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HF 232: History of Western Civilization II

Prairie College
3 Credit Hours
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  • Class Start

    May 03, 2022

  • Class End

    June 28, 2022

  • Drop Day

    May 07, 2022

  • Term

    Summer 2022

  • Teacher


  • Course Syllabus

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HF 232: History of Western Civilization II is offered online by Prairie College. This course picks up the narrative of western civilization where HF 231 left off. It covers the period from the late Middle Ages to the late 20thcentury. A two-part question which the course raises and then seeks to answer is ‘how did the cultural condition of modernity develop in the Western World and what are its defining characteristics?’ In this course we will also consider a corollary question, ‘why did modernity arise in the West and not elsewhere?’ Another way of posing these questions would be as follows: ‘How did The West become The West?’ and ‘Why wasn’t Africa colonized much earlier by East Indian or Chinese civilizations, instead of 19thcentury Europeans? Why wasn’t North America colonized by the Chinese or Arab maritime adventurers who possessed the technology to do so much earlier than Europeans?’ These are the kinds of issues which frequently motivate historians to research records of the past and offer accounts that are not merely descriptive but explanatory. Historians endeavor to tell true stories in a way that explains the significance of the events under consideration. This course may not give all the answers to the above questions but it can expand our historical horizons and get our investigative imaginations working to understand why things are the way they are, and why historical events unfolded as they did. Learning to see the world through historical lenses yields a measure of insight into what might otherwise appear to be haphazard or random developments in our world. It can also help us cultivate the virtues of patience, prudence and circumspection, from a posture of sympathetic humility, instead of the vices of rashness, hasty generalization and an intellectual sloppiness which rushes to judgment from a posture of presentist superiority. While using political events and figures as the primary reference points in dividing the overall chronological scope of the material into various historical periods, the course will also explorea variety of other cultural events, people and movements which shaped the modern age. These include: religious/philosophical ideas, especially as they are expressed in art, architecture, music and literature; developments in the fields of science and commerce; and key social institutions/practices. Because this is a survey course, the material will be covered with fairly broad brush-strokes. Thus it is important to keep in mind that while attending to the general characteristics which defined the above areas of culture from the fourteenth to the twentieth century, a more detailed examination will always reveal greater complexity and nuance. This course offers an introduction to, not a definitive summation of, these events. In addition to studying these developments through the writings of academic historians, students will also have an opportunity to practice the craft of producing an historical account of their own.

Required Text

Esler, Anthony. The Western World: a narrative history. Prehistory to the present, 2nd ed. (New Jersey: Prentice Hall, 1997). 9780134956237

This course information is provided by the relevant teaching institution and may reference requirements that are meant for full-time students at that institution.
If you purchase this course but do not begin it by the relevant drop date, we may cancel your enrollment and issue you a refund.

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