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Instructor: Kent Navalesi

Class Time: 11:00am-12:50pm


Classroom: 105 Talbot Laboratory
Office Hours: M 2:00-5:00pm
Email: navales2@illinois.edu

WESTERN CIVILIZATION
FROM ANTIQUITY TO 1660
HIST 141
SPRING, 2019

This course explores the major processes, ideas, and events that formed societies from ancient
Mesopotamia to early modern Europe: over four thousand years of human endeavor. Distant
though this history may seem, it actually shapes our everyday lives and impacts our modern
world in fundamental ways; our languages, living spaces, food, clothing, gender roles, sexual
mores, political institutions, social structures, laws, values, beliefs, basic assumptions – most are
products of the distant past. This course is also an introduction to the study of history as both a
practical discipline and a basic human need. The Greek word historia has two meanings: “a
narrative (story)” and “an investigation (history).” On the one hand, the historian’s task is to
make sense of the past for a particular audience, through the crafting of stories. On the other, the
historian is a detective, conducting in-depth inquiries into the complex evidence for what
happened, in order to refine, challenge, or even overturn those accepted stories. The study of
history entails learning to appreciate both of these powerful functions. And it teaches skills of
close reading, critical thinking, and effective communication that will be useful for a lifetime.

Weekly Routine
With some variation, each week will proceed more or less as follows:
Every Monday: Lecture
Every Wednesday: Reading quiz followed by class discussion of primary
sources
Every Friday: Primary source discussion.

This course will entail two categories of readings: primary and secondary sources (we’ll
discuss this distinction on the first day of class). All readings must be completed before
Wednesday each week. Before Sunday each week a “weekly handout” with ID terms
will be posted on Compass.

Schedule
Week 1 The Rise of Civilization and the Empires of the Near East
Intro to the course: syllabus, class routine, introductions, etc.
Map Exercise

1
Navalesi: History 245, p. 2

READINGS: Cole & Symes, Chapters 1-2


Perspectives, pp. xvi-xxi, 10-26, 33-36.

Week 2 SPRING BREAK. Assignment: Get ahead on the reading!

Week 3 Greek Civilization and its Expansion

READINGS: Cole & Symes, Chapters 3-4


Perspectives, pp. 76-82, 90-103, 112-119

Week 4 PAPER 1 DUE MONDAY IN CLASS


The Roman Empire
READINGS: Cole & Symes, Chapters 5-6
Perspectives, pp. 157-167, 171-180, 184-197, 203-241
Online reading: “The Life of St. Germanus” (to be posted
on Compass)
Online reading: Graffiti from Pompeii

Week 5 MIDTERM: 1st HOUR OF CLASS ON MONDAY


Rome’s Heirs and the Expansion of Europe

READINGS: Cole & Symes, Chapters 7-8


Perspectives, pp. 239-248, 253-261, 272-283

Week 6 The Consolidation of Europe and the Late Medieval World

READINGS: Cole & Symes, Chapters 9-10


Perspectives, pp. 287-295, 300-315, 324-334

Week 7 PAPER 2 DUE FRIDAY IN CLASS


Rebirth and Exploration
READINGS: Cole & Symes, Chapters 11-12
Perspectives, pp. 366-374, 380-389, 390-400

Week 8 The Age of Division and Dissent


READINGS: TBA

FINAL EXAM: MAY 9, 7:00-10:00PM, 105 TALBOT LABORATORY

Handouts and Lecture slides will be posted on the course Compass page.

Required Texts
Navalesi: History 245, p. 3

Joshua Cole and Carol Symes, Western Civilizations: Their History & Their Culture, 19th
edition, vol. 1 (W.W. Norton: New York, 2017). “Cole & Symes”

James Brophy, Joshua Cole, et al., Perspectives from the Past: Primary Sources in
Western Civilizations 6th edition, vol. 1 (W.W. Norton: New York, 2016).
“Perspectives”

Assignments and Exams

Weekly Reading Quiz: At the beginning of class each Wednesday, students will write a
short response (3-5 sentences) to a question based on the readings and the weekly
handout. The purpose of these quizzes is to assess engaged reading and preparation for
discussion.

