Western Civilization II

Art Marmorstein

bernini david
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I would very much appreciate your comments/suggestions for improving the online syllabus and the online supplemental materials.  Send corrections and comments to my e-mail address (marmorsa@northern.edu).


The Mainstream of Civilization (Chodorow)
The Communist Manifesto and Other Revolutionary Writings (Dover)
Discourse on Method
Notes From Underground

The main text for this class, Chodorow's Mainstream of Civilization, will give you a different perspective on the figures and events discussed in class and serve as an excellent supplement to your lecture notes as you prepare for your midterm and final exams. You will probably find the maps, charts, and time lines in the Chodorow book particularly helpful.  You do not need to bring the Chodorow book to class, and it doesn't really matter whether you do the Chodorow readings before or after the associated lecture.

The other readings (Descartes, Pascal, etc.) must be done before class on the day assigned.  We will be discussing these works in class, and you will be lost and confused if you haven't done the reading.  In addition, there are often surprise quizzes on these readings. There will not be quizzes on the Dover readings, but you may do extra credit work on any of those readings.

The readings for this class are often difficult, and most students will do better if they have a hard copy of each text so that they can underline important passages and add their own marginal notes.  However, there are online versions of most of the primary source texts (www3.northern.edu/marmorsa/history122onlinetexts.htm), and if you are used to reading online materials, these may be sufficient.


8/20   Introduction
8/22   The 17th Century: A Search for Order (Mainstream, Ch. 18)
8/24   Conflict between Science and Religion? (Mainstream, 531-539)

8/27   France in the 16th and 17th Centuries (Mainstream, Ch.20)
8/29   France in the 16th and 17th Centuries
8/31     Britain in the 16th and 17th Centuries

9/3             *** Labor Day: No Class *** 
9/5      Britain in the 16th and 17th Centuries
9/7    Arguments for Strong Government: Bossuet and Hobbes

9/10   Limited Government: John Locke/ The Search for Order and Assurance I: Bacon
9/12   The Search for Order and Assurance II: Descartes (Discourse on Method)
9/14   The Search for Order and Assurance: Pascal (Pensees)

9/17   Baroque Art, Music and Literature (watch online video)
9/19   Baroque Art, Music, and Literature
9/21   Review and midterm advice

9/24           ******** MIDTERM I *********
9/26   The 18th Century: The Age of Reason? (Mainstream, Ch. 22)
9/28   Enlightened Despots

10/1   The Philosophes: Diderot, Condorcet (Mainstream, Ch. 21)
10/3   The Philosophes: Rousseau and Leibnitz (Dover, 1-40)
10/5   The Philosophes: Kant, Voltaire (Candide)

10/8          *** Native American Day: No Class ***
10/10   The French Revolution (Mainstream, Ch. 23)
10/12   The French Revolution/Napoleon (Dover, 67-97)

10/15   The 19th Century: The Age of Progress? (Main. Ch. 24, 26)
10/17   Nationalism and Nation Building
10/19   European Impact on the World

10/22   Review and Midterm Advice      
10/24         ******** MIDTERM II ******** 
10/26   Believers in Progress (Mainstream, Ch. 25)

10/29  Believers in Progress (Communist Manifesto (Dover, 123-150)
10/31  Romantics/Realists/Dostoyevsky ("Dream of a Ridiculous Man")
11/2    Dostoyevsky (Notes from Underground)

11/5   The 20th Century: The Age of Violence (Mainstream, Ch. 30)
11/7   World War I
11/9   The Rise of Communism: The Russian Revolution (Main. Ch. 31)

11/12           ****** VETERANS DAY: NO CLASS ****
11/14   National Socialism (Mainstream, Ch. 33)
11/16   World War II (Mainstream, Ch. 34)

11/19   Beginnings of the Cold War (Mainstream, Ch. 34)
11/21       *** Wednesday before Thanksgiving: No Class ***
11/23      *** Friday after Thanksgiving: No Class ***

11/26   The End of Imperialism (Mainstream, Ch. 35)
11/28   The End of Imperialism (Mainstream, Ch. 36)
11/30   Art and Music in the 20th and 21st Centuries

12/3  The Exciting Conclusion to this Course!

FINAL EXAM (all three sections together): 
    Friday, December 7, 4:30—6:30, JC 117


Your grade for this course will be based primarily on your midterm and final exams, each of which will count approximately 25% when I determine your final grade.  In addition, I will take into account attendance, participation, and quiz scores.

My grading method allows from improvement, and I frequently have students who fail the first exam who nevertheless end up earning "A" or "B" grades in the course. Please note, though, that I factor "improvement" into your course grade *only* if you demonstrate your commitment to the course through good attendance and other evidence of hard work.


