Taught by: Liam Brockey
This course will present an overview of world history from the first textual records to the dawn of the modern period. At its core will be a narrative constructed on broad lines aimed at giving students a basic competence in the sweep of pre-modern human history. Two major themes will be highlighted over the course of the semester: the nature of the relations between humans in the evolution of societies; and the dynamics of ritual behaviors and their change over time. In other words, the course will be broadly concerned with law and religion. These vast concepts will be seen in various configurations over the course of narrative readings and analytical readings, all of which will be found in a small corpus of assigned texts. The primary foci of this course’s coverage include ancient Mesopotamia, Egypt, China, and India, classical-era Persia, Greece, and Rome, and medieval Japan, Mesoamerica, Africa, and Europe. This course will therefore demand much attention to geography, as well as to key moments and actors over a long span. Students will emerge from the study of world history will a solid grounding in the major concepts that guide historical understanding of different civilizations, as well as the capacity to identify and reflect on the different iterations that peoples have given to law and religion.