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History 111

World History since 1500

Fall 2018
Sierra Hall 268
Tuesdays and Thursdays, 11:00AM–12:15PM

Professor Erik Goldner

Department of History
California State University, Northridge

Office: Sierra Tower 608

Office hours: Thursdays 2:00–5:00PM or by appointment
Office phone: (818) 677-3558

Course description

World history is big history. Indeed, to students taking a world history course for the first time, it
can seem like an impossibly broad subject. So this course, in order to make sense out of the world’s past,
concentrates on three important phenomena that have shaped the past five hundred years. The first is
globalization, understood as the increasing interconnection and interdependence of people around the
world. The second is modernization, the process of the world becoming modern in economic, social,
cultural, and political terms. And the third is the development of modern capitalism on a global scale.
These three phenomena have left their mark on the modern period, when humans for the first time came
to share—and fight over—the entire planet.

Learning Objectives

By the end of the semester students should be able to

• define globalization, modernization, capitalism, and key related concepts.
• better understand, analyze, and discuss the underpinnings and consequences of globalization,
modernization, and capitalism.
• better analyze and discuss important primary and secondary sources for modern world history.
• better understand basic historical concepts such as context, chronology, and contingency.


Academic dishonesty. This course has a zero-tolerance policy for academic dishonesty. Students
who cheat, try to pass off the work of others as their own, or otherwise act dishonestly with the intent to
gain unfair academic advantage risk a failing grade for the course and will be referred to the Office of
Student Affairs for disciplinary action.

Attendance. The more you come to class, the better you will do. Lectures and their accompanying
slideshows will not be available online or over email—one good reason why you should attend regularly.
Another is that I will conduct random roll calls throughout the semester. If you have three absences as a
result of these roll calls, your final course grade will be lowered; five absences will result in a failing grade
for the course. Punctuality in attendance is also required. Being late by more than ten minutes on a day
when roll is called will result in your being marked absent for that class. If you have to miss a session,
there is no need to inform me. Simply ask a classmate for notes on what we covered. You may also see me
about material you missed during my office hours or at a mutually convenient time by appointment.

Canvas. Materials for this course, including the syllabus and various guides, are available on
Canvas, the University’s learning management system. You will also submit your response papers
through Canvas. You can access Canvas through the myNorthridge Portal or by going to Please do not message me through Canvas; email me instead. (See below under
“Communication.”) If you are having a problem with Canvas, please follow on-screen help instructions if
they appear, and/or contact the IT Help Center at 818-677-1400 during business hours or request
assistance online at

Classroom courtesy. I will always do my best to be respectful to you, and I ask that you do the
same for me. A respectful environment facilitates learning, so you are expected to abide by basic rules of
courtesy in the classroom. These include coming to class on time; turning off and putting away electronic
devices; remaining in one’s seat for the duration of class; remaining awake and attentive; refraining from
eating; avoiding offensive language; and respecting the viewpoints of others. Students who fail to follow
these basic rules may be asked to leave the class session.

Communication. I will periodically communicate with you via email. You are responsible for
ensuring your CSUN email works, since that is the only address I will use. If you need to contact me, the
best way to do so is by email at (Please do not use Canvas to communicate with
me.) Allow me at least twenty-four hours to respond, though I will usually reply sooner. When emailing
me, a respectful salutation as well as proper spelling and grammar are appreciated. During office hours,
my office phone is also a good way to reach me. Many issues, however, are best resolved by a personal
meeting. I encourage you to visit me during my office hours (or make an appointment with me for
another time) to discuss any questions you may have. If your performance in class is suffering due to
some external issue, I urge you to talk to me sooner rather than later. The sooner you approach me about
trouble you are having, the more I may be able to help.

Disabilities. If you have a disability and need accommodation for your exams, please register as
soon as possible with the Disability Resources and Educational Services (DRES) office or the National
Center on Deafness (NCOD). The DRES office is located in Bayramian Hall 110 and can be reached at
(818) 677-2684. NCOD is located in Jeanne Chisholm Hall and can be reached at (818) 677-2611. If you
would like to discuss your need for accommodation, speak with me before or after class, during my office
hours, or by appointment.

Electronic devices. Because some students tend to employ their laptops, tablets, or phones in ways
that interfere with their learning, using such devices in class is prohibited. Recording devices are allowed,

Exams. As noted in the schedule below, there will be two exams in this course. The midterm will
take place on Tuesday, October 23 and the final exam on Tuesday, December 18. Study guides for these
exams will be distributed via email and posted on Canvas approximately ten days before each exam.
These tests will consist of a combination of multiple choice, fill-in-the-blank, and short-answer questions.
Each will assess your learning of all material covered to the date when it is given. (The final exam, in
other words, will be cumulative.) No scantron sheets or exam booklets will be necessary. Please note that,
except in the case of your own hospitalization, there will be no make-ups for these exams.

