World History since 1550 (Winter 2019)

Draft. See Blackboard or syllabus distributed in class for official version.


HIST 191 – World History since 1550

Professor: Dr. Benjamin Bryce

Office: McCaffray Hall 3092

Office hours: Mondays, 13:30-14:30 and by appointment


Term: Winter 2019

Time: Mondays and Wednesdays, 12:30-13:20

Location: 7-150

Tutorials: There are four tutorial sections. Students are to register for one tutorial section. If a section is full, the instructors cannot move students to another section. Tutorials are led by one of the two teaching assistants. The tutorials take place at the following times and locations:

Mondays, 2:30-3:20 – T&L Building: 10-4560

Mondays, 11:30-12:20 – T&L Building: 10-4560

Wednesdays, 10:30-11:20 – T&L Building: 10-4560

Thursdays, 1:30-2:20 – T&L Building: 10-4560

Course Description: This course surveys several issues, ideas, and events in the world since 1550. It illustrates how the peoples of different continents have interacted and influenced one another. The global movement of people and ideas, trade, industrialization, imperialism, war, and ideologies all receive particular attention. Students are also introduced to the discipline of history, including to historiographic and primary source analyses.

Learning Objectives:

1) A greater understanding of world history.

2) The ability to analyze and discuss primary documents.

3) The ability to identify and discuss historiographic debates.

4) A foundation for further, more specialized history courses, and the development of research skills.

Course Structure: A lecture on one of the course themes will be given on Mondays and Wednesdays. Questions during lecture are encouraged. Tutorials are dedicated to a group discussion of the assigned readings (primary and secondary sources). Attending tutorials is a crucial aspect of this course. It is in tutorial that you will work closely with the teaching assistants to develop your critical thinking, reading, and writing skills. Students who do not attend tutorial on a regular basis generally receive low grades on the written assignments and tests.

Required Readings:


  • Robert W. Strayer; Eric Nelson. Ways of the World: A Brief Global HistoryVolume II. Macmillan Learning. Third Edition, 2016.
  • Kevin Reilly. Worlds of History: A Comparative Reader since 1400Volume 2.  Macmillan Learning. Sixth Edition, 2017.
  • One copy of both of these books is on two-hour reserve at the UNBC library.
  • You can purchase them at the UNBC bookstore for approximately $55 each.


  • Erika Lee. “The ‘Yellow Peril’ and Asian Exclusion in the Americas.” Pacific Historical Review 76, no. 4 (2007): 537–62.
  • Frederick R. Dickinson. “Toward a Global Perspective of the Great War: Japan and the Foundations of a Twentieth-Century World.” The American Historical Review 119, no. 4 (2014): 1154-1183.


a) Tutorial attendance and participation, 20%

b) Assignment 1: Primary document analysis. Due in lecture on Wed., February 6, 15%

c) Midterm test. During lecture on Wednesday, February 27, 15%

d) Assignment 2: Historiographic research essay. Due in lecture on Wed., March 27, 20%

e) Assignment 3: Bibliography and footnotes for historiographic research essay. Due in lecture on Wednesday, March 27 (attached to Assignment 2), 5%

f) Exam (during exam period), 25%

a) Tutorial attendance and participation. Students are expected to attend and participate in all twelve tutorials and in the weekly discussions of the readings. Evaluation will be based on a demonstrated mastery of the readings. Students are required to read an average of 45 pages per week (primary and secondary documents combined). If a tutorial is cancelled because of a university holiday, students will discuss the readings the following week in tutorial.

b) Primary document analysis: 3 pages. Students are required to critically analyze how the authors of three primary documents assigned in the first six weeks of class (until February 13) discuss a common theme (such as race, gender, religion, cultural encounters, government, the nation, slavery, the economy, hardship, etc.). A more detailed description of expectations will be distributed in class and posted on Blackboard three weeks before the due date. Students are welcome to discuss their ideas with their tutorial leader in the weeks leading up to the due date.

c) Midterm test: 45 minutes in class. Evaluation will be based on the demonstrated mastery of lectures and the assigned secondary readings in the Robert Strayer/Eric Nelson textbook. A more detailed description of the test format will be distributed in class and posted on Blackboard before the test. There will be no make-up tests unless the student has medical documentation.

d) Historiographic research essay. 7-8 pages. Students are asked to write a historiographic research paper. Students will be given a set of four scholarly articles that speak to a common historiographic discussion. Students are required to find one additional scholarly article that engages with that same historiography. Students should not cite the Strayer/Nelson textbook and instead focus their attention on analyzing five articles. This is not an opinion piece but rather an analysis of the scholarly arguments. A more detailed description of expectations will be distributed three weeks before the due date. Students are welcome to discuss their ideas with their tutorial leader in the weeks leading up to the due date.

e) Bibliography and footnotes for historiographic research essay. The historiographic research essay requires proper citation following the Chicago Manual of Style, and all essays should have properly formatted footnotes and a bibliography. The evaluation of the bibliography and footnotes is separate so as to emphasize their importance.

f) During the exam period. Evaluation will be based on the demonstrated mastery of lectures and the assigned secondary readings in the Robert Strayer/Eric Nelson textbook. A more detailed description of the exam will be distributed in class and posted on Blackboard three weeks before the final lecture. Any student absent from the exam for medical reasons will have to discuss his or her situation with the university registrar. It is not guaranteed that students will be able to write the exam at a later date.

Course Overview:

January 7 and 9 – Empire and the Early Modern World

  • Tutorial # 1
    • Discussion topic: Empire in the Americas and Asia
  • Lectures:
    • Monday: No class.
    • Wednesday: Course introduction and empire in Asia
  • Readings:
    • Robert Strayer, Part Four, “The Early Modern World, 1450-1750,” 454-460.
    • Robert Strayer, Chapter 13, “Political Transformations: Empires and Encounters, 1450-1750,” 461-498.
    • Kevin Reilly – “Thinking Historically: Comparing Primary Sources,” 565-566.
    • Kevin Reilly – “Thinking Historically: Understanding Author, Audience, and Agenda,” 609.
    • Kevin Reilly – Jahangir, “Memoirs of the Emperor Jahangueir, c. 1625,” 628-632.

 January 14 and 16 – Slavery in the Americas

  • Tutorial # 2
    • Discussion topic: Slavery
  • Lectures:
    • Monday: Indigenous-European-African Encounters in the Americas
    • Wednesday: Slavery in the Americas
  • Readings:
    • Robert Strayer, Chapter 14, “Economic Transformations: Commerce and Consequence, 1450-1750,” 499-532.
    • Kevin Reilly – “The Broken Spears: The Aztec Account of the Conquest of Mexico, c. 1540s,” 575-581.
    • Kevin Reilly – Bartolomé de las Casas, “The Devastation of the Indies, 1555,” 609-612.
    • Kevin Reilly – Captain Thomas Phillips, “Buying Slaves in 1693,” 587-591.
    • Kevin Reilly – J.B. Romaigne, “Journal of a Slave Ship Voyage, 1819,” 591-596.
    • Kevin Reilly – Nzinga Mbemba, “Appeal to the King of Portugal,” 584-587.

Last day to add/drop courses without financial penalty. Last day to change from audit to credit and credit to audit status. January 17.

January 21 and 23 – Revolution and Republicanism

  • Tutorial # 3
    • Discussion topic: Liberalism
  • Lectures:
    • Monday: The Revolutionary Atlantic World
    • Wednesday: Republicanism and Liberalism in the Americas
  • Readings:
    • Robert Strayer, Part Five, 570-578.
    • Robert Strayer, Chapter 16, “Atlantic Revolutions, Global Echoes, 1750-1914,” 579-612.
    • Kevin Reilly – “Thinking Historically: Close Reading and Interpretation of Texts,” 719-720.
    • Kevin Reilly – “The American Declaration of Independence, 1776,” 726-730.
    • Kevin Reilly – “French Declaration of the Rights of Man and Citizen, 1789,” 733-735.
    • Kevin Reilly – Toussaint L’Ouverture, “Letter to the Directory, 1797,” 738-741.
    • Kevin Reilly – Simón Bolívar, “Reply of a South American to a Gentleman of this Island (Jamaica), 1815,” 741-748.

 January 28 and 30 – Industrialization

  • Tutorial # 4
    • Discussion topic: Industrialization
  • Lectures:
    • Monday: The Industrial Revolution
    • Wednesday: The Second Industrial Revolution
  • Readings:
    • Robert Strayer, Chapter 17, “Revolutions of Industrialization, 1750-1914,” 613-652.
    • Kevin Reilly – Arnold Pacey, “Asia and the Industrial Revolution, 1990,” 752-756.
    • Kevin Reilly – Adam Smith, “The Wealth of Nations, 1776,” 759-764.
    • Kevin Reilly – Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, “The Communist Manifesto, 1848,” 769-775.

