Discovering Humanity


   Instructor: Dr. A. McCandless
 Office: 210 B Randolph Hall / 327 Maybank Hall
 Office Hours: 8 - 9:15 TR
 or by appointment
 Telephone:   953-5527 / 953-8025

Purpose of the Course.The purpose of History 101 is to familiarize students with the persons, ideas, and events which helped create European civilization and to trace through them the development of Western institutions and concepts which have become world-wide models for modernization. The class is linked to English 101 in a joint investigation of the role of the humanities in creating meaning and purpose in society.

This semester's class will focus on people's efforts to understand their past. Readings and lectures will examine mythopoetic and deterministic explanations of historical development. Class work and assignments aim to foster the critical speaking, reading, and writing skills necessary for a better understanding of the historical process.

Readings. Perry et al., Western Civilization: A Brief History (5th edition);
Wiesner et al., Discovering the Western Past: A Look at the Evidence, Vol. I (5th edition);
Leon Kass, Being Human: Core Readings in the Humanities;
The Prentice Hall Atlas of Western Civilization

Assignments. Underlying all the class assignments is the question: How can historical sources and methods help us discover humanity?

Response Papers. For every one of the ten assigned chapters in Wiesner et al., students will write a one- to two-page response paper on any one source (These are numbered in the section entitled "The Evidence"). The paper should include a description of the document, a discussion of the strengths/weaknesses of the document (what does/doesn't it tell you?), and an explanation of the relationship of the document to the problem of the chapter. Papers should be clearly organized and mechanically correct. I will count your eight highest grades. See sample paper.

Class Presentation. Groups of five students will present one of the chapters in Wiesner et al. to the class. Presentations can take the form of dramatic re-enactments, debates, Power Point lectures, peer-led discussions, videos, or a combination of the above. Each presentation group must address all the documents in their chapter and discuss the relationship of each to the problem of the chapter. Presentations should be no shorter than 60 minutes and no longer than 70 minutes. On the day of the presenation, presenters should turn into the instructor a list of who focused on what document(s) and four short answer questions (with answers) relating to their presentation. I will give examples of possible approaches when we discuss chapters 2 and 3.

Class Participation, Quizzes, and Attendance. Although modern custom does not allow cruel and unusual punishment, class participation and attendance are taken very seriously. You cannot be actively engaged in our discussions of "discovering humanity" if you are not present or have not done the readings. A class roster will be circulated for you to sign during each class; it is your responsibility to make sure you sign the attendance roll. Occasional "pop quizzes" will be given on the daily readings to reward the faithful. Reviews of out-of-class cultural events will also count as quizzes. Two absences will be allowed; after that, seven points will be subtracted from the attendance grade for every additional day missed.

Examinations. There will be a midterm and a final examination. Both will include short answer and essay questions and will be based on the class lectures, readings, and presentations.

Grading. The following grading scale will be used: 90-100 = A, 86 - 89 = B+, 80 - 85 = B, 76 - 79 = C+, 70 - 75 = C, 60 - 69 = D, 0 - 59 = F. Final grades will be based on a weighted average of response papers (25 percent for your best 8), class presentation (25 percent), class participation, attendance, and quizzes (20 percent), midterm (15 percent) and final (15 percent).

23 August Class Introduction Historical Method Outline

25 August Beginnings of Civilization in Mesopotamia and Egypt Perry, Chapter 1; Kass (pp. 392-394), "The Epic of Gilgamesh"; Wiesner, Chapter 1, Documents 2 and 8; Atlas, "Urban Centers and Trade Routes" (p. 13); Beginnings of Civilization

30 August Polytheism and Monotheism in the Fertile Crescent Perry, Chapter 2; Kass (pp. 569-570), "Genesis, 9: 1-9"; Wiesner, Chapter 2; FIRST RESPONSE PAPER DUE; Notes on Hebrews

