You are on page 1of 5

BEFORE GLOBALIZATION: UNDERSTANDING PRE-MODERN WORLD HISTORY

Hist 113 = Clashis 147 Spring Quarter 2014 MW 2.15-3.45 Room 460-429 Ways SI, ED Course description

Walter Scheidel Office Bld. 110-105 scheidel@stanford.edu Office hours: MW 12.30-2 www.stanford.edu/~scheidel

Some 60,000 years ago the most recent common ancestors of much of the worlds current population left Africa and spread all over the globe. These migrations created a bewildering variety of languages and cultures. It took a long time for this dispersed humanity to be pulled back together into a single interconnected world system. A thousand years ago the Norse reached North America but this early contact was not sustained. Eight hundred years ago the Mongols created the first empire to stretch all across Eurasia. Six hundred years ago Chinas treasure fleets sailed to Africa. Five hundred years ago Europeans set out to bring the New World into the orbit of Afroeurasia, launching an era of global empire and colonization. In the eyes of both contemporary and modern observers, the civilizations that these processes brought into ever closer contact were separated by manifold differences, and wealth and power were increasingly unevenly distributed amongst them. This pervasive impression of diversity and inequality, however, obscures fundamental commonalities and parallel experiences that reached back hundreds and even thousands of generations. Why did civilizations develop the way they did? What factors were responsible for similarities and differences? Which processes unfolded similarly in civilizations that enjoyed little or no contact with one another, and what do they tell us about the prospects of human development in a newly unified world? Everything the Humanities can hope to teach us is built on these developments. This course provides a general framework for our understanding of the human experience before the early modern beginnings of globalization. It does so by taking a global approach to the whole of human history. It looks at every continent, asking how and why humans have multiplied so much, spread out so much, fought so much, consumed so much, and made some of their number so much richer than others. In the process it will examine the global processes that have brought us to this point the biological evolution of humans; the creation of art and religion; the origins of agriculture; the invention of hierarchy, gender discrimination, and slavery; the rise of cities and states; and the formation of empires. The course aims to sketch out the deep historical background that helps us make sense of the world we live in, to provide skills for analyzing the relevant evidence, including artifacts spanning fifteen thousand years and written texts spanning the last five thousand. Only by knowing where we have come from can we see how the world got to be the way it is now.

Readings Felipe Fernndez-Armesto, The World: A History. Volume 1: To 1500. (Penguin Academics 2011). Paperback. ISBN 978-0-205-75931-6. [= Fernndez-Armesto] Page numbers in [ ] refer to the more generously illustrated Second Edition (Prentice Hall 2010). Paperback. ISBN 978-0-13-606148-9. Brian Fagan, The Long Summer: How Climate Changed Civilization (Basic Books 2004). Paperback. ISBN 978-0465022823 [= Fagan]

Peter Stearns, Stephen Gosch, and Erwin Grieshaber, Documents in World History. Fifth Edition (Pearson 2009). Paperback. ISBN 978-0-205-61789-0 [= DWH]. Other readings accessible online or to be provided as electronic files.

Schedule Week 1 March 31 Introduction: Why world history? April 2 The roots of human history (from the beginning to 100000 B[efore] P[resent]) Cynthia Brown, Big History (2007), pp. 16-48 (pdf) Week 2 April 7 The big migration (c. 100000-15000 BP) Fernndez-Armesto pp. 1-22 [=4-29] Fagan pp. 13-57 April 9 Global warming and the beginnings of agriculture (c. 15000-11000 BP) Fagan pp. 59-96 Jared Diamond, Guns, Germs and Steel (1997), pp. 93-113 Week 3 April 14 A world of farmers (c. 11000-7000 BP) Fernndez-Armesto pp. 23-45 [=30-59] Fagan pp. 97-125 Quiz/Essay #1 April 16 The rise of complex societies (c. 7000-4000/3000 BP) Fernndez-Armesto pp. 46-75 [=60-91] Fagan pp. 127-145 (& 147-166 optional/suggested) DWH #1 (Gilgamesh), #2 (Hammurabi), #3 (Nile) (pdf) Shang oracle bones (pdf) Week 4 April 21 The limits of the early empires (c. 4000/3000-2800 BP) Fernndez-Armesto pp. 76-101 [=92-119] Fagan pp. 167-188 Great Hymn of the Aten; Chinese texts (pdf)

