HIST 653 Patterns of World History…Final Class

Finally have a few minutes to outline my third, and final, course of the semester, History 653 – Patterns of World History.  The course is taught by Dr. Michael Seth and meets on Wednesday evenings.  The title of the course is pretty self explanatory, but the course outlines new ideas about the teaching and study of world history.  World history is a General education course taught at JMU and is replacing Western Civilization courses at other institutions.

In the course we read books and discuss them during class.  The whole class has read six books and they are:

Before European HegemonyImporting the European ArmyOld World EncountersPlagues & Peoples (with New Preface)Why Europe?World & Very Small Place in Africa

In addition to these books, each student had to choose two additional books to read, review and report to the class.  The two books I read were:

Tools of Empire: Technology and European Imperialism in the Nineteenth Century and Colonizer’s Model of the World: Geographical Diffusionism and Eurocentric History

We have read a few additional articles, but each class meeting has followed the same outline: 1. students report on their book reviews 2. discuss readings for the day 3. BREAK! 4. map activities.  Dr. Seth has been giving us map “quizzes” because he really wants us to learn the countries of the world.  Not sure how that is working out!

For the course there was only one major paper and that is due this week.  We had to write a bibliographical essay about a particular topic in history.  I chose “What is Civilization?”  After the writing the paper, I can report there is no clear definition of the term and its use has fallen out of favor.

We will have a final exam in the class, but we have been provided with the question in advance and it is a take home exam.

Finally, I have described all my courses and can report that I successfully registered for Spring 2011 classes.  I will be taking: HIST 698 Introduction to Public History, HIST 673 Graduate Research and Writing Seminar, and HIST 593 Historic Preservation.  Should be a great semester!!  I will give more information about those classes as the semester progresses.

I am looking forward to having a week off.  Plan to go through my books and thin them out and write my final paper of the semester!




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