History 80 The Whole Enchilada

History 80
Professor Burke
Spring 2010

The Whole Enchilada: The Genre of World History

This course is an exploration of world history as a form of historical writing. It is not a survey of events in world history, though we will undoubtedly find ourselves learning quite a lot about certain common topics or issues in world history.

The central question of the class is, “What happens when a historian or writer tries to describe the history of the world?” As a genre of writing about history, world history is distinctive not just in its scope but in its tone and its outlook. The form has a history all its own.

While I typically encourage students to skim readings, and will do so in this class, I nevertheless want to caution that in this course, the reading load is quite heavy and I will expect somewhat closer attention to the reading than I normally require. We are reading world histories as a literary form, and that means we need to understand not just the bare bones of their argument and the evidentiary material they assemble in defense of it, but the rhetorical approach they employ. Reading carefully and working from such readings in class discussion are both important requirements in this course, and I will base the final grade more heavily than I normally do on whether or not students are reading with the appropriate discipline and depth.

Do not take this class if you are unprepared to engage the material.

Attendance, as per History Department policy, is required. Unexcused absences will have a serious effect on your grade. Participation and evidence of careful reading are important to your grade. There will also be three papers: two of them short, one of them a longer assignment requiring a modest amount of independent research.

Jan 20 Introduction
“Global history” and “world history” (scholarly standardization of a field; literary breadth of an idea)
The question of “Eurocentrism”
The global and the local; the big picture and the details

Jan 27 Early world histories
*The Old Testament, Genesis, 1-11 (up to the story of Babel).
Read this online. There are a lot of online Bible sites, some of them are involved in active prosletyzing for a particular sect or church or are just poorly designed for readability. The New American Bible site maintained by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops is fairly readable. http://www.usccb.org/nab/bible/index.shtml
*José Miguel Alonso-Nunez, “Herodotus’ Conception of Historical Space and the Beginnings of Universal History”, in Derow and Parker, eds., Herodotus and His World
*Selection of early Chinese histories.
Mini-lecture: Did every premodern society have an idea of history that was comprehensive or potentially universal in scope or intent? Or is universal history largely a product of the Western historical imagination?

Feb.3 Medieval histories
Ibn Khaldun, The Muqadimmah, pp. Vii-48, pp. 58-68, pp. 91-332
*Stephen Dale, “Ibn Khaldun: The Last Greek and the First Annaliste Historian”, International Journal of Middle East Studies, 38:3, 2006.
Mini-lecture: Medieval historians and universal history

Feb. 10 Universal history and the Enlightenment
Giambattista Vico, “The New Science”.

http://www.historyguide.org/intellect/new_science.html

Jean-Jacques Rousseau, “A Discourse on the Origin of Inequality”, Part II. http://www.constitution.org/jjr/ineq_04.htm
Georg Hegel, “Introduction to the Philosophy of History”, pp. 1-78, pp. 103-222.
*J.G.A. Pocock, The ‘Outlines of the History of the World’: A Problematic Essay by Edward Gibbon”
Karl Marx. (His depiction of world history is spread over a pretty wide range of writings, and hard to briefly excerpt. The Wikipedia entry is pretty decent as an overview.)
Mini-lecture: Encyclopedism, universal history, and the rise of the West

First paper due, 3-4 pp.

Feb. 17 World history and politics in the early 20th Century
Oswald Spengler, The Decline of the West
*H.G. Wells, A Short History of the World.
Look at the list of chapters in Wells at Google Books. Pick one chapter at random to read.

Feb. 24 The development of world history as a genre of scholarship and popular writing
William H. McNeill, Rise of the West
*Will and Ariel Durant, The Story of Civilization, short excerpt.

March 3 World-systems and the Annales
*Fernand Braudel, The Structures of Everyday Life, pp. 31-104
*Immanuel Wallerstein,The Modern World-System, pp.3-11, pp.301-341
*Eric Wolf, Europe and the People Without History, pp. 1-100

SPRING BREAK

March 17 The critique of Eurocentric world history
*Janet Abu-Lughod, Before European Hegemony, pp. 3-43
*J.M. Blaut, The Colonizer’s Model of the World, pp. 50-151
*Ashis Nandy, “History’s Forgotten Doubles”, in Pomper et al eds., World Historians and Their Critics
Dipesh Chakrabarty, Provincializing Europe, Ch. 1 and Ch. 4

March 24 “Big history”
David Christian, Maps of Time

March 31 Making world history accessible
E.H. Gombrich, A Little History of the World
Larry Gonick, The Cartoon History of the World
2nd paper due.
Discussion of research methodologies and world-history genres.

April 7 Comparative and global history as scholarly fields
Kenneth Pomeranz, The Great Divergence
David Buck, “Was It Pluck or Luck that Made the West Grow Rich?”, Journal of World History, 10:2, 1999.

http://www.jstor.org/stable/20078786

*Patrick Manning, Navigating World History, pp. 265-326

Topics for final paper due.

April 14 How X made the world: topical world histories
Tom Standage, A History of the World in Six Glasses

April 21 The return of Western exceptionalism
*Francis Fukuyama, The End of History and the Last Man, pp. 55-108
*Samuel Huntington, “A Clash of Civilizations?”
*David Landes, The Wealth and Poverty of Nations, pp. 29-78
*Benjamin Barber, “Jihad vs McWorld”

April 28 Recent works in world history
Short selections from: The Mental Floss History of the World; People’s History of the World; Complete Idiot’s Guide to World History; History of the World in 10 ½ Chapters; After Tamerlane; Vermeer’s Hat

Final 10-12 pp. paper due May 12.

