World History since 1550 (Winter 2016)

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


HIST 191 – World History since 1550

Professor: Dr. Benjamin Bryce

Office: ADM 3092

Office Hours: Mondays and Wednesdays, 13:30-14:20 and by appointment

Term: Winter 2016

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:

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 and to the skills of historiography and primary source analysis.

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.

5) 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 Strayer. Ways of the World: A Brief Global History. Volume 2. Second Edition. Boston and New York. Bedford’s/St. Martin’s.
  • Kevin Reilly. Worlds of History: A Comparative Reader. Volume Two: Since 1400. Fifth Edition. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2013.
  • One copy of both of these books is on three-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.
  • These articles can be downloaded via Blackboard or through the UNBC library website.


  1. Tutorial attendance, 10%
  2. Tutorial participation, 10%
  3. Primary document analysis. Due on Wednesday, February 3, 15%
  4. Midterm test. During lecture on Wednesday, March 2, 15%
  5. Historiographic research essay. Due on Wednesday, March 30, 20%
  6. Bibliography and footnotes for historiographic research essay. Due on Wednesday, March 30 (attached to assignment 5), 5%
  1. Exam (during exam period) 25%
  1. Tutorial attendance. Students are expected to attend all twelve tutorials. The attendance grade is separated from the participation grade in order to emphasize the importance of participating in the tutorial discussions and activities in addition to showing up.
  1. Tutorial participation: Students are expected to participate 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 in that section are required to write a brief summary of the week’s readings and submit it the following week.
  1. Primary document analysis: 3 pages. Students are required to critically analyze how the authors of three primary documents assigned in the first seven weeks of class (until February 24) 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.
  1. 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 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 and alerts Dr. Bryce about the illness before the test takes place.
  1. 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 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.
  1. 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.
  1. Exam. During the exam period. Evaluation will be based on the demonstrated mastery of lectures and the assigned secondary readings in the Robert Strayer 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.
  1. Bonus. There will be no lecture on Wednesday, March 23. Instead, students are strongly encouraged to attend the research lecture by Reshaad Durgahee (University of Nottingham), entitled “Sugar Islands and Indentured Labour in the Pacific World,” as part of the Global Fridays speakers series. It will take place from 12:00-1:15 in room 5-157. Attendance will be taken and students will have to write 100-word summary of lecture. All students who attend and write this summary will receive a bonus mark of 1% in the course. This summary must be submitted in paper form (rather than via Blackboard) in class by Wednesday, March 30.

Course Overview:

January 6 – Introduction

  • No tutorial this week
  • Lectures:
    • Wednesday: No lecture this week.
  • Readings:
    • Robert Strayer, Chapter 12, “The Worlds of the Fifteenth Century,” 383-416.

January 11 and 13 – Empire and the Early Modern World

  • Tutorial # 1
    • Discussion topic: Empire in the Americas and Asia
  • Lectures:
    • Monday: Indigenous-European-African Encounters in the Americas
    • Wednesday: Empire in Asia
  • Readings:
    • Robert Strayer, Part Four, 418-423.
    • Robert Strayer, Chapter 13, “Political Transformations: Empires and Encounters, 1450-1750,” 425-457.
    • Kevin Reilly – “The Broken Spears: The Aztec Account of the Conquest of Mexico, c. 1540s,” 621-628.
    • Kevin Reilly – Bartolomé de las Casas, “The Devastation of the Indies, 1555,” 628-631.

January 18 and 20 – Europe from the Reformation to the Peace of Westphalia

  • Tutorial # 2
    • Discussion topic: Church and State
  • Lectures:
    • Monday: The Reformation
    • Wednesday: The Thirty Years’ War
  • Readings:
    • Robert Strayer, Chapter 15, “Cultural Transformations: Religion and Science, 1450-1750,” 491-524.
    • Kevin Reilly – Martin Luther, “Sermon on Religion and the State,” 1528-1540,” 670-673.
    • Kevin Reilly – Anna Bijns, “‘Unyoked Is Best! Happy the Woman without a Man,’ 1567,” 701-704.
    • Kevin Reilly – The Autobiography of Mrs. Alice Thornton, 1645-1657,” 704-710.

