Then the greatness of our city brings it about that all the good things from all over the world flow in to us-Pericles of Athens
The above quotation, sometimes translated as “All good things flow to the city“, reveals a crucial element of human civilization. No matter how diverse a democracy becomes or how much an empire expands, cities are at its cultural, political, and social centre. This semester, you will study major events, key eras, social change, and radical innovation in the West over a 500 year period. Students have the option of focusing some of these assignments on the same city/culture.
Projected Assignments for This Year
Assignments in bold are options that can be about the same city/culture
- Historical Dialogue (Pair work: writing about historical events through the lens of historical schools)
- Short oral test (this is new, so I haven’t worked out all of the details yet. It will basically be a very short conversation with me that is evaluated. It will probably focus on the Scientific Revolution)
- 7 Minute Walkabout Presentations: a 20th Century event that defined a major city
- 20th Century Test
- Annotated Bibliography: Your city in the 18th century
- Test: French Revolution
- Podcasting the Industrial Revolution (potentially pair work)
- Culminating Activity (essay): Key events that shaped (insert your city/culture here)
Other Course Considerations
Will there be theory?
Yes. If you want to play with the big kids next year, you better have some big ideas. It would be even more beneficial if these ideas had a theoretical foundation.
Will there be blood?
Yes, there will; thankfully, it will be neither yours nor mine. James Joyce may have been right when he said that history is a nightmare from which we cannot awake. Hobbes may also have been correct when he said that life is short, nasty, and brutish. Either way, the study of history often involves delving into the unpleasant side of human existence. Key components of this course include several revolutions and full-scale wars, so be prepared for the occasional discussion of bloody details.
Will there be Catholicity?
Sure. Besides discussing several Religious Orders, we will also closely examine the role religion played in European conflict. Even when we are not discussing faith explicitly, social justice and the value of human life will always be relevant.