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World History - Class Overview
World History - Chapter Selection
World History - Syllabus
World History - Homework
Contact Mr. Darby

The less government we have the better.

-Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882)
U.S. poet, essayist and lecturer.

"A wise man learns from his experience;
a wiser man learns from
the experience of others."

Chinese Sage


Course Overview

World History is a challenging course. It is a year-long survey of global history from the approximately early man to the present. Solid reading and writing skills, along with a willingness to devote considerable time and homework and study are necessary to succeed. Emphasis is placed on critical thinking skills, essay writing, interpretation of original documents, and historiography.

You will be required to apply the effort necessary to act as a historian and develop the ability to analyze historical evidence to determine its validity and relevance identify point of view and the nature of bias, and recognize the necessity of objectivity and substantiation. The methodology of an historian involves skills that are highly transferable--the ability to formulate generalizations, interpret and use data and to analyze and weigh evidence from conflicting sources of information are applicable to many other academic and practical disciplines.

Besides listening to lectures or PowerPoint presentations on important themes of world history, you are expected to participate in class verbally through discussions of primary documents and events, debates of key issues, possible role playing of historic figures and mock trials. Furthermore, you are expected to continually develop your writing skills through regular short essays, essay exams and maintain a notebook of all class materials. The volume of material involved in a survey course of world history is extensive and you can expect to do a lot of reading not only in the text, but also from outside sources and research both in the library and through the internet.

World history is challenging and stimulating and, compared with other high school courses, takes a great deal of time and requires at least as much homework. Consequently, there will be a focus on strengthening skills in taking objective exams, in addition to writing clear and compelling essays and doing research and analysis of historical data. Therefore, regular study, frequent practice in writing, historical analysis, class discussion/debates/seminars, and study/review/ are major elements of the course.

Themes Covered in World History
The themes outlined below indicate some of the important areas that might be treated in a world history course. The course often calls for students to interrelate categories or to trace developments in a particular category through several chronological periods.

• Intellectual and Cultural History
• Changes in religious thought and institutions
• Secularism of learning and culture
• Scientific and technological developments and their consequences
• Major trends in literature and the arts
• Intellectual and cultural developments and their relationship to social values and political events
• Developments in social, economic, and political thought
• Developments in literacy, education, and communication
• The diffusion of new intellectual concepts among different social groups
• Changes in elite and popular culture, such as the development of new attitudes toward religion, the family, work, and ritual
• Impact of global expansion on various cultures

Political and Diplomatic History
• The rise and functioning of the modern state in its various forms
• Relationship among various nation-states regarding: colonialism, imperialism, decolonization, and global interdependence
• The extension and limitation of rights and liberties (personal, civic, economic, and political); majority and minority political persecutions
• The growth and changing forms of nationalism
• Forms of political protest, reform, and revolution
• Relationship between domestic and foreign policies
• Efforts to restrain conflict: treaties, balance-of-power diplomacy, and international organizations
• War and civil conflict: origins, developments, technology, and their consequences

Social and Economic History
• The character of and changes in agricultural production and organization
• The role of urbanization in transforming cultural values and social relationships
• The shift in social structures from hierarchical orders to modern social classes: the changing distribution of wealth and poverty
• The influence of sanitation and health care practices on society; food supply, diet, famine, disease, and their impact
• The development of commercial practices, patterns of mass production and consumption, and their economic and social impact
• Changing definitions of and attitudes toward mainstream groups and groups characterized as "the other"
• The origins, development, and consequences of industrialization
• Changes in the demographic structure and reproductive patterns of Europeans: causes and consequences
• Gender roles and their influence on work, social structure, family structure, and interest group formation
• The growth of competition and interdependence in national and world markets
• Private and state roles in economic activity
• Development of racial and ethnic group identities