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SCOPE: This course is a survey of the cultural, social, and political developments of civilization in the Mediterranean through the rise of early modern  history.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 history.  This course takes an interdisciplinary approach to the study of  Western  Civilization before 1600 and includes a world perspective.

SEMESTER: Fall, 2011

SECTION: 050111

ROOM: 3101

TIME: Monday, Wednesday from 11:45 a.m. to 1:20 p.m.

Philip Lee Ralph, et.al, World Civilizations: Their History and Their Culture, W.W. Norton & Company, Ninth Edition, Volume 1, 1997
This is a special edition re-produced to be sold to Ohlone students for less than the price of a new volume.  You will be able to sell this back to the bookstore.
 ISBN: 978-0-393-13653-1

PROCEDURE: The usual class attendance, taking notes on lectures (with instructor's  hope that something is happening), exams, group meetings and class discussions.

Please be careful to check your assignment sheets far in advance of each section as textbook readings will vary each week.

If you want to review the in class lectures or you miss a class a court reporter transcribed all my lectures during the Fall Semester 2005.  A link to each of these lectures is available if you care to read any of them at:
http://www2.ohlone.edu/people/akirshner/lectureswca.html   Podcasts were done in 2008 and can be heard at the links from http://itunes.ohlone.edu

There will be ten group meetings during the semester. The Course Assignment section below lists the dates of these group meetings.  Students will interact with four or five other individuals during class time to discuss the readings, creative insights and personal hang-ups (not required) according to the questions in each chapter (except for the first group meeting). Each student is to come prepared to discuss the material in accordance to the questions or problems in  the chapter as specified on the assignment sheet.
In order to facilitate these discussions, students must bring a 3 x 5 card (or equivalent) with notes or a short outline pertaining to the material the student will talk about.  Students are not to read their answer.
Group meetings will count 1/4 of your grade. Each group meeting is worth 10 points--a total of 100 points. The 10 points for each group meeting will be given by a self-evaluation form which will be checked against a group chairperson's evaluation and the instructor's opinion from listening to the group discussions as he moves from group to group.

If you should decide to be absent the day of the group meeting or if you decide you do not want to participate in the group meeting, you must submit within two weeks of your return to class a 2-page typewritten (3 pages if handwritten) answers to the questions due for that group meeting.
The course grade will be the exact average of the three exams and the sum of the 10 group meetings.

You can withdraw from this class within the first three weeks of the semester without any notation appearing on your transcripts.  Between the third and the twelfth week of the semester your withdrawal will appear on the transcript as a W.  After the twelfth week I must give you a grade for the course.  If  you withdraw after this deadline the only grade I will give you is an F. All withdrawals must be done through the Registrar's office. If you are in class anytime during the semester and do not withdraw officially, you will  receive an F.

This course may be taken for credit/no credit. You must register with the admission's office no later than the fourth week of the semester. To receive credit for the course you must receive at least a C grade.

Academic dishonesty defrauds all those who depend upon the integrity of the college, its courses, and its degrees and certificates.  Students are expected to follow the ethical standards required in Ohlone courses.  These standards are defined in the Policy on Academic Dishonesty. Violations of this policy include cheating and plagarism. Cheating on an exam will not only provide you with 0 points, but you will obtain an F in the course.  An F cannot be changed to a W once I place it on your grade sheet.

The student has the right and shares the responsibility to exercise the freedom to learn.  The student is expected to conduct himself/herself in accordance with the standards of the College that are designed to perpetuate its educational purposes.                 

