HIST 121 Section 055 (Honors), Fall 1996
12:30-1:45 TTh, Education 112

Mr Lehmann
Office Hours: 10:00-12:00 TTh
East Hall 210, 677-5573, clehmann@charlie.usd.edu , http://www.usd.edu/~clehmann

This, the first of a two-part survey of Western Civilization, introduces students to some of the leading figures, ideas, and events of the Ancient Near East and premodern Europe. It also exposes them to the concerns and methods of historical inquiry through the example of lectures, by analyzing and discussing selected texts, and by writing papers. Finally, the course requires students to become familiar with the use of the World Wide Web and with historical resources available on it.

Students must read all assignments, attend every lecture, take notes, participate in discussions, and secure all handouts, which contain chronological and geographical background to the lectures and readings. In addition, students write papers and attend special discussion sessions four times during the semester. Material from the lectures may be incorporated into the papers and observations during discussions, but the main purpose of the papers is for students to treat in detail certain themes that appear only generally in the lectures: the nature of historical evidence and knowledge, the relationship between ideas and events, the nature of government and reasons for changing it, and explanations of historical change.


Grades depend on written work and participation in class and discussion sessions. Students who expect to miss more than three meetings should meet with the instructor in the first week. Each student writes four papers, submits regular summaries of course content by part, and creates a web page. The papers count 50 points each, divided into 30 points for content, 10 points for style, and 10 points for discussion. The summaries count an additional 50 points. The web pages are not graded, but are required for successful completion of the course. From a total of 250 points possible,

250-225 = A
224-200 = B
200-175 = C
175-150 = D

REQUIRED BOOKS (many of these on reserve in I D Weeks)



At the end of each substantive part of the course (parts 2-6), students will submit short answers based on lectures and readings in the textbook to the respective study questions. Each summary should have about one paragraph to answer each question. E-mail these to the instructor by the first Friday following the completion of each part of the course.


Each student will establish an internet account as soon as possible and send a message to the instructor so that he can establish a mailing list for the class. Go to the page on CoyoteNet to learn how to establish a user account. Be sure to ask for an account on the Sun/Unix system.

By the end of the fall term each student will have written his or her own home page on the World Wide Web. Go to "Creating a Home Page" and InTEC's guide to publishing on the Web to learn how to write a home page. The instructor highly recommends the workshops on the Internet and the World Wide Web offered by the staff of I D Weeks Library. See their schedule and sign up right away.

A panel of instructors and honors upperclassmen will judge the best of the home pages. The winner will have his or her books for Honors Western Civilization II paid for next term, courtesy of the Honors Program.


The instructor has set four problems based on several of the required books. Each student will write short papers (5-10 pp) addressing the problems, and join a small group to discuss the problem after completing each paper. Students will be assigned to one of four groups at the first meeting. The papers will conform to Chicago style and include title page and bibliography: see K L Turabian, A Manual for Writers of Term Papers, Theses, and Dissertations, 6th ed (Chicago: Univ of Chicago Press, 1993), or The Chicago Manual of Style, 14th ed (Chicago: Univ of Chicago Press, 1993). The title page will indicate the appropriate discussion session.

Papers are due in the History office (207 East Hall) by 4:00 pm on the scheduled days; discussions follow accordingly at the Honors Lounge in the Chi Omega Center. Papers submitted on time may be rewritten for a higher grade. Papers submitted after the first discussion following the due date will be penalized by ten points, and an additional ten points every twenty-four hours thereafter.

Paper 1 due Fri 4 Oct 12-2 Tues 8 Oct
7-9 Tues 8 Oct
12-2 Thur 10 Oct
7-9 Thur 10 Oct
Paper 2 due Fri 25 Oct 12-2 Tues 29 Oct
7-9 Tues 29 Oct
12-2 Thur 31 Oct
7-9 Thur 31 Oct
Paper 3 due Fri 15 Nov 12-2 Tues 19 Nov
7-9 Tues 19 Nov
12-2 Thur 21 Nov
7-9 Thur 21 Nov
Paper 4 due Fri 6 Dec 12-2 Tues 10 Dec
7-9 Tues 10 Dec
12-2 Thur 12 Dec
7-9 Thur 12 Dec

Paper Topics

  1. Journeying to the Promised Land
    Read Walzer's Exodus and Revolution with great care--you will keep Walzer's ideas in mind for all assignments this year. Then read the books of Exodus and Joshua in the Bible and Homer's Odyssey. Finally write a paper considering these questions with respect to the Hebrews and to Odysseus: What did they aim for in their journeying? What did they leave behind? How did the journey change them?
  2. Real Worlds, Ideal Worlds
    Read Euripides' Trojan Women and Electra and Plato's Republic. Consider the "revolutions" that make the Trojans' future one of slavery and that Electra anticipates with the return of her brother. Then consider the ideal society that Plato envisions. What do these works say about how people should live together? Do you detect a tension between ideal institutions and morals and their practical implementation? If so, can you resolve the tension?
  3. Out of the Past, the Future
    Read Virgil's Aeneid and the books of 1 and 2 Maccabees and Revelation in the Bible. Compare the various visions offered by their authors of the fortunes of an embattled minority struggling toward the future.
  4. From the New World
    Read More's Utopia and CortÚs's Letters from Mexico. What did the authors want their readers to get out of the New World? What did they want the inhabitants of the New World to get out of the Old?


Part I: Introduction

5 Sept How We Know About the Past, and Why We Study It

Part II: The Ancient Near East [Civilization ch 1]

10 Sept Disc: Ancient Historians(bring handout); Part II: Chronology and Geography (bring chronology sheet)
12 Sept Prehistory and the Earliest Civilizations
17 Sept Mesopotamian Religion
19 Sept Israel, Jahweh, and History
24 Sept Slides: The City of Jerusalem

Part III: Greece [Civilization ch 2]

26 Sept Chronology and the Bronze Age (bring chronology sheet)
1 Oct The Homeric World
3 Oct Early Sparta and Athens
4 Oct Paper 1 due
8, 10 Oct Discussions on Paper 1
15 Oct Athenian Democracy and its Crises
17 Oct Slides: The City of Athens

Part IV: Rome [Civilization chs 3-4]

22 Oct Chronology and Rome's Origins (bring chronology sheet)
24 Oct The Roman Constitution (bring handout on Polybius) and the Senatorial Aristocracy
25 Oct Paper 2 due
29, 31 Oct Discussions on Paper 2
5 Nov Roman Imperialism
7 Nov The Roman Revolution; Rome and the Christians
12 Nov

Part V: The Middle Ages [Civilization chs 7-14]

14 Nov Chronology (bring chronology sheet); Byzantium and Islam
15 Nov Paper 3 due
19, 21 Nov Discussions on Paper 3
26 Nov Medieval Society and Feudalism; Medieval Renaissances
28 Nov Thanksgiving (no class)

Part VI: Renaissance and Reformation [Civilization chs 16-19]

3 Dec Chronology (bring chronology sheet); Renaissance Humanism
5 Dec The Church and its Reformers; Slides: The City of Florence
6 Dec Paper 4 due
10, 12 Dec Discussions on Paper 4

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