Last day to add/drop courses without financial penalty. Last day to change from audit to credit and credit to audit status. January 19.

January 25 and 27 – Slavery in the Americas

  • Tutorial # 3
    • Discussion topic: Slavery
  • Lectures:
    • Monday: Slavery and Sugar Colonies
    • Wednesday: Slavery in the Nineteenth Century
  • Readings:
    • Robert Strayer, Chapter 14, “Economic Transformations: Commerce and Consequence, 1450-1750,” 459-489.
    • Kevin Reilly – Captain Thomas Phillips, “Buying Slaves in 1693,” 637-641.
    • Kevin Reilly – J.B. Romaigne, “Journal of a Slave Ship Voyage, 1819,” 641-646.
    • Kevin Reilly – Harriet Jacobs, “Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl, Written by Herself, 1861,” 649-654.

February 1 and 3 – Revolution and Republicanism

  • Tutorial # 4
    • Discussion topic: Liberalism
  • Lectures:
    • Monday: The French Revolution
    • Wednesday: Republican America
  • Readings:
    • Robert Strayer, Part Five, 526-533.
    • Robert Strayer, Chapter 16, “Atlantic Revolutions, Global Echoes, 1750-1914,” 535-565.
    • Kevin Reilly – Jean Jacques Rousseau, “The Social Contract, 1762,” 773-776.
    • Kevin Reilly – The American Declaration of Independence, 1776, 776-780.
    • Kevin Reilly – Olympe de Gouges, French Declaration of the Rights of Man and Citizenship, 1789, 783-785.
    • Kevin Reilly – Toussaint L’Ouverture, Letter to the Directory, 1797,” 788-791.

Primary document analysis. Due in lecture on Wednesday, February 3

February 8 and 10 – Reading Week (and Family Day)

  • No classes

February 15 and 17 – Industrialization

  • Tutorial # 5
    • Discussion topic: Industrialization
  • Lectures:
    • Monday: The Industrial Revolution in Europe
    • Wednesday: Industrialization in Japan
  • Readings:
    • Robert Strayer, Chapter 17, “Revolutions of Industrialization, 1750-1914,” 567-601.
    • Kevin Reilly – Peter Stearns, “The Industrial Revolution outside the West,” 823-830.
    • Kevin Reilly – Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, “The Communist Manifesto, 1848,” 816-823.

February 22 and 24 – Japan, 1868-1945

  • Tutorial # 6
    • Discussion topic: Japan and the West
  • Lectures:
    • Monday: Empire
    • Wednesday: Empire and War
  • 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,” 885-887.
    • Kevin Reilly – Theodore von Laue, “The World Revolution of Westernization,” 887-893.
    • Kevin Reilly – Fukuzawa Yukichi, “Good-bye Asia, 1885,” 893-897.
    • Kevin Reilly – Kakuzo Okakura, “The Ideals of the East, 1904,” 899-904.

Last day to withdraw without academic penalty. February 24, 2016.

February 29 and March 2 – Midterm test and Global Migrations

  • Tutorial # 7
    • Discussion topic: Migration and Nation-States
  • 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,” 830-836.
    • Kevin Reilly – Italians in Two Worlds: An Immigrant’s Letters from Argentina, 1901,” 836-842.

Midterm test. In lecture on Wednesday, March 2

March 7 and 9 – The Age of Empire

  • Tutorial # 8
    • Discussion topic: Colonialism
  • Lectures:
    • Monday: No lecture.
    • Wednesday: Europe and the Scramble for Africa
  • Readings:
    • Robert Strayer, Chapter 18, “Colonial Encounters in Asia and Africa, 1750-1950,” 603-637.
    • Kevin Reilly – Joseph Conrad, “Heart of Darkness, 1899,” 857-861.
    • Kevin Reilly – Chinua Achebe, “An Image of Africa: Racism in Conrad’s Heart of Darkness, 1975,” 861-866.
    • Kevin Reilly – Chinua Achebe, “Things Fall Apart, 1958,” 867-872.