February 4 and 6 – Experiencing Industrialization

  • Tutorial # 5
    • Discussion topic: Workers, Health, and Material Culture
  • Lectures:
    • Monday: Material Culture in nineteenth-century Europe
    • Wednesday: Industrialization in Japan
  • Readings:
    • Robert Strayer, Chapter 19, “Empires in Collision: Europe, the Middle East, and East Asia, 1800-1914,” 693-723.

Primary document analysis. Due in lecture on Wednesday, February 6

February 11 and 13 – Japan, 1894-1945

  • Tutorial # 6
    • Discussion topic: Japan and the West
  • Lectures:
    • Monday: Empire and Modernization
    • Wednesday: Japan and World Wars
  • Readings:
    • Frederick R. Dickinson. “Toward a Global Perspective of the Great War: Japan and the Foundations of a Twentieth-Century World.” The American Historical Review 119, no. 4 (2014): 1154-1183.
    • Kevin Reilly – Chapter 23, “Westernization and Nationalism: Japan, India, and the West, 1820-1939: Historical Context,” 827-828.
    • Kevin Reilly – “Thinking Historically: Appreciating Contradictions,” 828.
    • Kevin Reilly – Fukuzawa Yukichi, “Good-bye Asia, 1885,” 829-832.
    • Kevin Reilly – Kakuzo Okakura, “The Ideals of the East, 1904,” 835-840.

February 18 and 20 – Reading Week (and Family Day)

  • No classes

Last day to withdraw without academic penalty. February 22.

February 25 and 27 – Midterm test and Global Migrations

  • Tutorial # 7
    • Discussion topic: Migration and Historiography
  • Lectures:
    • Monday: Global Migrations
    • Wednesday: Midterm test
  • Readings:
    • Lee, Erika. “The ‘Yellow Peril’ and Asian Exclusion in the Americas.” Pacific Historical Review 76, no. 4 (2007): 537–62.
    • Kevin Reilly – Mary Antin, “The Promised Land, 1894/1912,” 782-788.
    • Kevin Reilly – Italians in Two Worlds: An Immigrant’s Letters from Argentina, 1901,” 788-794.

Midterm test. In lecture on Wednesday, February 27

March 4 and 6 – The Age of Empire

  • Tutorial # 8
    • Discussion topic: Colonialism
  • Lectures:
    • Monday: Europe and the Scramble for Africa
    • Wednesday: Colonialism and Anticolonialism in Africa and South Asia
  • Readings:
    • Robert Strayer, Chapter 18, “Colonial Encounters in Asia and Africa, 1750-1950,” 653-692.
    • Kevin Reilly – Joseph Conrad, “Heart of Darkness, 1899,” 812-816.
    • Kevin Reilly – Rudyard Kipling, “The White Man’s Burden, 1899,” 823-824.
    • Kevin Reilly – Mohandas K. Gandhi, “Hind Swaraj, 1921,” 849-854.
    • Kevin Reilly – Jawaharlal Nehru, “Gandhi, 1936,” 854-856.

March 11 and 13 – First World War

  • Tutorial # 9
    • Discussion topic: Origins of the First World War
  • Lectures:
    • Monday: Causes of Conflict
    • Wednesday: Historiography
  • Readings:
    • Robert Strayer, Chapter 20, “Collapse at the Center: World War, Depression, and the Rebalancing of Global Power, 1914-1970s,” 733-774.
    • Kevin Reilly – World War I Propaganda Posters, 1915-1918, 865-871.
    • Kevin Reilly – Wilfred Owen, “Dulce et Decorum Est, 1917,” 872.
    • Kevin Reilly – Memories of Senegalese Soldiers, 1914-1918/1981-1999, 873-879.
    • Kevin Reilly – Algemeen Handelsblad, “Editorial on the Treaty of Versailles, June 1919,” 890-891.

March 18 and 20 – The Rise of New Ideologies and the Second World War

  • Tutorial # 10
    • Discussion topic: New Ideologies in Interwar Europe and Essay Preparation
  • Lectures:
    • Monday: Fascism in Italy and Nazism in Germany
    • Wednesday: The Nazi Racial State and the Holocaust
  • Readings:
    • Kevin Reilly, Chapter 25, “World War II and Mass Killing: Germany, the Soviet Union, Japan, and the United States, 1926-1945,” 894-934.
      • Note: Students are to read all primary and secondary documents in this chapter of the Reilly textbook (not Strayer/Nelson).

