Harcourt Fuller, Ph.D.
Modern times include some of the most dramatic, and traumatic, developments in history. The centuries from 1500 to 2000 saw unprecedented political, economic, technological and social progress. But the same time period also encompassed unparalleled destruction, and cruelty almost beyond belief. This course explores both positive and negative aspects of this story, while introducing students to major interpretations of modern world history. Knowledge of the past is essential to understanding our present situation and future prospects, and the years from 1500 are arguably the most dynamic in all human history.
Following the organizational basis of Robert W. Strayer’s textbook, Ways of the World, the class will be organized around “The Three Cs of World History,” namely, Comparison, Connection, and Change among the various world civilizations, cultures and actors over the time span of the last five centuries. Major topics to be covered will include: historical methods and the use of primary sources; the influence of disease, environment and ecological change; imperial conquest and colonization; the dynamics of gender and labor over the centuries; migration and new ideas about education and religion; political and economic thought; slavery, resistance and abolition; technology and social change; colonialism and nationalism; the impact of war and revolution; the development of the Global South and Globalization.
Case studies will provide further detail on the major regions of the world. Finally, a major component of your final grade will involve you stepping outside of the classroom and engaging in an Experiential Learning Project relating to world history and cultures, on which you will write a final research paper.
Robert W. Strayer, Ways of the World: A Brief Global History with Sources. Vol. 2: Since 1500. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2011. ISBN-13: 978-0312489182.
Mary Lynn Rampolla, A Pocket Guide to Writing in History, 7th ed. (Boston: Bedford/St.Martin’s, 2010). ISBN-13: 978-0-312-61041-8.
Kristin Lehner et al., World History Matters: A Student Guide to World History Online (Boston: Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2009). ISBN-13: 978-0-312-48582-5.
Rand McNally, Historical Atlas of the World (Boston: Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2010). ISBN-13: 978-0-312-57077-4.
The Bedford Glossary for World History. (Boston: Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2010). ISBN-13: 978-0-312-57641-7.