Explorations in World History II (HIST 502)

2021 Spring
Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences
Ayşe Ozil ayseozil@sabanciuniv.edu,
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Doctoral, Master
Interactive lecture
Interactive,Learner centered,Communicative
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A general survey course exploring specific themes and periods from c. 1500 to the present, and problematizing them in comparative, theory-intensive ways. Runs parallel to the SPS 102 (Humanity and Society II) freshman course, which serves as the teaching practicum of HIST 502 for SU graduate students in History who also serve as SPS 102 section instructors. Topics dealt with over the second semester include : the Protestant Reformation and the subsequent relativization of religion; the European Reconnaissance and the birth of the modern world-system; the rise and political economy of the merchant empires; the "military revolution" and the genesis of the modern state; science, scientism, and the Enlightenment; modes of sovereignty and legitimacy : the birth of modern politics and political science; proto- industrialisation; the wealth of nations; revolutions and modernity; the French Revolution and its legacy of "revolutionism"; the Industrial Revolution and its legacy of the "social question" in the 19th century; varieties of nationalism : European; east-southeast European, extra-European; debating the new imperialism, 1875-1914; imperialism, war, and revolution; the new toughness of mind : socialism and communism; the new toughness of mind : fascism and national socialism; the post-1945 world order; the collapse of communism, and problems of post- communism; new issues and conflicts of capitalist modernity at the end of the 20th century.


This is the second of a sequence of two related courses on World History that are required of all MA students in History. It is a general survey course that explores specific themes and periods from ca. 600 to ca. 1600, and problematizes them in comparative, theory-intensive ways. The early modern age serves as the end-point of our discussion, as it was a turning point in human history, bringing about profound shifts in the economic, social, and political make-up of Eurasia and the wider world. Topics to be dealt with in the second semester include but are not limited to such theoretical problems as

? the periodization of history;
? religion and state;
? elites vs. subalterns;
? center vs. periphery;
? history and nature;
? Modernity's subsumptions and transformations of pre-modernities;

and more historical issues, such as

? the economics of peasant production;
? the rise of monotheistic religions and late Antiquity;
? nomadic pastoralism, mounted archers, steppe empires;
? the role of movement and conquest in history;
? tributary states and societies;
? the function and varieties of fief distribution;
? types of urban space and culture;
? the Italian Renaissance as the dawn of early modernity;
? the world on the eve of the ?European miracle.?

Instead of covering the entire span of human history, which is an impossible task without running the risk of superficiality, we will concentrate on major nodes of interaction and leading patterns. In addition to the substance of history, students will also be encouraged to learn and develop methods as to how to broach historical sources?be they textual, material, or any other kind?critically.
The course will proceed in a rough chronological sequence.


Upon completion of this course, students should be able: to familiarize with facts, concepts and themes of world history

discuss and interpret actors, periods, developments and transformations in world history
compare, contrast and connect various phenomena and situations in world history
develop their interpretative, analytical and critical abilities with a view to discuss historical developments in different parts of the world
carry out further independent and interdisciplinary study on whichever period, subject or geographical location they choose in the future


  Percentage (%)
Final 30
Midterm 30
Assignment 20
Participation 20



Clive Ponting, World History: A New Perspective (London: Chatto & Windus, 2000).
Mark A Kishlansky, Sources of World History: Readings for World Civilization (New York: HarperCollins College Publishers, 1995).
Michael Cook, A Brief History of the Human Race (New York: Norton, 2003).


1. Introduction:
- Peter Brown, The Making of Late Antiquity (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1978), Chs. 1 and 3.
- Ponting, Overview 6.

2. The Rise of Islam and the Eastern Roman Empire
- Ponting, Ch. 11: pp. 301-313; Overview 7.
- Warren Treadgold, The Byzantine Revival (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1988), Ch. 1.
- Albert Hourani, A History of the Arab Peoples (London: Faber and Faber, 2002), Ch. 3.

3. The Great Empires: China, Inner Asia, Western Europe, 600-1000 CE
-Ponting, Ch. 11: pp. 313-347; Overview 8.
-Marc Bloch, Feudal Society, vol. 1, (London: Routledge, 2004 [1961]), Ch. 4: ?Material Conditions and Economic Characteristics?.
-Chris Wickham, The Inheritance of Rome: A History of Europe from 400 to 1000 (London: Penguin, 2010), Ch. 9: ?Wealth, Exchange and Peasant Society?.