Paper 1: Students will choose a paper prompt (from a choice of 2) and write a 4-6 page
paper using the primary source readings and lecture/textbook material.

Midterm Exam: This exam, which will include multiple-choice questions and a short
writing section, will test the student on key terms, chronology and analysis of primary
sources.

Final Exam: This exam is comprehensive and longer than the Midterm, but it will follow
a format similar to that of the Midterm.

Paper 2: Students will choose a paper prompt (from a choice of 2) and write a 7-8 page
paper using the primary source readings and lecture/textbook material.

General Expectations

 Regular, attentive, and active attendance in class


 Assiduous reading, reflection, and notetaking: reading should be completed
before Wednesday each week, and notes should be taken while you read and
during class.
 Maintaining civil, respectful and evidence-based discourse

Evaluation
(Bearing in mind that History is a branch of the humanities, not an exact
science)
Participation, overall effort in class 10%
Reading Quizzes 15%
Paper 1 15%
Midterm 15%
Final exam 25%
Paper 2 20%

Concerns about Grades


Navalesi: History 245, p. 4

If you feel that I have graded an assignment unfairly, please compose a short (1-2 page)
written description of your complaint and submit it to me with your original graded
assignment. This description should be as specific as possible in describing your
concerns with the grade. I will consider your request and reply to you in writing. This
provides a clear paper trail of our discussion and formalizes your grievance. This also
ensures that you have time to think through your grade, to read and reflect upon my
comments, to look over your notes, and to make sure that you have a firm position for
requesting a change to your grade. You may submit a request at any point in the
semester, up to the day of the final exam. Please deliver grade complaints to me in
person, not via email.

Attendance

For each unexcused absence after the first two, I will remove one quarter of a letter
grade from your final grade. Absences will be excused only in cases of religious
observance, illness, family emergency or some other extreme circumstance. It is the
responsibility of the student to provide documentation (e.g., a doctor’s note) of an
excused absence. If you know that you are going to be absent for one of these reasons,
please consult with me well in advance. Students more than 15 minutes late for class will
be considered absent.

Communicating with the Instructor

If you have questions or concerns that you would like to discuss in person, please see me
during my office hours or talk to me about setting up an alternative meeting time.
Matters not requiring in-person conversation can be discussed over email. Office hours
will be held at Espresso Royale: 1117 W. Oregon St. in Urbana.

Plagiarism Policy

The History Department defines plagiarism as “representing the words or ideas of another
as one’s own. Submitting papers not written by the student is only the most blatant form
of plagiarism. Plagiarism also includes, but is not limited to: copying another student’s
work in exams, papers or other exercises; inappropriate collaboration with another
student; and verbatim copying, close paraphrasing, pasting in, or recombining published
materials, including materials from the internet, without appropriate citation.”

Cases of plagiarism will be investigated and penalized in accordance with departmental


and campus policies. For the purposes of this course, plagiarized work will receive a
grade of “F”. Students should familiarize themselves with the part of the student code
dealing with plagiarism: http://admin.illinois.edu/policy/code/article1_part4_1-402.html

Technology Policy

Cell phones, tablets and any other electronic devices must be turned off and out of sight
during class. Laptops may be used for note-taking and in-class group research. Ignoring
Navalesi: History 245, p. 5

this policy will result in a lowered participation grade or, in egregious cases, dismissal
from the class.

Disability Policy

Students with a physical or mental disability that would impede their success in the
course should consult with me as soon as possible in order make appropriate
accommodations. These accommodations are handled by the DRES (Disability Resources
and Educational Services) office, and any students requesting accommodations will need
a letter from DRES.

NOTA BENE: ALL SECTIONS OF THIS SYLLABUS, ESPECIALLY THE READINGS AND
SCHEDULE, ARE SUBJECT TO CHANGE AT THE DISCRETION OF THE INSTRUCTOR.
STUDENTS WILL BE NOTIFIED PROMPTLY VIA EMAIL IF AND WHEN ANY
CHANGES ARE MADE.
Navalesi: History 245, p. 6
Navalesi: History 245, p. 7

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