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Writing Across the Curriculum




Professor Shackelford
Office: H836
Fall 2004
Office Hours: TTH 10:15-11:45AM or by appointment
E-mail: ruth.shackelford@liu.edu
Office Phone: (718) 488-1377

Course Outline: This is a course in the history of the human community from the dawn of civilization to about 1500. It is designed around the simple idea that one of the central themes of human history is change—how people responded to situations in new ways, meeting new challenges as best they could. Underlying this central theme are two important ideas. The first is the interdependence of humankind, which has deep roots in the past. The second is that in order to understand the significance of humanity's interdependence in our own time, we must try to make sense of the history of the human community as a whole. However, this course is not simply a survey of civilizations, centuries, and dynasties. The most important historical events have usually drawn people from different languages and cultures into a common historical experience. Therefore, this course will stress the interaction of societies and civilizations with one another, with a geographic emphasis on the Near East, India , China , Greece , Rome , the Muslim world, Africa and Europe , and a topical emphasis on political structures, the status of women, the development of religion, and the issue of slavery.

Goals and Objectives: At the conclusion of this course, students should be able to:

  • Understand the role of cross-cultural and trans-regional interactions, contacts, and encounters and their role in shaping the process of historical change.
  • Analyze current issues in their historical context.
  • Demonstrate the basic skills of comparative thinking by describing and accounting for similarities and differences in human historical experience.
  • Differentiate between primary and secondary sources through assigned reading assignments, small group discussions, and class discussions.
  • Identify historical interpretation and recognize that historical events can be interpreted in more than one way.
  • Demonstrate a basic understanding of the geography of the world and the ability to quickly identify major cities, countries, seas, oceans, and continents on a map.
  • Express themselves orally, through regular class discussions based on assigned readings, and in writing, through a number of written assignments.
  • Work cooperatively with other class students through regular group assignments

How to Succeed in this Class: This course covers more material than any normal human being could be expected to master. The easiest way for students to absorb this knowledge in a meaningful way (that is, by getting at least passing grades on each examination) is by READING the assigned readings before they are lectured on or discussed in class, by coming to class and LISTENING to the lecture (or participating in the discussion) on what you have already read, and by WRITING down notes on what is lectured or discussed in class. This learning method has a long track record of success and will make it much easier for students when it comes time to study for the class exams. Last-minute cramming for examinations will almost inevitably lead to disappointing results.

Classroom Etiquette: The classroom is a place of teaching and learning, not a café where you can talk with your friends, make and take telephone calls, eat a meal, and come and go at will. Therefore, please observe the following rules of common courtesy towards your fellow students:

Cell phones and pagers should be turned OFF while you are in the class. If for some reason you must be on-call at all times, you should inform me of this fact before class, set your cell phone or pager to vibrate rather than to ring, sit near the exit, and leave and return as quietly as possible.

Food and drink may be eaten DISCRETELY in class. Food that is annoying or disturbing to the rest of the class or to me will not be allowed. In general, this means food that is noisy, smelly, or spread out over more than one desk is not acceptable. A simple snack, such as coffee and a bagel, will be fine, provided that you leave the room clean for the next class.

Conversation should be restricted to class sessions that are specifically set aside for discussion. Questions about the lecture should be directed to me, not to your classmates. Students who persist in carrying on private conversations in class will be asked to leave.

Students are expected to remain in the classroom for the entire class period. If you know that you will have to leave before the class is over, you should inform me of this before class begins, sit near the exit, and leave as quietly as possible.

Children in the Classroom: Children are not allowed in the classroom. If your child care arrangements fail, you will have to miss class that day. You have been granted a reasonable number of excused absences to account for such emergencies over the semester. See “Class Participation and Attendance” below.

