History 380: Twentieth Century World

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History 380: Twentieth Century World

Fall 2009

Prof. Dodgen

Course Description and Syllabus

The twentieth century has witnessed both a remarkable expansion of human freedom and daunting repression, great material progress and monumental evil. But could this not be said of any century? What makes the twentieth century unique? How does it differ from the nineteenth century, or the twenty-first? How do the events of this century reflect the legacy of the past and what impact will they have on the future. These are some of the questions we will think about and discuss as we trace the historical events of the twentieth century. We will look at such varied topics as art, technology, philosophy, science, gender, the environment, warfare, economics, politics, and leisure in order to understand the special character of the last century.

The text is Duiker, Twentieth Century World History.

Other required readings are Fergal Keane, Season of Blood and Geraldine Brooks, Nine Parts of Desire.


I will base your evaluation on two take-home essays and two in-class exams. I will hand out the take-home essay questions several days before the essay is due. The first take-home essay will cover Season of Blood, the second Nine Parts of Desire. On each essay exam, students have the choice of constructing their essay around one of three possible sets of issues raised by the book. Essays must be 4-5 pages, typed, double-spaced and are due the day of the in-class exam. Students MUST support their arguments with evidence and concise quotes from the book. Page numbers in parentheses must accompany all supporting evidence taken from the book, including pages from which you have taken quotes, ideas, or examples. The point of the essay is to assess your understanding of the assigned book, not your overall command of the subject. For this reason, students cannot use outside work to support their essays.

The in-class exams will require students to discuss in brief essay format several of the identification items appended to this syllabus. Each exam will cover material from one-half of the semester. Students should use the material from their class notes and any films shown in class in their in-class essays. Blue books are required for all in-class exams and must be unmarked and without missing pages. Cheating will result in a failing grade and be reported for possible discipline by the university.
My office hours are Monday and Wednesday, 10:45-11:45, Tuesday mornings by appointment. My office is 2066 Stevenson, extension 42462. You can also contact me by e-mail at dodgen@sonoma.edu Students are strongly urged to take advantage of the opportunity to drop by and talk over the course, papers, or any other school-related issues.

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