April 23 The age of iron (c. 2800-2300 BP) Fernndez-Armesto pp. 102-129 [=120-153] Fagan pp. 189-202 Hebrew Bible, II Kings 18-25; The Prism of Sennacherib (pdf) Quiz/Essay #2 Week 5 April 28 State formation (thematic session) Ernest Gellner, Nations and Nationalisms (1983), pp. 1-18 (pdf) DWH #9 (Legalism), #11 (Salt & Iron), #13 (Athens), #15 pp. 86-89 (Polybius) Achaemenid royal inscriptions (pdf) April 30 The Axial Age (c. 2800-2300 BP) Fernndez-Armesto pp. 130-158 [=154-187] DWH #4 (Bible), #6 (Zoroaster), #7 (Confucius), #20 (Buddha) Week 6 May 5 The golden age of empire (c. 2300-1900 BP) Fernndez-Armesto pp. 159-189 [=188-227] Fagan pp. 202-207 DWH #18 (Silk Road), #21 (Ashoka) Aelius Aristides, On Rome (pdf) May 7 Decline and fall (c. 1900-1500 BP) Fernndez-Armesto pp. 190-222 [=228-267] Fagan pp. 207-212 DWH #17 (Huns), #24.II (nomads) Salvian on taxes (http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/source/salvian1.html) Cao Zhi on Luoyang (pdf) Quiz/Essay #3 Week 7 May 12 Warfare (thematic session) Ian Morris, The evolution of war, Cliodynamics 3, 2012, 9-37 (pdf) May 14 The Second Axial Age (c. 2000-1300 BP) Fernndez-Armesto pp. 223-249 [=269-299] DWH #23 (East Asia), #25.I+IV (Christians), #26-27 (Quran) Pliny on Christians (http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/source/pliny1.html)

Week 8 May 19 Revival of the cores and expansion on the peripheries (c. 1300-1000 BP) Fernndez-Armesto pp. 250-306 [=300-371] DWH #34 (Russia), #42 (Africa) Feudalism (Reilly #45), Chinese exams (#51) (pdf) Quiz/Essay #4 May 21 The medieval revolutions (c. 1000-800 BP) Fernndez-Armesto pp. 307-336 [=372-407] DWH #35.II (Magna Carta), #38 (guild ordinances), #40 Ibn Khaldun (trade) Roger Bacon (http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/source/bacon2.html) Week 9 May 26 Memorial Day May 28 The Mongol expansion (c. 800-700 BP) Fernndez-Armesto pp. 337-362 [=408-44] DWH #31 (Marco Polo), #47-48 (Mongols) Novgorod Chronicle for AD 1238 (http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/source/novgorod1.html) Week 10 June 2 The crisis of the medieval world (c. 700-600 BP) Fernndez-Armesto pp. 363-396 [=442-481] Fagan pp. 229-246 Black Death (Reilly pp. 422-454) (pdf) Quiz/Essay #5 June 4 A second world and the foundations of modern history (-400 BP) Fernndez-Armesto pp. 397-432 [=482-525] DWH #46 (Americas), #49 (trade) Corts (http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/mod/1520cortes.html) Quiz/Essay #6

Course Requirements This course is an interactive colloquium: it wont work very well unless you do the readings and contribute to class discussion. Nobody, including the instructor, can hope to know world history in detail: our main goal is to identify and understand broad patterns in developments that have shaped human existence, and to develop a better sense of how to go about teaching and learning about these issues. Your grades will be determined by a combination of inputs such as class presentations, quizzes, brief essays and general class participation: 6 short quizzes checking your general understanding of the readings, especially of the main textbook. Quizzes will be taken at the beginning of the sessions noted above. Up to 6 short essays (1,500 words each) on general topics that are central to your understanding of the readings. Essays are due at the beginning of the sessions noted above. Short (c. 10 mins) and informal class presentations introducing/discussing short readings of historical source material (frequency to be determined by class size and number of readings; team work is possible). Your grade will be determined as follows: If you take this course for 3 units: 6 quizzes 2 essays Presentations & general participation For 4 units: 6 quizzes 4 essays Presentations & general participation For 5 units: 6 quizzes 6 essays Presentations & general participation 30% 45% (all essays are mandatory) 25% 40% 35% (the final essay is mandatory) 25% 50% 25% (the final essay is mandatory) 25%

The course may be applied to Ways of Thinking, Ways of Doing for either Social Inquiry or Engaging Diversity if taken for at least 3 units and a letter grade. Students who may need an academic accommodation based on the impact of a disability must initiate the request with the Student Disability Resource Center (SDRC) located within the Office of Accessible Education (OAE). SDRC staff will evaluate the request with required documentation, recommend reasonable accommodations, and prepare an Accommodation Letter for faculty dated in the current quarter in which the request is being made. Students should contact the SDRC as soon as possible since timely notice is needed to coordinate accommodations. The OAE is located at 563 Salvatierra Walk (phone: 723-1066).