March 25 and 27 – The Cold War

  • Tutorial # 11
    • Discussion topic: The Cold War
  • Lectures:
    • Monday: The Start of the Cold War
    • Wednesday: The Soviet Union and the Cold War
  • Readings:
    • Robert Strayer, Chapter 21, “Revolution, Socialism, and Global Conflict: The Rise and Fall of World Communism, 1917-Present,” 775-814.
    • Kevin Reilly – Thinking Historically: Detecting Ideological Language, 936.
    • Kevin Reilly – Heonik Kwon, “Origins of the Cold War, 2010,” 937-942.
    • Kevin Reilly – Winston Churchill, “Iron Curtain Speech, 1946,” 942-944.
    • Kevin Reilly – Soviet Telegram on Cuba, September 7, 1962,” 963-969.

Historiographic research essay and bibliography. Due in class on Wednesday, March 27

April 1 and 3 – The Cold War and Exam Preparation

  • Tutorial # 12
    • Discussion topic: Exam preparation
  • Lectures:
    • Monday: Exam preparation
    • Wednesday: Exam preparation
  • Readings:
    • No readings

Blackboard: This course uses Blackboard. Detailed descriptions of the assignments will be posted on Blackboard three weeks before the due date. Students should check this site regularly. Grades will not be posted to the Grade Centre in Blackboard.

SafeAssign: Students are required to submit a digital version of their essays to SafeAssign (Assignments 1, 2, and 3) through Blackboard in addition to submitting a paper version of their assignments in class. SafeAssign describes itself as “a tool used to prevent plagiarism and to create opportunities to help students identify how to properly attribute sources rather than paraphrase. SafeAssign is effective as both a deterrent and an educational tool. SafeAssign compares submitted assignments against a set of sources to identify areas of overlap between the submitted assignment and existing works.” If you do not want to submit your essay through SafeAssign, you can instead submit a printed version of your essay along with photocopies of all your research notes in lecture on the due date.

Definition of Grades: Papers for this course will be marked according to the scale set by the History Department. An “A” essay is an excellent piece of work, which argues a clearly developed and challenging thesis, the proof of which is grounded in an exceptional usage of relevant primary and/or secondary literature. The research should demonstrate both critical evaluation and creativity while the writing should be sophisticated, coherent, and grammatically sound. In order to receive a final grade in the range of A- to A+, students will be expected to demonstrate consistently: independence of thought; subtle and complex analysis; the ability to grasp, articulate, and respond to arguments offered by others; and an exceptional understanding of the interpretations and information contained in assigned readings and lectures or considered in classroom discussions.

A “B” essay demonstrates good research skills, a clearly stated thesis, and a generally successful attempt to develop it logically, based upon secondary literature. The research should reflect an above-average development of ideas and criticism, while the writing should be clear and demonstrate a basic competence in organizational skills and grammar. As such, there should be few grammatical or structural errors. In order to receive a final grade in the range of B- to B+, students will be expected to demonstrate: the potential to engage in independent thought; an appreciation of the complexity of the issues under consideration; and a good understanding of the interpretations and information contained in assigned readings and lectures or considered in classroom discussions.

A “C” essay demonstrates that the author possesses a basic understanding of the material and some of the secondary literature, but has unsuccessfully endeavoured to articulate a thesis. While revealing knowledge, comprehension, and some application of information, usually the work also contains grammatical, structural, and organizational errors or flaws. Overall, the essay is adequate but uninspired. In order to receive a final grade in the range of C- to C+, students will be expected to demonstrate some awareness of the complexity of the issues under consideration and a satisfactory understanding of the interpretations and information contained in assigned readings and lectures or considered in classroom discussions.

A “D” essay fails to make its case or articulate a thesis. It is marked by a combination of illogical thinking, grammatical errors, flawed research, or a fundamental misunderstanding of the nature of the assignment. There is little application, analysis, or integration of ideas, and the essay generally fails to demonstrate a working knowledge of the topic at hand. In order to receive a final grade of D, students will be expected to demonstrate minimal competence. Although there may be evidence of an understanding of certain aspects of the interpretations and information contained in assigned readings and lectures or considered in classroom discussion, there is also evidence of difficulty in applying or communicating this understanding.

