History 115

San Francisco State University


History 115.1: World History Since 1500

Instructor: Dr. Maziar Behrooz

Telephone: (415) 338-1776

E-mail: mroozbeh@sfsu.edu

Home Page: http://faculty.sfsu.edu/~mroozbeh



Course Description: This course is a survey of world history from 1500 to the present.  By nature, the course has to be selective in order to be able to present the subject in a general and yet effective manner.  Nevertheless, key aspects of human history during the last five hundred years will be examined and analyzed.  The main theme of the course is the view that modern world history is a process of increasing contact and interaction between societies, leading eventually to our present age of “global village.@  Subjects such as modernity vs. traditionalism, nationalism vs. internationalism, colonialism, imperialism, socialism, etc., will be examined throughout the course.  Documentary videos will be shown as time permits. 


Fall 2018: MW 11-12:15, HSS 310

Office Hours: Science 223, MW 10-11 or by appointment


Course Outline:


Week 1: August 27-29

Introduction: Collision at Cajamarca & Atahuallpa's predicament; the pre-modern world (to 1500s): Medieval Europe; Renaissance and early changes in Europe; Maritime Revolution; Mercantilism and early stages of capitalism.

Reading: Bulliet, chapter 16 & pdf article Suleiman the Magnificent


Week 2: September 3-5 (No class on September 3-Labor Day)

Early Modern World I (1500s-1700s): Moslem world; Sunnis and Shi’a Islam; the Ottoman Empire, Iran under the Safavids; Mughals of India.

Reading: Bulliet, chapter 20 & pdf article Akbar Shah


Week 3: September 10-12

Early Modern World II (1500s-1700s): Imperial China: Ming and Qing dynasties and Shogun Japan and Tokugawa.

Reading: Bulliet, chapter 21 & pdf article Tokugawa


Week 4: September 17-19

World of Western Dominance: transformation of Europe and the Protestant Reformation; Absolutism and Parliament; wars of religion; early Russian History.

Reading: Bulliet, chapters 17 & pdf article Luther




Week 5: September 24-26

English Revolution; Slave Trade; Atlantic System; Colonial Economy and Expansion of Capitalism; "Scientific Revolution"; Enlightenment; Russia under Peter and Catherine; Revolutionary Eighteenth Century: Industrial Revolution; America's War of Independence; the Great

Reading: Bulliet chapters 19 & 22 (pp. 580-590) & 23 & Voltaire


Week 6: October 1-3


MID-TERM EXAM I: October 1


French Revolution and the Birth of the First Republic; the Age of Napoleon Bonaparte and the First Empire; Toward the Nineteenth Century. 

Reading: Bulliet, Chapter 22 (pp. 590-598) & pdf article Napoleon


Week 7: October 8-10

Impact of Western Dominance: Colonialism and Imperialism; Independence in Latin America; Emergence of the British Empire; Ottoman Empire and the Age of Tanzimat; Imperial China: the Opium War and Tongzhi Restoration.

Reading: Bulliet, chapter 22 (pp. 598-596) & 24&25 & pdf article Bolivar


Week 8: October 15-17

India: British Colonialism and the End of the Mughals; Rise of Indian Nationalism.

The "Opening" of Japan: the End of Shogan Age and the Meigi Restoration; Colonialism in Africa; the Boar War.

Reading: Bulliet, chapter 26 & pdf article Shaka Zulu


Week 9: October 22-24

Rise of Nationalism and Revolution: European Revolutions and Rise of the Industrial Working Class; the New Power Balance in Europe: Unification of Germany and Italy; Imperialism; Origins of Arab-Israel Conflict and the Birth of Zionism; Toward the New Century: Reflections on Western Intellectual Trends: Liberalism; Socialism; Europe and the World before World War I.

Reading: Bulliet, chapters 27& 28 (pp. 738-757)


Week 10: October 29-31

Twentieth Century: World War I; Decline of European powers: End of Russian, Austrian, Ottoman Empires; Russian Revolution, Birth of the Soviet Union and Rise of Communism, Stalinism; Birth of Yugoslavia.

Reading: Bulliet, chapter 28 (pp.757-764) & 29 & pdf article Lenin


Week 11: November 5-7


MID TERM EXAM II: November 5


Revolution and National Independence: Mexican Revolution, Chinese Revolution; Independence Movement in India; the Middle East during inter-war years.

Reading: Bulliet, chapter 31 & pdf article Gandhi


Week 12: November 12-14 (No class on November 12-Veterans Day)

World War II and its Consequences: Swastika Over Europe; fall of France and the Battle of Britain; Attack on the USSR; United States Enters the War; Advent of Nuclear Age; Holocaust and then War's Human Cost.

Reading: Bulliet, chapter 32


Week 13:  November 19-21 (No Class: Fall Recess)


Week 14:  November 26-28

Inter-war period: Crisis of Liberal Democracy; Nazism and Fascism in Germany and Italy; Militarization of Japan; the Great Depression; Spanish Civil War; Politics of appeasement and the Road to World War II. 

Reading: Bulliet, chapter 30 & pdf article Mao


Week 15:  December 3-5

Post World War II: Cold War and the Age of Super Powers; End of European Empires; Rise of the “Third World” and liberation movements.

