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History 103
Spring Semester, 2011
12:55-1:45 MWF
STRO 400

World History to c. 1600 C.E.

Missouri State University

Strong Hall

Dr. Victor H. Matthews

Office: Strong Hall 207

Office Hours: 11:00-12:00 M-F

Phone: 417-836-5529 

Email: VictorMatthews@missouristate.edu

 Missouri State Calendar

Important Dates and Deadlines Spring 2011 (http://www.missouristate.edu/recreg/acad_cal.html)

1.Text Required:

Textbooks Required Strayer

Robert Strayer, Ways of the World: A Brief Global History with Sources, Vol. 1 to 1500 (Boston: Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2011).  Please note that this book is referred to as ‘Strayer’ in the syllabus below.

Chapter Outlines Available at:


2. Course Description: This course is a part of the General Education curriculum in the area of Culture and Society/Humanities.  The goals of the General Education program are found at: http://www.missouristate.edu/GeneralEducation/Goals%20_GenEd.htm.   HST 103 is an introduction or survey of the history of the world until ca. 1600 C.E. Its application to the Public Affairs Mission of the University can be found in its efforts to educate students about the past so that they can build upon this heritage in making informed decisions about their own culture and the future direction of society.  Student input is welcomed as a partial guide to material covered.

3. Classroom routine: Since this is a course introducing world history and cultural development, the presentation in class will be for beginners. The textbook and supplemental readings will be relied on for much of our discussion. I will employ a lecture/ discussion format with occasional use of audio-visual materials. Rather than giving quizzes, I will be constantly asking questions of students to emphasize points and determine mastery of the material. A significant portion of your final grade will be based on your ability to answer and ask pertinent questions about the course material.

4. Course Goals and Learning Outcomes:

GOALS: Students will gain an understanding of:

  1. How complex societies developed independently across the globe establishing cultural regions that are still discernable today.
  2. How social categories such as class, gender and race took shape and then evolved in world history.
  3. How social and cultural traditions and norms define societies.
  4. How encounters between societies drive change through the dissemination of ideas, goods and diseases.
  5. How people have labored in societies over time.
  6. The impact of technology on societies.
  7. How societies have developed different forms of government.
  8. How historians have come to different conclusions about the past.

This course is a part of the pre-service curriculum for social studies teachers and its goals address the following accrediting agency requirements: M; CF 2, 4, 9; SA 1.1, 3.1, 3.4, 3.5, 7.2, 7.4, 8.4; N 1, 2, 5, 6, 8, 9.*

* NOTE: M = MOSTEP; CF = Conceptual Framework; SA = Specialty Area; N = NCSS + the number of the indicator.

LEARNING OUTCOMES: At the conclusion of this course students will:

  1. Possess a general understanding of the course of world history from the origins of complex societies to the sixteenth century of the common era.
  2. Have developed a historical basis and underpinning for further study in disciplines including anthropology, geography, political science, psychology, religious studies, sociology, and art and literature.
  3. Have refined and developed organizational and expositional skills.
  4. Have developed a fuller understanding of how historians use evidence to draw conclusions.
  5. Have developed a fuller understanding of the limits of historical knowledge.
  6. Have used primary evidence to construct their own arguments.

5. Attendance: Statistical analysis has shown that regular attendance is the key to good grades. It is expected that all students will be present except for emergencies.

6. Class Participation: A significant portion of your grade (75 points) is dependent upon class participation. I will assign this grade at the end of  the course. It will be based on attendance, ability to answer questions during regular and scheduled class discussions, in-class assignments, willingness to ask questions and seek help (both in and out of class), and general improvement in class discussion over the course of the semester.

bulletStudents should feel free to send me e-mails VictorMatthews@missouristate.edu  or come to my office during the semester to raise questions, make comments, or express concerns about the course.

7. Exams: There will be three exams and a final. They will consist of essays, short identifications, and map questions. These exams will be given approximately at the 4th, 8th, & 12th week of the course. The final will cover both newly discussed material and a comprehensive essay. Before each exam I will provide students with a study guide. Please bring a blue book and a pen on each exam day.

8. Make-Up Exams: Make-up exams (though usually more difficult than regular tests) will be permitted only for those students with LEGITIMATE explained absences. Students should strive to notify me in advance if they know they will have to be gone on a scheduled exam day.

9. REACTION PAPERS: Each student will write five reaction papers during the course of the semester that will address and interact with the supplemental readings.  Each reaction paper is worth 10 points.

10. EXTRA CREDIT: It is possible to earn up to 10 points in extra credit by sending an email to the instructor prior to a class period with a specific question that you would like to address during that day’s discussion.  Each question is worth one extra credit point.

