Instructor: Prof. April Brown

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Western Civilization II – Syllabus
Instructor: Prof. April Brown

Office: BH 2007

Office hours: MW – 10:00-11:00, 12:00-3:00

F – 10:00-11:00

TTh – 1:00-1:30 and by appointment



Phone: 619-2231 (office), or 1-800-995-6922

Course Text: Sherman & Salisbury, The West in the World, Renaissance to Present, 2nd edition

Online readings: Excerpts from Migration in Modern World History 1500-2000 and various primary source documents
Course Description: This course is a survey of the history of Western Civilization since l650. Emphasis will be placed on the social, economic, political, military, and environmental developments of the period. The course will also focus on the West’s impact on the world, especially in regards to immigration, colonization and political/economic development.
Course Objectives: Upon completion of this course, the student should be able to:

1. understand the major historical themes of the Early Modern, Enlightenment,

Victorian, and 20th Century periods in the West.

2. use the academic skills of:

a. critical thinking (analysis, synthesis, evaluation)

b. communication (listening, reading, writing, discussion)

c. lifelong learning (curiosity, initiative, openness, research)

3. be aware of cultural diversity:

a. students will gain exposure to diverse ethical, political, economic,

historical, and social perspectives in history.

b. students will learn about various religious viewpoints concerning the

history of western civilization.

4. write a well-thought-out essay after being given ample background materials

and facts from readings and class discussions.

5. think critically about the past, present, and future of Western Civilization.
Evaluation Criteria


Attendance is highly recommended and periodic attendance checks will be taken in class. Information in lectures will frequently transcend the information presented in the text, so simply reading the textbook and showing up for tests is not enough for a good grade. Likewise, students must be present to participate in and benefit from class discussions, which facilitate the learning experience. In most instances, these discussions will determine the types of questions that will be asked on exams.


Keep in mind that a grade is a measure of performance. It is neither a reward for effort

nor a commodity that has been purchased by tuition. Class attendance and participation by the student will be taken into account in determining the final grade.
Grading scale:

90 - 100% = A Exams 400 points (4 at 100 pts. ea., incl. Comprehensive final)

80 - 89% = B Quizzes 100 points (variable, 10-20 points ea.)

70 - 79% = C Migration Essays 100 points (2 at 50 points ea.)

60 - 69 % = D Total points: 600

< 59% = F

Exams will cover each student’s comprehension of topics presented in lecture, class discussions, information from the text, additional readings and film excerpts. The exams will consist of answering 25 multiple-choice questions (50 pts.) and 5 short answer questions (50 pts.). The final will be an all multiple choice comprehensive exam, but will be taken in an open-note/open-book format. Study guides will be passed out before each regular exam.


Various quizzes will be given throughout the semester to encourage weekly reading/studying and reward students who attend class and are prepared. The quizzes most frequently will cover material from the primary source readings, which may be found online at the class website. Quizzes may also contain information that was covered in the previous class session.

Migration Essays:

In addition to the primary source readings, there will also be 5 units from Migration in Modern World History, 1500-2000. The Migration readings are available online at the course website. Each student is responsible for reading the documents in each unit for class discussion on the assigned days. In addition, students may choose any 2 of the 5 units to write a 2-3 page, double-spaced essay that answers the unit question provided with the documents. Students are also expected to incorporate information gleaned from class discussion into their essays when appropriate. The essay will be due one week after the unit is discussed in class. Each essay is worth 50 points.

Makeup Exams:

Students are encouraged to take exams when they are scheduled. However, if circumstances arise in which you cannot take a regularly scheduled exam (excluding the final), you may be allowed to take a makeup. If you miss an exam or know beforehand that you have a conflict with a scheduled exam, you must first notify the instructor, then take the exam at the Testing Center. See the Testing Center for hours. Makeup exams will cover the same basic material as the regular exam, but will be made up of 25 multiple-choice questions only. All makeup exams must be arranged and taken no later than the last day of class. It is the sole responsibility of the student to arrange the makeup with the instructor and take the exam by the deadline. Exams arranged or taken after that date will not be accepted. Please note that the final exam is taken at the end of the semester, so there are no makeups for the final exam.

Optional assignment – Historical film review

Each student has the option of writing a 3 page historical film review. The review score will replace the lowest regular exam test score – not the quiz grade, nor the final exam. The review is not an exam replacement. Students must take all exams. The review is due no later than the last day of class. A list of acceptable movies will be provided upon request. The review consists of critiquing a film based on the accuracy of its portrayal of history. In addition to watching the film, the student must also consult at least two historical works on life during the era or subject matter portrayed in the film. The film and historical sources, which most likely will be books or journal articles, must be approved by the professor. Papers turned in without prior instructor approval will not be accepted.

Students are encouraged to write their review early, then discuss the rough draft with the Instructor preferably during office hours. In addition to serving as a “do-over” for a poor grade, the review will help the student discern historical reality from fiction as s/he sharpens his/her analytical skills by critiquing the work.
Classroom conduct/etiquette:

It should be understood that students must conduct themselves in the classroom in a respectful manner toward the instructor and their fellow classmates. The professor reserves the right to ask any student or students to leave the classroom if their behavior is disruptive.