In order to make sure students are keeping up with the readings (and to encourage students to come to class!) I give quite a few surprise quizzes during the semester.  These quizzes may involve short essays on the reading assigned for that day. Remember that “A” students in my class are *always* prepared for a surprise quiz at any time.


Please make sure all electronic devices are turned off and put away before class begins.  Cell phones, laptop computers, MP3 players, and similar devices are all distracting to other students.  I do *not* allow the use of electronic dictionaries during exams.


Midterms and Final exam--8 ID's, 1 essay

ID's will be selected from the terms put on the board at the beginning of each lecture.  You will be asked not only to identify the terms, but also to explain their historical significance. I am impressed when students can include plenty of detailed information, but I am even more impressed when students can show how the ID terms relate to important themes discussed in this class.

Essay questions will deal with major themes discussed in the lectures.  Most often, the exam question will be a generalization I have made in class with the additional word, "comment." 

A student who studies hard and does the required reading should have plenty to say in response to each of these questions. You will be given 50 minutes for each midterm and two hours for the final exam.  Most students will need the full time to do a good job.

What is a good job?  I tell students over and over again that a good essay consists of a series of good generalizations based on the exam question and backed up with specific support from the lectures and the readings.  I am particularly impressed when students include in their essays references to primary source material.

1.  Think! Do not just memorize facts.
2.  Prepare the essay questions first.
3.  Come up with a fairly detailed outline for each essay.
4.  Think of good topic sentences for each paragraph of your essay.
5.  Use the key words of the exam question in your topic sentences.
6.  Choose good supporting evidence for your topic sentences.
7.  Use the appropriate ID terms in your essays.
8.  Learn the ID's in context.  Do not use a "flash card" approach.
9.  Do not wait until the last minute to study.
10. Do spend extra time studying the week of the exam.
11. Do not just memorize facts. Think!


1.  Bring a blue book.  Make sure there are no pages torn out.
2.  Use pen. Blue ink preferred.
3.  Don't sit by anyone with whom you studied.
4.  Plan on spending the full time writing your exam.
5.  Do the ID terms first. 



All students are required to complete Attendance Confirmation and pay their tuition and fee charges no later than the third day of the semester. To do this, log in to WebAdvisor, click on "Fall 2015 Attendance Confirmation", and follow the steps indicated. Financial aid refunds will not be processed until the Attendance Confirmation has been completed. Failure to pay your bill and complete the Attendance Confirmation will result in the cancellation of your enrollment. Contact the Finance Office in the Krikac Administration Building, email nsustudentaccount@northern.edu, or call 626-2566 with any questions concerning this.


Northern State University recognizes its responsibility for creating an institutional climate in which students with disabilities can thrive.  If you have any type of disability for which you require accommodations, please contact the NSU Office of Disability Services (626-2371, Student Center 217) as soon as possible to discuss your particular needs.


Under Board of Regents and University policy student academic performance may be evaluated solely on an academic basis, not on opinions or conduct in matters unrelated to academic standards. Students should be free to take reasoned exception to the data or views offered in any course of study and to reserve judgment about matters of opinion, but they are responsible for learning the content of any course of study for which they are enrolled. Students who believe that an academic evaluation reflects prejudiced or capricious consideration of student opinions or conduct unrelated to academic standards should contact the academic dean administratively in charge of the class to initiate a review of the evaluation.


Cheating and other forms of academic dishonesty and misconduct run contrary to the purposes of higher education.   Cheating includes the use of any notes during the midterm or final exam.  Please place no marks of any kind on or in your blue book before I give the signal to begin taking the exam.  All exams must be taken on blank bluebooks.  On at least one exam, bluebooks will be checked before the exam.  Bluebooks that have not been checked, have missing pages, or pages with large erasures will not be accepted.

It is not cheating to study with another student, to share notes, or to prepare essays or ID's together. However, if you do study with another student, be sure you do not sit next to each other during the exam.
Please be especially careful to observe academic integrity standards on the take-home quizzes. The quizzes are intended to make sure you have done the primary source readings, and your comments should be based on your own observations, not someone else’s ideas. Plagiarism (e.g. copying material from the internet or recycling work done by another student) is not allowed.  I do sometimes allow “group work” on quizzes, but unless I have specifically indicated that you are allowed to work with other students, make sure your quiz comments are entirely your own.

Northern State University's official policy and procedures on cheating and academic dishonesty as outlined in the Northern State University Student Handbook applies to this course. Students caught cheating will receive a zero for the assignment, and, since zeros are worse than F‘s, they are likely to fail the course as a whole.