The Making of the Modern World (Hist 105; Hist 106) is a two-semester course providing a thematic history of the world from ancient to modern times. The course surveys the major patterns and events of human activity from a global perspective within a broad chronological framework, while familiarizing students with interactions,parallelisms, and incongruities in the historical and cultural patterns of diverse societies and civilizations. The course aims to develop an understanding of modes and patterns of historical change, and provides a perspective on the complex ways in which the legacy of the past shapes our present.
The first part of the course (Hist 105) focuses on the ancient and the medieval world, and approaches the formation and transformations of specific social, political, cultural, and economic patterns through a global perspective. Beginning with the first steps of humanity and the first permanent settlements and urban centers of the ancient Near East, the course turns to the Ancient Greek, Roman, Indian and East Asian civilizations. Broad historical transformations of the medieval era in the eastern Mediterranean, Europe, Middle East and Asia constitute the last main focus. For each of these major periods, the course examines aspects of political, cultural, ideological and institutional structures and transformations, as well as aspects of daily life and material culture. Connections and interactions across spatial and cultural divides remain a focus throughout the survey.
HIST 106 explores the paths of specific historical change in the early modern and modern periods in different regions of the world, covering the period between the 15th and the 20th centuries. Therefore the course is as much about the Renaissance and Reformation in Europe as about culture and society in the early modern Middle East; as much about transformations in European feudalism as about the methods of rule of East Asian polities; as much about the revolutions of 1789 and 1848 in Europe as about the transformation of Ottoman political power in relation to the Habsburg and Russian empires. Issues regarding the political, cultural, ideological and institutional structures and transformations that ushered in the modern era are discussed, as well as aspects of daily life and material culture. Connections and interactions across spatial and cultural divides remain a focus throughout the survey.