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Western Civilization Since 1650  (42.126)

Fall 2003, Sections 03, 04

M. Hickey  Old Science Hall Office 130  389-4161 hickey@bloomu.edu

Office Hours:  T, Th 2-3:30;  M-W, 2:00-3:00.

Navigation links for this syllabus

Brief Description     Mid-Term Exam        Term Paper        Final Exam    Required Texts      

On Plagiarism vs Quoting    On Disruptive Behavior     On Endnote Form    

Weekly Schedule         MIDTERM EXAM QUESTIONS          Final Exam Questions

Link to Hickey's European and Jewish History Resources Page


Brief Description:   This course is a survey of "Western Civilization" since the mid-1600s.  We will concentrate mostly on societies on the European continent. (Although you could define "Western Civilization" in this period to include the history of societies in the Americas, Australia, etc.)  Between the 1600s and the present, Europe has witnessed enormous changes that we often refer to as "revolutions"--the Scientific Revolution, the Industrial Revolution, etc.  We will examine these changes as "themes" that cut across the chronology of events in the last several centuries.  

Here is a short list of some of the world-shaping changes that took place in Europe in the 1600s-2000 and that we will follow as themes this semester:   

1) the development of the centralizing "state" and the birth of the modern notion of the "nation state," 

    which has expanded the claims of the state over new areas of people's lives

2) the development of modern science and its application to not only to technology, but also to 

    thinking about society (for instance, in the ideas of the Enlightenment and then in the great "isms" 

    of the 19th and 20th century)

3) the development of a way of organizing economic activity known as capitalism (and particularly of 

    industrial capitalism), that has created new social classes and conflicts,  shaped every aspect of people's

   daily lives, and led steadily towards "globalization" 

4) the development of modern concepts of politics, government, and of rights, which have led to conflicts

    over how and by whom rights are defined and who "gets" them

5) the development of intellectual and social movements (or "isms") that have shaped how people understand 

    the world and directed their efforts to change it (for instance, Liberalism, Conservativism, Nationalism, 

    Anarchism, Socialism, Communism, Fascism, etc.). 

6) the development of new methods by which states and other political/social actors mobilize, control, or 

    eliminate mass populations (for instance, propaganda, warfare, genocide, ethnic cleansing).


Most of our class sessions will be in lecture format, but I will be asking you a lot of questions during the lectures (about the readings, about your interpretation of ideas and events, etc.), and I hope that your answers will lead us into class discussions.  

The Final Grade in this course is based upon:  a Mid-Term Exam (35 percent); a Term Paper (20 percent); and a Final Exam (40 Percent), and class attendance (5 percent).  Your attendance grade will fall in direct ratio to unexcused absences. In grading all of your written work, my primary concern will be your accuracy, clarity, and logic (although I also will take into consideration "technical" matters, such as grammar and proper citation form).

Regarding Cheating and Plagiarism:  I will enforce university policy on cheating and plagiarism.  Please read the linked statement regarding plagiarism

Regarding Disruptive Behavior in the Classroom:  I will enforce university policy on classroom conduct.  Please read the linked statement regarding disruptive behavior in the classroom.

Absence Policy:  I will consider as "excused" absences only those medical, family, or activity related events (etc.) that the student has discussed with me in advance and/or that are documented by the university administration.  I will give no "make up" assignments unless the student has an excused absence. 

Required Texts:  All books are required.

Coffin, et al., Western Civilizations:  Their History and Their Culture, Vol. 2, 14th Edition (New York: Norton, 2002). 

Wessley, Study Guide for Coffin (et al), Western Civilizations Volume 2 14th Edition (New York: Norton, 2002).

Brophy, et al., Perspectives from the Past, Vol. 2 (New York:  Norton, 2002)

Zola, L'Assommoir; the Dram Shop (New York:  Penguin, 2001)

ON-LINE TUTOR WEBSITE:   Norton, the publisher of the Coffin textbook, provides an "on-line tutor" program for the course text.   It is called the "Western Civilizations Online Tutor," by  Steven Kreis of Wake Technical College. The website for the on-line tutor is www.wwnorton.com/wciv .  To use this website, your computer must have a "flash player" version 5 and use Explorer version 5 (or higher) or Netscape version 4.7 (or higher).  The publisher's website provides free downloads of upgrades for these programs.  I encourage you to use this on-line tutor program, but it is not required for the course.


