Humanity and Society I (SPS 101)

2021 Spring
Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences
Social & Political Sci.(SPS)
5.00 / 6.00 ECTS (for students admitted in the 2013-14 Academic Year or following years)
Emre Erol,
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Formal lecture,Recitation
Interactive,Communicative,Discussion based learning
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This course provides an introduction to the study of the human experience in the pre-modern world (from early humans to mid 18th century). It brings together various disciplinary approaches and major topics of the pre-modern world in a roughly chronological order. There are three central aims of this course. The first aim is to present our students the challenges and potential in the scientific study of human experience through the introduction of various analytical tools from disciplines such as history, sociology, anthropology and economics. The idea is to show to our students that the human experience is as much the realm of scientific inquiry and critical thinking as it is the case with the natural world. The second aim is to introduce the basic dynamics of the pre-modern world before the 18th century so that students would be adequately equipped to follow our consecutive course SPS 102 about the modern era and the concept of modernity. Finally, this course also aims to emphasize the structured use of language, in this case English, for the purposes of knowledge production and critical analysis. It accepts the role of language in humanities and social sciences as important as calculus is for physics. To that end, it pays special attention to critical reading and writing as evident from the course structure.


The objective of SPS 101, Humanity and Society I is to familiarize the freshmen class with the past human experience from the Neolithic Period down to the beginnings of Early Modernity.


After successful completion of the semester, student is expected to

1. Identify similarities & differences between the discipline of history, social sciences & natural sciences
2. Identify differences between modernist, civilizational and world systems perspectives on world history
3. Describe the concept of technological thresholds & their relationship with hunting-gathering, agrarian and industrial modes of subsistence
4. Describe the social, political, economic and cultural differences between hunting-gathering and agrarian societies, and as a prelude to SPS 102, have a basic understanding of the differences between the former and industrial societies
5. Describe the interconnectedness of social institutions in the context of pre-modern societies and be prepared to apply this understanding to industrial societies later in SPS 102, and to his/her own society
6. Discuss II.a-c in the context of one or more of the following where relevant: Early Civilizations, 'Classical Age' Mediterranean, 'Classical Age' China, Medieval Europe, Islamic World, Byzantine Empire, and China
7. Describe European early modernity and discuss its consequences in world perspective
8. Identify the Renaissance, Reformation, European explorations and the Scientific Revolution and describe their contribution to the development of modernity


  Percentage (%)
Final 30
Midterm 25
Assignment 20
Participation 20
Presentation 5



Kishlansky, M (, Civilization in the West, 6th edition, Pearson-Longman, New York
A specially prepared reader