Cheating will not be tolerated. If a student is caught cheating on an exam or plagiarizing a review, the student will receive an “F” for the assignment. Students may also be subject to further disciplinary action, such as expulsion from the class or the college.

ADA Statement:

If any member of the class has a documented disability and needs special accommodations, the professor will work with the student and Administration to ensure the student a fair opportunity to perform in this class.

Grievance Procedure:

The Social Sciences department follows our NWACC Student Handbook regarding proper steps to be taken should a grievance occur between fellow students, or the student and the instructor. The first step in any grievance is to bring the complaint to the attention of the instructor. If the issue is not resolved, the student (and/or instructor) then contacts Professor Judy Tobler, who is the chairperson for the Social & Behavioral Sciences Department.

Cancelled Classes:

If the college is closed due to severe weather, this class will not meet. The student hotline is 619-4377. If it is necessary for the instructor to cancel class for any reason, every effort will be made to send an email to all students with notification. A sign will be placed on the door announcing that class has been cancelled.


Week 1

Topics: Introduction; Maps; the World in 1492; European motives for exploration; Encounter and the Columbian Exchange; Conquest and colonization of the Americas

Assignments: Sherman, ch. 12; Migrations, Unit 2 – discussion Thursday

Week 2

Topics: Conquest and colonization; Global commerce and the Slave trade; Absolutism; Louis XIV, Peter the Great; Political Philosophy of John Locke and Thomas Hobbes

Assignments: Sherman, ch. 12, 13; Migrations, Unit 2 – discussion continued; Migrations, Unit 6, discussion Thursday

Week 3

Topics: Absolutism and Constitutionalism; the Scientific Revolution and the Enlightenment; Galileo; Newton; Descartes; Rousseau

Assignments: Sherman, ch. 13 and 14; Primary Sources: John Locke Second Treatise of Government; Jeffersonian Bible; Peter the Great; Adam Smith

Due: Essay for Migrations Unit 2 (Tuesday) and Unit 6 (Thursday)

Week 4

Topics: Scientific Revolution and the Enlightenment, continued

Assignments: Sherman, ch. 14

Exam 1

Week 5

Topics: Enlightened absolutism; Agricultural Revolution and its impact; 18th century European culture; Revolt of the British colonies in North America; origins of the French Revolution

Assignments: Sherman, ch. 15, 16

Week 6

Topics: the French Revolution and Napoleon

Assignments: Sherman, ch. 16

Primary Sources: Declaration of the Rights of Man; Maximilien Robespierre; Madame de Rémusat; Simón de Bolívar

Week 7

Topics: Revolutions in Latin America; Revolution as an instrument of political and social change; the Industrial Revolution and its impact on the social landscape

Assignments: Sherman, ch. 17
Week 8

Topics: Congress of Vienna; Social Movements and Political Ideologies: the “isms”: Conservatism, Liberalism, Nationalism, Socialism; Marxism, Romanticism and Realism

Assignments: Sherman, ch. 18; Primary Sources: Marx Communist Manifesto

Week 9

Topics: the Revolutions of 1848; German and Italian statehood; U.S. Manifest Destiny and Expansionism; Nationalism, Immigration and Revolution

Assignments: Sherman, ch. 19; Migrations, Unit 7

Week 10

Exam 2

Topic: Western Imperialism and Immigration; Scramble for Africa and Asia

Assignments: Sherman, ch. 20

Due: Essay for Migrations Unit 7 (moved up one week from previous syllabus)

Week 11

Topics: Imperialism continued; 2nd Industrial Revolution; Women’s movement; Literature & the Arts

Assignments: Sherman, ch. 20, 21; Migrations Unit 9; Primary Sources: Joseph Conrad Heart of Darkness; British Missionary Letters; French Colonial Expansion; Florence Nightingale; Seneca Falls; Jewish Girl 1890

Week 12

Topics: Nietzsche; Anti-Semitism; World War I; The Peace Treaties and war’s aftermath; Colonial mandates; Russian Revolution

Assignments: Sherman, ch. 22

Due: Migrations Unit 9 Essay

Week 13

Topics: Culture of the 1920s: Flappers to Freud; Rise of Totalitarian Regimes; Depression; World War II

Assignments: Sherman, ch. 23; Primary Sources: Nuremburg Laws; Oswald Spengler Decline of the West; Adolf Hitler speech; FDR inauguration text

Week 14

Topics: World War II continued; Holocaust; Atomic Bomb

Assignments: Sherman, ch. 23

Thanksgiving Break

Week 15

Topics: Origins of the Cold War; the United States as a Superpower the Cold War; Berlin & the creation of NATO; the Cold War in the “Third World”; Neo-colonial Nationalism

Assignments: Sherman, ch. 24; Primary Sources: Churchill Iron Curtain Speech; Eva Duarte de Perón; Hungary 1956; Fidel Castro
Week 16

Exam 3

Topics: the West and globalization; the concept of Progress and Western Civilization; New Europe, Old West; Anti-Western sentiment

Assignments: Sherman, ch. 25; Migrations, Unit 11
Migrations Unit 11 Essay (drop off or email)

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