1 September Classical Greek Thought Perry, Chapter 3; Kass (pp. 75-79), "The Lives of the Noble Grecians and Romans"; Atlas, "Athenian Empire 454 - 428 B.C. (p. 24) Classical Greek Thought

6 September The Ideal and Reality of Classical Athens Wiesner, Chapter 3; SECOND RESPONSE PAPER DUE Notes on The Greek Heritage

8 September Rise of Rome Perry, Chapter 4; Atlas, "The Roman Empire" (pp. 30-31) Rise of Rome

13 September Hellenistic and Roman Philosophers Kass (pp. 381-387, 390-391, 441-451), "On the Nature of Things"; "On Meeting Death Cheerfully"; "The Book of Job"; Atlas, "The Empire of Alexander" (pp. 26-27) Alexander the Great and Hellenism

15 September Presentation: The Achievements of Augustus Wiesner, Chapter 4; THIRD RESPONSE PAPER DUE

20 September Women and Gender in the Ancient World Women and Gender Outline

22 September Midterm Examination

27 September Early Christianity Perry, Chapter 5; Kass (pp. 197-206), "Confessions"; Atlas, "The Growth of Christianity" (p. 33) Early Christianity

29 September Romans, Christians, Barbarians Perry, Chapter 6; Atlas, "Inheritors of Rome" (p. 35) Romans, Christians, Barbarians

4 October Feudal Institutions Perry, Chapter 6; Atlas, "Empire of Charlemagne" (p. 40) Feudalism and the British Monarchy

6 October Presentation: The Development of the Medieval State Wiesner, Chapter 6; FOURTH RESPONSE PAPER DUE

11 October Church and Society Atlas, "The Age of the Crusades" (pp. 44-45) Medieval Church

13 October Presentation: Infidels and Heretics: Crusades of the High Middle Ages Wiesner, Chapter 8; FIFTH RESPONSE PAPER DUE


20 October Presentation: Life at a Medieval University Wiesner, Chapter 7; SIXTH RESPONSE PAPER DUE

25 October Crises of the Late Middle Ages Perry, Chapter 7; Atlas, "The Black Death" (pp. 52-53) and "The Hundred Years' War" (p. 54) Crises of the Late Middle Ages Outline

27 October Presentation: The Renaissance Man and Woman Wiesner, Chapter 10; SEVENTH RESPONSE PAPER DUE

1 November Humanism, North and South Perry, Chapter 8; Kass (pp. 259-260), "As You Like It" Renaissance Humanism

3 November Martin Luther: Right Man, Right Time, Right Place? Perry, Chapter 8; Atlas, "The Religious Map of Europe in 1590" (p. 57) Protestant Reformation and Its Consequences

8 November Presentation: The Impact of the Reformations Wiesner, Chapter 12; EIGHTH RESPONSE PAPER DUE

10 November Voyages of Discovery Perry, Chapter 9; Atlas, "European Expansion" (pp. 58-59) Voyages of Discovery

15 November Presentation: Pagans, Muslims, and Christians in the Mental World of Columbus Wiesner, Chapter 11; NINTH RESPONSE PAPER DUE

17 November The Scientific Revolution Perry, Chapter 10; Kass (pp. 80-86), "Discourse on Method" Scientific Revolution

22 November British Constitutionalism Perry, Chapter 10; The Glorious Revolution


29 November Presentation: Staging Absolutism Wiesner, Chapter 14; TENTH RESPONSE PAPER DUE

1 December Europe in 1715 Atlas, "17th-Century Europe" (p. 61)

10 December Final Examination 8 - 11 a.m.

History Department Statement on Cheating and Plagiarism: "The Honor Code of the College of Charleston specifically forbids cheating, attempted cheating, and plagiarism. A student found guilty of these offenses will receive a failing grade in the course. Additional penalties may include suspension or expulsion from the College at the discretion of the Honor Board. See the College of Charleston Student Handbook , for definitions of these offenses" (Handbook for History Majors, 13).