Themes in World History (2019-2020)

  •  “There is nothing noble in being superior to your fellow man; true nobility is being superior to your former self.”

    Ernest Hemingway

    Kanpur Massacre - 1857    Opium Wars
    Welcome to the academic year 2019 - 2020 and to Themes in World History, a course in which you will examine, analyze, and interpret historical events and developments from the heights of enlightened thinking to the depths of the degradations of trench warfare, dictatorship, and genocide.  This course is intended for students who are seriously interested in the study of the history of humankind's development - the "good," the "bad," and the decidedly "ugly." In this course, students will learn factual content and develop the skills to interpret those facts from a variety of historic themes including: 
    • The Nature of War & Peace
    • World Religions
    • Imperialism, Colonialism, and De-Colonization
    • Genocide Throughout History
    • Revolutions: Political, Social, and Economic
    • Democracy vs. Dictatorship
    • Capitalism, Communism and Economic Globalization
    • Global Cultural Shifts: The Visual Arts, Music, Literature, & Theatre
    Students use assigned texts and other sources (including, but not limited to, primary source readings, audio recordings, documentary films), to develop a base-line knowledge of people and events.  Then, they engage in activities such as audio podcasts, critical thinking exercises, reading & creating historic maps, issue debates, and history timelines to apply analysis, interpretation and historiographical theory to those same topics.
    Formal assessment for the course is based on objective and essay tests, quizzes, classroom activities, research projects (team debates, podcasts, etc.), and homework.
    Explorations of the development of fundamental political, economic, cultural, and social ideas begun during the Age of the Enlightenment are the basis for this course.  By the end of this course, students will be able to explain, compare and contrast the foundations of many aspect of the past four centuries.  This will include the development of such critical documents as the Declaration of Independence, the US Constitution & the Bill of Rights, the French Declaration of the Rights of Man & Citizen that have advanced the modern world.  These include republicanism & democracy, capitalism, socialism & communism, nationalism, imperialism, fascism, globalism and beyond.  You will, I hope, be amazed at the power even one single idea can have on the entire world.  To quote the title character from the 2005 dystopian-future film, V for Vendetta:

    "We are told to remember the idea, not the man, because a man can fail. He can be caught. He can be killed and forgotten. But four hundred years later an idea can still change the world. I've witnessed firsthand the power of ideas. I've seen people kill in the name of them; and die defending them. But you cannot kill an idea, cannot touch it or hold it."

    V

     


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