March 14 and 16 – First World War

  • Tutorial # 9
    • Discussion topic: Origins of the First World War
  • Lectures:
    • Monday: Causes of Conflict
    • Wednesday: Historiography
  • Readings:
    • Robert Strayer, Chapter 19, “Empires in Collision: Europe, the Middle East, and East Asia, 1800-1914,” 639-665.
    • Kevin Reilly – Erich Maria Remarque, “All Quiet on the Western Front, 1929,” 927-931.
    • Kevin Reilly – World War I Propaganda Posters, 1915-1918, 932-938.
    • Kevin Reilly – Memories of Senegalese Soldiers, 1914-1918/1981-1999, 940-946.

March 21 and 23 – The Rise of New Ideologies

  • Tutorial # 10
    • Discussion topic: New Ideologies in Interwar Europe
  • Lectures:
    • Monday: Fascism in Italy
    • Wednesday: Global Fridays Speaker Series, “Sugar Islands and Indentured Labour in the Pacific World,” Reshaad Durgahee, University of Nottingham, 12:00-1:15, room 5-157. Students who attend and write a short summary of the lecture will receive a bonus mark of 3% in this course.
  • Readings:
    • Robert Strayer, Part Six, 666-673.
    • Robert Strayer, Chapter 20, “Collapse at the Center: World War, Depression, and the Rebalancing of Global Power, 1914-1970s,” 675-711.
    • Kevin Reilly – V.I. Lenin, “War and Revolution, 1917,” 946-949.
    • Kevin Reilly – Rosa Luxemburg, “The Problem of Dictatorship, 1918,” 950-952.

March 28 and March 30 – The Second World War

  • Tutorial # 11
    • Discussion topic: Ideology and Violence and Final Essay Preparation
  • Lectures:
    • Monday: Easter Monday, University Closed
    • Wednesday: Nazism in Germany and War in Europe
  • Readings:
    • Kevin Reilly, Chapter 25, 957-998.
      • Note: Students are to read all primary and secondary documents in this chapter of the Reilly textbook (not Strayer).

Historiographic research essay and bibliography. Due in class on Wednesday, March 30

April 4 and 6 – The Second World War and its Legacies

  • Tutorial # 12
    • Discussion topic: The Cold War and Exam Preparation
  • Lectures:
    • Monday: The Holocaust
    • Wednesday: The Start of the Cold War
  • Readings:
    • Robert Strayer, Chapter 21, “Revolution, Socialism, and Global Conflict: The Rise and Fall of World Communism, 1917-Present,” 713-747.
    • Kevin Reilly – Heonik Kwon, “Origins of the Cold War, 2010, 1001-1006.
    • Kevin Reilly – Edward Lansdale, “Report on CIA Operations in Vietnam, 1954-1955,” 1009-1014.
    • Kevin Reilly – Soviet Telegram on Cuba, September 7, 1962,” 1021-1027.

April 11 – Conclusion

  • No tutorial this week
  • Lectures:
    • Monday: Exam Preparation

Blackboard: This course uses Blackboard. Detailed descriptions of the assignments will be posted on Blackboard at least two weeks before the due date. Students should check this site regularly. Grades will not be posted to the Grade Centre in Blackboard. Assignments 3, 5, and 6 can be submitted via Blackboard (preferred method) or as a printed document.

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.

Twitter: Feel free to follow me on Twitter (@BenjaminBryce2). I tweet articles about university affairs, graduate school, and history in the media. I will also use the hashtag #hist191 to tweet articles, images, and songs related to course topics. All students are welcome to use this hashtag and to tweet articles, movies, images, and songs related to course topics as well. Please remember to compose all tweets using the professional language that is expected in the classroom at the University of Northern British Columbia. Using Twitter is not a requirement for this course. No important course content will be distributed over Twitter. The hashtag #hist191 exists only to share related materials and to create a sense of community.

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. Assignments should be submitted via 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. 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.

SafeAssign: Students are required to submit a digital version of their essays to SafeAssign through Blackboard. 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 photocopies of all your research notes along with your essay.

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: