Jeff Hornibrook
SUNY Plattsburgh

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This course will examine several of the most important issues of the last five hundred years of history. Rather than trying to cover every major event in every country over that time, I will focus on three non-western countries and the themes of imperialist expansion and response.

These five hundred years will be divided into three distinct periods and examined in separate units. The first third will examine the years from 1500 to 1750. During this time European countries developed modern commercial and eventually industrial technologies. At the same time, the Asian, African, and South American continents organized their societies to provide for their own welfare. However, as European economic and political power was brought to bear upon these other continents the Modern World-System was formed.

Next, the course will examine a much shorter period of time, 1750 to World War I. During this era imperialism reached its zenith as European technological skills were used to support nationalist aims. Under this set of policies countries in Africa, South America, and Asia were either directly or indirectly administered and exploited by the European powers.

The final period is the shortest period covering the years from 1914 to the present. During this time colonialism was dismantled in each country of the underdeveloped world. The means by which former colonies received their independence and the relationships each country had with imperialist states is the subject of this section of the course.

Required Texts:

Stearns et. al. World Civilizations: The Global Experience 4th Edition

Leon-Portilla, Miguel Broken Spears

Ida Pruitt A Daughter of Han

Mandela, Nelson Long Walk To Freedom

Map of the World (See last page of syllabus for assignment)

E-Reserve Readings (Secret Code: his132f)


Class Participation 10%

Map Assignment 5%

Library Assignment 5%

3 Paper Assignments 40%

3 Exams 40%


Student Obligations:

Students are required to complete the assigned reading, to attend all lectures, participate in all small groups, and hand in all written assignments on time. All assignments must be handed in to receive credit for the course. The course deals with unfamiliar information for many, therefore, the reading assignments should be completed before the lecture to which they apply. Students are encouraged to ask questions when information is unclear as well as participate in class during lectures.

Late work will be docked at least 1/3 a letter grade. If work is more than one week late it will be docked by a full grade. If work is more than one week late it will be docked by 1/3 for each week it is late. Any paper that plagiarizes published or unpublished materials (including the work of friends or classmates) will receive a zero. For details on plagiarism see: http://www.plattsburgh.edu/academics/history/plagiarism.php


Class Participation : There will be several in-class group projects that will include short assignments pertaining to class lectures and readings. Also, I will take attendance nearly every day. You will be graded on your attendance in this class based on these spot check-ups.

Map Assignment : You will locate several important geographical sites on a map. This assignment will help to make you familiar with the countries and cities that will be discussed in this course. You will turn this assignment in with your first paper assignment. Please staple the two assignments together. ( See the last page of this syllabus for the map assignment)

Library/Media Assignment : You will be required to use several library devices as well as the Internet to find information on one of the topics of this class. The full assignment will be handed out later in the course.

Writing Assignments : Each student will do three written assignments based upon the primary sources in this class. The first paper will examine Broken Spears, the second paper will examine A Daughter of Han and the third will examine Long Walk to Freedom. Specifics regarding these assignments will be provided in class.

Exams : There will be an exam after studying each of the three historical periods. Each of these exams will include short identifications and essays. I will provide a review sheet one week before each exam and you will be allowed to bring in one 3”x5” note card handwritten with any notes on it you wish.

Lecture Schedule and Reading List:

8/29-9/2: Introduction, Modernity, Eurocentrism

Stearns, pp. xiii-xxvii

9/5-9/9: Life in the Pre-Modern World

Stearns, pp. 482-489

9/12-9/16: Early Colonial Empires (1500-1750): Europe

Stearns, chpts. 21-22

Broken Spears , pp. xi-xlix, chpts 1-2

Packet #1 Readings “Witchcraze, 1560-1760”, “Women’s Work”

9/19-9/23: Early Colonial Empires (1500-1750): Mexico

Stearns, chpts. 24

Broken Spears chpts. 3-8

Packet #1 Reading “African Women in Barbados” and “Honor and Shame in New Spain”

9/26-9/30: Early Colonial Empires (1500-1750): South Africa

Stearns, chpt. 25

Broken Spears chpts. 9-13

Packet#1 Reading “World of the Great Company/The Cape of Good Hope”

10/3-10/7: Early Colonial Empire (1500-1750): China

Stearns, chpt. 27

Broken Spears chpts. 14-16

Packet #1 Readings “What the Weaver Said” and “Marco Polo Describes the City of Hangchow”

10/10 No Classes for Columbus Day

10/12-10/14: Industrialization & Western Hegemony (1750-1914): Europe

Stearns, chpts. 28-29

Daughter of Han pp. 1-35

Packet #2 Reading “The Condition of the Working Class in England”

10/14: Turn in Assignment #1 on Broken Spears

10/14: Turn in Map Assignment

10/17-10/21: Industrialization and Western Hegemony (1750-1914): China

10/17: Exam #1

Stearns, chpt. 31

Daughter of Han pp. 36-72

Packet #2 Reading “Placards Posted in Guangzhou” and “Liao Ch’eng-chih: Second Revolutionary Generation”

10/24-10/28: Industrialization and Western Hegemony (1750-1914): Mexico

Stearns, chpt. 30

Daughter of Han 74-141

Packet #2 Reading “Mexican Peasants During the Revolution”

10/31-11/4: Industrialization and Western Hegemony (1750-1914): South Africa

Daughter of Han pp. 142-194

Packet #2 Reading “Coercing African Labor: The Mines of South Africa”

11/4: Turn in Library Assignment

11/7-11/11: The World Wars

Stearns, chpt. 33-34

Daughter of Han pp. 195-End

11/11: Turn in Paper Assignment #2 on Daughter of Han

11/14-11/18: Aftermath of the World Wars and the Cold War (1914-Present)

11/14: Exam #2

Stearns, chpts. 36-37

Long Walk to Freedom pp. 1-59

Packet #3 Reading Readings to be Announced

11/21: The Twentieth Century World: South Africa

Stearns, pp. 968-986

Long Walk To Freedom pp. 199-261

Packet #3 Reading “Country Lovers”

11/23-11/25 No Classes for Thanksgiving

11/28-12/2: The Twentieth Century World: China

Stearns, chpts. 40

Long Walk to Freedom pp. 381-447

Packet #3 Reading Excerpts from Personal Voices

12/5-12/9: The Twentieth Century World: Mexico

Stearns, chpt. 38, 41

Long Walk to Freedom pp. 561-625

Packet #3 Reading Excerpts from Mexican Lives

12/9: Turn in Paper Assignment #3 on the book Long Walk to Freedom

12/10-12/6: Finals Week Begins

Exam #3 

Map Assignment:

United States: Washington D.C., Plattsburgh NY, Your home town

Mexico: Mexico Cit , Veracruz

England: London

Spain: Madrid

Portugal: Lisbon

South Africa: Johannesburg , Pretoria, Cape Town, Port Elizabeth

China: Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou


Indicate the five most populous countries: China, India, United States, Indonesia, Brazil

Indicate the five largest countries: Russia, Canada, China, United States, Brazil