Download a copy of the syllabus here: Western Civ II Syllabus

Spring 2010

Instructor: Nabil Al-Tikriti                                                         Tel: (540) 654-1481

Office Hours: T/Th. 3:30-6:00 (or by appointment)            Office: Mercer 203

Class Time/Location: MWF 1-1:50 pm, Annex A 114             E-mail:

Course Description:
This course examines the history of Western Civilization from the 15th century Age of the Renaissance until the present.  We will concentrate on the historical evolution of primarily European political, religious, cultural, and institutional aspects during this period. We will explore the major events and transformation of this period, and focus on the great questions and ideas that have arisen from these transformations and that have in turn shaped the politics, social organizations, artistic culture, and economies of Western Civilization.  We will read, analyze, and interpret certain primary works in order to gain insight into the contexts in which they originated.  Finally, through a research paper and certain written assignments, this course will offer students an introduction into how historians write and construct arguments from the sources available to them.  There is no prerequisite for this course.

Course Format:
The majority of class time consists of an interactive lecture format, whereby I present and discuss a variety of historical topics in rough concert with assigned readings.  The material presented in lectures constitutes a significant portion of several of your quizzes, as well as your midterm and final exams.  The secondary readings are meant to supplement lectures.  Some class time is devoted to primary source discussion, provided through certain readings posted on Blackboard.  While you are responsible for all assigned readings, lecture content is extremely important for exam preparation.

Required Texts:
Frankfortor, A. Daniel; and Spellman, William M.  The West: A Narrative History, Volume 2, New York:
Pearson, 2009.
Levy, Primo.  Survival in Auschwitz.  New York: Simon & Schuster / Touchstone.
Marx, Karl.  The Communist Manifesto.  Frederic L. Bender, ed. New York: W.W. Norton, 1988.

Class Preparation:
For each class, you are expected to have read all the readings assigned for that day, and to arrive to class prepared to discuss each of them.  Part of our goal in reading such texts is to see how they relate to their historical contexts.  Since they were written in a different time and place, they require extra concentration than similar materials written today.  To better comprehend the primary source readings, it is suggested that you read such texts thoroughly, slowly, and with full concentration.

Grading System:
Participation: 10%             Quizzes: 10%               Midterm: 15%
Group Chapter Blog Assignment: 15%       Research Paper: 25%         Final Exam: 25%

Grading Scale:

95-100 = A     87-89 = B+   80-83 = B-     74-76 = C      67-69 = D+              Below 63 = F

90-94 = A-      84-86 = B     77-79 = C+     70-73 = C-     63-66 = D

Participation is based on attendance, contribution to class discussion, and group research guide activity, at my discretion.  In order to enable me to track your contributions to class discussion, please present a chit after each class with your name, date, and contribution (question, discussion point, etc.) whenever you make one.  In addition, your peers will have the capacity to review your work within your group assignment.  This review will count as part of your participation grade.

Midterm and Final:
Exams consist of fill in the blank, multiple choice, term-identification, and essay sections.  Exam questions will be based on the readings, lectures, class discussion and select video presentations.  The final exam is cumulative. Handouts posted on the course’s Blackboard site act as exam review sheets.

There will be several multiple-choice/short answer quizzes given during the semester.  Quizzes will be based on both lecture and reading content.  I will drop the lowest score.

Research / Term Paper:
A 5-7 page term paper covering a topic of your choice will be due towards the end of the semester.  It is expected that this paper will display students’ knowledge of critical apparatus and scholarly notation.  Research sources can consist of internet entries, books, periodicals, music, art, etc. — with full notation.  As writing a solid paper is a process, parts of the assignment will be requested earlier in the semester. Although not a requirement for this assignment, utilization of primary source material will, in most cases, significantly strengthen your paper.

