Humanity and Society I (SPS 101)

2023 Summer
Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences
Social & Political Sci.(SPS)
5/6 ECTS (for students admitted in the 2013-14 Academic Year or following years)
Marloes Cornelissen Aydemir,
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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.


  • Be able to recognize that all aspects of human life are legitimate subjects of academic inquiry, research and debate.
  • Be able to historicize: identifying pre-modern and early modern historical phenomena in temporal relation to each other, recognizing social phenomena as results of historical transformations and identifying the major dynamics of historical processes.
  • Be able to apply interdisciplinary approaches to the study of the human experience and to link perspectives drawn from expertise across disciplinary boundaries.
  • Be able to identify academic concepts/constructs and to critically approach their relationship with empirical reality.
  • Have acquired basic critical and analytical thinking skills by building evidence/ data-informed cause and effect relationships between topics covered in the course.
  • Have learned how to critically express and synthesize claims of others.
  • Have acquired a habit of academic reading by being exposed to academic materials from various disciplines that are relevant to the study of the human experience.
  • Have acquired a basic understanding of the distinction between primary and secondary sources.
  • Have acquired a habit of critical reading by categorizing, contextualizing and processing different forms of knowledge and information.
  • Have acquired a habit of active reading through note taking while reading.


1. Understand the world, their country, their society, as well as themselves and have awareness of ethical problems, social rights, values and responsibility to the self and to others. 5

2. Understand different disciplines from natural and social sciences to mathematics and art, and develop interdisciplinary approaches in thinking and practice. 5

3. Think critically, follow innovations and developments in science and technology, demonstrate personal and organizational entrepreneurship and engage in life-long learning in various subjects; have the ability to continue to educate him/herself. 5

4. Communicate effectively in Turkish and English by oral, written, graphical and technological means. 5

5. Take individual and team responsibility, function effectively and respectively as an individual and a member or a leader of a team; and have the skills to work effectively in multi-disciplinary teams. 2

1. Possess sufficient knowledge of mathematics, science and program-specific engineering topics; use theoretical and applied knowledge of these areas in complex engineering problems. 1

2. Identify, define, formulate and solve complex engineering problems; choose and apply suitable analysis and modeling methods for this purpose. 1

3. Develop, choose and use modern techniques and tools that are needed for analysis and solution of complex problems faced in engineering applications; possess knowledge of standards used in engineering applications; use information technologies effectively. 1

4. Have the ability to design a complex system, process, instrument or a product under realistic constraints and conditions, with the goal of fulfilling specified needs; apply modern design techniques for this purpose. 1

5. Design and conduct experiments, collect data, analyze and interpret the results to investigate complex engineering problems or program-specific research areas. 1

6. Possess knowledge of business practices such as project management, risk management and change management; awareness on innovation; knowledge of sustainable development. 2

7. Possess knowledge of impact of engineering solutions in a global, economic, environmental, health and societal context; knowledge of contemporary issues; awareness on legal outcomes of engineering solutions; knowledge of behavior according to ethical principles, understanding of professional and ethical responsibility. 2

8. Have the ability to write effective reports and comprehend written reports, prepare design and production reports, make effective presentations, and give and receive clear and intelligible instructions. 5