Reading: Bulliet, chapter 33 & pdf article Hitler


Week 16 December 10-12

Topics in Late Twentieth Century World History: Problems of Nationalism and Liberation; Arab-Israel Conflict; War In Vietnam; Revolt in the Moslem World; End of the Cold War; Collapse of the Soviet Union and its Consequences; End of Apartheid in South Africa; Rise of European Union; Toward a Global Culture.

Reading: Bulliet, chapter 34 & pdf article Mandela


Monday December 17: Will cover the remaining lectures, review for final, and class discussion.



Richard Bulliet, The Earth and its Peoples (Volume 2-Sixth Edition)

Naghuib Mahfouz, Midaq Alley (attached below)



In order to keep the price of this textbook low, I continue to order the 5th edition which is cheaper that the newer 6th edition.


An alternative and less expensive way of accessing the 6th edition of Bulliet, The Earth and Its Peoples, Volume II, is to rent it directly from the publisher, Cengage Brain. Here is a link directly to the Bulliet text:



More info from the publisher: 

“The text is $44.99 to rent for a semester. Students can also opt to purchase the electronic book instead, for $62.49. We’re all about price options! Let me know if you have any questions about the rental program or anything else for your courses.”

 ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Course Requirements: There will be two mid-term exams (25% each), a book review (10%) and a final exam (40%).  Always have an Examination Book for your exams.  Exams will be in the form of identification and essay questions and you will have a choice. 

Your exams are based on the required readings and class lectures.  Therefore, class attendance is necessary.  Your final grade will be negatively influenced if you miss more than three classes without valid explanation (2 points off your final grade for 4 absents, 4 points for 6 absents, and so on).

Book Review: Write a review of 1000 words (four pages typed and double space) on the novel Midaq AlleyBook reviews are due on final exam day.  To help you with your review, it should address the following question as well as containing your opinion and evaluation of the novel:


How are "modernity" and "tradition" portrayed in Mafouz's Midaq Alley?  What would you say is Mahfouz's message about change in twentieth-century Egypt?


EXTRA CREDIT? Worth 5 points, talk to me (Only for those who attend class lectures regularly)


IMPORTANT: Do not miss any exam unless you have a very good reason and have prearranged everything with me. 


Final Exam:  Saturday December 22, 10:30-12:45, HSS 310


Please note the following information regarding university policy:


This course ca fulfill GE requirement and history major lower division requirement.


DISABILITY POLICY: Students with disabilities who need reasonable accommodations are encouraged to contact the instructor.  The Disability Programs and Resource Center (DPRC) is available to facilitate the reasonable accommodations process. The DPRC is located in the Student Service Building and can be reached by telephone (voice/TTY 415-338-2472) or by email (dprc@sfsu.edu).” (http://www.sfsu.edu/~dprc/facultyfaq.html#1)  (http://www.sfsu.edu/~dprc seems like a better reference)

 DISCLOSURES OF SEXUAL VIOLENCE: SF State fosters a campus free of sexual violence including sexual harassment, domestic violence, dating violence, stalking, and/or any form of sex or gender discrimination.  If you disclose a personal experience as an SF State student, the course instructor is required to notify the [Dean of Students].  To disclose any such violence confidentially, contact:

[The SAFE Place - (415) 338-2208; http://www.sfsu.edu/~safe_plc/]

[Counseling and Psychological Services Center - (415) 338-2208; http://psyservs.sfsu.edu/]

For more information on your rights and available resources: [http://titleix.sfsu.edu]

 PLAGIARISM:  Here is the university policy https://conduct.sfsu.edu/plagiarism#source



Questions to consider (Exam I):

-Compare and contrast two of the following three societies during early modern period: Ottoman Empire; Mughal India; Japan; China

-Explain the Reformation and its significance.

-Compare and contrast the role of Islam in the Ottoman, Safavid, and Mughal Empires.


Questions to consider (Exam II):

-What was the Atlantic system?  How did it operate, what countries were involved, and what were their motivation? What was the system’s legacy?

-Discuss the English Revolution and descried how the problem of royal absolutism vs. constitutional rule was solved.

-Discuss French society before the French Revolution.  How was society changed by the Revolution?  Was the outcome of the Revolution all that the revolutionaries had hoped for?  What legacy did it leave to the world? Give specific examples.

-The French Revolution witnessed a phase call the “Reign of Terror” under the leadership of the Jacobins (1793-94).  Use your knowledge to explain this period in terms of its main actors, its major accomplishments as well as shortcomings.  What was the outlook of France before and after the Jacobin rule?

-Was Napoleon a child or a betrayer of the Revolution?

-Compare and contrast the impact of European modernization on two of the following three.  Use your knowledge to cover various aspects (religion, government, reform, colonial subjugation, etc) of each: India; Ottoman Empire; China; Japan.


Questions to consider (Final):

-What were the causes and consequences of WWI?

-What was the Bolshevik agenda and what did they accomplish?

-Discuss the significance, causes, major actors, and outcome of one of the following revolutionary or anti-colonial movements:  India (1919-1947); China (1911-1949); Mexico (1910-1939).

-How do you explain the rise of Hitler and the Nazi party in Germany?

-What were the root causes of WWII? How do you respond to those who suggest that it was rooted in the peace settlement of WWI?

Additional reading materiaL:









Shaka Zulu






Naguib Mahfouz: Midaq Alley