HIST 122: Western Civilization II

Spring 2006
Course Description and Schedule

Churchill-Haines170, TTh 12:30-1:45
3 credits

Mr Lehmann
Office Hours: 2-3 TTh
East Hall 210, 677-5573, clehmann@usd.edu


Catalog description: SURVEYS THE DEVELOPMENT OF WESTERN CIVILIZATION FROM THE REFORMATION ERA TO THE PRESENT.. No prerequisites; no unusual technology skills required.

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.

There will be a midterm exam 23 Feb, covering parts one and two of the course; another 6 Apr, covering parts three and four; and a final exam 9 May, covering parts five and six. 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.

See the end of the syllabus for additional information concerning cheating, ADA policy, and outcomes of learning.

Required Books

Recommended Book

Kate L Turabian. A Manual for Writers. 6th ed. Chicago: Univ of Chicago Press, 1996.  0226816273

The Mini-themes

A. Voltaire's Candide (2 Feb)

  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 (14 Feb)

  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 (14 Mar)

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. Myriveles, Life in the Tomb (30 Mar)

  1. "The Horror of War."  What does this book tell you about the difference between what the soldiers expected about and what they found. 
  2. "Why We Fight."  Think about any difference in the soldiers' motivations for going to war and continuing to fight.  Why do civilians support the war?  Why do governmental leaders support it?
  3. "Modern Warfare."  What are the distinctive features of warfare at the beginning of the twenty-first century?  What do you think are the universal features of warfare in any age?

E. Satrapi, Persepolis (27 Apr)

  1. "Born to be a Prophet."  Describe the difference between Satrapi's world as she and the revolutionaries think it should be and as it really is.  Think about religion and politics, gender and class relations.
  2. "History in the Comics."  Evaluate the effectiveness of treating issues of great human moment in a (seeming?) superficial way.
  3. "The Weight of History."  How does the great antiquity of Persia continue to affect life in modern Iran?  Think about religion, politics, class, and gender relations.


Click here for chronology sheet.

Click here for study guides.

19 Jan

Introduction: What is the Modern World?

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

24 Jan

Introduction and Chronology (bring chronology sheet)

26 Jan

Absolutism in France and Germany

31 Jan

The English Exception

2 Feb

The Scientific Revolution and the Enlightenment
Discussion: Voltaire,

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

7 Feb

Introduction and Chronology (bring chronology sheet)

9 Feb

The French Revolution and Its Consequences

14 Feb

Discussion: Büchner, Death of Danton
The Industrial Revolution and Its Consequences

16 Feb

Nineteenth Century Economics

21 Feb

Slides: Early Modern Art and Architecture

23 Feb

First Midterm Examination

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

28 Feb

Introduction and Chronology (bring chronology sheet)

2 Mar

Liberalism and Nationalism

14 Mar

Socialism and Democracy
Communist Manifesto

16 Mar

New Directions in Thought and Science

21 Mar


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

23 Mar

Introduction and Chronology (bring chronology sheet)

28 Mar Bismarck's Germany

30 Mar

World War I
Disc: Myriveles,
Life in the Tomb

4 Apr

The Russian Revolution

6 Apr

Second Midterm Examination

Part 11: The Twentieth Century [Spielvogel chs 26-29]

11 Apr

Introduction and Chronology (bring chronology sheet)

13 Apr Totalitarianism

18 Apr

World War II

20 Apr

No Class: Student History Conference

25 Apr

Postwar Tensions: The Cold War


The Third World; Discussion: Satrapi, Persepolis

2 May

The Postmodern World; Slides

4 May

Third Midterm Examination

Tues 9 May 7:30-9:30 AM:  Final Examination Cancelled

Statement of Compliance with the ADA: 

Any student who feels s/he may need academic accommodations or access accommodations based on the impact of a documented disability should contact and register with Disability Services during the first week of class.   Disability Services is the official office to assist students through the process of disability verification and coordination of appropriate and reasonable accommodations.  Students currently registered with Disability Services must obtain a new accommodation memo each semester.

Ernetta L. Fox, Director
Disability Services, Room 119 Service Center
Web Site: www.usd.edu/ds

E-mail: dservices@usd.edu


The College of Arts and Sciences considers plagiarism, cheating, and other forms of academic dishonesty inimical to the objectives of higher education. The College supports the imposition of penalties on students who engage in academic dishonesty, as defined in the “Conduct” section of the University of South Dakota Student Handbook.

No credit can be given for a dishonest assignment. At the discretion of the instructor, a student caught engaging in any form of academic dishonesty may be:

a. Given a zero for that assignment.
b. Allowed to rewrite and resubmit the assignment for credit.
c. Assigned a reduced grade for the course.
d. Dropped from the course.
e. Failed in the course.

-- Adopted by vote of the faculty 12April 2005

This class fulfills the following Goals of the South Dakota System General Education Requirements: 

GOAL #4: Students will understand the diversity and complexity of the human experience through study of the arts and humanities

Student Learning Outcomes: As a result of taking courses meeting this goal, students will:

  1. Demonstrate knowledge of the diversity of values, beliefs, and ideas embodied in the human experience
    1. Essay exams treating cultural and historical problems raised in class and readings
    2. Mini-themes treating specific historical problems relevant to assigned works with historical and cultural content..
    3. In-class discussion of assigned works.
  2. Identify and explain basic concepts of the selected disciplines within the arts and humanities.
    1. Exam essays demonstrating historical analysis.
    2. Mini-themes demonstrating historical analysis.

In addition, as a result of taking courses meeting this goal, students will be able to do at least one of the following:

  1. Identify and explain the contributions of other cultures from the perspective of the selected disciplines within the arts and humanities
    1. Exams, mini-themes, class discussion
  2. Demonstrate creative and aesthetic understanding
    1. Exams, mini-themes, class discussion
  3. Explain and interpret formal and stylistic elements of the literary or fine arts
    1. Exam questions and discussion concerning works of literature and art; mini-themes on literary texts.
  4. Demonstrate foundational competency in reading, writing, and speaking a non-English language.
    1. NA

Each course meeting this goal includes the following student learning outcomes: Required: #1, #2 At least one of the following: #3, #4, #5, or #6 (Credit Hours: 6 hours (in 2 disciplines or a sequence of foreign language courses))