HIST 122: Western Civilization II

Spring 2004
Course Description and Schedule

Section 035, 12:30-1:45 TWTh, East 213
NB: This class does not meet during the period 15 March-13 April when the instructor teaches in the Jena program.

Mr Lehmann
Office Hours: 10-11 TTh
East Hall 210, 677-5573, clehmann@usd.edu

This is the second of a two-part survey of Western Civilization and introduces students to some of the leading figures, ideas, and events of the modern world. It also exposes students to the concerns and methods of historical inquiry through lectures, analysis and discussion of selected texts, and writing of short papers.  The goal of this course is for the student not only to acquire historical information but also to learn through example (lectures, textbook) and practice (discussions, essay examinations, papers) a historical/critical method of thought and expression.

Students must read all assignments, attend every lecture, take notes, participate in discussions, and secure this syllabus and all handouts--which contain chronological and geographical background to the lectures and readings--from the instructor's web page. In addition, each student writes five mini-themes of one to two pages. Students who expect to miss more than three meetings should see the instructor within the first week. A set of study questions, also available on-line, will assist the student preparing for examinations.

The first midterm exam takes place 3 Feb, covering parts seven and eight of the course, another 2 Mar, covering parts nine through ten, and the final exam 6 May, covering part eleven. Exams consist of one long and a choice of two out of three short essay questions; the final exam includes a comprehensive essay question. Each student will write a mini-theme on a choice of suggested topics for each reading due on the assigned date during discussion of the topics. The first and second midterms count 50 points each, the final 75, and the mini-themes 100 points (20 points each), for a total of 275 possible points.











Students who wish to arrange another method of evaluation should see the instructor within the first two weeks. By all means consult the Top 10 Ways to Lower Your Grade in Humanities.

Required Books

Recommended Book

Kate L Turabian. A Manual for Writers. 6th ed. Chicago: Univ of Chicago Press, 1996.

The Mini-Themes on Required Readings

Each mini-theme should be between 250 and 500 words long (one to two pages), typewritten or carefully handwritten. It can earn up to 20 points as follows: 10 points for content (clarity of argument, familiarity with the work), 5 points for style (grammar, spelling, use of words), and 5 points for care in presentation. The instructor will return essays with special problems for rewriting. Try to work a week in advance; your instructor will gladly evaluate and mark up your first clean draft and return it to you for rewriting in time for the final submission.

Unless you make special arrangements in advance or have a medical or family emergency, you must participate in the discussion in order to receive credit for a given paper.

As you read the assignments keep all the suggested topics in mind and take notes. Then pick one topic and answer it carefully and concisely. Feel free to consult with fellow students and with your instructor as you prepare the assignments, but the result must be entirely your own. Be particularly careful to avoid plagiarism; you must give references for every idea or quotation you borrow as you construct your argument. See Turabian, Manual for Writers, for the proper way to indicate references. At the head of your paper write the title and your name and staple your sheets together.

A. Voltaire's Candide (20 Jan)

  1. "On Human Nature." Descibe the arguments about the nature of man that various characters present. Which do you think is Voltaire's view of the nature of man?
  2. "Voltaire and the Church." How do the institutional churches and their representatives appear in the book? Does Voltaire have a predominantly positive or negative view of Christianity in its various forms?
  3. "Life in Voltaire's Europe." Being careful to think through Voltaire's exaggerations and satires, try to describe very generally what it was like to live in Europe in the middle of the eighteenth century. What aspects of this life appeal to you? What aspects do you find especially repugnant?

B. Büchner's Death of Danton (27 Jan)

  1. "The Rhetoric of Revolution." Büchner took many of his speeches directly from records of the Revolution. Analyze some of the images the revolutionaries used to describe and justify their actions, particularly the bloodiest ones.
  2. "The People and the Revolution." Explain why the people of Paris supported the Revolution, particularly at the bloodiest stage, which is the setting for the book. Pay particular attention to the words of the anonymous citizens.
  3. "The Revolutionaries and the Revolution." Explain why the leaders of the Revolution (here the Jacobins) acted as they did. Were their motives selfish or selfless? Be sure to contrast Robespierre and Danton.

C. Communist Manifesto (17 Feb)

Marxism as developed by Marx and Engels and their many admirers and critics is much more complex and problematic than this one text would indicate–you all know this; it is therefore especially important that you take this text on its own terms and construct your essays solely on the basis of what you actually find here.

