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J. Quataert
Library Tower 809
(607) 777-4055
Office Hours: W: 2:00 – 3:30 and by appointment


Teaching Assistants

Travis Shutz (


Timur Saitov (


Zeynep Dursun (

Course Description

This course employs a global perspective to explore how societies and peoples in different locations in the period since 1300 have confronted (with various degrees of success) fundamental issues of the human condition: community, reproduction, security, inequality, notions of the "other." The time frame is one that historians have labeled the "rise of the West." This course moves beyond this assumption by showing the complexity of historical developments. It uncovers not only the adaptations to growing Western military and technological superiority but as well independent and distinct patterns of political, social, cultural and economic organization. Seen from our perspective, the track of history was not predetermined; it reflected the internal dynamics of interactions between cultures and autonomous developments within societies. The course illustrates this complexity by comparing developments in China, India, Africa, the Middle East, Europe and the Americas. The six main themes of the course are: the conquest of the new world and its consequences; industrial transformations in home, workshop and factory; subjects and citizens; revolts and revolutions; nationalisms, wars, and decolonization; and globalization. Each theme is framed within a particular historical period but our treatment of it moves back and forth in time.

The course is organized around lectures and discussions, with slides and videos. Attendance is required in both lectures and discussion sections (Fridays). Grades are based on how you integrate materials from lectures, section discussions, and readings. There will be two in-class mid-term exams; short writing assignments including library and internet work; and a comprehensive final. The grade distribution is as follows: discussion section participation 30%, which includes how well you have discussed the assigned reading, pop quizzes, your weekly writing assessments of the reading and the internet assignment; each hourly exam, 20%; comprehensive final, 30%.

Course Goals (click here)


The following books are required for the course and are available for purchase at the University Bookstore, campus.

  • Tignor, Adelman, Aron, et al., Worlds Together, Worlds Apart (vol. 2) Fourth Edition, site:
  • Alfred Andrea and James Overfield, The Human Record:  Sources of Global History (primary sources), Seventh Edition 
  • Iris Chang, The Rape of Nanking.
  • Janet Abu-Lughod, The World System in the Thirteenth Century American Historical Association pamphlet 1993 (pamphlet provided on blackboard)
  • Jean H. Quataert, The Gendering of Human Rights in the International Systems of Law in the Twentieth Century, American Historical Association, 2006. (pamphlet provided on blackboard)
  • Alifa Rifaat, Distant View of a Minaret and other Stories

NOTE: Please consult historical maps on this website or other websites throughout the semester.

Course Schedule


"Languages Across the Curriculum" and Slide Lecture: Maps and Cultural Creativity
Discussion Sections
Slide Lectures: Inter-cultural Exchanges
Discussion Sections
text, pp. 3-41; 43-77
Abu-Lughod, all

Theme I: PERIOD 1500-1650
Question: Was the "discovery" of the new world a crucial turning point in World History?

Lectures: 1, 2, 3, 4
Discussion Sections: 1

Theme II: PERIOD 1650-1820
Question: What accounted for the enormous disparity in wealth and power between Europe and the rest of the world?

Lectures: 1, 2, 3
Discussion Sections: 1, 2

MAP QUIZ (10 minutes)
Review Session
FIRST HOURLY EXAM: On Themes I and II only.

Theme III: PERIOD 17-19th centuries. Subjects and Citizens
Question: How do people relate to the power of the "state?" Who has a voice in decision-making?

Lectures: 1, 2, 3
Discussion Sections: 1, 2
Internet Assignment comparing library and Internet sources due to TAs (via email). Please, click here to get to Prof. Sklar's web-site for useful information and tips on how to use and evaluate Internet sources.  For more information, consult this library guide to help you assess the value of websites as sources,

Theme IV: PERIOD 17-19th centuries. Revolts, Revolutions and Re-imagining Nations
Question: Why and under what circumstances do people revolt (or not)

Lectures: 1, 2, 3, 4
Discussion Sections: 1, 2
Review Session
SECOND HOURLY EXAM: On Themes III and IV only.

Theme V: PERIOD 1870-1970. Wars, imperialisms and Decolonization
Question: How is the world map redrawn?

  •  Chang, all
  •  Quataert, all

Lectures: 1, 2, 3
Discussion Sections: 1, 2

Question: Is the Nation-State the logical organizational unit within which to write the history of the Twenty-First Century?

  • Alifa Rifaat, all

Lectures: 1, 2, 3, 4
Discussion Sections: 1, 2, 3

Map Quiz (10 Minutes)
Review Session

Languages Across the Curriculum Presentations (to be scheduled)

Final Examination (in class, for all students) to be held during the officially scheduled final examination period

Last Updated: 1/2/18