Full course description
Flowing from this objective, the course deals with the over all history of mankind, and a number of the decisive transformations involved in that history.
What sort of creatures are we? How have we evolved from and lived before we became homo sapiens? What sort of animals are our ancestors?
Important topics nearer in time are the agricultural and industrial revolutions. The agricultural or neolithic revolution has changed us and the world permanently. In a relatively brief period we went from hunting and gathering to tilling the soil and domesticating plants and animals. Why and how did we do this? Since the agricultural revolution our numbers have multiplied beyond comprehension. Societies became increasingly complex and stratified.
The industrial revolution lifted everything to a new unprecedented plane. A type of society arose, driven by industrial innovation and run on fossil fuels. We are still living in that kind of society today, so it is interesting to know how it came about.
The course will also deal with topics like the role of war, disease, religion, worldviews and finance in shaping history. Take disease. Their ways of life brought men in contact with all sorts of diseases. Especially after the agricultural revolution we had to adapt to diseases we caught from our domesticated animals. We still have to do this. Look at present day threats like bird flu. Living in some form of armed peace with diseases has always been a major characteristic of societies. How did we do this?
We will end the course by looking into the harnessing of energy, and the necessary limits to that in the various societal arrangements, such as hunter-gatherers, farmers and fossil-fuelers like us.
- To understand some of the major issues and episodes that have shaped the history of mankind. The focus will be on themes and topics that have had or are still having long term influences on historical development.
Any course in history or sociology including COR1003 Contemporary World History.
- Material will be handed out at the beginning of the course.