Approved by Faculty Senate
University Studies Course Approval
Department or Program: History
Course Numbers: History 121: Western Civilization 1500-1815
Semester Hours: 3
Frequency of Offering: Every Semester
Course Titles: Western Civilization 1500-1815
A survey of the European Renaissance, Protestant Reformation, development of the nation
state, the Enlightenment,
Commercial and Industrial Revolution, the French Revolution and the Napoleonic era. Grade only. Offered ever semester.
This is an existing course previously approved by A2C2:
This is a new course proposal:
University Studies Category:
Arts and Sciences/Core Humanities
Department Contact Person:
The department strongly believes that this sequence of courses will play a significant role in University Studies program by providing students with an appreciation for the historical context of human experiences and culture and an improved understanding of the discipline of history.
USP Humanities Objective 1:
The University Studies program requires that courses in the Humanities promote students ability to identify and understand specific elements and assumptions of a particular Humanities discipline.
History 120, 121 and 122 will introduce students to significant bodies of information about western civilization, a vital element of the discipline, but will also introduce students to historical explanations, the intellectual skills of historians, and the ways in which historians conceive and write about the past.
The courses introduce students to the main lines of historical development (including the development of western culture) from its early beginnings in the Near East and Africa to the present day. The specific sets of facts and subplots emphasized will differ from instructor to instructor and year to year, but students will experience the same general chronology.
The courses introduce students to the principle elements of history as a discipline. All three aim at developing students ability to identify and evaluate various kinds of evidence used by historians, to identify themes (as opposed to collections of facts) in historical literature, and to write clearly. All three courses also invite students to begin using historical evidence to construct explanations of the past and discuss relationships between events.
The courses do all of this by means of lectures, readings of both primary documents and historical literature, class discussions (both small-group and full-class discussions), tests, and writing assignments.
USP Humanities Objective 2
The University Studies program requires that courses in the Humanities promote students ability to understand how historical context, cultural values, and gender influence perceptions and interpretations.
History 120, 121, and 122 address this objective in two distinct ways. In part, the courses explore how people in the past had differing perceptions and interpretations of the events of their times. In large part, these divergent perceptions and interpretations resulted from their differing historical experiences, cultural values and genders. These three courses provide students with an abundance of instances that provide occasion for expression of divergent perceptions ranging from the significance and limits of Greek Democracy to the nature and benefits of the French and Russian Revolutions, and finally to the "progress" of western civilization.
The courses also address this issue by introducing students to the varying ways in which historians perceive and interpret the past, and begin to explore the sources of these differences.
The courses attempt to achieve this objective through lectures, reading assignments focused on both documents drawn from the times and historians discussions of the past, small group and class discussions, and writing assignments.
USP Humanities Objective 3
The University Studies Program requires courses in the humanities to promote students ability to understand the role of critical analysis (e.g., aesthetic, historical, literary, philosophical, rhetorical) in interpreting and evaluating expressions of human experience.
History 120, 121, and 122 address this objective by emphasizing the role of historical analysis in understanding past as well as contemporary developments. The courses, in other words, direct students attention to the task of explaining, and not just remembering, past events, including ideas and their expression in a wide range of forms. The courses direct student attention to the critical documents of classical thought, for example, as well as those of groups such as women and the disadvantaged trying to change society. The courses, in other words, challenge students to understand how events and ideas came to be as they were.
The courses attempt to achieve this objective through lectures, reading assignments focused on both documents drawn from the times and historians discussion of the past, small group and class discussions, and writing assignments.
Representative Syllabus for History 121: Western Civilization 1500 to 1815
Appended to University Studies proposal
History 121: Western Civilization 1500 to 1815
History 121 is an introductory course that surveys a variety of themes and topics from 1500 A.D. to 1815 A.D. Hopefully, this course will make an understanding of the past relevant to the world in which you live. This course will concentrate on some topics and skim over others. The time period this course covers is so vast that many important ideas and events from the past will by necessity not be covered.
Most of this course will be driven by class discussion. There will usually be a written quiz on days when the class has discussion, All quizzes as well as all exams will be essay. The quiz will be on the material to be discussed that day.
The following are the required books for this class:
Western Civilization: From the 1400s
Sources of the Western Tradition, Vol. 1
Your grade will be based on three in-class essay exams, numerous essay quizzes, and participation. The following formula will determine your final grade:
3 Exams 45%
Class Participation 10%
University Studies Program Note to Students
This course is included in the Humanities category of the University Studies Program. As such it address the following objectives required of all courses in the humanities category:
a. To promote students' ability to identify and understand specific elements and assumptions of a
particular Humanities discipline;
b. To promote students' ability to understand how historical context, cultural values, and gender
influence perceptions and interpretations; and
c. To promote students' ability to understand the role of critical analysis (e.g. aesthetic, historical,
literary, philosophical, rhetorical) in interpreting and evaluating expressions of human experience.
The following course schedule uses the letters USOa (meaning University Studies Objective a), USOb (meaning University Studies Objective b), and USOc (meaning University Studies Objective c), to indicate where the course will address each of these University Studies objectives.
Topic 1: Introduction to the Course
Topic 2: nvironment of the Period Medieval
and Renaissance Values (USO a,b)
Sources, 264-277-Medieval (USO, a,b,c)
Sources, 282-304-Renaissance (USO, b,c)
Topic 3: Nation States
Spain (USO b,c)
Topic 4: Reformations
Luther (USO b,c)
Luther (USO a)
Sources, 308-322-Reformers (USO a,b,c)
Sources, 322-332-Catholics (USO a,b,c )
Topic 5: English Civil War
Background (USO b,c)
Sources, 335-357-Civil War (USO a,b,c)
Topic 6: Sexuality
Immodest Acts In-Class Essay (USO b)
Immodest Acts Discussion (USO b)
Topic 7: Absolutism
France (USO b,c)
Sources, 353-375 (USO a,b,c)
Topic 8: Science
Scientific Revolution (USO b,c)
Galileo (USO a,b,c)
Topic 9: Enlightenment
Age of Reason (USO b,c)
Sources, 390-400-Descartes (USO b,c)
Sources, 403-437-Philosophes (USO a,b,c)
Candide In-Class Essay
Candide Discussion (USO a,b,c)
Topic 10: French Revolution Background
Stages of the Revolution (USO b,c)
Documents of the Revolution (USO a,b,c)