HIST 122
Section B
Western Civilization:
Part II

Dr. Robinson M. Yost
Tu, Th 12:50-2:40
Room 2-02

The past is a different country; they do things differently there.


What is history? Why should we study it? Who cares about this stuff? This course, while grappling with these broader questions, will trace the rises & falls of the many "civilizations" which comprise "Western civilization." We will examine general themes, specific people, influential ideas, pivotal events, military developments, and broader societal trends. More importantly, we will emphasize the importance of history as a series of debates about what happened and why it happened.

First and foremost, history requires interpreting many different sources to reconstruct an explanation of the past. The study of history entails reading both primary and secondary sources. Reading cannot be avoided in a history course. In their quest to reconstruct the past, historians may examine non-written materials as well such as paintings, engravings, tools, scientific instruments, architecture, or cartoons

Because historians are human (or try to be), the study of history always involves different levels of interpretation. It is never a simple matter of "Just the Facts." Nevertheless, good history seeks to reach plausible conclusions based upon the best available evidence. Historians cannot (or, at least, should not) make things up.

Tentative Schedule

How to find me:

Grades & Exams:

Required Reading:

Main purposes of this course:

Improve reading & writing skills.
Learn about the uses and abuses of history.
Practice analyzing massive amounts of material.
Practice interpreting facts in historical context.
Practice thinking historically.
Practice using specific facts to support generalizations.
Practice asking thoughtful questions.

Additional Suggestions:

The object of any course should be to learn as much as possible in a limited amount of time (NOT memorize the night before an exam). Like many other subjects, history is cumulative, therefore, you should attend class regularly, listen carefully, take good notes, and ask questions. Keep up with the readings! Do not expect cramming to result in a desirable outcome.

Course Outline:

Most often, survey classes like this one are like the Platte River, an inch deep and a mile wide. Depth of knowledge is often sacrificed to cover a massive amount of material in a limited time. In this class, you will be expected to read the book for breadth. Usually, class lectures and discussion will focus on depth. There will be numerous in-class writing assignments. These will make up part of your participation grade, but will not be given number grades.