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History 63
Professor Burke
Fall 2003
The Whole Enchilada

This course is an exploration of world history as a form of historical writing. It is not a survey of events in world history, though we will undoubtedly find ourselves learning quite a lot about certain common topics or issues in world history.

The central question of the class is, “What happens when a historian or writer tries to describe the history of the world, whether limited to a particular time period or theme or encompassing literally everything that has happened to humanity in historical time?” As a genre of writing about history, world history is quite distinctive not just in its scope but in its tone and its outlook. The form has a history all its own. We will focus on the debates between world historians (and between historians writing about global history and historians who are more specialized) that are highly distinctive and particular to the form, ranging from the question of why Western Europe achieved global hegemony after the 1500s to the issue of whether there is a meaningful distinction between “civilizations” and other human societies.

While I typically encourage students to skim readings, and will do so in this class, I nevertheless want to caution that in this course, the reading load is quite heavy and I will expect somewhat closer attention to the reading than I normally require. We are reading world histories as a literary form, and that means we need to understand not just the bare bones of their argument and the evidentiary material they assemble in defense of it, but the rhetorical approach they employ. Reading carefully and working from such readings in class discussion are both important requirements in this course, and I will base the final grade more heavily than I normally do on whether or not students are reading with the appropriate discipline and depth.

Do not take this class if you are unprepared to engage the material.

Attendance, as per History Department policy, is required. Unexcused absences will have a serious effect on your grade. Participation and evidence of careful reading are important to your grade. There will also be three papers: two of them short, one of them a longer assignment requiring a modest amount of independent research.

Sept 2
Introduction

“Global history” and “world history” (scholarly standardization of a field; literary breadth of an idea)
The question of “Eurocentrism”
The global and the local; the big picture and the details
The materialist turn in 20th Century world histories

Sept 4
From the particular to the universal: origin narratives and historical thought

*The Old Testament, Genesis
*Pietro Vannicelli, “Herodotus’ Egypt and the Foundations of Universal History”, in Nino Luraghi, ed., The Historian’s Craft in the Age of Herodotus

Sept 9
Tuesday
Ibn Khaldun, The Muqadimmah, pp. Vii-48, pp. 58-68
Mini-lecture: St. Augustine, medieval historians and universal history

Sept 11
Khaldun, Muqadimmah, pp. 91-332

Sept 16
*Jean-Jacques Rousseau, “A Discourse on the Origin of Inequality”
*Georg Hegel, “Introduction to the Philosophy of History”
Mini-lecture: Vico, Kant, Rousseau, Hobbes, Hegel, Marx: The idea of a “universal history” and the European Enlightenment

Sept 18
*Leopold von Ranke, “On Universal History”
*M.C Lemon, “Marx on History”, from Philosophy of History: A Guide For Students
First paper due

The development of world history as a scholarly genre

Sept 23
Oswald Spengler, The Decline of the West, pp. 3-86
Mini-lecture: Toynbee and Spengler

Sept 25
Spengler, Decline of the West, pp. 226-418

Sept 30
William H. McNeill, Rise of the West, pp. Xv-63, pp. 167-248, pp. 295-360
Mini-lecture: The Cold War, geopolitics and world history

Oct 2
McNeill, Rise of the West, pp. 484-507, pp. 565-598, pp. 726-808

Oct 7
Ferdnand Braudel, The Structures of Everyday Life, pp. 23-103, 104-182, pp. 266-333
Mini-lecture: The Annales school and the “longue duree”

Oct 9
Braudel, The Structures of Everyday Life, pp. 385-564

FALL BREAK

The idea of world systems

Oct 21
*Immanuel Wallerstein, The Essential Wallerstein, selections

Oct 23
*Andre Gunder Frank and Barry K. Gills, “The World System: Five Hundred Years or Five Thousand?”

The critique of Eurocentrism in world history: materialist and philosophical

Oct 28
*JM Blaut, The Colonizer’s Model of the World
*Janet Abu-Lughod, Before European Hegemony

Oct 30
*Ashis Nandy, “History’s Forgotten Doubles”

Why didn’t China industrialize first? A case study of debate in world history

Nov 4
Kenneth Pomeranz, The Great Divergence , pp. 3-208
Mini-lecture: Other perennial debates in world history

Nov. 6
Pomeranz, The Great Divergence

Thematic world histories

Nov 11
*Philip Curtin, Cross-Cultural Trade in World History
*Paul Lovejoy, Transformations in Slavery

Nov 13
*Barbara Freese, Coal: A Human History
*John Keegan, The Face of Battle

Hegel and Kant revisited

Nov 18
Francis Fukuyama, The End of History and the Last Man
Mini-lecture: World history and the idea of progress

Nov 20
Francis Fukuyama, The End of History and the Last Man
Second paper due.

Politics and power

Nov 25
*Samuel Huntington, “The Clash of Civilizations?”
*Michael Mann, The Sources of Social Power, Volume 1, pp. 73-178

Sociobiological and materialist world histories

Dec 2
Jared Diamond, Guns, Germs and Steel
Mini-lecture: McNeill’s Plagues and Peoples and other non-Marxist materialist world histories

Narrative world history

Dec 4
Larry Gonick, The Cartoon Guide to the Universe, Volume 3
*Eric Hobsbawm, The Age of Extremes, short selection

Dec 9
The Once and Future World History
Final paper (genre critique) due December 15th