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Course: History of Civilizations since 1500

Class Hours and Room: Mon., Tues., Weds., Thurs. 6-7:50 P.M. H307


Course Number: HIS 2-003

Semester: Summer II 2009


Credits/Hours: 3 credits, 3 hours

Instructor: Nicolás Agrait



Contact Information:

History Department

Rm. H-838

Office Hours:

Tel. 718-488-1357



I.                     Course Description: Course Description: This class covers evolution of civilizations from the voyages of discovery through the scientific,political and industrial revolutions to the contemporary period. Emphasis is placed on the interaction of the Western and non-Western worlds.  Students shall tackle the subject matter through lectures, assigned readings and discussion. (from L.I.U. Brooklyn Bulletin 2007-2009)


II.                 Course Goals and Objectives

1)     Diligent students will be able to articulate a definition of History as a profesional field through lectures, readings and discussions, and continue to understand how the past is relevant to the present and future.

2)     Diligent students will develop analytical skills by reading both secondary and primary sources.

3)     Diligent students will further develop writing and critical-thinking skills through the completion of at least one term paper.

4)     Diligent students will be prepared to move on to more advanced History courses.


III.              Resources:

1)     Textbook

The required textbook is Judge, Edward H. and John W. Langdon, Connections; A World History. Vol. 2. Since 1400. New York: Vango Books, 2009. (ISBN: 0321107977).  The text is available for purchase at campus bookstore or you can get on your own or on the Internet.


2)     Students need to bring a notebook, paper or other material with which to take notes.


3)     Students absolutely need to have access to a computer with Internet access to complete reading assignments and papers.


4)     Extra Readings: see below under Course Calendar.


5)      Web Links

a)     L.I.U. Prof. Agrait’s His. 1, His. 2 Web Site (

This is the instructor’s personal and academic web site. You can find information regarding his schedule, specialty and office hours. Most importantly, you can get copies of the course syllabus if you need it.

b)    Internet Ancient History Sourcebook:

c)      Internet Medieval Sourcebook:

d)     Internet Modern Sourcebook:

e)     L.I.U. Brooklyn Electronic Reserves: (ERES)


6)      L.I.U. Attendance and Tardiness Policies: (from L.I.U.-Brooklyn Bulletin)

a)     Attendance: All students are expected to attend classes and to participate in classroom activities. Instructors have the right to weigh attendance and class participation in determining grades. Consequently, excessive absences may negatively affect the evaluation of a student’s performance. Freshmen and probationary students are allowed no more than two class-hour absences per credit hour. All students enrolled in science laboratory courses may not be absent for more than 20 percent of laboratory time. Instructors are urged to record attendance in all classes for counseling purposes.

b)    Tardiness: Students are expected to be present from the beginning of a class until the instructor dismisses it. If students arrive late, they may be denied admission or marked absent.


7)     Additional Course Policies:

a)     Cell Phone, Text-Messagers, Wireless E-mail: these are strictly prohibited during class.  Turn cell phones and pagers off (off, not vibrate, not silent). Any student caught surfing the web or checking e-mail in class will be expelled. Furthermore, any use of electronic devices during quizzes or tests will result in the student failing the test and possibly being referred to the proper L.I.U. authorities for further disciplinary action.

b)    Academic Dishonesty: All dishonest behavior (cheating, plagiarism, disruption) will be subject to severe punishment including grade reduction, expulsion from the class, or other disciplinary action.


IV.              Course Requirements/Assignments

1)      Grading Breakdown





Class Participation



2)      Tests

a)     Examinations: this will be three 50 minute tests that will take place on Friday, July 16, 2009, Friday, July 30, 2009 and August 13, 2009. They will have two sections: an I.D. section with items taken from the textbook and a discussion question.  The professor will let the class know which material the students are responsible.


Students may request a make up examination for the any of the examinations, granted at the discretion of the professor, with a legitimate excuse.


3)      Papers: all papers are to be handed into my mailbox in the History Department or to me personally in my office or in class.

Students are required to write at least one 2-3-page typewritten, double-spaced essay (handwritten papers will be ignored) on topics provided by the instructor.  This paper will be due on or before Thursday, August 6th in class.  Students have to hand in at least one paper to pass the course, but may hand in as many new papers (no rewrites) as they want.  The instructor will only count the highest grade.  Students who do  not hand in one papers will automatically receive an “F” for the paper segment of their grade.  These deadline is final and essays will be downgraded one half-grade per day the paper is late.  It is the student’s responsibility to make the instructor aware of any potential problems at any stage with the papers. Students are also required to hand in a printed copy of the essay AND an electronic copy (floppy disk, e-mail attachment, e-mail message text, CD-Rom, USB flash drive, etc.). The electronic copy will be used to check against plagiarism.  Any papers handed in without an electronic copy will not be graded until the electronic version is received.


Anyone caught cheating (misrepresenting information copying papers, buying papers off the web, using cliff-notes, Wikipedia, etc.) will receive an “F” in the first offense.  If the student cheats again, he or she will automatically fail the course and will also be referred to the proper L.I.U. authorities.