Too many people today view the world with a sense of personal entitlement.  They harbor a belief they are somehow entitled to a grade, a degree, a job, a raise, a mortgage, a home, the good life in general; rather than recognizing most of these things actually need to be earned.  We need to keep our commitment to a general and liberal education, with critical thinking as a core focus.  Personal assumptions and beliefs need continual reflection and scrutiny under the bright lights of reality and social awareness.  A sense entitlement is difficult to maintain if one truly thinks in a critical manner.
              From Dr. Jim Wright, Vice-President for Academic Affairs, Feb. 23, 2009


1.   To develop a specific knowledge of the beginnings of civilization.

2.   To gain an understanding of the impact of early civilizations on Modern societies.

3.   To develop an awareness of the interaction and intertwining of historical events.

4.   To provide specific knowledge of the history of Egypt, Mesopotamia, Greece, the Medieval Era, the Renaissance, the Reformation and the Age of Exploration.

5.   To acquire through the study of the past practical skills necessary to cope effectively with Modern society.

6.    To develop the ability to solve problems through the process of rational thinking enhanced by studying the great minds of the past.

7.   To develop basic academic skills through the reading and memorization of important events in Western Civilization.

    I.  BE PHYSICAL: An inquiry into the beginnings of civilization
          A. Interpretation of Evidence
          B. Nature or Nurture       
         C. Evolution vs. Revolution
          D. Woman the Creator

    II.   LIFE AND DEATH:  Early Civilization
          A. Geographical Determinism--Egypt and Mesopotamia
          B. Stirrings in Asia
          C. Rural-Urban Values
          D. Civilization to Civilization: Contributions

   III.   PERFECTION IS STERILE:  Barbarian Tides
          A. Toilet Power: Crete
          B. Polis,  Hubris, Ideals
          C. Antithesis—Sparta and Athens
          D. Alexander and Alexandrias(Hellenism)


    IV.   THE TWO FACED GODS:  Polarization
          A.  To Beware the Ides of March
          B.  On the Way to the Forum and Away
          C.  Decline and Fall, Maybe!
          D.  Quest For Power in the East-Byzantium

     V.   A FISH STORY:  The Rise of Christianity
          A. "Martyrdom is the only way a man can become famous
          without ability."--George Bernard Shaw
           B. Internal Self
          C. A Cross to "Bare"
          D. From Temple to Mosque

   VI.   FALSE IMAGES:  Early Medieval Europe
          A. It ain't so uniform!
          B. A Chess Game
          C. Miss America, then and now

  VII.   UNIVERSAL TRUTH:  Disruption and Renewal
          A. Revealed Knowledge
          B. Faith and Reason
          C. Guilded
          D. The Crusading Spirit


     VIII.   WHAT A PLAGUE!:  The Waning of the Middle Ages
          A. The Changing Face of Heresy
          B. Economic Expansion
          C. 1453: Where to From Here
          D. Pegasus and Unicorns
     IX.   RENEWAL:  The Renaissance
          A. A Rebirth of What?
          B. Men can do all things if they will--And women?
          C. Society and Art
          D. An Anal Retentive Victory

   X.   WHO IS SKEPTICAL?: Life and Expansion
          A. How do we live now?
          B. Mar Clausum vs. Effective Occupation
           C. Natural vs. Legal Servitude: blacks, women +
          D. Eurocentric--to be or not to be



I.        BE PHYSICAL: August 29 31, September 7,12, 14

REQUIRED READING: Read all of the information about this course. Read Chapter 1 in World Civilization text and Velikovsky (on Reserve in Library under History 104A)  with Jarmo (in same packet) IF YOU CANNOT GET TO THE LIBRARY I HAVE A FEW COPIES TO LOAN--BUT THEY MUST BE RETURNED RIGHT AFTER THE GROUP MEETING.  I have also placed a copy at http://www.kirshnerisms.com/Bushman-Velikovsky-Jarmo.pdf  This copy is difficult to read.   I would also warn you that reading the Velikovsky material slowly and carefully could be dangerous to you health.  Just scan read it to get a feel for his theories and the issues.

Group Meeting I (September 14): Discuss your impressions Velikovsky's theories.

