History of World Civilization I

HIS 111-77C



The Course:

This course conducts a ‘survey’ of major civilizations around the world.   We begin with the ancient civilizations of the Near East (today this area is called the ‘Middle East’) and Mediterranean, Asia, African, the Americas, and Europe.

We will focus on the situations in which selected civilizations began—examining factors of geography, early culture and economy, political organization, and religious ideas—and trace the development of these early beginnings to maturity and, in some cases, decline. 



What is the purpose of this study?

There are many reminders about the need to remember the lessons of history on the grounds that if we aren’t careful, we are liable to make the same mistakes.  But history teaches us much more than what to avoid.  It teaches us how people have lived and how they have changed over the centuries.   Why do societies change?  Is change good?  What real choices do we have in life?  History can help us develop a perspective on questions such as these.  Knowledge of past  experience and tradition can also help us understand the world we life in today.  For example,  we take as a given that democratic government is the best form of government.  Why, then, was it nowhere to be found until relatively recently in human history?   Had people  wanted democracy, would such institutions have been possible in the ancient period?  What conditions must be in place before democracy is possible? 

 The study of history enables us to acquire a more informed perspective on questions like these.


The work of the course:

The most important task for students in this course is reading—reading for comprehension and 

relevant detail.  The reading material will introduce many new terms and phrases unfamiliar to you.  You

are encouraged to use encyclopedias and other resources to develop your comprehension of these terms

so that you can use them in discussions and recognize them on tests.


Learning Objectives:

  1. to develop a geographical knowledge of the civilizations under study
  2. to know the basic facts (names of events, leading individuals, groups, institutions, ideas and ideological systems, dates) of each civilization in historical context.
  3. to identify and define the major themes, issues, and processes of change that began with the agricultural revolution
  4. to describe the social and material conditions of daily life to 1500
  5. to describe the history and variety of political power structures
  6. to identify and describe the social structure and economic basis of each civilization surveyed in this course
  7. to assess the  long-term changes in humankinds relationships with others and with nature.



  • assigned readings  (see link to course assignments on previous web page)
  • Discussion Board Assignments
  • one short paper     
  • exams and grades


Drop Policy:  Except for documented mitigating circumstances, no withdrawal will be approved beyond the official drop date without academic penalty.