Mid-Term Exam:  (35 percent of final grade.)  You will have a take-home mid-term exam that will be in an essay format.  The exam will be due in the 6th week of class, and the questions will require that you weave together information from the assigned readings (in Coffin, Wessley, and Brophy) and in the lectures from the previous seven weeks.  I will not accept late exams.  The Exam is due on Friday, 3 October.

I will post the questions as a link to this on-line syllabus.  You must cite the source of all quotations and well as all specific paraphrased or summarized information from the readings using endnotes (please read the directions at the linked page on quoting and on source citations).  In grading the exam my primary concern will be your accuracy, clarity, and logic (although I will also take into consideration "technical" matters such as grammar.


Term Paper:  (20 percent of final grade.)  You will write a short paper (4-5 pages typed, double-spaced, 12 point font, with 1-inch margins) using as your main source Emile Zola's novel  L'Assommoir

Your paper must be based upon detailed analysis of the evidence in the Zola novel.  That means that you must refer to specific evidence in the novel that supports your answer.  You must cite the source of all quotations as well as that of all specific paraphrased or summarized information from the readings using endnotes (please read the directions at the linked page on quoting and on source citations). 

To write a good paper, you must consider how evidence in the Zola novel is related to information in Coffin, the course lectures, and any related documents in the Brophy reader.  But you do not have to read any additional essays or books; if you do read any additional sources, you must list these in a bibliography at the end of the paper (this includes any internet sites).

I will grade your papers on the basis of their accuracy, clarity, and logic (although I will also take into consideration "technical" matters such as grammar).

The term paper will be due by Tuesday of Week 15.


Answer either number 1 or number 2:

1.  Emile Zola's novel L'Assommoir is set in Paris in the late 1840s and early 1850s.  As we know from course readings and lectures, the mid-nineteenth century was a period of great social change, including changes in family life and family structure. 

Using Zola's novel evidence (and remembering that it is fiction, but fiction based upon careful observation of reality), discuss the following topics: 


2.  Emile Zola's novel L'Assommoir is set in Paris in the late 1840s and early 1850s.  As we know from course readings and lectures, divisions based upon urban social class  had become one of the main features of political and social life in Europe. 

Europeans saw the population of their towns and cities as divided into several different social classes:  a) the "old elite" of aristocratic families;  b) the "bourgeoisie" [the middle class of bankers, big merchants, factory owners, educated professionals, etc.];  c) the "petit-bourgeoisie" [the "lower-middle class" that included small shop owners, better-paid clerks, and even some self-employed artisans];  d) the "working class" ["respectable" artisans, factory workers, and other wage earners who made their living through physical labor];  e) the "under class" ["marginal elements" like prostitutes and thieves, but also the poorest day laborers]. 

Moving "up" from one social class to another was difficult  (and unusual), but not impossible (or unheard of).  People could also moving "down" from one social class to another. 

Using Zola's novel evidence (and remembering that it is fiction, but fiction based upon careful observation of reality), discuss the following topics: 




Be sure that you paper has an introductory paragraph that lets the reader know what your main question is and what your main point is.  (Your main point is also called your thesis.)  The main point should be a logical statement that answers the question.  The reader should know what your thesis is by the end of your introductory paragraph.

To explain and prove your main points, break it down into several "sub- ideas" and provide evidence to prove these ideas.  That is the function of the body paragraphs in your paper.  Be sure that each paragraph in the body of your paper is devoted to explaining a single main idea (one main idea per paragraph).  That main idea should help us understand your thesis.  Each paragraph needs to include evidence about that main idea (to illustrate or prove your point), and you must explain what the evidence means (don't assume that it is obvious).

Be sure that you end your paper with a concluding paragraph that sums up you main ideas and makes clear how all of these ideas add up to your main point (thesis), and how your main point answers the main question of your paper.



Final Exam:  (40 percent of final grade.)  You will take an in-class Final Exam, which will be essay format.  The exam for Section 03 will take place on 10 Dec; the exam for Section 04 will be on 9 Dec.  The final exam will cover all of the reading and lecture material since the Mid-Term Exam.  I will not schedule "make-up" exams unless I receive notification from the University administration that your absence is excused for the day of the exam. In grading your essays my primary concern will be your accuracy, clarity, and logic (although I will also take into consideration "technical" matters such as grammar).


