handouts to be passed out in class.
Course requirements: There will be several quizzes, both written (short essay and shortanswer identification), and map quizzes. Quizzes will be given on random dates, and will
cover readings assigned up until that day, so you must keep up with the reading if you
expect to do well. Each quiz will count for five percent of your grade. You will also have
a mid-term and final exam. Both will require that you synthesize materials from lectures
and readings. The midterm will account for 20% of your grade, and the final will count
for 30%. I will grade your exams on the basis of the logic and clarity of your answers and
on your use of evidence.
You will also write one five-page response paper to primary sources we read. This paper
will count for 20 percent of your grade. Be sure to read all assigned documents in the
Sources of the West text. Many will be discussed in class; others will appear on quizzes.
Discussion questions to keep in mind for the entire course:
Can you find any patterns to European history and the behavior of
Europeans during the periods we have studied?
Do you see any ways in which this history and behavior differ from
those of non-European societies?
Is there really such a thing as “Western Civilization?”
I and Ia. (Sept. 1-8): Introduction. Early Man. The Neolithic Revolution
Reading: Source book, readings 1, 2, and 3.
Discussion questions: What is Western Civilization?
What is Europe?
How did ‘history’ begin?
II. (Sept. 13-15): The Hebrews, Egypt and Bronze Age Civilization
Reading: Kishlansky, Civilization in the West, ch. 1
Source book, readings 5, 6, 7, and 8.
Discussion questions: Why did Egypt become the location for a great civilization?
What contributions to western culture did the Egyptians make?
III. (Sept. 20-22): The Rise of Greek Civilization
Reading: Kishlansky, Civilization in the West, ch. 2
Source book, readings 9, 11
Discussion questions: How did the Hebrew state evolve? What is distinctive
about Hebrew religious thought?
Why did Greece become the location for a great civilization?
What was Greek civilization?
IV. (Sept. 27-29) The Greek Polis—Sparta and Athens.
Reading: Kishlansky, Civilization in the West, ch. 2
Source book, readings 12, 13, 14
V. (October 11-13): Greek Culture, Alexander the Great, Hellenistic Civilization
Reading: Kishlansky, Civilization in the West, ch. 3
Source book, readings 15-16
Discussion questions: What were the Greeks’ major political and intellectual
VI. (October 18-20): Early Rome and the Roman Republic
Reading: Kishlansky, Civilization in the West, ch. 4
Source book, readings 17-18
Discussion questions:
What geographical conditions set the stage for Rome’s rise?
What were the key features of the Roman Republic?
VII. (October 25-27): Imperial Rome
Reading: Kishlansky, Civilization in the West, ch. 5
Source Book, readings 19-22
Discussion questions: What was the Roman Empire?
How did Rome rise to greatness?
What were the strengths, weaknesses, and major contributions of
the Roman Empire?
VIII. (November 1-3): The Rise and Spread of Christianity; the Emergence of
Medieval Civilization
Reading: Kishlansky, Civilization in the West, ch. 6
Source book, readings 23, 24.
Discussion questions: How did the Greek, Roman, Germanic, and Christian
cultures interact to create something called Europe?
IX. (November 8-10) Islam and Byzantium
Reading: Kishlansky, Civilization in the West, Chapter 7
Source book, readings 25, 26, 33, 34, 35, 38
Discussion questions: Why did three of the world’s great religions--Judaism, Christianity,
and Islam--originate in the same part of the world? What
are the similarities among them?
X. (November 15-17):
Early Medieval Civilization and Charlemagne
Reading: Kishlansky, Civilization in the West, ch. 8
Source book, reading 30-32
Einhard, Life of Charlemagne
Discussion questions: To what extent is Einhard a primary source?
Was Charlemagne’s empire the successor to the Roman Empire?
Was Carolingian Europe the “first Europe?”
XI. (November 22-24): Europe’s Growth, 1000-1200
Reading: Kishlansky, Civilization in the West, ch. 9
Source book, readings 39, 40
Discussion questions: What were the most important features of feudalism?
How did the Catholic church grow and reform?
What was a medieval city?
XII. (November 29-December 1): Life and Society in the Middle Ages; Demographic
Crisis: 100 Years War, and the Black Death: 1300-1500
Reading: Kishlansky, Civilization in the West, ch 9 and 10
Source book, readings 40-44, 50
Discussion questions: What was capitalism?
What were the causes and effects of the fourteenth century disasters?
XIII. (December 6-8) Rebirth and Rediscovery: the Renaissance
Reading: Kishlansky, Civilization in the West, ch. 11
Source book, readings 51, 52, 53, 54
Discussion questions: What does the term “Renaissance” mean?
How did the Renaissance influence politics, government, and social organization?
How was the church behaving during the Renaissance in Italy?
What are the distinguishing features of Renaissance thought, art, and literature?
XIV. (December 13) Reformation, Religious Wars, and Scientific Discovery
Reading: Kishlansky, Civilization in the West, chs. 12 and 13
Source book, readings 60, 63, 64
Discussion questions: What specific criticisms did Luther have of the Church and
the Papacy?
What were the consequences of religious division?
Why did the Reformation begin in Germany?
What were the unintended results of the Reformation?
What was Europe’s relationship to the non-European world?
How did Europeans gain control over distant territories?
What were the effects of overseas expansion on Europe and conquered societies?
**In-class final examination during finals week, December 15-21**
-----------------------------------------*Student Accommodation Policy
Your academic success is important. If you have a documented disability that may have
an impact upon your work in this class, please contact me. You are not required to
disclose to me the nature of your disability, only that you qualify for accommodation,
with the appropriate paperwork from the office of Student Affairs. Students must provide
documentation of their disability to the Academic Success Center in order to receive
official University services and accommodations. The ASC can be reached at 856-2564234 and is located on the third floor of Savitz Hall. Staff is available to answer questions
regarding accommodations and to help you obtain them.
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