  1. "The Evils of Capitalism." Marx and Engels include a critique of capitalism in the Manifesto. Summarize their description of this economic system and explain why they consider it a bad thing.
  2. "Marx and the Proletariat." Summarize Marx’s definition of the proletariat and explain its role in the economic system. Why is the proletariat important for the coming of the new communist order?
  3. "The Prophet Marx." Explain the Communist Manifesto as the prophetic utterance of a righteous and indignant man, like the Old Testament prophets who decried social and economic injustices and religious failings, and who warned of impending doom unless their audience change their ways. What, for Marx, is the problem, who will suffer and why, and does the prophecy offer an alternative to destruction?

D. Achebe, Things Fall Apart (3 Mar)

  1. "East Meets West."  Describe the various strategies the novel's characters adopt in order to deal with the religion and government of the whites.
  2. "West Meets East."  How do the whites you meet in the novel react to native culture?  How do they think about it?  Why are the whites here?
  3. "'Primitive Society.'"  Would you characterize the culture of the natives as "primitive"?  Are their life-ways unfamiliar to you?  Are the feelings and actions of the characters unfamiliar to you?  How distant do you feel from the characters in the novel?

E. Menchú, I, Rigoberta Menchú (27 Apr)

  1. "The Objects of Resistance."  Who or what is the enemy?  What or who oppresses Menchú and her fellow Indians and prompts their organized resistance?
  2. "The Resources of Resistance."  How can Menchú conceive of resisting oppression?  What aspects of her traditional life do you think give her the desire and ability, the tools and strength, to resist?  What resources does she need to borrow from other traditions?
  3. "Western Civ--Good or Bad?"  From Menchú's perspective, is Western Civilization good or bad?  Or partly good and partly bad?


Click here for chronology sheet.

Click here for study guides.

8 Jan

Introduction: What is the Modern World?

Part 7: Absolutism and Enlightenment [Spielvogel chs 15-18]

13 Jan

Introduction and Chronology (bring chronology sheet)

14 Jan

Absolutism in France and Germany

15 Jan

The English Exception

20 Jan

The Scientific Revolution and the Enlightenment
Discussion: Candide

Part 8: The Age of Revolutions [Spielvogel chs 19-20]

21 Jan

Introduction and Chronology (bring chronology sheet)

22 Jan

The French Revolution and Its Consequences

27 Jan

Discussion: Danton’s Death

28 Jan

The Industrial Revolution and Its Consequences

29 Jan

Nineteenth Century Economics

3 Feb Slides: Early Modern Art and Architecture

4 Feb

First Midterm Examination

Part 9: A Century of Ideas [Spielvogel chs 21-23]

5 Feb

Introduction and Chronology (bring chronology sheet)

10 Feb


11 Feb

Romanticism and Nationalism

12 Feb

Socialism and Democracy: New Directions in Thought and Science

17 Feb Discussion: Communist Manifesto

18 Feb

UPDATE: Spring Colloquium: Arian Sheets, A Patently Good Idea (12 PM, Farber Hall)

19 Feb

UPDATE: Imperialism; guest lecture by Shannon Fogg

Part 10: Turn of the Century [Spielvogel chs 24-25]

24 Feb

Introduction and Chronology (bring chronology sheet)

25 Feb

Bismarck's Germany

26 Feb World War I

2 Mar

UPDATE: The Russian Revolution: Discussion: Things Fall Apart

3 Mar UPDATE: Second Midterm Examination

4 Mar

UPDATE: Spring Colloquium: David Moskowitz, TBA (12 PM, Farber Hall)

Part 11: The Twentieth Century [Spielvogel chs26-29]

13 Apr

Introduction and Chronology (bring chronology sheet)

14 Apr Totalitarianism

15 Apr

World War II

16 Apr UPDATE: Spring Colloquium: Tom Nevill, "Rediscovering a Forgotten Voice: The Percussion Ensemble Music of Johanna Magdalena Beyer"

20 Apr

Postwar Tensions: The Cold War  (12 PM, Farber Hall)

21 Apr

The Third World

22 Apr

No Class: Student History Conference; attend Plenary Lecture

27 Apr Discussion: I, Rigoberta Menchú
28 Apr The Postmodern World

29 Apr


Thur 6 May, 7:30-9:30 AM: Final Examination