Weekly schedule:


Coffin refers to Western Civilizations.  For each week, I indicate the reading assignments that should be finished by Tuesday (the exception, of course, is our first class session).  Be sure to read the chapter introductions and the "document boxes" as well as the chapter text.  At the end of each chapter, you should be able to answer that chapter's study questions

Wessley refers to Study Guide for Coffin (et al).  For most students, the best way to check to see if you have understood the textbook is to answer the questions in this study guide.  Also, each chapter in Wessley includes a few documents, some of which I might expect you to use in writing your exams.

Brophy refers to Perspectives from the Past.  It is best to do the readings in Coffin each week before you do the readings in Brophy.  When you read Brophy each week, be sure to begin with the chapter introductions.  Before you read each assigned document, be sure that you read that document's introduction.  When you finish reading each assigned document, be sure that you can answer the review questions.  Although all of the documents in each chapter are important, I indicate the documents that I particularly want you to read consider each week as "key" documents. 

This is a provisional schedule--I may find it necessary to change the dates of some assignments during the semester, and I may at times run a bit ahead or behind the syllabus.


Week I :  Introduction to the course; Life in Early Modern Europe

Readings:  Coffin, Chapter 16; Wessley, Chapter 16.   

Brophy, intro to Ch. 16, key documents:


Week II:  Life and Politics in Early Modern Europe

Readings:  Coffin, Chapter 17; Wessley, Chapter 17.

Brophy, Chapter 17, key documents:

Read ahead in Brophy, Chapter 18, key documents

Week III:  Science and the Enlightenment

Readings:  Coffin, Chapters 18 and 19; Wessley, Chapters 18 and 19.

Brophy, Chapter 19, key documents

Also, from Brophy Chapter 21


Week IV:  The Enlightenment and The French Revolution

Readings:  Coffin, Chapter 20; Wessley, Chapter 20.

Brophy, Chapter 20, key documents: 


Week V:  The French Revolution and The Industrial Revolution

Readings:  Coffin, Chapter 21; Wessley, Chapter 21.

Brophy, Chapter 21, key documents

From Brophy, Chapter 22: 

Week VI:  The Industrial Revolution 

Readings:  Coffin, Chapter 22; Wessley, Chapter 22.

Brophy, Chapter 22, key documents



Week VII:   Social Change, Social Class, and Politics in the Early 1800s

Readings:  Coffin, Chapter 23; Wessley, Chapter 23.

Brophy, Chapter 21, key documents

Brophy, Chapter 22, key documents

Brophy, Chapter 23, key documents


Week VIII:  Reaction, Revolution, and Reaction in the mid-1800s 

Readings:  Coffin, Chapter 24; Wessley, Chapter 24.

Documents on 1848 in France

You should begin reading the Zola novel at this point, since its story takes place at the end of the 1840s and the beginning of the 1850s.


Week IX:  Mass Politics and State Authority in Europe, 1850-1914   

Readings:  Coffin, Chapter 25; Wessley, Chapter 25.

Brophy, chapter 23, key documents

Brophy, chapter 24, key documents

Week X:  Imperialism and the Origins of World War One

Readings:  Coffin, Chapter 26; Wessley, Chapter 26. 

Brophy, chapter 25, key documents

Brophy, Chapter 26, key documents


Week XI:  World War One and its Consequences

Readings:  Coffin, Chapter 27; Wessley, Chapter 27.

Brophy, chapter 27, key documents


Week XII:  The Russian Revolution

The rise of Fascism and Nazism in Central Europe

Readings:  Coffin, Chapter 28; Wessley, Chapter 28.

Brophy, chapter 28, key documents

Week XIII:  Nazi Rule and World War Two 

Readings:  Coffin, Chapter 29; Wessley, Chapter 29..  

Brophy, chapter 29, key documents


Week XIV:  Nazi Rule and World War Two, continued   No class on Thursday (Thanksgiving)

Readings:  See last week


Week XV:  The Cold War Era and its aftermath (so far)

Readings:  Coffin, Chapters 30 and 31; Wessley, Chapters 30 and 31.

Coffin, chapter 30, key documents



Week XVI:  Final Exams, Section 3 on 10 December at 8:00 AM; Section 04  on 9 December at 10:30 AM.

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