HIST 1210 Technology and Civilization
Dr. Angela Lakwete
310 Thach Hall
Phone: 334 844 6635; E-mail:
Office Hours: Thursday 3-5, drop-ins, and by appointment.


  • Bulliet, Richard W., et al., The Earth and Its Peoples: A Global History: Vol. I to 1550 (Houghton Mifflin, 2011). ISBN-13: 978-1-4390-8474-8.

    Course Description.
    This is a lecture/discussion course on global history. It examines the interactions of individuals, societies, technologies, and the environment. It is first of a two-part sequence. It begins with the earliest evidence of human activity and ends with the expansion of European influence across the globe in the seventeenth century.

    Course Objectives.
    There are several course objectives. You will learn how to think critically and historically about individuals and events of the past. You will learn how individuals through their inventions and ideas have mobilized resources to effect change in their societies and in the world. You will learn how to question the sources on which historians base their interpretations of the past and to appreciate the contingent, complex, and interpretative nature of history.

    The course fulfills Student Learning Outcomes #8 (SLO8): students will be informed and engaged citizens of the United States and the world.

    Course Requirements.
    You must attend the laboratory and classroom components of the course. The laboratory consists of a plenary lecture delivered on Monday at 1p in Haley Center 2370. The classroom component takes place Tuesday and Thursday. Your schedule gives you the classroom and time. It consists of discussion of the Monday lecture and relevant textbook reading, analysis of relevant primary sources, and the structured exchange of answers to questions I post as well as questions students provide.

    You will be expected to take notes on the readings, the lectures, and at every class. Note taking is an important skill. You’ll find help with notetaking and course survival at the Student Success Center in Cater Hall. Call 844-4475 and ask for the Academic Support Services program.

    Attendance Policy.
    You must attend every class. Here's the university's attendance policy

    Laptop/Cell Phone Use.
    If you want to use a laptop computer or other electronic device to take notes in the Monday plenary you must sit in the first two rows of the lecture hall. HOWEVER you may never use a laptop or cell phone in the classroom. If I see you using your cellphone or other electronic device for anything other than a dire emergency, you will have to put it on the front desk for the duration of the class. There will be no grace period for this policy.

    Quizzes, Tests, and a Project.
    Quizzes: Nearly every class will begin with a written assignment. I might ask you to write down the thesis of Monday's lecture or something about the assigned reading. I will always require you to write complete formal sentences. I will collect, grade, and return them. They constitute 40% of your overall grade.

    Tests: There will be two tests, a mid-term and a final. They will combine short answer questions with longer essay questions. I will post a study guide but you will rely on your lecture, class, and reading notes to review. Each test is worth 20% for a combined 40% of your overall grade.

    Project: You will select a technology and clear it with me since only one person can work on one technology. After I approve of your choice, you will then research it in a context appropriate to the course (10,000 B.C.E. to 1500 C.E.). Be creative in how you conceive and structure the essay but be sure to include the significance of the technology to its society and its relevance to today. The essay will be 3 to 5 pages, excluding illustrations. It must be double-spaced, left justified, in a 12 point font with one inch margins on all sides, and include footnotes and a bibliography. You may turn this in any time up to Week 14. When there is time, I'll ask you to share your research with the class in a brief oral presentation (no more than five minutes). The project is worth 20% of your grade.

    Academic Honesty Policy
    I encourage collaboration but will accept only original work. Anything less will be considered plagiarism. The Tiger Cub Rules defines plagiarism as the use of "words or ideas of another as if they were one's own (p. 87)." Plagiarism is a cowardly waste of time. It is also a violation of the University Academic Honesty Code (SGA Code of Laws, Ch. 1200). I will rigorously pursue violations according to guidelines: AU Academic Honesty Code.

    Your final grade is weighted with quizzes 40%, tests 40%, and the project 20% of the total. For each instrument, I determine your final grade by dividing the number of points you earn into the total number of possible points and multiplying the dividend by one hundred, then make the final calculation based on the weight.
    A=100-90%; B=89-80%; C=79-70%; D=69-60%; F=59-0%.

    Make-up Policy.
    There are no quiz makeups, no project makeup and no final makeup. If you miss the midterm, you must bring me an authorized excuse with the date, time, and verifiable signature. I will accept no excuses written after the class period. You must give me your excuse within five days of the absence. I will schedule a make up within the next week, barring unforeseen circumstances. All makeups must be completed on or before the last day of class.

    Deportment Policy.
    The Tiger Cub is an important source of information for you at Auburn generally. I follow it strictly and you should too. For this class be sure to read the Policy on Classroom Behavior" in the current Tiger Cub. Note that late arrival tops the list of "improper behaviors."

    Besides coming on time, I expect you to be attentive and respectful of the classroom process. No disruptions will be tolerated. Any student I identify as disruptive (including persistent late arrivals) will be warned and the incident documented. I will report serious disruptions to the Office of Judicial Affairs in the Office of the Dean of Students, the University Discipline Committee, and to the Chair of the Department of History. These offices will insure the uninterrupted academic activity of the class.

    Students with Disabilities Policy.
    If you are a student with a disability, you must register with the Program for Students with Disabilities located in 1244 Haley Center. Office staff will give you a form which you will bring to me in my office in 319 Thach. We will discuss classroom accomodations and I will sign and return the form. It will always be your responsibility to remind me at the beginning of a class if there is a particular condition about which I must be aware during that class session.