1. Develop knowledge of theories, concepts, and research methods in humanities and social sciences. 5

2. Assess how global, national and regional developments affect society. 5

3. Know how to access and evaluate data from various sources of information. 5


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



* Jared Diamond, Guns, Germs and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies, (E-book: W.W. Norton &
Company, 1999), pp. 20-48.
* Clive Ponting: A New Green History of the World (London: Penguin Books, 2007): Chapter 3:
?Ninety-Nine percent of human history?, pp. 17-35
* Peter Stearns et al., World Civilizations, The Global Experience (Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson
Education, Inc. 2011): Chapter 1: ?The Neolithic Revolution and the Birth of Civilization?, pp. 10-
* [Optional] Brian M. Fagan and Nadia Durrani, World Prehistory: A Brief Introduction (London &
New York: Routledge, 2017), pp. 175-204.
* J. Donald Hughes, An Environmental History of the World: Humankind?s Changing Role in the Community
of Life (London & New York: Routledge, 2009), pp. 30-51.
* Jared Diamond, Guns, Germs and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies, (E-book: W.W. Norton &
Company, 1999), pp. 225-250.
* [Optional] Lewis Mumford, The City in History: Its Origins, Its Transformations, and Its Prospects (New
York: Harcourt Brace and Jovanovich, 1961), pp. 119-125.
* Peter Stearns et al. World Civilizations, The Global Experience (Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson
Education, Inc. 2011) Chapter 4: ?Unification and the Consolidation of Civilization in China? pp.
80-100; Chapter 7: ?Rome and its Empire?, pp. 146-162.
* William J. Bernstein, A Splendid Exchange: How Trade Shaped the World (New York: Atlantic Monthly
Press, 2008), pp. 20-42.
* Yuval N. Harari, Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind, (London: Vintage Books, 2014), pp. 22-44.
* Emile Durkheim, The Elementary Forms of Religious Life (New York: The Free Press, 1995), pp. 33-
44, 207-216.
* Raymond Williams, ?Culture is Ordinary? (1958), in Ben Highmore ed., The Everyday Life Reader
(Psychology Press, 2002), pp. 91-100.
* Clive Ponting, World History: A New Perspective, (London: Chatto & Windus, 2000), pp. 250-257,
* Peter Stearns et al., World Civilizations, The Global Experience (Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson
Education, Inc. 2011), Chapter 15: ?A New Civilization Emerges in Western Europe?, pp. 328-
*[Optional] Lynda Shaffer, `Southernization? Journal of World History Vol. 5, No. 1 (Spring 1994) pp.
* Alfred W. Crosby, The Columbian Exchange: Biological and Cultural Consequences of 1492, (London:
Praeger, 2003), pp. 3-34.
* [Optional] Jared Diamond, Guns, Germs and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies, (E-book: W.W.
Norton & Company, 1999), pp. 306-325.
* Richard W. Bulliet et al., The Earth and Its Peoples: A Global History (2011), pp. 449-455.
* Gerard Delanty, Chapter 6: ?The Renaissance and the Rise of European Consciousness,?
Formations of European Modernity (Cham: Palgrave Macmillan, 2019), pp. 109-131.
* Richard W. Bulliet et al., The Earth and Its Peoples: A Global History (Fifth Edition) (Boston MA:
Wadsworth-Cengage Learning, 2011), pp. 446-468.
* Yuval Noah Harari, Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind, (London: Vintage Books, 2014), pp.
* [Optional] Ben Teensma and John Anderson. Navigator: The Log of John Anderson, VOC Pilot-Major,
1640-1643 (Leiden: BRILL, 2010), pp. 3-9.
* Harold J. Cook, ?Moving About and Finding Things Out: Economies and Sciences in the Period
of the Scientific Revolution? OSIRIS 27 (2012), pp. 101?132.
* Kieron O?Hara, The Enlightenment: A Beginner?s Guide (London: Oneworld Publications, 2010), pp.
* Yuval Noah Harari, Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind (New York: McClelland & Stewart,
2014), `The Ideal of Progress? and `And They Lived Happily Ever After?.
* [Optional] Immanuel Kant, ?An Answer to the Question: What is Enlightenment,? Berlinische
Monatschrifte, 1784.
* Jack Goldstone, ?The Comparative and Historical Study of Revolutions?, Annual Review of
Sociology, Vol. 8, 1982, pp. 187-207.
* Eric Hobsbawm, The Age of Revolution (Vintage, 1996), pp. 117-131.
* [Optional] John Coatsworth et al., Global Connections: Volume 2, Since 1500: Politics, Exchange, and
Social Life in World History (Cambridge University Press, 2015), pp. 202-211.
* Christopher Pierson, The Modern State, 3rd ed. (Routledge, 2011), pp. 4-49.
* Anthony D. Smith, ?State-making and nation-building,? States in History 15 (1986): pp. 228-263.