HIST 160B1 - History of Western Civilization: From the Rise of Cities to the Counter Revolution


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Course Syllabus

Course Description: 

This is a hybrid course with online lectures and in-class discussion sections.

This course explores the civilizations of the West by considering the development of the ideas and ideologies that shaped the institutions of the West, development directed by Human interaction and conflict on a social, political, religious, and cultural level, in addition to the intellectual. Themes of particular interest include the structure and dynamics of power, competing configurations of deity and ritual, image and architecture as tools in the acquisition of authority, and the construction of a social normative on the grounds of class, culture and gender.

Course Objective: 

By the end of this course you will no longer take the term “Western Civilization” for granted, because you will understand how contacts and conflicts within and between societies in Europe, Asia, and Africa over thousands of years created the cultures that make up the West.  As part of this process you will also gain an understanding of how historians use evidence to make arguments about the past, because this is what you will be doing in your discussion sections and exam essays. 

Required Course Materials: 

ASSIGNED TEXTBOOK: Brian Levack, Edward Muir, and Meredith Veldman, The West: Encounters and Transformations. Volume 1: To 1715, 3rd ed (Boston: Longman, 2011).  Available in the UA Bookstore. Please note that MyHistoryLab is NOT required for this course.  It is a useful tool that comes free with a new textbook purchased from the UA Bookstore, but if you buy a book that does not include MyHistoryLab, that is fine.  You will need to purchase a new book from the UA Bookstore if you want to use the eBook version of the textbook on D2L, but again, that is not required.  There is also a direct purchase link on D2L to buy the eBook version of the textbook if you would rather just have that and not use the print textbook. 

D2L MODULES: I will post my lectures as well as other podcasts, articles, handouts, links to online sources, and other class materials on D2L.  PLEASE DO ALL THE WORK LISTED IN THE D2L MODULES EVEN IF IT IS NOT LISTED IN THIS SYLLABUS (unless the word “optional” is beside it).


Course Grading: 

Grading (ten-point scale: 100-90=A, 89-80=B, 79-70=C, 69-60=D, 59-0=E):

EXAMS: 75% (25% x 3)three take-home essay exams of no more than 1200 words each.  Use the “word count” function and make sure you are within these limits.  Papers that go over the word count limit will be penalized.  EDITING is a very important skill.  I do not want you to repeat everything you know about a topic.  I want you to support your arguments with what you think is the most important and relevant evidence.  Make sure you present an argument and analyze the sources – do not just list evidence, and do not pad your word count by including long quotations.  You will have an entire week to write your essays, so we expect that your exams will be well written.  Plan ahead.  Late papers will be penalized and may not be accepted.  Extensions will be granted only in the case of serious emergencies. 

PARTICIPATION: 25% – this is not just attendance at the 12 discussion sections.  Attendance is important, because if you are not there, you cannot participate. But, you will not receive an A just for showing up.  You will receive a real grade (A-E) based on the quality of your participation in the discussion sections.  You are also expected to watch all the lectures on D2L.

Course Policies: 

A Note on Hybrid Courses: This course requires just as much work as a traditional course.  In other words, you should plan to spend about 8-10 hours each week working on the course (reading, writing, listening to lectures, etc.)  You will have some freedom to set your own pace, but this is not a self-paced course.  I have made deadlines throughout the semester to keep you on track.  I also will not post lectures or assignments too far in advance, because I want you to take your time and think about the lectures and readings.  Please look at the deadlines and due dates and plan accordingly.  If you have any questions, please let your TA know.  If they cannot answer your questions, they will talk to me.

College of Social and Behavioral Sciences

Contact Us

Department of History
Cesar E. Chavez
Main Office, Room 415 
1110 James E. Rogers Way
Tucson, AZ 85721
Tel: (520) 621-1586
Fax: (520) 621-2422