Group Chapter Blog / Critique Assignment:
Each student will be randomly assigned to one of twelve 2-3 student groups, each group corresponding to a textbook chapter (chs. 12-23).  Students will be allowed to trade assigned groups upon the mutual acceptance of both trading parties‚ but all trades must be concluded during the first week of class.  Each group will be responsible for producing a “chapter blog” which will be open to the general public through UMW Blogs.  Each group’s blog will cover the same material presented in their assigned textbook chapter, with the option for challenging the textbook, adding further relevant information, or marginalizing less important information.  Blogs should include such items as: links to websites offering more information on these topics, primary source samples, photos, paintings, music samples, sample essay questions, and any other resource relevant to the topics covered in their respective chapter.  Anything covered in a group’s blog is fair game for class testing, and I will include group study guides as testing sources.  Blogs will be evaluated at the end of the semester and are expected to grow and evolve throughout the semester, but they must be started by the end of week three of the semester. If not ready by that time, the group will automatically be penalized half of their group assignment grade.  Evaluation will be based on creativity, comprehensiveness, and coherence.  Groups are highly encouraged to start their blogs as soon as possible, so that blog work does not interfere with research papers towards the end of the semester. Groups will coordinate their blogs with Jim Groom of the UMW Department of Teaching and Learning Technology. All group grades will be shared by all participants equally.  Group participants will be given the opportunity to assess each other’s contributions at the end of the semester, with such evaluations considered a factor in each student’s participation grade.

Your initial random group assignments will be posted online shortly, for you to trade.

Students with Disabilities:
The Office of Disability Services has been designated by the University as the primary office to guide, counsel, and assist students with disabilities.  Students with disabilities who require certain accommodations (note taking assistance, extended time for tests, etc.) should contact that office (x1266) as soon as possible so that warranted accommodations can be implemented in a timely fashion.  They will require appropriate documentation.  If you already receive services through the Office of Disability Services and require accommodations for this class, please make an appointment with me as soon as possible to discuss your approved accommodation needs.  Bring your accommodation letter to the appointment.  I will hold any information you share with me in the strictest confidence unless you give me permission to do otherwise.  Disability accommodations must be arranged PRIOR to relevant examinations.

Statement on Academic Honesty:
Cheating and plagiarizing constitute Honor Code offenses.  All writing assignments for this class must be original.  The unattributed citation of material written by someone other than yourself constitutes plagiarism.  You must footnote material you cite, paraphrase, summarize or draw on extensively for inspiration in the writing of your own prose.

“Plagiarism”-the use of another person’s ideas or wording without giving proper credit-results from the failure to document fully and accurately.  Ideas and expressions of them are considered to belong to the individual who first puts them forward.  Therefore, when you incorporate ideas or phrasing from any other author in your paper, whether you quote them directly or indirectly, you need to be honest and complete about indicating the source to avoid plagiarism.  Whether intentional or unintentional, plagiarism can bring serious consequences, both academic, in the form of failure or expulsion, and legal, in the form of lawsuits.  Plagiarism is a violation of the ethics of the academic community.

William G. Campbell, Stephen V. Ballou, and Carole Slade, Form and Style: Thesis, Reports, Term Papers, 6th Edition (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1982), p. 52.

For more information on plagiarism and how to avoid it, go to:

Policy on Make-ups and Late Work:

Make-up exams will be given in very rare cases, and only with documented justification for the missed exam.  Late work will be accepted (and penalized) at my discretion.  It is crucial that you advise me of any problems that will impede your ability to complete assignments on time.

Revisions of the Syllabus:

I reserve the right to revise this syllabus at any time during the semester.  Materials may be added or subtracted after the start of the term.

Class Schedule and Readings: [NB: Last day to drop class without penalty is Friday, January 29]

Mon. Jan. 11:  Introduction to the Course ‚Äì Jim Groom Technology Explanation
Wed. Jan 13:  What is Western Civ?
Samuel P. Huntington, “Clash of Civilizations”
Haberman et al, “Exceptionalism..”
Alain Gresh:  The West’s Selective Readng of History:
Fri. Jan. 15: European Geography & Ethnicities

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Mon. Jan. 18: Renaissance Europe [Quiz]
Frankfortor and Spellman, The West: A Narrative History, ch. 12
Wed. Jan 20:  The “New World”
Aztec Account of Mexico Conquest:
Pedro de Cieza de Lèon, Chronicles of the Incas:
Fri. Jan 22: The Ottomans & The Eastern Critique
Hobson, Eastern Origins of Western Civilization, 1-51

Mon. Jan. 25:  The Ottoman Empire
Frankfortor and Spellman, The West: A Narrative History, ch. 12