4. Eurasia, ca. 1,000 CE
-Ponting, Ch. 12.
-Marc Bloch, Feudal Society, vol. 1, Ch. 11: ?Vassal Homage?.
-Chris Wickham, The Inheritance of Rome, Ch. 21: ?Aristocrats between the Carolingian and the `Feudal? Worlds?.
-Kishlansky, vol. 1, nos. 41-42.

5. Asia, ca. 1,000-1,250 CE
-Ponting, Ch. 13, Overview 9.
-Simon Lloyd, ?The Crusading Movement 1096-1274?, in Jonathan Riley Smith (ed.), The Oxford History of the Crusades (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002), pp. 35-67. (IC online)
-Francesco Gabrieli, Arab Historians of the Crusades [Sources] (London: Routledge, 1984), excerpts.

6. The Mongol Empire (1200-1350)
-Ponting, Ch. 14.
-David Morgan, The Mongols (Oxford: Blackwell, 1986), Ch. 3: ?Chingiz Khan and the Founding of the Mongol Empire?.
-Moğolların Gizli Tarihi (1240) (Ankara: TTK, 1986), excerpts.

7. Recovery (1350-1500)
-Ponting, Ch. 15, Overview 10.
-Monica Green, ?Taking `Pandemic? Seriously: Making the Black Death Global?, in Monica Green (ed.), Pandemic Disease in the Medieval World: Rethinking the Black Death (The Medieval Globe, 2014), https://scholarworks.wmich.edu/medieval_globe/1/
-Hannah Barker, ?Laying the Corpses to Rest: Grain, Embargoes, and Yersinia pestis in the Black Sea, 1346-48?, Speculum 96/1 (2021), pp. 97-126.
-Şevket Pamuk, ?The Black Death and the Origins of the `Great Divergence? across Europe, 1300-1600, European Review of Economic History 11/3 (2007), pp. 289-317.


9. The Columbian World
-Ponting, Ch. 16.
-Jared Diamond, Guns, Germs and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies
(London: W.W. Norton & Company, 1997), pp. 74-81, Ch. 5.
-David Abulafia, The Boundless Sea (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2019), Ch. 28 ?The Great Acceleration? and Ch. 32 ?A New Atlantic?.
-Kishlansky, vol. 1, nos. 61, 63-64.

10. The Early World Economy
-Ponting, Ch. 17.
-Dennis O. Flynn and Arturo Giraldez ?Cycles of Silver: Global Economic Unity through the mid-18th c?, Journal of World History, 13/2 (Fall 2002), pp. 391-427.
-Şevket Pamuk, ?The Price Revolution in the Ottoman Empire Reconsidered?, IJMES 33 (2001), pp. 69-89.

11. From pre-industrial societies to modernity
-Patricia Crone, Pre-Industrial Societies: Anatomy of the Premodern World (London: Oneworld, 2000), Chs. 2 and 8.
-Kenneth Pomeranz, The Great Divergence: China, Europe and the Making of Modern World Economy (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2000). (IC online)

12. Modernity and Globalization
-Jürgen Osterhammel and Niels Petersson, Globalization: A Short History (Princeton: Princeton University Press), Ch. 3 ?The Development and Establishment or Worldwide Connections until 1750?, Ch. 4 ?1750-1880: Imperialism, Industrialization and Free Trade?.
-Anne McCants, ?Exotic Goods, Popular Consumption, and the Standard of Living: Thinking about Globalization in the Early Modern World?, Journal of World History 18/4 (2007), pp. 433-462.

13. The Mediterranean (1500-1600)
-Fernand Braudel, The Mediterranean, vol. 1, Ch. 5 ?The Mediterranean as a Human Unit: Communications and Cities?.
-Peregrine Horden and Nicholas Purcell, The Corrupting Sea: A Study of Mediterranean History (Oxford: Blackwell, 2000), Ch. 4 ?Ecology and the Larger Settlement?.

14. Eastern Mediterranean and the Indian Ocean
-Fikret Yılmaz, ?Osmanlı Hanedanı, Kullar ve Korsanlar: Beşiktaş?ın Doğuşu ve İktidar Rekabeti (1534-1557)?, Journal of Turkish Studies, vol. 52 (2019), pp. 397-425.
-Sanjay Subrahmanyam, Empires between Islam and Christianity 1500-1800 (Albany: SUNY Press, 2019), Ch. 3 ?Italians, Corsicans, and Portuguese in the Indian Ocean?.