    Email Policy.
    I will hold you responsible for all emails I send you. It is your responsibility to read your Auburn emails regularly. If you use an address other than your Auburn address, it is your responsibility to forward your Auburn mail to that address.

    You should hold me responsible for all emails you send me. I will always answer your emails as soon as I read them. Always also feel free to call or just drop in if you are nearby.

    Withdrawal Policy.
    Remember that you may withdraw from this class without penalty until midsemester although you will receive a "W" on your transcript.


    Week 01: Introduction.
    Bring your syllabus and textbook to the first class. Read and study the first section of the Preface, pp. xxi-xx. Come prepared to discuss it.
    QUESTION: What are the broad goals of the textbook authors?

    Week 02: The Emergence of Human Communities.
    PRIMARY EVIDENCE: The Saddle Quern and the Spindle.
    INTERPRETATIONS: Dr. Lakwete, Lecture; Bulliet, ch. 1.
    QUESTION: What is the significance of Neolithic technology?

    Week 03: Ancient Mesopotamia.
    PRIMARY EVIDENCE: The Ziggurat, Bulliet, p. 34; Code of Hammurabi, Excerpts.
    INTERPRETATIONS: Dr. Kozuh, Lecture; Bulliet, ch. 2 to p. 38; Ch. 4 to p.85.
    QUESTION: How did technology both stabilize and destabilize Mesopotamian communities?

    Week 04: Ancient Egypt.
    PRIMARY EVIDENCE: Artifacts: Shawabti, Document: A Scribal Exercise.
    INTERPRETATIONS: HOLIDAY: NO MONDAY LECTURE; Bulliet, ch. 2 p. 38-45; ch. 4 pp. 85-88.
    QUESTION: To what do you attribute the unparalleled stability of Egyptian society?

    Week 05: The Ancient Mediterranean.
    PRIMARY EVIDENCE: Triremes and Amphora.
    INTERPRETATIONS: Dr. Beckwith, Lecture; Bulliet, ch. 4 p. 88-92, 102-110; ch 5 p. 126-140, including "Wine and Beer in the Ancient World," pp. 138-39.
    QUESTION: What technologies did Dr. Beckwith emphasize in his lecture? Why?

    Week 06: Hellenism and Ancient Rome.
    PRIMARY EVIDENCE: The Aquaduct, Bulliet, p. 161.
    INTERPRETATION: Dr. Kozuh, Lecture; Bulliet, ch. 5 p. 140-45; ch. 6 p. 148-164.
    QUESTION: What technologies were the most effective in Roman conquest of the world?

    Week 07: Ancient Tropical Africa.
    PRIMARY EVIDENCE: Ife Sculpture.
    INTERPRETATIONS: Dr. Lakwete, Lecture; Bulliet, chs. 8 and 14.
    QUESTION: What was the most empowering technology in ancient Tropical Africa?

    Week 08: Ancient China. *MID-TERM TEST THURSDAY*
    PRIMARY EVIDENCE: Document: "Human Nature and Good Government," Bulliet p. 62-63.
    INTERPRETATIONS: Dr. Lakwete, Lecture; Bulliet, ch. 3 p. 54-65; ch. 6 p. 164-175.
    QUESTION: How did China's political organization foster innovation?

    Week 09: The Ancient Americas.
    INTERPRETATIONS: Dr. Beckwith, Lecture; Bulliet, ch. 12 including "Inca Roads," p. 327.
    QUESTION: What are the advantages of record keeping without writing?

    Week 10: Islam and Muslim Empires.
    PRIMARY EVIDENCE: Artifacts: The Shaduf and Qanat.
    INTERPRETATIONS: Dr. Lucsko, Lecture; Bulliet, ch. 9 including "Head Coverings," p. 249.
    QUESTION: Why do some religions foster innovation while others suppress it?

    Week 11: Medieval Europe I
    PRIMARY EVIDENCE: The Water Wheel
    INTERPRETATIONS: Dr. Beckwith, Lecture; Bulliet, ch. 10; NO CLASS THURSDAY!
    QUESTION: How did the water wheel empower some groups but disempower others?

    Week 12: Medieval Europe II.
    PRIMARY EVIDENCE: The Longbow and the Crossbow.
    INTERPRETATIONS: Dr. Baird, Lecture; Bulliet, ch. 15.
    QUESTION: What individuals and technologies do you think most important in this period?

    Week 13: Renaissance Europe and the Reformation.
    PRIMARY EVIDENCE: The Printing Press
    INTERPRETATIONS: Dr. Luckso, Lecture; Bulliet, ch. 15 esp. p. 404-409.
    QUESTION: Can printing really have had the revolutionary effects historians claim?

    Week 14: The Scientific Revolution in Europe. *LAST WEEK TO TURN IN PROJECTS. ORAL REPORTS THURSDAY*
    PRIMARY EVIDENCE: Galilleo Gallilei, Starry Messenger, Excerpts.
    INTERPRETATIONS: Mr. Baird, Lecture.
    QUESTION: Why does a world view matter when the Ptolemaic world is still all around us?

    Week 15: FALL BREAK

    Week 16: Imperialism and Colonization.
    PRIMARY EVIDENCE: The Caravel.
    INTERPRETATIONS: Mr. Baird, Lecture; Reading: Bulliet, ch. 16.
    QUESTION: Did the textbook authors accomplish their goal? Does this section contradict it?

    Section 005 meets TR 02: 00 Final: Mon., Dec. 5, 4:00-6:30, Haley 2461
    Section 006 meets TR 11:00 Final: Fri., Dec. 9, noon-2:30, Lowder 4
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