Syllabus Ideas and Organizational Possibilities

From Dr. Clark
I intended to write up two different outlines (one with a World
Geography approach, one with more of a World History theme
approach), but while doing the first one, it would seem that more
or less my bias for the second got the best of me, and I ended up
molding the two together anyway. I might have explored more
historical themes in the second, but when I think about it, it likely
wouldn’t look a great deal different than the first.

I. The Middle School and/or World Geography Approach
     What concerns me about this approach (and the course design in general) is the
       lack of just pure history standards—some concepts and events that are the most
       important. Certainly if you look at the GHW Standards, there are some that
       address this at the broadest level—Nations, States, Nation-States; Imperialism;
       Urbanization, etc. This will have to be your guide in selecting episodes to focus
       on that not only cover the GHW standards but that also capture the critical aspects
       of historical change.

    The chief benefit of this approach is that class is geared more toward World
     Geography and many of you use this standard text. Nevertheless, there are
     historical epochs that a traditional World Geography, regional approach simply
     does not address appropriately. One of these would be our contemporary era—
     globalization. The best approach here would be to explore the phenomenon and
     then to examine regional examples to explore the similarities and differences in
     dealing with the challenges and opportunities of globalization (and other problems
     related to the diffusion of ideas and innovations, like modern medicine and
     transportation helping to produce exploding populations). But throughout the
     modern period (say since 1500), the world has become a more interconnected
     place: European expansion and colonization (including the Columbian
     Exchange), the Scientific Revolution, industrialization, imperialism, post-
     colonialism—really the fall implications that Guns, Germs, and Steel explores.
     These were global phenomena. So, I think that while a traditional regional
     approach would work very well, you would have to insert special content units
     covering either some of these related GHW standards OR some of the topical
     themes noted above. Perhaps cover key concepts/standards BEFORE plunging in
     to the Regions. Or, cover each region following a rough chronology in each up
     until about1500. Then stop to cover the Columbian Exchange (for example) and
       the rise of European industrialization and the Nation State, and then go back to a
       regional approach to see how these all panned out. And, I still think one would
       need a couple of final units covering the contemporary globalized world AND
       one’s own locality. How has the local community you live in been impacted by
       (or was/was not a part of) some of the themes of the modern era (industrialization,
       immigration, urbanization, demographic shifts [growth/decline], etc.)

How such a class might be outlined:
          A. Introduction to World Geography Themes and Concepts—with a focus on
              the human geography/cultural geography, like population and man-land
          B. The Regions of the World (up to the Columbian Exchange, c. 1500 C.E.)
               Within each region, your standard world geography text likely will not
                  be very helpful. It can offer some basic information as a foundation.
                  You should let the GHW standards (at least some of them) AND a
                  decent world history text (looking for the key themes or episodes for a
                  focus) be your guide to what topics/unit and lessons you would want to
                  develop. The general consensus even from the middle-school teachers
                  was that the teacher needs to bring in supplementary world history
                  resources. Within each region, however you would develop topics
                  related to GHW standards 1, 2, 3, 5, 6, 7, 8 and 9. What are the
                  defining cultures/civilizations that develop in each region (culture
                  hearths, religion, population growth, perhaps state development
                  [standard 10]? You would note aspects of trade (standard 8), and any
                  major conflicts or innovations (standards 7 and 6 respectively).

                  1. Southwest Asia
                  2. South Asia
                  3. East Asia
                  4. Africa
                        a) Northern Africa
                        b) Sub-Saharan Africa
                  5. Asia
                  6. North and South America
                  7. Europe

           C. Major Shifts in World History (or in Man-Land interaction)
              This is the two (or so) unit interlude noted above, where you would cover
              (essentially) the key question animating Guns, Germs, and Steel—Why
              did Europeans come to dominate the world scene, what were their
                  1. The Rise of Europe after the Black Death (population-standard 3,
                  the early rise of the nation state-standard 10, and [mainly] innovations
                  in technology and thought [religion and science], and trade-standards
                  6 and 9)
       2. European Exploration (innovations and revolutions, nation-states,
       exploration and conquest, Columbian exchange—standards, 6, 10, 4,
       and 9 and 12)
       3. Industrialization and Imperialism, mainly in Europe (innovations,
       trade, population, urbanization, conflict and cooperation, nation-state
       development—many standards again). You might want to pirate some
       key ideas organizationally from a world history text, since big
       historical topics like WWI and WWII would have to be placed under
       broader topical headings.

D. Back to Regional Ramifications (except for Europe, which was the
   primary focus of the last three units)

   Within each region, one would explore the ramifications of colonialism,
   imperialism, capitalism, socialism (both western concepts), etc.
      1. The Americas

       2. Africa (again the N. and S. split)
              a) Impact of slave trade
              b) Impact of imperial colonization and war
              c) Capitalism, Socialism and post-colonialism
       3. South Asia
              a) Imperialism (trade and commerce, conflict/cooperation,
                  and diffusion of ideas, along with a discussion of barriers)
              b) Post Colonial/Revolutions
       *pick and choose nations/episodes as guides

       4. East Asia
          a) China and Imperialism—trade and the struggle between
             capitalism, socialism and traditional folkways
          b) SE Asia and Imperialism (Dutch in Indonesia and the power of
             oil; the French in Indo-China)
          c) Japan and playing catch up (after isolation—political and
             cultural barriers to change, recall the Last Samurai)
       5. Southwest Asia
        a) Imperialism/trade networks
        b) Post-imperial breakout and the power of Oil (standards 8, 9,
           10)—OPEC would be an example of cooperation

E. Globalization Issues: here I would stick mainly to themes rather than
   regions or nations. One might address in no particular order:
   1. Demographic Explosion—due to diffusion of knowledge/medicine etc.
   (standards 3 and 6). One would likely also cover urbanization here.
   2. Trade Connections/internet and diffusion of ideas-homogenization of
   world? (and the conflicts this homogenization pose—i.e. clash of
             3. Global Change and the Environment (standards 9 and 12)
             4. Sports and Recreation
             5. My hometown and Global Evolutions

II. World History Hybrid
          A. Introduction to Geography Concepts
          B. Divergence of World Cultures (Ancient thru Medieval, c. 1300-1400)
          C. Convergence of World Cultures (world from 1500-1945)
          D. Globalization (Since 1945)

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