Response papers. Over the course of the semester, you will submit short papers in response to each
of our four assigned books. A reading/response guide for each book will be posted on Canvas around the
time we begin reading that book. The guide will help you better understand the book and prepare for our
exams; it will also contain a question to which you will write a response, along with instructions on how
to do so. Your response paper must be submitted on Canvas no later than the start of class when we are
discussing the relevant book, as noted in the schedule below. Except in the case of your own hospitalization,
late responses will not be accepted. Please note, however, that I will drop your lowest response grade so that it
does not count toward your final grade. Therefore if you need to skip a response assignment for whatever
reason, you may do so without it harming your grade overall, as long as you skip no more than one


Grades are based on your three best response papers and your exams. All grades will be on the A
through F scale, where A means excellent, B good, C satisfactory, D passing, and F failing. Pluses and
minuses will be used when appropriate. Because I believe you should be evaluated according to how
your peers in the class are doing, and not according to some abstract yardstick, the exams will be curved.
According to the curve used in this course, a student performing in approximately the top 10% of the
class on a given exam will receive a grade in the A range on that exam; a student performing in
approximately the next 30% will receive a grade in the B range; a student in approximately the next 50%
will receive a grade in the C range; and a student in approximately the last 10% will receive a grade in the

D range or an F. The curve will never lower the grade you would have otherwise received; it will always
maintain or raise your grade.
Please note that no requests to revise responses will be granted. Also note that there is no extra
credit in this course. Good participation or improvements in performance, however, may boost borderline
final grades.
Also be aware that, in order to receive credit for the course, you must complete at least one
response paper, and you must take the final exam.
Finally, please know that I do not negotiate or haggle over grades with students, and I only
voluntarily change final grades due to errors in grade computation.
Your final grade will be calculated as follows.

Response papers 40% (based on three highest response grades)

Midterm exam 25%
Final exam 35%

Required Texts

The four books below are available in the CSUN Campus Store. If you purchase them elsewhere,
please try to buy the editions listed below. (Use the ISBN numbers to guide you.) These books are also
available for use in the Reserve Room on the fourth floor of Oviatt Library.

Chang, Leslie. Factory Girls: From Village to City in a Changing China. New York: Spiegel & Grau, 2009.
ISBN 978-0385520188.

Diamond, Jared. Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies. New York: W. W. Norton & Co., 1999.
ISBN 978-0393317558.

Klein, Naomi. This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. the Climate. New York: Simon & Schuster, 2014.
ISBN 978-1451697391.

Rediker, Marcus. The Slave Ship: A Human History. New York: Penguin Books, 2007. ISBN 978-0143114253.


Please complete the reading assignments before class on the relevant day—it will improve your
learning during lecture. If the book you are reading is a different version or edition than the one assigned,
compare your book with a copy of the assigned edition to make sure you are reading the right pages. You
can do so by visiting Oviatt’s Reserve Room, which has all the assigned books, or you can ask a classmate
who has the assigned edition to let you compare.

Tuesday, August 28 Introduction

Thursday, August 30 The world in 1492: Afro-Eurasia

Tuesday, September 4 The world in 1492: the Americas

• Diamond, Guns, Germs, and Steel, 9–113.

Thursday, September 6 A changing Indian Ocean world, 1500–1700

• Diamond, Guns, Germs, and Steel, 114–156.

Tuesday, September 11 Colliding worlds in the Americas

• Diamond, Guns, Germs, and Steel, 157–292.

Thursday, September 13 The Columbian Exchange

• Diamond, Guns, Germs, and Steel, 405–440.

Tuesday, September 18 Discussion of Guns, Germs, and Steel

• RESPONSE PAPER DUE before beginning of class.

Thursday, September 20 Creating a global economy, 1500–1800

• Rediker, The Slave Ship, 1–40.

Tuesday, September 25 Making modern science, 1550–1700

• Rediker, The Slave Ship, 41–131.

Thursday, September 27 Atlantic slavery, 1500–1800

• Rediker, The Slave Ship, 132–156.

Tuesday, October 2 The Atlantic Revolutions, late 1700s–early 1800s

• Rediker, The Slave Ship, 157–221.

Thursday, October 4 Industrialization, 1750–1900

• Rediker, The Slave Ship, 222–262.

Tuesday, October 9 Capital and labor in the 1800s
• Rediker, The Slave Ship, 263–356.

Thursday, October 11 Discussion of The Slave Ship

• RESPONSE PAPER DUE before beginning of class.

Tuesday, October 16 States and ideologies, 1800s–early 1900s

• Chang, Factory Girls, 3–97.

Thursday, October 18 A world of empires, 1800s–early 1900s

• Chang, Factory Girls, 98–170.

Tuesday, October 23 MIDTERM EXAM

Thursday, October 25 A world of empires, 1800s–early 1900s (continued)

• Chang, Factory Girls, 171–205.

Tuesday, October 30 The modern mind

• Chang, Factory Girls, 206–333.

Thursday, November 1 World wars

• Chang, Factory Girls, 334–359.

Tuesday, November 6 Discussion of Factory Girls

• Chang, Factory Girls, 360–407.
• RESPONSE PAPER DUE before beginning of class.

Thursday, November 8 Twentieth-century utopias and atrocities

• Klein, This Changes Everything, 1–28.

Tuesday, November 13 Decolonization

• Klein, This Changes Everything, 31–119.

Thursday, November 15 Capitalism and communism

• Klein, This Changes Everything, 120–160.

Tuesday, November 20 A globalizing world

• Klein, This Changes Everything, 161–229.

Thursday, November 22 Thanksgiving Recess. No class.

Tuesday, November 27 Power, protest, and terror
• Klein, This Changes Everything, 291–366.

Thursday, November 29 Climate crisis

• Klein, This Changes Everything, 408–448.

Tuesday, December 4 Discussion of This Changes Everything

• Klein, This Changes Everything, 449–466.
• RESPONSE PAPER DUE before beginning of class.

Thursday, December 6 Final review.

Tuesday, December 11 No class. Special pre-exam office hours, 11:00AM–2:00PM.

Tuesday, December 18 FINAL EXAM, Sierra Hall 268, 10:15AM–12:15PM.