Orientation,  Orientation Continued, Site Map Exercise, Did darwin get it Wrong?, Origins of Civilization, Woman, Homosexuals, Beer and Civilization, Mother Goddess, Animals and Group Dynamics

II.        LIFE AND DEATH: September 19, 21, 26  
            REQUIRED READING:      Chapter 2 and Chapter 3         
            OPTIONAL READING:   Chapter 5 and Chapter 6

Group Meeting II (September 26):  Discuss what you see as the advantages and disadvantages of living in the Ancient Mesopotamian and Ancient Egypt.

Velikovsky (true or false?) and Geographical Determinism, Geography, God and Floods!, Dating in Mesopotamia and Egypt,
Who Wore the Pants in Mesopotamia?, Contributions of the Ancients!, LAW & ORDER + CIVIL DISOBEDIENCE!

III.              PERFECTION IS STERILE: September 28, October 3, 5,
REQUIRED READING:      Chapter 4, Chapter 7 and Chapter 8

            Group Meeting III (October 5): Compare the Greek concepts of polis, hubris and fate with our beliefs today.

Beware the Greeks with the Trojans,  Fates, Hubris and Polis+Bull Stories, Water vs. Rock: Athens and Sparta, Gold leads to Art, Philosophy, Perfection and even War, Girlie-Men Conquer the World!


IV.               THE TWO FACED GOD: October 12, 17, 19

  REQUIRED READING:     Chapter  9 and pages 258-262, 274-278, 278- 291, 364-377


  Group Meeting IV: (October 19) What did you liked about the Roman society?  Disliked?

RETURN EXAM & ROME-Two Faced!, Dear Pres. Bush, The Younger: The US is no Rome!, Friends, Romans, Countrymen: The Late Republic, Hail Caesar & Caesar & Caesar, Sex, Lies and Rome

V.                 A FISH STORY: October 24, 26
            REQUIRED READING:      pp.262-274, 377-393
Group Meeting V(October 26):  As a Roman citizen in the first or second century, would you have converted to Christianity? Explain why or why not?

An Easter to Remember: The Beginnings of Christianity, The Way of the Cross

VI.                 FALSE IMAGES: October 31, November 2
  REQUIRED READING:    pp. 393-421

           Group Meeting VI (November 2): Describe how the Greco-Roman heritage, the Germanic traditions, Christianity, and the Islamic cultures contributed to the making of Modern Europe?

            The Dark Knight is White & Plays Chess!, Miss America in a Feudal Society,

VII.               UNIVERSAL TRUTH: November 7, 9

  REQUIRED READING:    pp.421-454, 461-493

Group Meeting VII (November 9): Describe education for men and women of all classes during the Middle Ages.

Learning the Hard Way!, School Used to be Fun & Now it is a Riot!


VIII.              WHAT A PLAGUE!: November 16, 21,

  REQUIRED READING:    pp. 454-461, Chapter 15


Group Meeting VIII(November 21):  Describe the impact of the “Black Death” on European History. Also, compare the “Black Death” to Aids.

Crusades: Now and Then! , The Aftermath of Death!, Connections-Film,  Where to From Here?
IX.               RENEWAL: November 23, 28

REQUIRED READING:      Chapter 18, pp: 667-711
            Group Meeting IX (November 28):  Poof—you believe in reincarnation!                            Describe, thoroughly, the life you led in the Renaissance era.
Renaissance: Humble—to be or not to be!, Dissent! Renaissance Video, ,Three for the Price of One! , Like It or Not, We are All Protestant! Part I, Like It or Not, We are All Protestant! Part II,

X.            WHO IS SKEPTICAL? November 30, December 5, 7

            REQUIRED READING:      pp: 667-677, Chapter 20

            OPTIONAL READING:      Chapter 17 and Chapter 21

            Group Meeting X (December 7): Explain why European people developed a drive
            to explore.