4)     Paper Topics: each letter is ONE 2-3 page paper

Other than language dictionaries absolutely NO outside sources are required or permitted for the completion of these papers.

a)     Carefully read Immanuel Kant’s “What is Enlightenment?” (  How does he define “Enlightenment?”  According to him, what quality or ability does a person have to use to achieve it?  What does he consider those who are not enlightened?

b)    Carefully read Daniel Defoe, “(On) The Education of Women” (1791).  ( What is the author’s main thesis regarding women and education?  How does he justify his point of view?

c)      Read Cesare Beccaria’s “On Torture” (chap. 16 in Of Crimes and Punishment) (  What does the author think about the practice of torture in the administration of justice?

d)     Find three examples in the Declaration of the Rights of Man(France, 1789) ( to show why this text was so radical at the time it was promulgated?

e)     Read both Declaration of the Rights of Man(France, 1789) ( and Olympe de Gouges, Declaration of the Rights of Woman and the Female Citizen (1791) ( What are the principal points of her treatise?  What solutions does she propose to the problems she sees?

f)        Read Ernst Renan, What is a Nation? (  According to the author in this long text, what are some of the concepts, practices, or institutions around which some have tried to build nations?  How does he reject them and what does he consider to be the true basis for a nation?


Papers on the topics above are due on or before: Thursday, August 6, 2009


V.                  Course Calendar (Classes, Topics, Reading Assignments): remember that computers are supremely stupid things. Therefore, it is best to go to, find your syllabus and then click on the reading assignments web sites.  If you do not type them perfectly your computer (dumb thing) will not know where to send you.


Mon. 6                 First Day of Class (Orientation); Ming China

Readings Due: Each student is to go to the web site and sign the guestbook with their name, phone number and a working e-mail.


Tues. 7                 Ming China

Readings Due: Chu Yuan-Chang, Manifesto of Accession as First Ming Emperor (1372); Ming Dynasty Images (,,,,


Weds. 8              Aztec Empire

Readings Due: Skim the text and look through the different images in these web pages.,,,; Artist rendition of Tenochtitlán (


Thurs. 9              Incan Empire

Readings Due: Readings Due: Machu Picchu (10 images) (


Mon. 13              Age of Exploration

Readings Due: Image of Caravel Ship (; Image of the Replica of the Nina (; Skim through “Ferdinand Magellan’s Voyage Round the World, 1519-1522” (excerpt) (


Tues. 14             Conquest of Mexico

Readings Due: Spanish Conquest of México: Massacre at Cholula (two accounts) (, Cortés meets Moctezuma (two accounts) (, and Nancy Fitch, The Reconquest of Mexico, “An Overview” (


Weds. 15          Conquest of Peru


Thurs. 16           European Reformation (1st Hour); First Examination (2nd Hour)


Mon. 20              European Reformation

Readings Due: Martin Luther’s Definition of Faith (; England Act of Supremacy (


Tues. 21             European Absolutism/ European Constitutionalism

Readings Due: Duc de Saint-Simon, “The Court of Louis XIV,” (excerpt) ( ); The English Bill Rights,1689 ( ).


Weds. 22          Atlantic Slave Trade

Readings Due: Go to “Atlantic Slave Trade and Slave Life in the Americas ( and look through the images in the sections “Maps: Africa, New World, Slave Trade,” “Capture of Slaves & Coffles in Africa,” Slave Ships & the Atlantic Crossing (Middle Passage),” “Slave Sales & Auctions: African Coast & the Americas.”  If you want more information, go to Atlantic Slave Trade and Slave Life in the Americas: A Visual Record (


Thurs. 23           European Enlightenment

Readings Due: Voltaire, A Treatise on Toleration (1763) (; Readings Due: Immanuel Kant, “What is Enlightenment?” ( Read first five paragraphs.


Mon. 27              European Enlightenment (cont.); American Revolution

Readings Due: Thomas Jefferson, Declaration of Independence,  (; Constitution of the United States of America (1787) ( or any version without the amendments.


Tues. 28             American Revolution


Weds. 29          French Revolution

Readings Due: Declaration of the Righs of Man, August 26, 1789 (


Thurs. 30.         French Revolution (1st Hour); Second Examination (2nd Hour)



Mon. 3                 French Revolution/Industrial Revolution

Readings Due: Committee for Public Safety, “The Levée en Masse [Universal Draft],” August 23, 1793 ( ); Maximilien Robespierre, “Justification of the Use of Terror” (


Tues. 4                 Industrial Revolution (cont.)

Readings Due: Friedrich Engels, Industrial Manchester (1844) (; “The Ship Breakers of Bangladesh” (Video) (


Weds. 5              Liberalism/Socialism

Readings Due: Roland N. Stromberg, “2. The Age of Ideologies, 1815-1848” chap. In European Intellectual History Since 1789. 6th ed. (Upper Saddle River, N.J.: Prentice Hall, 1994), pp. 44-68. Skim 44-49, closely read about Conservatism, Liberalism and Socialism.(ERES)


Thurs. 6              Nationalism (Papers Due!)

Readings Due: Ernst Renan, What is a Nation? ( Scroll down to “According to certain political theorists. . .” and then read until “for the ancestors have made us what we are.”


Mon. 10              Imperialism

Readings Due: Capt. F. D. Lugard: The Rise of Our East African Empire, 1893 (excerpt) (; Rudyard Kipling, The White Man’s Burden(1889) (; Edward Morel, The Black Man’s Burden (


Tues.    11           World Caffeine Culture


Weds. 12          Open (Cover any material left over)


Thurs. 13          Final Day of Class (Last Examination)