HONORS 204 Western Experiences II

Spring 2006

Prof. Pavlac
U.S. Mail Address:
History Department
King's College
131 North River Street
Wilkes-Barre, PA 18711

Tel: (570) 208-5900, ext. # 5748
Fax: (570) 208-5988 
Office: Hafey-Marian 307
Office Hours:  tba
and by appointment

Grading Policy | Paper Presentation  

I. Description:

Where did the bulk of our culture come from? This course will survey of Western Civilization since the Baroque Period, with an emphasis on concepts, forces, ideas, events and leaders that have shaped our Western society. In coordination with other classes on Art, Literature, Philosophy and Theology, this class will emphasize the political, social and economic constraints and opportunities faced by Western peoples since the 17th century. 

II. Purpose:

A. Mission Statement:

This Honors core course is part of the Humanities suite of courses in the Western humanities.

Civilization courses are designed to explore in some depth the complex dimensions of our world and the cumulative experience of the past, to provide an understanding of how yesterday influences today and the outlook for tomorrow. We study the major developments of Western peoples until the 20th century because most of the problems and institutions of contemporary society have distinguishable roots in the historical past. Moreover, because of the physical and material expansion of the West in the modern period, many of these forms (capitalist industrial manufacturing, the nation-state system, etc.) have become global in nature.

We offer this course as part of your general education requirements because it is important for educated citizens to be familiar with the main stages of Western Civilization and recognize it as an expanding force which produced important forms of political, social, and economic organization. You should understand that most of the structures within which we order our lives are products of this evolution. Historians believe that past human behavior can be studied scientifically and that social scientists can improve our understanding of people in the present.

Further, whatever your major or career goals may be, throughout your lives you will be deluged with information, opinion, and interpretations about events which you should be able to evaluate critically. Answering questions and solving problems by critical analysis -- not just memorization of data -- is a basic goal of education. Information is just the raw material in this process and, though rational analysis must be based on factual data, memorizing tidbits of information is not an end in itself. Our real goal is to develop concepts which give order and meaning to the raw material of our recorded past. Doing this requires comprehension beyond minimal factual details of past events. Major emphasis will be on patterns, themes, and concepts against which the factual data must be understood.

We hope that upon successful completion of this course you will have improved your understanding of world civilizations and become a more perceptive judge of the data, opinions, interpretations and explanations continuously offered to you. This process, indeed, should last your whole life, since (paraphrasing the observation of the distinguished professional historian Carl L. Becker from 1931) "Ultimately, every person is their own historian."

B. Objectives for the student:

  1. To be familiar with the main stages of civilization as an expanding force that has produced important forms of political, social, economic and cultural organization which are our common heritage.
  2. To identify major events, persons and ideas that contributed to the development of Western (including American) and non-Western attitudes and institutions.
  3. To develop concepts which give meaning and order to the raw material of our recorded past.
  4. To identify and analyze significant problems and situations as they relate to the continuing issues of contemporary life.

C. Goals for the student:

  1. To improve understanding of the major events which have influenced the modern world.
  2. To be an intelligent consumer and evaluator of information about world events.
  3. To develop a global perspective which recognizes the political, economic and cultural interdependence of all nations.
  4. To understand the influence of the past on contemporary events and problems or, in other words, to develop Historical Mindedness.

D. General Learning Outcomes for the student:

In addition to the more content-related objectives described above, this course has some general liberal-learning goals of developing academic skills. It is expected that successful completion of this course will help you improve your ability:

  1. To manage information, which involves sorting data, ranking data for significance, synthesizing facts, concepts and principles.
  2. To understand and use organizing principles or key concepts against which miscellaneous data can be evaluated.
  3. To differentiate between facts, opinions and inferences.
  4. To frame questions so as to more clearly clarify a problem topic or issue.
  5. To compare and contrast the relative merits of opposing arguments and interpretations, moving between the main points of each position.
  6. To organize your thoughts and communicate them clearly and concisely in written form.
  7. To obtain practice in selecting and presenting information and arguments within a restricted environment, especially the limitations of time in exams.

III. General Requirements

A. Reading:

The textbooks are intended to provide you with important factual and background information before class and to be used as review and reference works afterwards.