            Violating the Prime Directive

EXAM III:  FRIDAY, December 16, 9:30-11:30 am

OFFICE HOURS: I will hold court in 8320 between 10:45 and 11:40 am on
                        Tuesday and Thursday.  I will also be there on Monday
                        and Wednesday between 1:30 and 2:25 pm.  I will hold virtual office hours
                        on Fridays from 11 to 11:55 am.  If you cannot make it at
                        these times, please speak to me to see if we can work out some
                        mutually convenient time.
                        I am in my office at other times my door is open even if I appear
                        not to be there.  Come in and wait.
                        I am in my office at other times my door is open even if I appear
                        not to be there.  Come in and wait.

TELEPHONE:     I can be reached at 659-6242 during my office hours. If you need
                        to reach me at another time leave a message on my tape machine.
                        In case of an emergency (missing class is not an emergency) you
                        can call me  at (510) 468-6307.  Please be clear in your message about
                        why you are calling, the date and the time, as my answering machine on
                        this cell phone fails to give me the latter information.
                        You can e-mail me at AKirshner@ohlone.edu

                        You can view my home page and even check out example exams at:
                        http://www2.ohlone.edu/ people/akirshner
                        After arriving at the page, just click on “About My Courses.”

Western Civilization 104A: Podcast LectureList in iTunes (http://itunes.ohlone.edu/)

LECTURE 1: Orientation and Introduction to WC104A 9/3/08 1:04:01 Ohlone College History 104A Free
LECTURE 2: Site Map--Where are you? 9/8/08 1:01:44 Ohlone College History 104A Free
LECTURE 3: Nature or Nurture: Did Darwin get it wrong? 9/10/08 1:00:14 Ohlone College History 104A Free
LECTURE 4: Will the real women please stand up? 9/12/08 59:57 Ohlone College History 104A Free
LECTURE 5: Women, Homosexuals and Civilization! 9/15/08 56:21 Ohlone College History 104A Free
LECTURE 6: Velikovsky, right or wrong? 9/17/08 1:00:28 Ohlone College History 104A Free
LECTURE 7: Early Civilization w/ leftover beer! Geographical Determinism-Is god good or evil? Happy cows!9/19/08 11:47 AM 1:01:19 Ohlone College History 104A Free
LECTURE 8: Aryan/Iranian to Iraq & Egypt Contributions of the Ancients 9/22/08 1:00:29 Ohlone College History 104A Free
LECTURE 9: Who wore the pants in the Middle East? The loin clothes? 9/24/08 1:00:20 Ohlone College History 104A Free
LECTURE 10: Egypt: Mummies, Mommies Brothers & Sisters; LAW & ORDER CIVIL DISOBEDIENCE 9/26/08 1:01:09 Ohlone College History 104A Free
LECTURE 11: Melvin, the Egyptian accountant; Trojans for all; Half Bull=Crete 9/29/08 57:58 Ohlone College History 104A Free
LECTURE 12: How to go to hell. 10/1/08 1:01:11 Ohlone College History 104A Free
LECTURE 13: Rules for Writing Essay Questions!;  Cheating at Ohlone and in Ancient Greece 10/3/08 52:03 Ohlone College History 104A Free
LECTURE 14: The Greek Way! 10/6/08 1:02:49 Ohlone College History 104A Free
LECTURE 15: Greek Reality: Plato or Aristotle 10/8/08 1:01:09 Ohlone College History 104A Free
LECTURE 16: Return Exam-go over; Alexander the Great 10/15/08 1:01:04 Ohlone College History 104A Free
LECTURE 17: Skip first 15 minutes-election; Roman Mystery Cults & Religion 10/17/08 1:01:20 Ohlone College History 104A Free
LECTURE 18: Rome-A Two Faced Republic 10/20/08 59:56 Ohlone College History 104A Free
LECTURE 19: Rome from HBO; Group chaos! 10/22/08 56:49 Ohlone College History 104A Free
LECTURE 20: Rome reclines! 10/24/08 55:34 Ohlone College History 104A Free
LECTURE 21: Truth or Consequences: As Rome moves on! 10/27/08 1:00:16 Ohlone College History 104A Free
LECTURE 22: Idiots and Monsters and Five Good Guys; Blame the Christians! 10/29/08 58:32 Ohlone College History 104A Free
LECTURE 23: Lead in their pipes bring on the Christians 10/31/08 54:27 Ohlone College History 104A Free
LECTURE 24: A US Election to be Remembered-An Easter that is Remembered The Way of the Cross 11/5/08 1:01:27 Ohlone College History 104A Free
LECTURE 25: The Dark Knight is White & Plays Chess! False it is! 11/7/08 59:32 Ohlone College History 104A Free

