CORE 133 World Civilizations since 1453

MASTER Syllabus

Faculty Contact Information


I. Description:

While contact between cultures and civilizations is as old as recorded human history, in the 15th century the world became knitted together through trade and conquest as never before. This class traces the development of this interconnectivity between and among cultures and civilizations from the mid-fifteenth century to the present in order to better understand the history and meaning of globalization, its horrors and triumphs, perils and possibilities.

II. Purpose:

A. Mission Statement for World Civilizations:

This Core Curriculum requirement is a course in the Civilization category.

This class is an important part of your education! 

Civilizations courses are intended to study humanity's shared past, its hopes and frustrations, failures and triumphs in order to help the student both understand a complex world in a historical framework and to take responsibility for shaping its future.

Civilization courses are designed to explore in some depth the complex dimensions of world history and the cumulative experience of the past, to provide an understanding of how yesterday influences today and the outlook for tomorrow. Ultimately history and the civilizations categories are intended to be self-reflective and we engage them because they tell us something of who we are.

Further, these courses are geared towards introducing the student to the historical method as a powerful tool to shape and understand the past and present. As George Orwell noted: "Who controls the past controls the future: who controls the present controls the past." The mechanics of this maxim will be a guiding question of the class.

B. CART Goal

The Civilizations category of the Core develops critical thinking skills in an historical context, helps students reflect on their own heritage, and constructs the cultural knowledge that unites many other areas of the Core.

The CART has determined the following outcomes in support of this CART's goal:

C. Student Learning Outcomes


III. General Requirements

A. Academic Honesty

Students should be aware of the academic integrity policy, as outlined in the King's College Student Policy Handbook.  They should understand the distincitions concerning cheating and plagiarism, and their moral, ethical and legal obligation only to submit work completed by themselves. 

More information is available at <> and <Help stop Plagiarism!>.  

B. Reading:

A common survey text provides students with important factual and background information to read and work on before class and to use for review and reference afterwards.  Instructors may assign other texts at their discretion.

The current text for World Civs is

Bentley and Ziegler, Traditions and Encounters: A Global Perspective on the Past, vol. II, from 1500 to the Present, Fourth Ed., McGraw-Hill, 2008.

Students should do the following with their text (s):

The instructor may give quizzes to test reading and comprehension and for review. 

C. Class Participation & Attendance:

Each instructor should set an attendance policy.  An example follows: 

Participation and attendance are necessary because lecture and discussion provide the essentials for achieving class goals and objectives. Thus a portion of your grade (about 10%) will depend on your in-class performance and presence, aside from graded quizzes, exams and papers.  You are required to attend each class, arrive on time, remain attentive, maintain proper classroom decorum, respond to questions, and participate in discussion and small-group activities. You are encouraged to take notes and ask questions.

Several minor written assignments (a paragraph to one page in length) will also be required as reflections and reactions to class discussion and projects (10 points each).   

Any student who has a learning disability, physical handicap, and/or any other possible impediment to class participation and requirements should meet with the instructor within the first two weeks of classes to establish available accommodations.  Only with the instructor's permission may class be recorded, only to be used for your own study, and the recordings must be erased after the final exam.

If at some point during the semester you must discontinue the course, whether due to poor performance, illness, or some other cause, be sure to follow proper procedures for withdrawal. 

If you miss an exam, contact the instructor as soon as possible. You may take a missed exam only at the discretion of the instructor.  If you miss any quizzes and/or class projects, you may only make them up if you have a legitimate excuse and with the explicit permission of the instructor, who may require any equivalent assignment. 

If you arrive at class late, after attendance is taken, you must personally request that the absence be turned into a tardy mark; otherwise an Absentee Assignment may be required.  Students who need to leave a class early, except for medical emergency, should notify the instructor before class begins.

If you do miss a class, you must complete an Absentee Assignment.  You are to write a one-to-one-and-a-half page essay (in proper presentation format) answering the Big Question for that day's textbook reading AND showing how that day's WebSOURCE applies to the reading.   Deadlines: The assignment(s) should be turned in to the instructor at the beginning of the next class after you return.

Excused absences due to college activities or extended illness must be authorized by the appropriate college official. You should consult with the professor about making up/turning in missed work in advance or as soon as possible after your return.  After any absence, you are responsible for requesting from the professor hand-outs and already-returned assignments, or borrowing notes from other students.  Whether absences are excused or not, you may not get a higher grade than the percentage of classes attended.

Other absences are unexcused and will lower the class participation portions of your grade.  Remember, though, your health is your first priority.  If you are sick, stay home and recover.  A few unexcused absences will not significantly affect your grade.

D. Exams:

Students should take take a minimum of three exams.  The exams should be comprehensive: each exam may cover material since the beginning of the course.   The final exam is taken during finals week, scheduled at the same time as with other sections of CORE Civilization courses (not according to the normal weekly time of meeting).  Please consult the final exam schedule when it is released by the registrar. 

The majority of exam material should be in the form of essay questions, whether brief or extensive.

E. Written Assignments:

Students should produce at least two-to-three formal written assignments with a total amount written for the course reaching 12-to-15 pages.   Instructors should provide information about the goals, procedures, and topics for each of these assignments. 

Students must to conform to the instructor's required style of citation.  Preferred in this CART is the Turabian/Chicago Manual of Style format (see Corgan Library Study Guide #11 or for bibliography and citations.  

F. Deadlines:

Completing assignments on time is an important aspect of student course work.  Students should hand in each assignment on time.

Instructors will explain their individual policies on their syllabi.

IV. Grading Policy:

Students earn a grade through work done for this course.  A variety of assessments (written assignments, exams, quizzes, class participation, etc.) determine the final grade.  Different assignments will be worth certain point values, as described by the instructor.  

Students are responsible for knowing why they have achieved a certain grade, and what steps they can take to maintain or improve their grade.  They are encouraged to consult with the instructor during office hours or by appointment both before and after exams and written assignments.  
For their protection, in case of errors of recording, students should keep copies of all exams and assignments until they have received official notice of their final grade. 

Any and all materials done for this course may become the property of the instructor, who may use them for assessment, evaluative, scholarly, or research purposes. 

Possible themes and topics include the following: 

Exploration, Conquest and Global Trade

Early Modern Europe

"New Worlds" / "Old Worlds"

Black Atlantic

Modernization and Centralization in East Asia

Islam and Empire

Revolution, Part One (France and Napoleon)

Revolution, Part Two (Industrialization)

Revolution, Part Three (Haiti and the Latin American Criollos)

19th Century Nationalism

European Imperialism (Scramble for Africa)

Middle Class Society and its Discontents

Asia and "the West"

World War I and Versailles

Russian Revolutions

Age of Anxiety

Collapse of the Ottoman Empire and the Chinese Civil War


World War II / Holocaust

Cold War

Decolonialization in British India: Satayagra

Decolonialization in Africa: The Vampire State

New World Order

Any and all materials done for this course may become the property of the professor, who may use them for assessment, evaluative, scholarly, or research purposes.  Although syllabi present the basic content of courses, the instructors reserve the right to change anything (e.g. requirement, topics, assignments, due dates, grading policy, etc.) at their discretion.

Civilization: Historical Perspectives Category Homepage

King's College Catalog

Faculty who teach in the Core Category


CORE mainpage Curriculum & Teaching Committee CART Coordinator:
Brian A. Pavlac, Professor of History, Department Chair

Last updated 2014 September 17.