11. Cheating: Missouri State University is a community of scholars committed to developing educated persons who accept the responsibility to practice personal and academic integrity.  You are responsible for knowing and following the university’s Student Academic Integrity Policies and Procedures, available at www.missouristate.edu/policy/academicintegritystudents.htm.  You are also responsible for understanding and following any additional academic integrity policies specific to this class (as outlined by the instructor).  Any student participating in any form of academic dishonesty will be subject to sanctions as described in this policy.   If you are accused of violating this policy and are in the appeals process, you should continue participating in the class. 

I would also direct you to the university statement of community principles.

12. Assessment: Students' command of the materials presented in this course will be assessed through written exams, written assignments, journal article critiques, class discussion, in-class oral presentations, and the ability to answer the instructor's questions during class. These methods of assessment will help gauge the effectiveness of the presentation by the instructor as well as help demonstrate the usefulness of
this course as a part of the General Education curriculum. Students will also be given the opportunity to assess the course as a whole using both a college-wide questionnaire.

13. Grading: I will be using plus/minus grades. The final grade will be computed as follows:

Exams I, II, & III-            225 points (75 points each)
Final Exam--                 100  points
Reaction Papers--         50  points (10 points each)
Class Participation--    75   points
Total possible           = 4

Plus/minus grades: In order to give students appropriate credit for their work, grades will be reported with plusses and minuses at the end of the semester. Your overall numerical score in the class will be converted to a letter grade on the basis of the following chart:

90-92 = A-            93-100 = A
80-82 = B-            83-86 = B            87-89 = B+
70-72 = C-            73-76 = C            77-79 = C+
                              60-66 = D            67-69 = D+

Note that the university does not allow the reporting of D- or of A+ grades.

Borderline grades will be determined by such factors as attendance, the final exam, completion of work on time, evidence of hard work and a willingness to seek help, and general contribution to class discussions.

If you stop attending this class but do not follow proper procedure for dropping the class, you will receive
a failing grade and will also be financially obligated.  To drop a class anytime after the first week, see http://www.missouristate.edu/registrar/chnsched.html).  You do not need to obtain a signature on the
drop slip.

14. Disability Accommodation: To request academic accommodations for a disability, contact the Director of the Disability Resource Center, Plaster Student Union, Suite 405, (417) 836-4192 or (417) 836-6792 (TTY), www.missouristate.edu/disability.  Students are required to provide documentation of disability to the Disability Resource Center prior to receiving accommodations. The Disability Resource Center refers some types of accommodation requests to the Learning Diagnostic Clinic, which also provides diagnostic testing for learning and psychological disabilities. For information about testing, contact the Director of the Learning Diagnostic Clinic, (417) 836-4787, http://psychology.missouristate.edu/ldc.

15. Discrimination Policy: Missouri State University is an equal opportunity/affirmative action institution, and maintains a grievance procedure available to any person who believes he or she has been discriminated against. At all times, it is your right to address inquiries or concerns about possible discrimination to the Office for Institutional Equity and Compliance, Park Central Office Building, 117 Park Central Square, Suite 111, (417) 836-4252. Other types of concerns (i.e., concerns of an academic nature) should be discussed directly with your instructor and can also be brought to the attention of your instructor’s Department Head.   The Missouri State statement of non-discrimination can be found at http://www.missouristate.edu/eoaa.htm.

16. Office Hours: Students should feel free to consult with me about the course and their work. My office is STRO 215 (inside the Dean's Suite in STRO 207) and I will be there M--F 11:00-12:00 . If you can not meet with me during these times, see me after class and I will arrange a mutually convenient time for us to get together. The Dean's office phone is 836-5529 and the secretary can make an appointment for me. I can also be contacted by e-mail at: VictorMatthews@missouristate.edu

17. Cell Phone Use: As a member of the learning community, each student has a responsibility to other students who are members of the community.  When cell phones or pagers ring and students respond in class or leave class to respond, it disrupts the class.  Therefore, the Office of the Provost prohibits the use by students of cell phones, pagers, PDAs, or similar communication devices during scheduled classes.  All such devices must be turned off or put in a silent (vibrate) mode and ordinarily should not be taken out during class.  Given the fact that these same communication devices are an integral part of the University’s emergency notification system, an exception to this policy would occur when numerous devices activate simultaneously.  When this occurs, students may consult their devices to determine if a university emergency exists.  If that is not the case, the devices should be immediately returned to silent mode and put away.  Other exceptions to this policy may be granted at the discretion of the instructor. 