Western Civilization 104A: Lecture Video List on reserve in the library
Lecture Title Taped Call #
1 Orientation #1 8/22/94 VID/549
2 Orientation #2 8/24/94 VID/549
3 The Beginnings #1 (Map Work) 8/29/94 VID/550
4 The Beginnings #2 8/31/94 VID/551
5 The Beginnings #3 9/2/94 VID/552
6 Velikovsky Group Disscusion 9/7/94 VID/553
7 Geographic Determinism #1 9/9/94 VID/554
8 Geographic Determinism #2 9/12/94 VID/555
9 Geographic Determinism #3 9/14/94 VID/555
10 Geographic Determinism #4 (Contributions) 9/16/94 VID/556
11 Geographic Determinism #5 (Persia + Group) 9/19/94 VID/557
12 Greece: Perfection Is Sterile (Introduction) 9/21/94 VID/558
13 Greece: Fate, Hubris (Intro to EXAM) 9/23/94 VID/559
14 Greece: Polis, Philosophy, Society 9/26/94 VID/560
15 Greece: Alexander, Hellenistic, Group Meet 9/28/94 VID/561
16 Rome: Return Exam, Two Faced God #1 10/3/94 VID/573
17 Rome: 2 Faced-Beware the Ides of March 10/5/94 VID/573
18 Rome: On The Way To The Forum 10/7/94 VID/574
19 Rome: Get a Life! Decline & Fall, Maybe! 10/10/94 VID/574
20 Rome: Decline & Fall, Maybe! Islam 10/12/94 VID/575
21 A Fish Story + Eastward Ho! 10/14/94 VID/576
22 Eastward Ho: India & China; Group Meeting 10/17/94 VID/577
23 A Fish Called >>>Video on Christianity 10/19/94 VID/578
24 False Images: Chess the Game of Queen Power 10/21/94 VID/579
25 Universal Truth + A Deaf Miss America 10/24/94 VID/580
26 Middle Age Thought! 10/28/94 VID/581
27 Guest Lecture on Velikovsky: Fred Jueneman 10/31/94 VID/582
28 Universal Truth--I hope! Middle Ages 11/2/94 VID/583
29 Medieval Thought: Group Meeting 11/4/94 VID/584
30 What A Plague! The election of 1994 11/9/94 VID/584
31 Go over exam + Crusading Spirit 11/14/94 VID/585
32 The Waning + Middle Age Spread 11/16/94 VID/585
33 The Changing Face of Heresy + Group Meeting 11/18/94 VID/585
34 The Other Side of the Story: Russia & Ottoman 11/28/94 VID/586
35 Where To From Here? 11/30/94 VID/586
36 Rebirth vs Rebewal: The Renaissance 12/2/94 VID/587
37 Men & Women Can Do All Things: Slides 12/5/94 VID/587
38 Renaissance Wo/Man + Group Meeting 12/7/94 VID/588
39 Reformation: The Fuggers Sell Indulgences 12/9/94 VID/588
40 The Reformation & Anal Retentive America 12/12/94 VID/589
41 The Violation of the Prime Directive: Colon 12/14/94 VID/590
42 Exploration & The World + Exam Countdown 12/16/94 VID/590

Click to preview the next course: Western Civilization 104B / 17th century thru 24th century

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* This page last updated 8/15/10  © Alan M. Kirshner.