Ludlow, The Tribute of Children:
Wed. Jan. 27: Reformations & Religious Wars
Frankfortor and Spellman, The West: A Narrative History, ch. 13
Luther, 95 Theses:
Fri. Jan 29:  Divine Rule in the Age of Absolutism
Frankfortor and Spellman, The West: A Narrative History, chs. 13-14
James VI & I, True Law of Free Monarchies:
[Chapter Blogs Must Be Started]

Mon. Feb. 1:  The Scientific Revolution [Quiz]
Frankfortor and Spellman, The West: A Narrative History, ch. 15
Copernicus, Revolutions of Heavenly Bodies,
1633 Galileo Indictment:
Wed. Feb. 3: The Enlightenment I
Frankfortor and Spellman, The West: A Narrative History, ch. 16
Fri. Feb. 5: The Enlightenment II
Rousseau, The Social Contract:

Mon. Feb 8:  The Ancièn Regime [Quiz] [Jack Bales Library Lecture]
Frankfortor and Spellman, The West: A Narrative History, ch. 17
Wed. Feb. 10: The French Revolution I
Sièyes, What is the Third Estate?
1789 Declaration of the Rights of Man:
Fri. Feb. 12: The French Revolution II
Robespierre, Justification of the Use of Terror:

Mon. Feb. 15:  Industrial Revolution I
Frankfortor and Spellman, The West: A Narrative History, ch. 18
Wed. Feb. 17: Industrial Revolution II
Fri. Feb. 19: Midterm

Mon. Feb. 22: Liberalism [Paper Abstract Due]
Frankfortor and Spellman, The West: A Narrative History, ch. 19
Wed. Feb. 24: Napoleon
Frankfortor and Spellman, The West: A Narrative History, ch. 17
Fri. Feb. 26: The Congress of Vienna

Mon-Fri. March 1-5: Spring Break

Mon. March 8: Conservatism & Utilitarianism
Frankfortor and Spellman, The West: A Narrative History, ch. 19
Wed. March 10: Utopian Societies
Frankfortor and Spellman, The West: A Narrative History, ch. 19
Fri. March 12: Marx, Engels, and the Articulation of Marxist Theory [Communist Manifesto Reading Quiz]
Frankfortor and Spellman, The West: A Narrative History, ch. 19
Marx, Communist Manifesto

Mon. March 15: The Rise of Nationalism [Paper Bibliography & Outline Due]
Frankfortor and Spellman, The West: A Narrative History, ch. 20
Wed. March 17: Italian & German Nationalisms
Renan, What is a Nation?
Mazzini, On Nationality:
Fri. March 19: The Long 19th Century I
Frankfortor and Spellman, The West: A Narrative History, chs. 19-20

Mon. March 22: The Long 19th Century II [Quiz]
Wed. March 24: 19th Century Ottomans
Fri. March 26: Imperialism
Frankfortor and Spellman, The West: A Narrative History, ch. 21

Mon. March 29: Fin de Siècle Society
Wed. March 31: Anarchism & Ultra-Nationalism
Fri. April 2: World War I: Frankfortor and Spellman, The West: A Narrative History, ch. 22
Freud, Thoughts for the Times on War & Death
Versailles Treaty:

Mon. April 5: The Bolshevik Revolution I
Lenin, Imperialism, chs 5, 10
Wed. April 7: The Bolshevik Revolution II
Fri. April 9: The Road to Dictatorship: Frankfortor and Spellman, The West: A Narrative History, ch. 23
Mussolini, What is Fascism?:
[Research Paper Due]

Mon. April 12: World War II: Frankfortor and Spellman, The West: A Narrative History, ch. 24
Wed. April 14: Holocausts
Fri. April 16: Film ‚ October: Ten Days That Shook the World

Mon. April 19: Decolonization & Cold War: Frankfortor and Spellman, The West- ch. 25 [Levi Quiz]
Levi, Survival in Auschwitz
Wed. April 21: Whither Western Civ.?: Frankfortor and Spellman, The West: A Narrative History, ch. 26
Ahmedinejad Letters
Fri. April 23:  Spring History Symposium / No Class / Please Attend History Symposium