EIU His 2560.01 (90684), Fall 2012, Newton Key
9:30 – 10:45 am TR Coleman Hall 2751
Syllabus as pdf ( brief version)

Early Modern World History

His 2650 begins with classical civilizations unraveling and ends with the threads of modernity; it moves from the global reach of the nomadic Mongols in the 13th century to the global export of the French Revolution circa 1800.

Course objectives:
  • Distinguish primary sources from secondary works; use both to make a historical argument
  • Identify, cite (reference), and use in a historical argument different types of early modern sources: paintings & prints, maps, pamphlets and newspapers (brief primary texts), and basic quantitative data
  • Understand and be able to make claims based on comparative history (between nations and civilizations) and chronology (change over time)
  • Understand how to use both fiction and non-fiction sources from a period in a historical argument
  • Be able to draw information from selected online databases of primary sources, focusing on visual representations (Early English Books Online), serial texts (British Periodicals), and numbers (Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade Database).

Before Modern Civilization, 1200-1450 (What is the relation between pre-modern and modern civilizations? between nomadic societies and civilization?)

week 1. Society and Civilization; Early and Modern

  • 21 Aug. Introduction
    • 13th century Mappa Mundi (1, 2, 3, 4 [Anglia, Wallia, Hibernia], 5, 6, 7 [Jerusalem])
    • 16th & 17th century maps (1, 2, 3, 4, 5)
    • John White (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6)
  • 23 Aug. Brook, "The View from Delft" (pp. 1-10)
Marco Polo
week 2. Nomadic Civilization?: Mongol Asia
Liu Kuan-tao (later 13th c.), Khubilai Khan on a hunt

week 3. China as a Pre-modern Civilization (Continuity & Change from Song to Ming Dynasties)

Song dynasty, scholar and monk converse

Europe and the Gunpowder Empires, 1450-1700 (What is the relation between arms and politics? between Church and State?)

week 4. Islamic Gunpowder Empires

Jahangir's dream of embracing Shah 'Abbas
Jahangir's dream of embracing Shah 'AbbasTaj Mahal
Taj Mahal mausoleum built by Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan, mid-17th century

week 5. Early and Modern in European Renaissance & Reformation

Lorenzo il Magnifico, 1449-1469-1492

week 6. Europe: New Monarchies

Queen Elizabeth, Armada Portrait
Columbian Exchange and Its Impact, 1492-1763 (How did Europe and Africa fit into Amerindian culture? How did the New World fit into European culture?)

week 7. Old World and the New World

Earliest European woodcut of the New World

From Wars of Religion to Wars of Trade, 1555-1763 (Did early modern wars in Europe make sense? Why did Europe expand?)

week 8. War, Trade, and Empire, part 1

Benjamin West, The Death of Wolfe, 1770Benjamin West, The Death of Wolfe, 1770

week 9. War, Trade, and Empire, part 2


week 10. Africa and the Atlantic World

Candide in Surinam

week 11. Scientific Revolution and Applied Science in Europe

  • 30 Oct., 1 Nov. McKay, ch. 18 (pp. 526-533); Letters and Reviews related to Candide (pp. 121-131)
18th-Century Atlantic World

week 12. Scientific Revolution and Applied Science in Europe

Olaudah Equiano, or, Gustavus Vassa, the African

Liberty and Terror at the Advent of Modernity, 1763-1799 (What is the relation between revolution and civilization?)

week 13. The Enlightenment Project

cutting cane antigua Cutting the Sugar Cane, from 'Ten Views in the Island of Antigua', 1823

week 14. Age of Revolution: France, Europe, the World

week 15. Birth of the Modern

David, Tennis Court Oath
  • Timothy Brook, Vermeer's Hat: The Seventeenth Century and the Dawn of the Global World (2008) [11.080 TRS]
  • Voltaire, Candide, ed. Daniel Gordon (1999) [11.245]
  • John P. McKay, et. al., A History of World Societies, Vol. B, From 800-1815, 9th ed. (2012) [13.111]
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last modified on May 9, 2016