Proposed Course Descriptions for Civilizations I & II
Civilizations I (Course # GS 0101)
I. Introduction - What is civilization? A discussion of approaches and interpretations used in the
study of civilization from critical debates in the literature.
II. Ancient Civilizations: Creation Myths and Origins of Mesopotamia, Egypt, Hebrews, Maya,
Africa, India and China (a comparative study of cultures to reinforce the underlying links among
the earliest civilizations)
III. Classical Era: How did the following civilizations come to be known as "classical’? What
ideals contribute to the development of all civilizations as they move forward in human society?
C. Han China
IV. To the Middle Ages and Beyond
A. Origins of Christianity (Old Testament Background) and Buddhism
B. Islamic World of the Middle East, North Africa and Europe
C. Medieval Society, Feudalism and the Crusades
D. Medieval China, Japan and India
E. Civilizations of the Americas
F. African Empires: Ghana and Benini
V. Renaissance and Its Cross Currents
A. Renaissance: Explosion of the Arts
B. Aztec and Mayan Societies
D. Science and Early Exploration
Civilizations II (Course # GS 0102)
VI World of Transformation and Tradition: 1650 to the Early lSOOs
A. Africa and the Americas
B. Scientific Revolution
C. North American Settlement
VII. Nineteenth Century Modernization and Chance
A. Nationalism and Colonialism
B. The Industrial Revolution
C. Response to Change and Modernization in Asia. Africa and the Americas
VIII. Twentieth Century Global Society
A. Conflict and Crises: Great War, Russian Revolution, Depression, World War
II, and Chinese Revolution (1949)
B. Post-Industrial Modernism and World Societies: Issues of continuing
modernization (a comparative study of concepts of democracy,
religion, ethnicity, race, feminism, education, and art)
C. Global Marketplace: United States, Asia. Africa and Latin American
Civilizations (issues of economics, beliefs, modernization,
nationalism and communism)
Faculty may select texts that include readings of whole and excerpted works. Two such texts are
listed below. Faculty may also supplement texts with anthologies and whole works, such as
epics, novels and plays, to support analysis of cultural developments or different thematic
emphases throughout the courses. Certain publishers will produce individualized course volumes
from their standard texts and anthologies.
Gloria K. Fiero. The Humanistic Tradition. Third Edition. 6 Vols. Brown &
Mary Ann Frese Win et al. The Humanities: Cultural Roots and Continuities.
Fifth Edition. 2 Vols. D.C. Heath and Company, 1997.
The following representative selections, from which faculty may select reading
assignments, support the course outline:
Rig Veda - a Hindu creation story
Genesis - the Hebrew creation story
Yoruban creation myths
Amazulu - an African creation story
The Epic of Gilgamesh
Code of Hammurabi
Akhenaten, "Hymn to the Aten"
Dew De Oing
Homer, The Iliad
Sappho, "Seizure" and "To Anaktoria"
Thucydides, "Pericles Funeral Oration" froM The History of the Peloponnesian Wars
Plato, "The Allegory of the Cave" from The Republic
Aristotle. "On Happiness"
Virgil, The Aeneid (Books I and 6)
Cicero, The Laws
Juvenal, City of Rome
Marcus Aurelius. from The Meditations
Sima Qian, Records of the Grand Historian
To the Middle Ages and Beyond
Matthew 5:7, "The Sermon on the Mount"
Paul, "Epistle to the Romans"
Augustine of Hippo, City o of God against the Pagans
Siddhartha Gautama, "Sermon at Benares," "Sermon on Abuse"
Selections from The Qur'an
Ibn Hazm, from The Dove's Necklace
The Song of Roland
Chretien de Troyes, Lancelot
Dante Alighieri, The Divine Comedy
Thomas Aquinas, from Summa Theologica
Selections from the Vishnu Purana
Marie de France, "The Nightingale"
Chaucer, The Canterbury Tales
Tam Bo Cuailgne
Renaissance and Its Cross Currents
Chaucer, Prologue to The Canterbury Tales
Pies della Mirandola. "On the Dignity of Man"
Niccolo Machiavelli. The Prince
"The Idol of Somnath" from The Bustan
The Confession of lady Nijo
Christine de Pizan, from The Book of the City of Ladies
Martin Luther, "Table Talk"
Skakespeare, Othello (may be substituted with another play)
Juan Gines de Sepulveda, The Just Causes of War against the Indians
Bartolome de Las Casas, In Defense of the Indians
Bernal Diaz del Castillo, Conquest of New Spain
Anna Bijns, "Unyoked Is Best! Happy the Woman without a Man"
Michel de Montaigne. "On Cannibals"
World of Transformation and Tradition - 1650 to the Early 1800s
Francis Bacon, New Organon
Marquis de Condorcet, 'Sketch of the Progress of the Human Mind"
Rousseau, The Social Contract
Adam Smith, Wealth of Nations
"Declaration of the Rights of Man and the Citizen"
Simon Bolivar, "The Jamaica Letter"
Olaudah Equiano, "The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano"
Mehmed Pasha, The Book of Counsel for Viziers and Governors
Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice
John Locke. from Essay on Human Understanding
Declaration of Independence
Nineteenth Century Modernization and Change
Freud, "Civilizations and Its Discontents"
Charles Darwin, On the Origin of Species and the Descent of Man
John Stuart Mill, "On Liberty"
Marx and Engels, The Communist Manifesto
Charlotte Perkins Gilman, "The Yellow Wallpaper"
Elizabeth Cady Stanton, "The Declaration of Sentiments"
Henrik Ibsen, A Dolls House
Rabindranath Tagore, "Broken Ties"
Kate Chopin, "The Storm"
Friedrich Nietzsche, from The Birth of Tragedy
Cao Xuequin 's Dream of the Red Chamber
Saikaku Ihara, from Five Women Who Loved Love
Twentieth Centu~ Global Society
Wilfred Owen, "Dulce et Decorum Est"
Lenin, "What Is To Be Done?"
Aldous Huxley, Brave New World
Ursula Le Gum, "The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas"
iwao Nakamura and Atsuro Tsujioka, "Recollections of August 6, 1945"
Mustafa Kemal, Speech to the Congress of the People's Republican Party~
Gandhi, "Indian Home Rule"
Cao Ming. "A Native of Yan'an"
Octavio Paz, "One Earth, Four of Five Worlds"
Lu Xun. "The New Year's Sacrifice"
Pablo Neruda, "The United Fruit Co."
Carlos Fuentes, "The Prisoner of Las Lomas"
Nelson Mandela. The Rivonia Trial Speech to the Cotirt
Martin Luther King, Jr., "A Letter from Birmingham Jail"
Langston Hughes, "I, Too, Sing America"
Zand Dokht, "The Revolution That Failed Women"
Maxine Hong Kingston, from The Woman Warrior
Jean-Paul Satre, from Existentialism and Humanism
Simone de Beauvoir, The Second Sex
Virginia Woolf, from To the Lighthouse
Ernest Hemingway, "Hills Like White Elephants"
Chinua Achebe, from Things Fall Apart
Jorge Luis Borges, "The Garden of Forking Paths"