Class Participation and Attendance: This is an interactive course. This means that you, the student, are expected to contribute to the class. Lectures include question-and-answer sessions, and some classes are set aside specifically for class discussion. These lectures and class discussions are designed to do two things: (1) make the readings more understandable to you and (2) set the limits of what you will be expected to know on examinations. Therefore, regular class attendance is critical to your success in this class. Please note that class participation and attendance count as 20% of your grade. You will be graded as follows:






Frequently contributes to class discussions



Contributes often (AT LEAST 4 times) to class discussions



Has contributed at AT LEAST once to class discussions



Has made NO contributions to class discussions

You are granted five (5) absences and seven (7) late arrivals to class without penalty. This policy is designed to account for the inevitable emergencies that will occur over the semester, as well as for religious holidays that are not recognized by the University. Once these limits are reached, EACH absence and EACH lateness will result in a deduction of 5 points from your grade for Class Participation and Attendance. Absences or late arrivals will be excused only upon presentation of documented proof of the student's inability to attend class.

NOTE: Students who have problems joining class discussions can get credit for class participation by meeting with me during office hours or by sending me e-mail to discuss topics being covered in class.

Special Needs: Any student with special needs that cannot be accommodated within the standard structure of a lecture course should arrange to meet with me as early as possible in the semester to discuss suitable alternatives.

Maps: It would be impossible to fully understand the material covered in this course without some geographical knowledge of the world. In order to help you acquire this knowledge, display maps will be used with every lecture. Because details are sometimes difficult to see from a distance, PLEASE BRING THE TEXTBOOK WITH YOU TO EVERY CLASS so that you can refer to textbook maps when necessary. Prior to each exam, you will be given blank outline maps and asked to fill in key countries, cities, regions and rivers. You may, if you wish, turn in the maps to me for review (but not grading). Your in-class examinations will include the same (or similar) blank outline maps, on which you will be asked to identify certain places.

Written Assignments: Students will be required to write one 3-5 page paper and to turn in an outline for that paper. Outlines must be approved by the professor by the date indicated in the Class Schedule. More details will be provided to you when the paper is assigned. No research papers will be assigned; all papers will be based on assigned readings. Outside sources may not be used. I will be happy to review drafts of student papers if they are submitted to me at least two class meetings before the paper's due date.

Revisions. Student papers may be revised and resubmitted for a better grade two times. Revisions are due on the dates indicated in the Class Schedule below. Specific instructions about paper revisions are provided with the paper assignment.

Late Papers: First drafts of papers are due IN CLASS on the date specified. Papers will be penalized FIVE POINTS for each weekday they are late. Papers turned in on the same day they are due but AFTER the class meeting will be considered one day late. PLEASE NOTE : Papers will not be accepted unless they are accompanied by an outline that has been approved by me. Papers will continue to accumulate points for lateness until they are handed in with an approved outline.

Loss of points for lateness will have a serious affect on a paper's grade. For example, a paper that would have earned a grade of “B+” (87-89 points) but was turned in two days late will have ten points deducted, lowering the grade to “C+” (77-79 points). Please note that revising and resubmitting your paper for a better grade WILL NOT make up points that were lost because you turned in your paper late. PAPERS TURNED IN MORE THAN ONE WEEK LATE WILL NOT BE GRADED.

In-class Examinations: There will be two in-class examinations and one examination to be given during the final exam period. Each exam will test you only on the material covered from the date of the previous exam up to the last class meeting prior to the date of the current exam. You will be provided with study guides that will let you know what you will be expected to know for each exam. The exams will consist of three parts: multiple choice questions; map identifications; and short essay questions asking you to compare and contrast two people, concepts, events, etc.

Examination Policies

  • Place all your belongings on the floor, NOT on the chair next to you.
  •   Use only a blue or black pen to write your exam.
  • No talking of any kind is allowed except to the professor.
  • Once the exam has begun, NO STUDENT WILL BE ALLOWED TO LEAVE THE CLASSROOM unless the student does not intend to return.
  • Please enter and leave the room quietly when other students are taking an exam.

Making Up In-Class Exams: You will be given an opportunity to make up only ONE of the in-class exams and ONLY in the week following the day the exam was given. It is YOUR responsibility to arrange the date and time of the makeup exam with me. The makeup exam will NOT be the same exam as the one given in class and will be more difficult, although it will be based on the same study guide. It is in your best interests to take the exams when they are scheduled. ONCE AN EXAM HAS BEEN RETURNED TO THE STUDENTS, THAT EXAM WILL NOT BE ABLE TO BE MADE UP.

Making Up the Final Exam: All students are REQUIRED to take the final exam. If you miss the final exam AND you have been doing satisfactory work in the class (that is, you have turned in all of your assignments and have an average grade of “C”), you will receive a grade of “ABS” (Absent from Final Examination). If you miss the final exam and you have NOT been doing satisfactory work, you will receive a grade of “F.” Please note that this is not my personal policy but is official LIU policy as outlined on page 26 of the Undergraduate Bulletin .

Students who receive a grade of “ABS” will be given ONE opportunity to make up the final exam. In order to qualify for a make-up final exam, you must be able to present TO ME documented proof of your inability to be present at the final exam. This means a doctor's note specifying date and time and your inability to be present, or equivalent written documentation. Family deaths will be recognized only for the immediate family (mother, father, sister, brother, husband, wife, son, daughter). If you cannot provide me with acceptable proof of your inability to attend the final exam, you will not be allowed to make up the final exam and your ABS grade will automatically change to an “F” after one semester.

Failure to Complete Course Requirements: Students who (1) fail to make up a missed in-class exam; (2) fail to take BOTH in-class exams (because only one can be made up); (3) fail to secure an approved outline by the date indicated in the Class Schedule; (4) fail to turn in a paper within a week of the paper's due date; or (5) fail to submit a paper graded as “NG” for revision by the date(s) indicated in the class schedule WILL BE DROPPED FROM THE CLASS. Exceptions to this policy will be made only for students whose average grade for the class is at least a “C” AND who can provide acceptable written proof of their inability to meet these course requirements. An example of “acceptable written proof” is a medical excuse indicating that the student's ailment was of an emergency nature and specifying the date or dates of the student's treatment. Medical excuses for non-emergency treatment will not be accepted as students are expected to schedule non-emergency medical treatment at times other than regularly scheduled class hours. The professor's decision about (1) whether or not a student will be dropped from the class and (2) whether or not missed class work can be made up WILL BE FINAL.

Extra Credit: There will be a number of opportunities over the semester for students to earn a maximum of 50 extra credit points. Details will be provided as the semester progresses.

Grading: Your grade for the course will be apportioned as follows:

Class participation and attendance: 20% (100 points)
One 3-5 page paper: 20% (100 points)
In-class exam #1: 20% (100 points)
In-class exam #2: 20% (100 points)
Exam #3: 20% (100 points)

Grades for class participation and attendance, the paper, and the exams will be assigned according to the following schedule:

Grade Total Points
A 93 and up
A- 90-92
B+ 87-89
B 83-86
B- 80-82
C+ 77-79
C 73-76
C- 70-72
D 60-69
F 59 and below



Final grades will be assigned according to the following schedule:

Grade Total Points
A 465 and up
A- 450-464
B+ 435-449
B 415-434
B- 400-414
C+ 385-399
C 365-384
C- 350-364
D 300-349
F 299 and below


Consideration will be given for improvement over the course of the semester. On the other hand, if your grades do not improve steadily, you will not be penalized. PLEASE NOTE: A grade of “Incomplete” will not be given except in documented cases of serious medical or other problems that have prevented a student from completing the requirements of this course.

Required Texts : The following texts are available at the bookstore:

Duiker & Spielvogel, The Essential World History, Volume I: To 1800, 2 nd Edition . ISBN: 0-534-62713-7 (Price estimate: $55.40 new.) NOTE: THIS IS A NEW EDITION. PLEASE BE SURE TO PURCHASE THE CORRECT VOLUME .

Hacker, Diana, A Writer's Reference , 5 th Edition. ISBN: 0–312–39767–4 or 0-312-41262-2 (Price estimate: $46.00 new, $35.00 used). PLEASE BE SURE TO PURCHASE THE CORRECT EDITION.

Supplemental Readings: During the semester, you will be provided with copies of selected readings from various sources. No additional textbook purchase will be required.

Suggested Readings: In addition to the textbook, the following articles have been placed on reserve at the library:

Sarah Shaver Hughes and Brady Hughes, Women in World History, Vol. 1, Chapter 9
Eva C. Keuls, The Reign of the Phallus: Sexual Politics in Ancient Athens, Chapter 4
Sarah B. Pomeroy, Goddesses, Whores, Wives, and Slaves, Chapter 8


Week 1


Introduction to Course




Lecture: Prehistoric Humans; Mesopotamia
Readings: Duiker & Spielvogel, pp. 1-11




Week 2


Lecture: Early Societies in the Near East: Egypt and Israel
Readings: Duiker & Spielvogel, pp. 12-20



Lecture: Early Societies in the Near East: Assyria and Persia
Readings: Duiker & Spielvogel, pp. 20-23




Week 3


Discussion: Ancient Law Codes
Readings: Handed out in class



Lecture: Ancient India
Readings: Duiker & Spielvogel, pp. 26-35, 40-44




Week 4


Lecture: Hinduism and Buddhism
Readings: Duiker & Spielvogel, pp. 35-40, 183-185



Lecture: Ancient China
Readings: Duiker & Spielvogel, Chapter 3




Week 5


Lecture: Ancient Greece
Readings: Duiker & Spielvogel, pp. 68-80



IN-CLASS EXAM #1 (covering Chapters 1- 3)




Week 6


Lecture: Greek Culture and Society; Alexander the Great and Hellenism
Readings: Duiker & Spielvogel, pp. 80-87; Keuls, chapter 4 (suggested).



Lecture: The Roman Republic and Empire
Readings: Duiker & Spielvogel, pp. 89-99




Week 7


Lecture: Roman Culture and Society
Readings: Duiker & Spielvogel, pp. 99-102; Pomeroy, Chapter 8 (suggested).



Lecture: Rise of Christianity; the Fall of the Roman Empire
Readings: Duiker & Spielvogel, pp. 103-107




Week 8


Discussion: Cleopatra, Julius Caesar and Marc Antony
Readings: Handed out in class



Lecture: Muhammad and Islam
Readings: Duiker & Spielvogel, pp. 135-140




Week 9


Lecture: Muslim Culture and Society; Islam in India
Readings: Duiker & Spielvogel, pp. 145-150, 180-183, 185-189; Hughes, chapter 9 (suggested)



Lecture: Early Civilization in Africa
Readings: Duiker & Spielvogel, Chapter 8




Week 10


IN-CLASS EXAM #2 (covering Chapters 4, 5 and 7)



Lecture: China : the Sui, Tang and Song Dynasties
Readings: Duiker & Spielvogel, pp. 201-211, 214-220




Week 11


Discussion: Islam in Early Africa
Readings: Handed out in class



Lecture: The Mongols; the Yuan and Ming Empires in China
Readings: Duiker & Spielvogel, pp. 144-145, 211-214




Week 12


Lecture: Europe in the Middle Ages: England , France and the Holy Roman Empire
Readings: Duiker & Spielvogel, pp. 242-255







Week 13


Lecture: The Byzantine Empire and the Crusades
Readings: Duiker & Spielvogel, pp. 150-157, 258-260



Lecture: The Plague, Urban Revival, and New Monarchies
Readings: Duiker & Spielvogel, pp. 260-264, 276-279




Week 14


Lecture: The Renaissance
Readings: Duiker & Spielvogel, pp. 272-276



Lecture: The Protestant Reformation
Readings: Duiker & Spielvogel, pp. 279-282




Week 15


Review for Final Exam (covering Chapters 8, 10, 12 and 13)

© 2004 Ruth Shackelford as to this syllabus and all lectures. Students are prohibited from selling (or being paid for taking) notes of this course to or by any person or commercial firm without the express written permission of the professor teaching this course.



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