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Department of History
History 111: Introduction to Western Civilization up to 1500
Fall semester 2011
Tues/Thurs 1:00- 2:30 PM in Hall 201
Professor Lisa Jane Graham
Office Hours: Tues. 2:30-3:00 PM and Weds. 4:15-5:15 PM in Hall 212
Office Telephone: 610-896-1073
This course introduces students to the ideas and institutions that shaped European history from the height of the Roman Empire to the Renaissance and Reformation movements of the sixteenth century. It prepares students for advanced courses in history and related disciplines through critical discussions of evidence and arguments. The readings allow us to reconstruct and deconstruct the legacy of the West that we have inherited from the past. By interrogating this legacy, we acquire a sharper sense of how we use it to explain and understand our own world. The following questions will guide our discussions this semester: What kinds of sources are available to scholars and how do we read them? What impact do our choices about evidence have on our view of the past? What is the relationship between the present and the past?
The course emphasizes the structures and practices that defined European social, intellectual, and political life. Although we glance at the Byzantine and Islamic worlds, the readings focus on the convergence of Roman, Germanic, and Christian cultures in forging the West. The readings are arranged chronologically in thematic units that allow us to trace continuities and ruptures over time. Topics include: the Roman Imperial legacy and the rise of Christianity; monasticism and spiritual reform; royal government and papal authority; sin and free will; romance and marriage; war and social protest; humanism and statecraft. One recurring theme that links the individual units focuses on changing views of human nature and the ideal community.
Required Readings: the following books are available for purchase at the campus bookstore. Other materials listed on the syllabus are available through Blackboard on the Magill Library website.
Bennett, Medieval Europe: A Short History, 11th Ed.
The Bible, New Testament
Einhard, Two Lives of Charlemagne
Joinville and Villehardouin, Chronicles of the Crusades
The Lais of Marie de France
Miller, Power and the Holy in the Age of the Investiture Conflict
Rice and Grafton, The Foundations of Early Modern Europe
Saint Augustine, Confessions
Tacitus, The Agricola and the Germania
Your grade reflects a combination of written assignments, exams, and class participation. You must complete all required assignments in order to pass the course.
Attendance/Participation: Students are expected to attend class and arrive prepared for discussion. Oral participation is not optional but integral to the class. More than three unexplained absences will lower your grade. You must bring the assigned materials to class for discussion. As part of your participation grade, you will write two short (1-pp) response papers as indicated on the syllabus.
Papers: You will write two (3-5 pp.) papers based on the assigned readings over the semester. Detailed instructions will follow. In fairness to other students, late papers will be marked down.
Exams: All students will take a three-hour self-scheduled final examination.
Academic Policy: It is important to keep track of what you read and the sources of your ideas because you must cite them in your writing. You must include references to all quoted materials in your papers but you must also include footnotes when you borrow or summarize words or concepts from other scholars. For clarifications on what constitutes plagiarism and how to avoid committing it, please consult:
I am happy to discuss any questions about plagiarism in class or in individual meetings. A word of advice: When in doubt, include a footnote.
Readings preceded by an asterisk (*) are available on Blackboard at Magill Library.
Unit 1: Aug 30/Sept. 6: The Late Roman Empire: Conquest and Convergence
Bennett, Medieval Europe: A Short History, 11th ed. (pp. 4-8 and 19-27)
Tacitus, Introduction (pp. xiv-xxxv) and Agricola (pp.3-31)
Tacitus, Introduction (pp. xxxv-xliv) and Germania (pp. 35-57)
Unit 2: Sept. 8: Social Turmoil and Spiritual Awakening
Bennett, ch. 1(pp. 8-19)
The Bible: New Testament,