What is the course about?
Arguably, the media’s relentless blasting of one global crisis after another tell us that we must think globally. Yet, how do we go about that with regards to history? Do we think only about the global past or do we situate our understanding in the global present? And if we can even agree on that, do we give primacy to oceans, empires and imperialism, technology and arms, trade and finances, power and resistance, people or systems, or all of them? Where we grow up, how our societies are organised and relate to the past in different ways also influence how we think about the world and its history. In some communities and societies, the past comes alive through generational family and kinship narratives rather than the nation (as we in most European societies consider the norm). These issues complicate how to do world history. In this course, we take therefore on this challenge.
What will we cover?
Session 1: Introduction to World History & the First Civilizations
Session 2: The Old Web I: South, Central and East Asia as the Global Centres of Power
Session 3: The Old Web II: The Americas and the Pacific
Session 4: From Eurasian Agrarian Empires to European Colonial Empires: Connecting the Metropolitan Web, 1450-1850
Session 5: Colonial Imperialism in The Age of the Industrial Revolution and Capitalism, 1870-1914
Session 6: From an Imperial to Inter-imperial World, 1914-1945
Session 7: The Cold War as a New Global Imperial System?
Session 8: What about the International Organisations?
Session 9: The World We Live in Today: Climate Change, Inequality, Conflicts and the Decline of the West.
What will I achieve?
By the end of this course you should be able to...
- Explain the broad strokes of world history
- Compare and contrast themes in world history
- Critically discuss world history.
What level is the course and do I need any particular skills?
The course is ‘introductory’ and does not require previous studies on the topic. However, curiosity and a willingness to discuss will help both your learning and class discussions.
How will I be taught, and will there be any work outside the class?
The course does not require work outside class although you might find it useful to explore the media landscape alongside the classes. Typically, the classes will be a combination of teacher presentation, brief individual or team exercises, and, most importantly, group discussion.
Are there any other costs? Is there anything I need to bring?
You might find a notebook or electronic device useful for notes. A folder for handouts might also be handy.
When I've finished, what course can I do next?
Please see the City Lit website: www.citylit.ac.uk for further courses in the contemporary history and politics section.