Study-Unit Description

Study-Unit Description


TITLE World History: From Early Societies to 1500

LEVEL 01 - Year 1 in Modular Undergraduate Course



DESCRIPTION This study-unit provides a chronological and thematic overview of the history of mankind from early civilizations until to around 1500 C.E. Students will have the opportunity to study key developments in world history such as the transition from a nomadic to an agrarian way of life, the origin of cities and the emergence of complex societies, the growth and decline of empires, and rise of world religions. Students will also be introduced to different types of historical evidence that historians use to reconstruct past societies.

Study-unit Aims:

This study-unit has three principal goals:
- To introduce students to critical political, social, economic and cultural developments in world history from the earliest civilizations to around 1500 A.D;
- To familiarize students with the central tools of historical inquiry, ranging from written sources to material evidence;
- To promote critical thinking about the past and its relationship to the present.

Learning Outcomes:

1. Knowledge & Understanding:

By the end of the study-unit the student will be able to:
- Identify the main chronological phases in world civilizations to c.1500 C.E;
- Compare critical developments in human history across different continents and regions from the earliest civilizations to the sixteenth century;
- Understand the different sources historians use to reconstruct the past.

2. Skills:

By the end of the study-unit the student will be able to:
- Analyze the impact of change and continuity over time;
- Examine issues of causality and consequence;
- Select, digest and organize material to produce, to a deadline, a coherent and concise argument presented in written form.

Main Text/s and any supplementary readings:

Main texts:

- Bentley, J. and H. Ziegler. Traditions and Encounters: A Global Perspective on the Past. McGraw-Hill, 2010.
- Diamond, J. Guns, Germs and Steel. W. W. Norton, 1997, 2005.
- McNeill, J. R. and W. H. McNeill. The Human Web: A Bird's-Eye View of World History. W. W. Norton, 2003.

Supplementary texts:

- McNeill, W. H. Plague and Peoples. Anchor, 1977.
- Fernandez-Armesto, F. The World: A History. Penguin Academic, 2010.
- Fernandez-Armesto, F. So You Think You're Human? A Brief History of Humankind. Oxford University Press, 2004.
- Fernandez-Armesto, F. Pathfinders: A Global History of Exploration. W. W. Norton, 2007.
- Murasaki, S. The Tale of Genji, trans. E. G. Seidensticker. Everyman's Library, 1992.
- Dalley, S. Myths from Mespotamia: Creation, The Flood, Gilgamesh, and Others. Oxford University Press, 2008.
- Liu, X. The Silk Road in World History. Oxford University Press, 2010.
- D. T. Niane. Sundiata: An Epic of Old Mali. Longman, 2006.
- Wayland Barber, E. Women's Work: The First 20,000 Years. Women, Cloth and Society in Early Times. W. W. Norton, 1994.


Assessment Component/s Assessment Due Resit Availability Weighting
Assignment SEM2 Yes 40%
Examination (2 Hours) SEM2 Yes 60%

LECTURER/S Mark Aloisio

The University makes every effort to ensure that the published Courses Plans, Programmes of Study and Study-Unit information are complete and up-to-date at the time of publication. The University reserves the right to make changes in case errors are detected after publication.
The availability of optional units may be subject to timetabling constraints.
Units not attracting a sufficient number of registrations may be withdrawn without notice.
It should be noted that all the information in the description above applies to study-units available during the academic year 2020/1. It may be subject to change in subsequent years.