Before class, you will read in the textbook the pages listed on the class schedule, to be given out. After class, regularly through the semester, you should review your class notes and compare them with the textbook's version of the material.

The instructor may give quizzes to test your textbook reading and comprehension.

B. Class Participation & Attendance:

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 25%) will depend on your in-class performance and presence: you are required to attend each class, arrive on time, remain attentive, and respond to questions. You are encouraged to ask questions.

Lectures may be recorded with the instructor's permission, although the tapes may not be used for any other purpose than study, and must be erased after the exams.

The instructor will regularly take attendance. Absences due to college activities, emergency or extended illness may be excused by the appropriate college official. Other absences are unexcused and will lower the class participation portion of your grade. After any absence, you are responsible for making up missed work, requesting 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.

A student who arrives at class late, after attendance is taken, must personally request that the absence be turned into a tardy mark. Students who need to leave a class session early, except for medical emergency, should notify the instructor before class begins.

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. The makeup exam may be in the form of an oral exam.

All students who have a learning disability, physical handicap and/or any other possible impediment to class participation and requirements should schedule an appointment with the instructor within the first two weeks of classes to discuss available accommodations.

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

C. Exams:

You will take two mid-term exams and a final exam as assigned during finals week. The exams are comprehensive: each exam may cover material since the beginning of the course. Each exam are worth different percentages of the final grade.

All exams will consist of objective questions testing recall based on historical geography and maps, short identifications quizzing knowledge of detail and significance, and essays demanding your understanding of the course material through logical presentation of facts and explanation of historical trends.

To encourage your learning for the map portion of the exams, two map quizzes are already scheduled. More may be required. In these quizzes you will simply be asked to identify on a map several locations, from those listed map location guide to be posted.

To study for the exams you should regularly, at least once a week, review your class notes, especially for identifications drawn from the overhead outline. You should also compare and contrast these notes with your textbook and with the issues and trends emphasized in the class description.

Grading Policy | Presentation  

D. Written Assignments:

You will have two written assignments: two of three-to-five pages of text each and one of four-to-six pages, for a total of ten-to-sixteen pages. They are described below.   Do use the Writing Center!

Be sure to conform to the instructor's presentation guidelines(!), and use Turabian/Chicago Manual of Style format (see Corgan Library Study Guide #11) for bibliography and citations.  

E. Deadlines:

Completing assignments on time is an important aspect of your course work.  You yourself must hand in each written assignment at the beginning of class on the dates assigned on your paper syllabus.

The grade of any paper you turn in late will lose at least 10% after the beginning of the first class, 20% after the second, and 35% after the third. No late papers will be accepted after the last day of classes.

If you miss an exam, contact the professor as soon as possible.  You may take a missed exam only at the discretion of the professor.  

V. Grading Policy:

Click here for parameters of evaluation and grading.

Your final grade will be based on a percentage (above 91%=A, 89%=B+, 81%=B, etc.) of the sum of the assignments. Different assignments will be worth certain point values, to be announced later.

Maintaining and developing academic honesty is an important part of your course of study.  Be sure to note the concerns about cheating and plagiarism.  For further information read "Help Stop Plagiarism!."

VI. Tentative Class Topics:

All topics are tentative; the instructor may change them at his discretion.  The Web Links provide further materials, which you could study from to gain further insight into each topic.  

PART III The Modern World--under construction: more to be added.

