Advanced Placement World History is a rigorous full year course covering the history of human experience on the planet. As an equivalent to a college survey




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AP World History

Course Overview

Advanced Placement World History is a rigorous full year course covering the history of human experience on the planet. As an equivalent to a college survey course, AP World History’s curriculum is designed not only to enhance command of specific content but also to develop critical thinking skills necessary to analyze historical evidence and themes. Five themes will be used as a frame of reference in the chronological study of our world’s history. These themes are: Interaction between humans and the environment; development and interaction of cultures; state-building, expansion and conflict; creation, expansion, and interaction of economic systems; and development and transformation of social structures.

The course relies heavily on college-level resources. This includes tests, a wide variety of primary sources, and interpretations presented in historical scholarship. These resources are designed to develop the skills required to analyze point of view and to interpret evidence to use in creating plausible historical arguments. These tools will also be used to assess issues of change and continuity over time, identifying global processes, comparing within and among societies, and understanding diverse interpretations.

Assignments

Some of the more typical assignments are:

Chapter Tests: Each chapter will have its own 50 question multiple choice test. Chapter tests may also contain essay prompts, of which a specified number must be answered.

Writing: Each unit includes writing assignments designed to develop the skills necessary for creating well-evidenced essays on historical topics highlighting clarity and precision. Rubrics from the College Board for each style of essay will be handed out on the first day of class.

  • Document Based Question (DBQ): Students analyze evidence from a variety of sources in order to develop a coherent written argument that has a thesis supported by relevant historical evidence. Students will apply multiple historical thinking skills as they examine a particular historical problem or question. Sources will also be examined for point of view, intent and tone.



  • Change and Continuity Over Time: Students identify and analyze patterns of continuity and change over time and across geographic regions. They will also connect these historical developments to specific circumstances of time and place, and to broader regional, national, or global processes.



  • Comparative Essay: Students compare historical developments across or within societies in various chronological and/or geographical contexts. Students will also synthesize information by connecting insights from one historical context to another, including the present.

Content Checks: Each chapter in the text has an excellent variety of visual and primary sources. There are also additional materials that are utilized to supplement chapter reading. Content checks occur at the beginning of the class. Questions will be posted on the screen which must be answered within the allotted time. These assessments aid not only in the practice of analyzing primary and visual sources, but force the student to commit to memory something other than basic facts of the chapter. Content checks also serve as an introduction and framework for discussion and/or DBQ’s.

Discussion: Students will be required to participate in class discussions using a college seminar format. In addition, each student will be required to lead a discussion on a topic of his or her own choosing at some point throughout the year. Please take some time to review the text at bit more in depth in order to determine a preferred topic as it is a far greater learning experience to lead a discussion on material that has not yet been covered by the class. The discussion topics mentioned below serve as a guide not only for conversation but for the general foci of lectures and presentations as our time is often at a minimum.

Projects: Collaboratively or individually, these assessments rely on independent (meaning not teacher-led) and research-based learning that may culminate in such items as papers of personal interest, physical reproductions and analysis of art and architecture, one act plays, creative visual representations of major content and themes, documentary films, etc. Ideas for projects must be cleared with your teachers. You will partake in one project per Unit. There is also a culminating project at year’s end.

Materials

Text: William J. Duiker and Jackson J. Spielvogel, World History, 5th ed., Thomson Wadsworth, 2006.

Online Companion Site for Text: http://history.wadsworth.com - Contains critical thinking exercises, flashcards, glossary, tutorial quizzes, etc.

Readers: Elsa A. Nystrom, Primary Source Reader, vols. 1 & 2, Thomson Wadsworth, 2006.

Maps: The George F. Cram Co., Inc., World History Atlas, 3rd printing, maps.com, 2003.

Additional Materials: Excerpts will be copied and distributed. Released AP exams may also be used.

  • Booth, John A. and Thomas W. Walker. Understanding Central America. Boulder: Westview Press, 1989.

  • Cantor, Norman F. Antiquity. New York: Harper Collins, 2003.

  • Goldstone, Jack A., ed. Revolutions: Theoretical, Comparative, and Historical Studies. Belmont, CA: Thomson Wadsworth, 2003.

  • Itzkowitz, Norman. Ottoman Empire and Islamic Tradition. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1972.

  • Madden, Thomas F. The New Concise History of the Crusades. Lanham, MD: Roman & Littlefield, 2006.

  • Moore Jr., Barrington. Social Origins of Dictatorship and Democracy. Boston: Beacon Press, 1966.

