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HISTORY 1DD3 Making Of Modern World

Academic Year: Fall 2017

Term: Fall

Day/Evening: D

Instructor: Dr. Stephen Heathorn

Email: heaths@mcmaster.ca

Office: Chester New Hall 621

Phone: 905-525-9140 x 24850


Office Hours: Tues 10:30-12 noon.

Course Objectives:

This course examines thematically the history of the interaction of the West with the rest of the World from the 18th Century until the period right after the Second World War. It is designed as both a basic survey of the major issues of this period and as an introduction to the study of history at the university level. An understanding of the contemporary world requires knowledge about how this world came to be what it is. The past, present and future are not separate domains: the present is a product of the past, and what happened in the past helps to shape the future. History is the pursuit of interpretations of the past based on the research and analysis of surviving evidence. Historians follow rules of evidence and seek to understand the issues they discuss by rigorously researching the context of the past. However, historians also make sense of the past through the prism of their own culture and the issues of the present: this is why each generation asks new questions about the past, and why historical interpretations are never static or monolithic. Judgments about the past are constantly being revised and re-interpreted based on new questions and on the researching of new evidence. Historians sometimes disagree over these interpretations; sometimes they disagree over the evidence used to support these interpretations; sometimes over what actually counts as evidence. This course aims to make some sense of these disagreements while at the same time building student knowledge of the development of our modern world.

This course aims to challenge students on three levels:

  • first, to think about historical interpretation and the nature of historical evidence;
  • second, to develop analytical and critical reading abilities, time-management and note-taking skills, and to improve oral and written communication skills;
  • and third, to encourage intellectual curiosity about, and provide a solid grounding of knowledge in, key events and concepts that shaped the globe over the course of the period c. 1750 to c. 1950.

Textbooks, Materials & Fees:

Peter von Sivers, Charles A. Desnoyers, George B. Snow, Patterns of World History: Volume 2, since 1400 with Sources (Oxford University Press, 2nd Edition, 2015).

Documents for essay assignments will be provided online (free of charge).


Method of Assessment:

Two Document Analysis Essays (2 @ 1250 words [4-5 pages]; each 15%) = 30%

Tutorial Discussions: 5 @ 3% each = 15%

Tutorial Papers (5 @ 250 words [1 page] each 2%) = 10%

Online midterm quizzes 4@ 5% each = 20%

Final Exam = 25%

Policy on Missed Work, Extensions, and Late Penalties:

3% per day penalty for unexcused late assignments. Tutorial Papers must be presented at the beginning of relevant tutorials: late tutorial papers will not be accepted.

Online quizzes must be completed within the 24 hour time-window provided. 


Please Note the Following Policies and Statements:

Academic Dishonesty

You are expected to exhibit honesty and use ethical behaviour in all aspects of the learning process. Academic credentials you earn are rooted in principles of honesty and academic integrity.

Academic dishonesty is to knowingly act or fail to act in a way that results or could result in unearned academic credit or advantage. This behaviour can result in serious consequences, e.g. the grade of zero on an assignment, loss of credit with a notation on the transcript (notation reads: "Grade of F assigned for academic dishonesty"), and/or suspension or expulsion from the university.

It is your responsibility to understand what constitutes academic dishonesty. For information on the various types of academic dishonesty please refer to the Academic Integrity Policy, located at www.mcmaster.ca/academicintegrity

The following illustrates only three forms of academic dishonesty:

  1. Plagiarism, e.g. the submission of work that is not one’s own or for which other credit has been obtained.
  2. Improper collaboration in group work.
  3. Copying or using unauthorized aids in tests and examinations.

Email correspondence policy

It is the policy of the Faculty of Humanities that all email communication sent from students to instructors (including TAs), and from students to staff, must originate from each student’s own McMaster University email account. This policy protects confidentiality and confirms the identity of the student.  Instructors will delete emails that do not originate from a McMaster email account.

Modification of course outlines

The University reserves the right to change dates and/or deadlines etc. for any or all courses in the case of an emergency situation or labour disruption or civil unrest/disobedience, etc. If a modification becomes necessary, reasonable notice and communication with the students will be given with an explanation and the opportunity to comment on changes. Any significant changes should be made in consultation with the Department Chair.

McMaster Student Absence Form (MSAF)

In the event of an absence for medical or other reasons, students should review and follow the Academic Regulation in the Undergraduate Calendar Requests for Relief for Missed Academic Term Work. Please note these regulations have changed beginning Fall 2015. You can find information at mcmaster.ca/msaf/. If you have any questions about the MSAF, please contact your Associate Dean's office.

Academic Accommodation of Students with Disabilities

Students who require academic accommodation must contact Student Accessibility Services (SAS) to make arrangements with a Program Coordinator. Academic accommodations must be arranged for each term of study. Student Accessibility Services can be contacted by phone 905-525-9140 ext. 28652 or e-mail sas@mcmaster.ca. For further information, consult McMaster University's Policy for Academic Accommodation of Students with Disabilities.

Academic Accommodation for Religious, Indigenous and Spiritual Observances

Students requiring academic accommodation based on religion and spiritual observances should follow the procedures set out in the Course Calendar or by their respective Faculty. In most cases, the student should contact his or her professor or academic advisor as soon as possible to arrange accommodations for classes, assignments, tests and examinations that might be affected by a religious holiday or spiritual observance.

Topics and Readings:

A. Introduction

Reading: Von Sivers, Desnoyers, Stow, Patterns of World History, pp. 658-59.

B. The Atlantic Revolutions, c. 1750 to 1815.

Reading: Von Sivers, et al, pp. 660-693.

C. Industrialization in the 19th Century

Reading: Von Sivers, et al,  pp. 790-821.

D. Colonies to Modern Nation States: Latin America, c. 1815 to 1914

Reading: Von Sivers, et al, pp. 696-727.

E. The Challenge of Modernity in East Asia, c. 1790 to 1914

Reading: Von Sivers, et al, pp. 728-59

F. Traditional Empires Confronting the Modern: Russia and the Middle East, c. 1790-1914

Reading: Von Sivers, et al, pp. 761-89.

G. Socialism, Nationalism & Imperialism

Reading: Von Sivers, et al, pp. 822-53.

H. The Fracturing of Western Modernity 1: First World War and its Aftermath

Reading: Von Sivers, et al, pp. 856-74.

I. The Fracturing of Western Modernity 2: The Challenge of Anti-Liberal States

Reading: Von Sivers, et al, pp. 875-82.

J. The Second World War and its aftermath.

Reading: Von Sivers, et al, pp. 882-93


Other Course Information:

2 full (50 minute) lectures and 1 half (25 minute) lecture per week.  50 minute tutorials held everyother week.