Before each class I will send out an email with the reading assignment for the next class session. While Strayer is the primary source text for this course, it will be supplemented by lecture materials, videos, and handouts.  Reading should be completed as assigned before class. You are responsible for all reading assignments and you will be questioned about the material they contain in class discussion and on the exams.  It is possible that we may stray from this schedule if the class or the instructor decides to spend more time on a particular topic of interest.

First Things First: Beginnings in History

Read Strayer, pp. 3-9

Discussion Question: What is History?

See http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/40605372/ns/technology_and_science-science/

 First Peoples: Populating the Planet

Read Strayer, pp 11-33

View: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2mRa9ICp9oY&feature=related

View: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1HgIiUoKj6w

View: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YIJeFL6uOqU  

First Farmers: The Revolutions of Agriculture

Reading: Strayer, pp. 49-67

View: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LdbnW-9c27U

View: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zlF8toqPxrE&feature=fvw

View: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GEm6LWh8D_s&feature=related

First Civilizations: Cities, States and Unequal Societies – 3500-500 BCE

Overview -- Read Strayer, pp. 85-103

Mesopotamia and Egypt – Read Strayer, pp. 103-125

View on Mesopotamia: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w8v2vRlLL58&feature=related

View on Egypt: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gRW7h8PeXtk&feature=related

Syro-Palestine – Read Strayer, pp. 204-205

View on Ancient Israel: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9XpsYE3_Ofk&feature=related

India – Read Strayer, pp.  126-131

View on India: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vMRfJfMnRmo

China – Read Strayer, pp. 90, 94-95, 158-160

View on China: http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=359793877059004948#docid=-6349643236409706507

First Exam: Chapters 1—3

The Classical Era in World History

Eurasian Empires: 500 BCE – 500 CE -- Overview – Read Strayer, pp. 133-141

Persia and Greece – Read Strayer, pp. 143-154, 202-209

View on Mycenaean Greece: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vkwWI9mbVFc

View Greek Golden Age: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rr8665v3bkg&feature=related 

View on Alexander: http://www.gamequarium.org/cgi-bin/search/linfo.cgi?id=3803

Rome – Read Strayer, pp. 154-158, 172-174, 268-279

View on Rome: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rCiEB7p9Efw&feature=related

 China – Read Strayer, pp. 158-163, 174-175, 180-187

View on Han Dynasty: http://www.schooltube.com/video/940c610dab1744239730/Han-Dynasty  

India -- Read Strayer, pp. 165-167, 176-178

View on Mauryan Empire: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4GHe9mR4Zoc

Eurasian Cultural Traditions: China

Read Strayer, pp. 189-197, 217-219

Eurasian Cultural Traditions: India

Read Strayer, pp. 197-202, 219-221.

Eurasian Cultural Traditions: Near East and Greek Rationalism

Read Strayer, pp. 202-209, 221-225.

Eurasian Cultural Traditions: Buddhism and Christianity

Read Strayer, pp. 210-215, 227-235.

Eurasian Social Hierarchies: Asian Cultures
Reading: Strayer, pp. 237-246, 262-268.

Classical Era Variations: Slavery and Patriarchies

Reading: Strayer, pp. 247-261, 268-279.

Second Exam: Chapters 4—6

Classical Era Variations: Africa and the Americas

Reading: Strayer, pp. 281-323.

Silk Roads, Sea Roads, Sand Roads

Reading: Strayer, pp. 325-377.

View on Silk Road: http://videos.howstuffworks.com/discovery/7249-china-silk-road-video.htm

China and the World

Reading: Strayer, pp. 379-423.

Third Exam: Chapters 7—9

The Worlds of European Christendom: Eastern

Reading: Strayer, pp. 425-434, 466-471.

View on Byzantine Empire: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p1TawVf834c

The Worlds of European Christendom: Western

Reading: Strayer, pp. 434-461, 560-567.

Emergence of Islam

Reading: Strayer, pp. 473-480.

The Worlds of Islam: The Arab Empire

View on Mohammed: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yX3UHNhQ1Zk

Reading: Strayer, pp. 480-488.

The Worlds of Islam: Beyond the Empire

Reading: Strayer, pp. 488-519.


Reading: Strayer, pp. 521-559.

View on Mongols: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=znKNqj0-jGg

Worlds of the Fifteenth Century

Reading: Strayer, pp. 569-607.

FINAL EXAM: Wednesday, May 11, 2011 at 11:00 am in STRO 400

Final Covers Chapters 10—13

Map of Ancient World

Return to Victor Matthews Home Page

This site was last updated on January 3, 2011. 





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