Big Questions

Web Links

How did the First Scientific Revolution empower the West to create new knowledge? >Galileo  (You only need to read the first source, not the "Sentence of the Tribunal..." nor (Galileo's Abjuration").  When was Galileo first denounced to the inquisition and when was he tried by the Holy Tribunal?  On what two points did the court declare Galileo suspect of heresy (hint:  it is not the two Theological Qualifiers listed by number--check the sentence of the tribunal in the last paragraph).  Why would the Roman Catholic Church today consider Galileo not to be guilty of heresy?  
[See also Sci-Rev-WeblinksANSPRACHE VON JOHANNES PAUL II. AN DER PÄPSTLICHEN AKADEMIE DER WISSENSCHAFTEN/English translation from the French of the Pope's address of Oct. 31, 1992]
How did Enlightenment thinkers conceive of improvements to human society? >Voltaire   (Read only "Whether it is Useful to Maintain People in their Superstition," not chapter 21 or 22)  How does Voltaire consider religion to be useful?  What difference does he make between religion and superstition?  In his opinion, how does the Enlightenment change the method of government in France?  What, for Voltaire, is the worst superstition?
How did absolutism assert itself in Early Modern Europe? >Frederick II on government   According to Frederick what virtues should a ruler have?  What vices should he avoid?  In his view, how can monarchy sbe uperior to republican government?
[Character of monarchs:  Louis XIV"s courtPeter the Great; Maria Theresa; Catherine the Great]
How did democratic forms of government spread in the West? >Declaration of Independence   According to the document, on what basic principles do the Americans justify their separation from Britain?  Who is to blame for the problems facing the Americans?  What are some of the specific "injuries"?  Why was this document necessary?
[Petition of RightsBill of Rights (the first half up to "Upon which the said Majesties did accept the crown..."); Execution of Charles I]
How did the revolutionaries in France execute political changes?  

>La Marseillaise  What specific issues do the lyrics describe?  What is the sentiment of the song?  How appropriate are the lyrics for a national anthem today, such as compared to the Star Spangled Banner (lyrics / music)?
[More on La MarseillaiseLevee; Execution of Louis XVI]

How did war alter the French Revolution and cause Napoleon's rise and fail?

>Catechism on Napoleon  What attitude does the catechism say children should have toward Napoleon?  What reasons the catechism provide?  What implications does this catechism  have for relations between church and state?  [Napoleon's "state of the empire"; Waterloo]

How did competing ideologies offer alternatives in the 19th Century? >Carlsbad Resolutions  How would these decrees affect the lives of professors?  How would they affect the lives of students?  In what ways should people have "academic freedom" or not?
[Malthus; Proclamations of Revolution in France1848Syllabus of Errors]
How did inventions and capitalism produce the Industrial Revolution? >  Loss of Wool Spinning  What are the advantages of "Hand Spinning of Wool?"   What are the disadvantages of working on the machines: concerning propriety, domestic employment, for the poor,  for mothers of families?
[industrialization interactive; Victorian Webpoetry]
How did Socialists address problems manufactured by the Industrial Revolutions? >Gotha Program (1875) How does the Social Democratic Party of Germany justify its attitude toward labor?  What are its general aims?  What specific reforms does it propose?  How many and which of these specific proposals are commonplace today?
[Communist manifesto; women miners in coal pits]
How did naturalistic science generate new and unsettling knowledge? >Sigmund Freud on Civilization Freud talks about various Weltanschauungen or views about the meaning of life.  What other three forces compete with science and how effective are they?  What does Freud see as the best hope for the future, and why?  What human inclination does Freud see working against civilization and what other one is working toward it?  
[Darwin on the Descent of Man; John Paul II on Evolution]
How did the Europeans come to dominate Asia and Africa?  >French Prime Minister on Imperialism, 1884 What are the three justifications for imperialism by France offered by Ferry and how does he explain them?
[A critique of imperialism; Profits from imperialism?]
How did the United States of America become a world power? >Latin America  What specific actions does Calderón see as manifestations of imperialism by the United States in Latin America?  How does he view the characters of North and South Americans to be different?  Considering recent U.S.-Latin American relations, how much of these difficulties still continue today?
[San Juan HillBeveridge, March of the Flag]
How did various nationalisms unify and divide Western nations? >Mazzini's On the Duties of Man... (Read only until the paragraph which begins "In labouring for our own country on the right principle...").  What does Mazzini say are the first duties of men, and on what basis?  What does he mean by the "Faith of the Future?"  How realistic is his view of the Divine design of countries?  What role should countries play in human activity?
[GermanyRealpolitik of the Ems Dispatch]
How did tensions push Western Civilization into war with itself? >Militarism  What does von Moltke see as the virtues of war?  What problems are there to establishing rules of war?   What specific steps or means does von Moltke view as making war less savage?  How well would his advice go over today?
[Germans as Huns]
How did economic chaos and totalitarians challenge democracies?
How did he Cold War divides the globe into two armed camps?
How did Western Civilization faces fragmentation and foes both old and new?

Grading Policy | Presentation

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