This course is an introductory survey of world history from approximately 1450 to the present.
In this roughly five hundred-year period, the world has been affected by stunning changes, and we’ll be exploring them all: the emergence, diversification, and transformation of global capitalism as a political-economic system with social implications, the rise and fall of Western colonial expansion on a world scale with the creations of internal colonial hierarchies of power based on race, religion, and national origin, the rise and fall of Atlantic slavery that enabled the Western growth in power, the industrial revolution, profound changes in the distribution and size of the world’s population, the emergence of nationalism and socialism, the eruption in the twentieth century of the most global and most devastating wars the world has ever known, and gradual evolution and transformation of an interconnected global economy.
From 1500 on, this course will discuss evolving ideas of human rights around the world, including attitudes toward slavery, social class, gender, religion, nationality, and race.
Through the reading of primary sources as well as historical scholarship, students will engage with multiple perspectives and articulate how they reflect their contemporary social structures.
Throughout this class, we will be examining developments of immense importance for understanding our contemporary world, and one of the key challenges we’ll take up is trying to make sense of these issues from diverse points of view, while also considering their evolving significance and implications.