An “F” essay is inadequate in that it demonstrates fragmentary and often undigested information. It tends towards compiling rather than analyzing information and reveals a weakness in critical or analytical skills. The use of literature is often severely limited if not inappropriate or irrelevant. Overall, the essay is marked by a profound absence of thinking about the topic or the assignment. In order to receive a final grade of F, students will have failed to give evidence of being intellectually engaged in the subject matter of the course and will have failed to demonstrate even a minimal understanding of the interpretations and information contained in assigned readings and lectures or considered in classroom discussions.

Evaluation of written work: Assignments will be returned accompanied by comments noting areas that need attention. Assignments will only be returned to the writer. Questions about grades cannot be answered effectively by e-mail. Please read carefully the Definition of Grades (above) before discussing your grade on an assignment with your tutorial leader. If you ask for an assignment to be reconsidered, note that your grade could go either up or down.

E-mail policy: Please use e-mail to communicate with Dr. Bryce or the tutorial leaders only for administrative matters. Please come to the scheduled office hours to address questions that you have or raise them in lecture or the tutorial. If you cannot make it to our office hours, please e-mail us to set up an alternative appointment. All instructors in this course will respond to e-mails within 48 hours, so please do not leave your inquiries to the last minute. Please take the time to compose a formal e-mail. Assignments will not be accepted by email. Please use your UNBC e-mail address to communicate with Dr. Bryce and the tutorial leaders, and please check this e-mail account regularly to receive updates about this course.

Writing centres: Take advantage of the free services offered at the drop-in writing centre in the library ( The Academic Success Centre also provides helpful services to students for free (

Technology etiquette in the classroom: Laptops may be used in class, but only for note taking. It is advised that you print a copy of the notes that you take on the assigned readings and participate in tutorial discussions using those notes. Please turn off your cellphones before class begins. It is inappropriate to surf the web or send text messages during any class at the University of Northern British Columbia.

Submission of written work and lateness penalty: Assignments are due on the date specified in this syllabus, and they will be not accepted after the due date. If you have extenuating circumstances that will prevent you from submitting your assignment on time, discuss your situation with your tutorial leader or Dr. Bryce in advance of the due date. Assignments should be submitted via SafeAssign on Blackboard. If a student prefers to hand in a paper version of the assignment, the printed and stapled assignment should be submitted in class on the due date.

Illness and absences: Notify your tutorial leader as soon as possible if a serious illness or other concern is affecting your ability to keep up with the course. It is also wise to contact the UNBC Wellness Centre or the Registrar’s Office if you are experiencing academic or personal difficulties.

Academic honesty and plagiarism: Authors do not cite sources properly merely to avoid accusations of plagiarism but also to establish credibility, bring other work to the reader’s attention, and demonstrate competing viewpoints.

The University of Northern British Columbia takes academic honesty very seriously. Any suspected cases of plagiarism will be investigated. More information on the University’s procedures on academic offences can be found here:

The code of academic conduct disallows the following:

  • to represent as one’s own any idea or expression of an idea or work of another in any academic examination or term test or in connection with any other form of academic work, i.e. to commit plagiarism;
  • to submit, without the knowledge and approval of the instructor to whom it is submitted, any academic work for which credit has previously been obtained or is being sought in another course or program of study in the university or elsewhere.

Accessibility and accommodations: Students with diverse learning styles and needs are welcome in this course. If you have a disability/health consideration that may require course format accommodation, please feel free to approach Dr. Bryce or your tutorial leader to discuss your needs. If you require accommodations for a disability, or have accessibility concerns about the course, the classroom or course materials, please contact the Access Resource Centre for Students with Disabilities at (

Student conduct: The University of Northern British Columbia is an academic community whose purpose is to search for knowledge through teaching, research, and the free exchange of ideas. As such, UNBC is committed to developing among its members an enduring sense of community rooted in a working and learning environment which emphasizes mutual respect and tolerance and which is free from discrimination, harassment, disruptive behaviour, and violence. The members of the UNBC community include students, faculty, staff, administrators, governors, senators, and, in certain contexts, visitors. In order for the members of the university community to participate fully and effectively in the university’s purpose, certain standards of conduct must be recognized and respected. The university’s policy and procedures involving disruptive and/or harassing behaviour by students in academic situations is available on this website: