This is the syllabus page for J. B. Owens's fall 2002 upper-division undergraduate and graduate course, History 360/560, The Spanish Empire. This course is part of the core curriculum in comparative and world history of the Department of History, Idaho State University. The sole purpose of this page and all of the pages on this server that are linked to it is to provide an orientation for those students enrolled in History 360/560.

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The Spanish Empire: Syllabus

On this page you will find the syllabus for J. B. Owens's fall 2002 upper-division undergraduate and graduate course THE SPANISH EMPIRE.

Catalog Course Description

The geographic, cultural, economic, administrative and military dimensions of the encounters and conflicts among the peoples of a major global empire from its medieval beginnings to its final collapse in the Napoleonic era. A core course in the comparative and world history curriculum.

Important Information

To move to other pages, click on the highlighted links. If you need to contact me, you may send a message to my e-mail address (owenjack@isu.edu) or do so now by activating this button: Mail Now. If you use the latter option, be sure to include your name and e-mail address in the text of your message.

NOTE: By 5:00 p.m. on Thursday, 29 August, you are required to send to Dr. Owens's e-mail address (owenjack@isu.edu) a message to confirm that you have received the automated welcome message to the SpEmp class discussion list (see below). If you have not done so, you will be required to drop the course, in which you will receive a grade of "F".

NOTE: For your own good, no one who expects to do well in this course should be carrying over SIXTEEN CREDIT-HOURS this semester, fewer if you are working more than 10 hours per week.

HISTORY MAJORS: This course is part of the History Major core curriculum in comparative and world history. As such it is part of a progression of courses designed to enable you to develop certain cognitive and expressive skills. In order to do well in the program, it is important that you understand what is expected of you. Therefore, you should read now about the undergraduate major program in History. Pay particular attention to the PREFACE and STUDENT OUTCOMES sections of this page.

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PREFACE

CONSIDER: "A traveller, who has lost his way, should not ask, 'Where am I?' What he really wants to know is, Where are the other places? He has got his own body, but he has lost them."
-- Alfred North Whitehead, Process and Reality (1929)

The First Global Age

I have designed this course to introduce you to the best current scholarship on a crucial period of world history, concentrating on the creation and development of global economic, political/military and information networks in the period 1350-1825, and to promote an active and intense dialogue about the problems and debates that have motivated this research. We must have this dialogue because we will be discussing something that affects us all every day: the globalization of the context of human life and our growing interdependence with the peoples of all world regions.

If you let me, I will even turn your examination essays and course project into dialogues, in which you can participate to improve the quality, and therefore the grade, of your work (see below).

Goals and Outcomes

This course responds to central aspects of the major program in History. Your work should help you better:

It should also enhance your abilities:

Secondary education majors should be aware that there is a growing emphasis on teaching Geography, including preparation courses for the recently-developed AP exam in World Geography. ISU has no Geography program, and because for a growing number of secondary school positions, teaching these courses is coupled with teaching History, our graduates may find themselves at a disadvantage relative to other candidates who have graduated from an institution with a Geography department.

Therefore, I stress Historical Geography in this course to provide you with some background in the subject. Moreover, you should be aware that ISU's Department of Geosciences offers an introductory course in Physical Geography. If you would like to enhance your ability to handle instructional materials in both Geography and History, I also suggest that you take one or more of the courses on Geographic Information Systems (GIS) offered by ISU's GIS Training and Research Center.

You may be interested to know that my colleague, Dr. Laura Woodworth-Ney and I are discussing a major grant proposal to design and implement at ISU an undergraduate History curriculum with a substantial spatial emphasis. This project may also lead to the creation of an innovative master's program in Public History. Dr. Woodworth-Ney and I are affiliated with GeoSTAC, the GeoSpatial Training and Analysis Cooperative. This area is of special interest to Dr. Edward B. Nuhfer, the new director of ISU's Center for Teaching and Learning.

Questions? Please put your name and e-mail address in the body of your message.


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EXAMINATIONS

There will be three examinations in this course: 1 October, 5 November, and 17 December (this last 5:30-7:30 pm). All will be held in LA 339. For the first two, you will respond to a number of multiple-choice items during the latter part of the class period, and at the end of class on that date, you will receive a page of interpretative essay questions, to which you must respond by 1:00 p.m. on the following Friday (4 October and 8 November, respectively). You will need a #2 pencil for each multiple-choice exam. Your examination essays will be sent to me as an e-mail message.

On 17 December, you will do both the multiple-choice and essay sections in class. For this examination, you will need a #2 pencil and sufficient university examination books (blue books) in which to write your essays.

The material in both sections of each examination will be developed from the questions included with the class sessions and reading assignments, from material presented in class, and from our dialogue this semester on the electronic discussion list (see below). The relevant material for the first and second examinations will include the reading assignments for that date. All examinations will be comprehensive with, in the case of the second and third, an emphasis on the material since the previous exam.

All examination responses must start from an understanding of the assigned readings. Each exam will be worth roughly 25% of your final grade. Look at the evaluation standards for essays.

Students will be excused from exams for illness or death, usually their own, or for any reason for which the president would excuse a student (I can tell you what those are; ask me, not him). However, no excuse will be given unless the instructor is notified PRIOR to the exam. A make-up exam will be necessary. The format of make-up exams will be entirely essay.

Questions? Please put your name and e-mail address in the body of your message.


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STANDARDS

For this course, there are strict standards, explained in the three pages linked to the next paragraph, for essay content and form, for the style of bibliography entries and notes, and for the citation of any words or ideas that are not your own. Because failure to observe these standards precisely will lower significantly your grade on the assigned work involved (to "0" in the case of plagiarism), make sure you come to the class on 10 September PREPARED TO SEEK CLARIFICATION of anything on these three pages that you do not understand.

Before the class session on 10 September, read carefully the pages on essay evaluation standards, on bibliography and citation style, and on plagiarism. It is particularly important that you understand the page on plagiarism because you will be submitting your examination essays in digital form, which makes it easy to detect plagiarism through digital searching techniques.

Questions? Please put your name and e-mail address in the body of your message.


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UNDERGRADUATE PROJECT

See a full description of your research project. You will produce a dataset describing the routes that linked your assigned location with other places. This dataset is due, in digital form, at the beginning of class on 19 November. At the same time, you will submit a short essay in which you will explain how the economic, political, and cultural interactions made possible by these routes helped shape the history of your selected location. This project will be worth roughly 15% of your final grade.

NOTE: Periodically throughout the semester, you will be required to submit partial project reports to me and to the SpEmp discussion list (see below).

Because only one student will be allowed to work on a particular location, we will have a lottery during the first class session to determine the order of selection. If you have extensive experience with some relevant location, I will, as much as possible, reserve that place for you. Look at the suggested list of locations.

A preliminary bibliography, in ASCII ("plain text," "DOS text") for your project must be sent to my e-mail address (owenjack@isu.edu) by 1:00 pm on Tuesday, 10 September. The bibliographic form must correspond to the course style sheet. Failure to submit this bibliography on time will give you a GRADE OF "0" for the project as a whole.

Because you must begin work on the project immediately, we will discuss it in class on Tuesday, 3 September. Prior to this class, therefore, you MUST have read the project page, the Course Analytical Approach, the Old World Trade Routes (OWTRAD): Notation System, and J. B. Owens and T. Matthew Ciolek, "Routes: Assembling Data About the Connective Tissue of a Global Monarchy" [Society for Spanish and Portuguese Historical Studies: Bulletin 27,1 (spring-summer 2002): 12-22; distributed in class on 27 August].

Questions? Please put your name and e-mail address in the body of your message.


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GRADUATE PROJECT

See the full description of your research project. You will produce a paper, with appended maps, offering the results of your research. This paper is due at the beginning of class on Tuesday, 10 December. This project will be worth roughly 20% of your final grade.

NOTE: Periodically throughout the semester, you will be required to submit partial project reports to me and to the SpEmp discussion list (see below).

Because only one student will be allowed to work on a particular topic, we will have a lottery on Tuesday, 3 September, to determine the order of selection. Come to that class with a list of several topics, selected from the list of locations, about which you would like to do research.

A preliminary bibliography, in ASCII ("plain text," "DOS text") for your project must be sent to my e-mail address (owenjack@isu.edu) by 1:00 pm on Tuesday, 10 September. The bibliographic form must correspond to the course style sheet. Failure to submit this bibliography on time will give you a GRADE OF "0" for the project as a whole.

Because you must begin your research immediately after you have selected your topic, you should make an appointment to meet with me sometime during the week of 3 September.

Questions? Please put your name and e-mail address in the body of your message.


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EXAM ESSAY REVISIONS

The computer is a major tool for dialogue. I can insert my responses to what you have written within your text; you can respond to these by revising what you have done; I can examine together on my screen both your original text (with my responses) and your revised text, and I can insert further queries and comments.

If you decide that you would like to rewrite any of your essays on the first two examinations, I will be happy to raise queries in the texts. You may then rewrite your essays to respond to these queries (as well as dealing with flaws of style and content), improving the quality of what you have written and earning a higher grade. You should clarify with me the meaning of my queries before you begin your revisions. If you are already aware of writing problems, you are encouraged to make use of the university's free writing lab for assistance during any revisions of your work. There will be no limit to the number of times you can rewrite your essays.

Questions? Please put your name and e-mail address in the body of your message.


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BOOKS

See a list of the books required for this course.

ELECTRONIC OFFICE HOURS

Often it will not be possible for you to get essential questions answered during class or my regular office hours. The networked computer is my ally in promoting dialogue in this course and in providing you with the PERSONAL ATTENTION you need and deserve. I will use Internet communications in two ways.

Of course, I will spend substantial amounts of time both before and after your class sessions in room 344 of the Liberal Arts Building, just around the corner from our classroom. Yet we both know that often our schedules will not mesh sufficiently for us to have adequate time to sit down for a discussion of your ideas, questions, writing, and course projects. The solution: At any time that is convenient for you, send your ideas, questions, and problems to my e-mail address (owenjack@isu.edu), and I will respond as soon as I can. Moreover, by handling the matter in this way, I will have more time to consider what you are saying, check on facts and bibliography, and respond clearly in writing so that you will have a record (I will keep one too).

But it gets better than this. Naturally, I will respond to anything of a personal nature with an individual response to you alone. However, many of the questions and comments I will get, about the project for example, will be of importance to everyone in the class, and I will, therefore, post your message and my response to everyone. That way I, and you, will derive much more benefit from my interactions with students outside of class. We will be able to have this type of communication because we will all be members of an on-line discussion list, to which I now turn.

Questions? Please put your name and e-mail address in the body of your message.


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THE LIST

As soon as possible, visit the list web page at the URL (Uniform Resource Locator):
maillist.isu.edu/mailman/listinfo/spemp

Because all ISU students automatically receive an e-mail address, I will subscribe you to the SpEmp list. When I subscribe your e-mail address, you will get an automatic welcome message explaining the nature of the SpEmp list and how to use it. SAVE THIS MESSAGE.

By 5:00 p.m. on Thursday, 29 August, you must send to my e-mail address (owenjack@isu.edu) a message to confirm that you have received this welcome message. If you fail to do so, you will be required to drop this course, in which you will receive a grade of "F".

I will respond on SpEmp (The Spanish Empire discussion list) to your queries about course material and your project.

But we won't stop there. In addition to your questions, you are welcome, indeed encouraged, to post statements of your ideas on particular subjects, messages of an informational nature (e.g., the times for group study sessions in the Student Union or College Market), and YOUR responses to the questions and requests for help of other students.

You MUST DEVELOP traits that encourage positive forms of interaction among class members if this course is to be a satisfying experience for you and others. In addition to developing necessary cognitive and expressive skills, History Majors should learn how to collaborate with each other, how to discuss the work of others in constructive, supportive ways, and how to make use of feedback about their own work in order to improve its quality.

Your participation in the dialogue of the list and in class will account for roughly 10% of your final grade. Therefore, you can seek the assistance you need and get credit for it, and you can do so in a way that is compatible with your schedule and life-style. You MUST RESPOND PROMPTLY (within 72 hours) to any on-line questions I ask you.

NOTE: Periodically throughout the semester, you will be required to submit partial project reports to the list.

Because Internet discussion lists are rapidly becoming a major component of the activity in all fields, you must learn how to use them well. For suggestions on how to ensure the high quality of your messages and of the responses to them, turn to the page on Using Lists Effectively. You may also find it intellectually useful and stimulating to join a relevant international list, at least as an observer (a "lurker" in Internet language). There are now well over 220,000 of these, and you will find something that will interest you in CataList, the official catalog of LISTSERV lists. For this source, I thank my colleague Dr. T. Matthew Ciolek, Head of the Internet Publications Bureau, Research School of Pacific and Asian Studies (RSPAS), The National Institute for Asia and the Pacific, The Australian National University, Canberra.

Questions? Please put your name and e-mail address in the body of your message.


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CLASS SESSIONS AND READING ASSIGNMENTS

Moving to this page will inform you about the temporal organization of the semester's course work. By clicking your mouse cursor on the highlighted dates, you will find the reading assignments, useful information, and focus questions relevant to each specific session and reading assignment. The course's organization and the specific material for each class session are based on a specific analytical approach.

NOTE-TAKING

In class you will often be introduced to information and interpretations different from what is provided in the assigned readings for the course. Success on the examinations will depend heavily on your ability to understand what is presented in the readings and in class. In order to study and reflect on the ideas presented in class, you will have to take good notes: that is, notes that reflect accurately the positions I present.

Failure to take good notes from the beginning will trouble you throughout. Also, the note-taking process will convert your class attendance from a passive activity to an active one, which is essential for learning.

You may make an audio recording of class sessions if you wish, but these will be of most use to you if you also take complete written notes and use the recordings only to clarify points poorly expressed in the written version.

Questions? Please put your name and e-mail address in the body of your message.


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CONSIDER: "One of the most significant facts about us may finally be that we all begin with the natural equipment to live a thousand kinds of life but end in the end having lived only one."
-- Clifford Geertz

Version and Change History

This syllabus represents Version 3.3 of this course.

While on the faculty of New York University in the early 1970s, I tried to create a comparative, world history course, which focused on the Mediterranean basin and the networks that connected locations there with each other and with locations in other world regions. I gave it the unfortunate title "Mediterranean Civilizations" and focused on the period 500 C.E. to 1700 C.E. When I went to Lehigh University in 1973, I expanded this course to two semesters, with the break about 1200 C.E. This was Version 1 of the current course.

Because when I arrived at ISU in 1975 my colleagues showed no interest in this course, I used the part that focused on the eastern Mediterranean and North Africa to teach a strange course on the "middle east." It was designed to demonstrate sufficient student interest to warrant hiring an expert in the subject. In this, I was successful.

In the fall of 1991, the ISU department reorganized its undergraduate curriculum to focus on comparative and world history. To assist, I designed a comparative, world history course, to which I gave the title "The Spanish Empire" for administrative rather than intellectual reasons. This title is also unfortunate because it fails to explain the scope of the course. Students are always surprised to discover that we study the kingdom of Portugal and its non-European domains. However, this course, as it was taught in the early 1990s, constitutes Version 2 of the current course.

In the summer of 1995, I was able to take advantage of six weeks of residence at the University of California, Santa Cruz, made possible by the NEH Summer Institute "Rethinking Europe/ Rethinking World History, 1500-1750," to completely redesign the course. I wanted to do two things. First, I built the course around what I had learned during my research on the instructional capabilities of Internet communications techniques. Second, I focused more clearly on the importance of networked connections between locations in shaping the histories of these places. This course, taught during the fall semesters of 1995 and 1997, constitutes Version 3.1 of the current course.

In 1998, I began to explore the use of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) in my research on the development of a cohesive regional oligarchy, 1400-1700, which centered its activities on the southeastern Castilian city of Murcia. Although I was not going to teach the students GIS, I incorporated some of the perspectives I developed into the version of this course that I taught in the fall semester of 1999, especially in the student research project. Therefore, this is Version 3.2 of the course.

Because others have shown interest in the course and its development, I intend to make available online as much material from Versions 3.1 and 3.2 as I still have available. The issue is time, not will.


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All contents copyright © 1995-2002.
J. B. Owens
All rights reserved.

Revised: 21 August 2002

URL: http://www.isu.edu/~owenjack/spemp/sylver5.html