  • Ostler, Nicholas. Empires of the World: A Language History of the World. New York: Harper Perennial, 2005.

  • Sherman, Dennis, et al. World Civilizations: Sources, Images, and Interpretations. Vols 1 & 2, Third ed. Boston: McGraw Hill, 2002.

  • Social Studies School Service. AP DBQ Practice. Culver City, CA: Social Studies School Service, 2004.

  • Snyder, Louis L. Varieties of Nationalism: A Comparative Study. Hinsdale, IL: Dryden Press, 1976.

  • Wasserstrom, Jeffrey N., ed. Twentieth-Century China: New Approaches. London: Routledge, 2003.

  • Waley-Cohen, Joanna. The Sextants of Beijing: Global Currents in Chinese History. New York: W.W. Norton, 1999.

Course Schedule

Please be aware that each chapter contains multiple primary and visual sources. It is your responsibility to not only read and become acquainted with them, but to also take notes in the manner you have been taught. Specific sources listed for each chapter are understood to be in addition to those you may find during your reading.

Also notice that the structure of our text makes identifying a corresponding periodization slightly problematic. The six chronological periods as determined by the College Board are as listed:

Period 1: Technological & Environmental Transformations, to c. 600 B.C.E.

Period 2: Organization & Reorganization of Human Societies, c. 600 B.C.E. to C. 600 C.E.

Period 3: Regional & Transregional Interactions, c. 600 C.E. to 1450

Period 4: Global Interactions, c. 1450 to c. 1750

Period 5: Industrialization and Global Integration, c. 1750 to c. 1900

Period 6: Accelerating Global Change & Realignments, c. 1900 to Present

A question that we will be dealing with the entire year is Why did the authors of our text utilize such a structure? We will also be examining additional sources dealing with periodization issues. It is critical to keep in mind (and in your notebooks!) while reading the text that many of our discussions and essays will utilize the periodization set forth by the College Board.


Unit 1: The First Civilizations and the Rise of Empires: Prehistory to 500 C.E.

Periodization: prehistory to c. 600 B.C.E. & c. 600 B.C.E. to c. 600 C.E.

Key Concepts:

Key Concept 1.1 Big Geography and the Peopling of the Earth

Key Concept 1.2 The Neolithic Revolution and Early Agricultural Societies

Key Concept 1.3 The Development and Interactions of Early Agricultural, Pastoral and Urban Societies

Key Concept 2.1 The Development and Codification of Religious and Cultural Traditions

Key Concept 2.2 The Development of States and Empires

Key Concept 2.3 Emergence of Transregional Networks of Communication and Exchange

Text Chapters: 1-5

Reader:

Chapter 1: The Beginning of Life (Aborigine), Egyptian Book of Surgery

Chapter 2: Chandogya Upanishad, The Rock and Pillar Edicts of Asoka, Savatri and the God of Death from the Mahabharata

Chapter 3: Mencius, A Legalist View of Life, Yin & Yang in Medical Theory, The Chinese Agricultural Calendar, Lessons for Women

Chapter 4: Hesiod’s Theogeny, Aristotle on Economics

Chapter 5: The Twelve Tables, Pliny’s Natural History, Seneca on Gladiatorial Contests

Atlas: Early Civilizations, The Spread of Agriculture, Mesopotamia and Egypt, Indo-European Migration, Early Greece, The Spread of World Religions, Classical Greece, Alexander’s Empire, The Roman Empire, Major States and Cultures of the World c. 100 C.E., The Roman Empire and Germanic Migrations.

Secondary Sources:

  • Norman Cantor, The Decline of the Ancient World

  • William H. McNeill, The Process of Civilization

  • Barbara S. Lesko, Women of Egypt and the Ancient Near East

  • W. Norman Brown, Cultural Continuity in India

  • Evelyn S. Rawski, Kinship in Chinese Culture

  • Anthony Andrews, The Greeks: Slavery

  • A.H.M. Jones, The Later Roman Empire

  • David Frawley, The Myth of the Aryan Invasion



Visual Sources: Egyptian Wall Paintings from the Tomb of Menna, Gateway at Sanchi (India), Salt Mining (China), a Chinese House, Chart of Chinese Bureaucracy, The Women’s Quarters (Greece), Tomb Decoration: Death and Roman Culture.

Discussion:

  • What are the advantages and disadvantages of “civilization”? Does McNeill’s definition conform to yours? What is his thesis?

  • Discuss the impact of geography and other environmental factors on the emergence of “civilization.”

  • Outline the changes and continuities in Mesopotamian development, including the challenge of serial invasions.

  • Are there any common threads running through Lesko’s, Brown’s and Rawski’s pieces? Any distinct contrasts?

  • Consider the political structure developed during the reigns of Chandragupta Maurya and Asoka, and compare and contrast them with the functioning of government in Egypt under Akhenhaten, and in Mesopotamia under Hammurabi. 

  • How would a person of your gender and economic group have lived in ancient India? What are the limitations?

  • Why does Frawley criticize the typical periodization attributed to India?

  • Trace the evolution of the concept of the Mandate of Heaven from the Zhou through the Han dynasties.

  • Discuss the values of arete and agon in ancient Greek society and how they manifested themselves in both peace and war.

  • Survey the cultural accomplishments of the late Roman Republic and early Empire, and compare and contrast Roman cultural achievements with those of classical Greece.

Project Ideas:

  • Study the perceptions of the natures and the roles of the god(s) and their relationship with humans in ancient Mesopotamian, Egyptian, and Hebrew societies. Present your findings.

  • Choose a Minoan archeological site from http://www.ancient-greece.org/archaeology/minoan-archa.html. Conduct further research to create a composite sketch on the complexity of Minoan culture and the limitations of our knowledge gained through such evidence. How does your evaluation compare with the information in your text?

  • Study the topography of Northeast Africa and Southwest Asia to see if and/or how their location and/or other geographic factors influenced, or even determined, the nature and timing of their development.

  • Explore the origins of the Aryans and their possible relationships to other Indo-European societies.

  • Examine the several geographic and non-geographic explanations for the lack of the development of a politically unified India in the ancient world.

  • Compare the geographical setting of ancient China with the geography of the Middle East and India. What if any factors unique to China that could assist in explaining China’s singular history?

  • Compare and contrast the Qin and Han dynasties as to their relative importance to later Chinese society. Prepare a debate to discuss which was more “modern” and why.

  • Create advocacy presentations set against the events of the late Zhou era for Confucianism, Legalism and Daoism.

  • Examine the values and related actions of citizens of Athens and Sparta. Speculate and roleplay how specific types of inhabitants would feel and act during wars and celebrations and in “everyday” situations.

  • Study the military values and actions of Greek citystates to assess the similarities and differences in tactics and strategies, and their underlying rationales. In what ways were Alexander’s actions linked to, or separate from, those of earlier citystate warriors?

  • Study the ongoing rivalry of patricians and plebeians as they attempted to influence governmental and societal developments during the Struggle of the Orders. Are there similar patterns in civilizations we have studied? Why or why not?



Potential Essay Prompts: These represent typical prompts but may change.

  • What major economic changes resulted from the Neolithic Revolution? What social and lifestyle changes did it bring, and for which individuals and which groups in these societies?

  • Why does the text say that the social structure and ideas of ancient Egypt were a reflection of the influence of the Nile? Was this peopleriver relationship different from that which evolved in the societies of the TigrisEuphrates region? Why or why not?

  • What were the central ideas of Zoroaster, and how might they have impacted upon or influenced later religious beliefs and practices?

  • To what degree were the ideas contained in the Arthasastra in agreement with earlier Indian ideas about the proper basis and practical challenges of political administration? Was Chandragupta Maurya’s rule based on new or traditional ideas about political life? Why?

  • How did the Middle Path of Buddhism distinguish it from the beliefs and practices of Jainist and Hindu believers?

  • What was the nature and symbolic significance of the three main types of religious architecture in ancient India?

  • Comparing China with India, what were the factors that led to Chinese political unification for much of its history in contrast to India, where fragmentation was more often the norm.

  • Why was the Han Dynasty seen as “Glorious”? Is this perception accurate? Why or why not? 

  • Did music play a different role in ancient Chinese culture than in other societies? Why or why not, and how or how not? 

  • What ideas and cultural forms were discussed and developed by Greek dramatists and philosophers? How, and in what ways, did they constitute, or reflect, the major contributions of Greek civilization to world history? 

  • What role did Christianity play in the Late Roman Empire? Was it, in any real way, the cause of its fall? Might it have even prolonged the life of the Empire? Why or why not? 

  • DBQ: Confucianism vs. Neo-Confuciansim (AP World History DBQ Practice, Social Studies School Service)

  • DBQ: Han & Roman Attitudes toward technology. (Released AP DBQ)


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