This is the reading assignments and class sessions page for J. B. Owens's sections of the lower-division undergraduate course, History 101, The Foundation of Western Civilization. This course can be taken to satisfy Goal 10A of the General Education Requirements of Idaho State University and three credits of the World Regions requirement for History majors and minors. The sole purpose of this page and all of the pages linked to it is to provide an orientation for those students enrolled in History 101.

The first two sections of this course deal with the formation by churchmen in the eighth century C.E. of a common identity for some European peoples based on Latin-Rite Christianity with important leadership institutions in Rome, and the development of and challenges to this conception to the early sixteenth century. This common identity was threatened during the Reformation era, when the religious unity of Latin-Rite Christendom was shattered. The resulting religious divisions were often reinforced by global conflicts among Europeans over their respective roles within the developing economy of the first global age and by struggles over the institutions and theories of political authority. A new type of common elite identity was increasingly developed on the basis of an educational program and a concern to understand better the natural world.

You may return to the course main page or to the J. B. Owens Main Page.

Reading Assignments and Class Sessions

This page provides information about the reading assignments and class sessions for J. B. Owens's summer 2007 course "The Foundation of Western Civilization." All of the information included here and on the linked pages is TENTATIVE and may be changed throughout the course. You may return to the course syllabus.

Readings are to be completed by the date indicated.

[NOTE: Both in the Owens book and, more often, in on-line sources, you will be reading original documents from the various periods we will be studying in this course. Even though these selections have been translated into English, they often puzzle students because writers in the past presented material in ways quite different from authors now. To help you understand these documents, consult the reading documents page, which offers suggestions about how to read them. Also, READ in the introduction to the Owens book, the section "Understanding Primary Sources" (pp. 3-5).]

Selecting the highlighted titles for each class session listed below will allow you to see:

  1. A list of important names and terms.
  2. A list of questions useful for understanding the lectures and reading assignments, for developing questions for the on-line discussion, and for preparing for examinations.


HISTORY MAJORS: This course, like all of the others required for the History Major, is designed to help you develop certain important cognitive and expressive skills. The conclusion of the History Major program is History 491, the department's seminar. At that point, you will demonstrate your ability to raise important historical questions, to find the information necessary in primary (documents produced by historical individuals and groups) and secondary (such as the Kishlansky book) sources to answer such questions, to formulate hypotheses in response to the questions and organize the information you have found to defend your hypotheses, and to present your thesis and its defense in a coherent written form. Current and potential History Majors should read the page on the History Major Program, giving special attention to the HISTORICAL THINKING OBJECTIVES.

As you do your reading for this course, work to find the information necessary to respond to the questions raised on the page for each class session and to others like them that occur to you. Based on the information you find, formulate hypotheses in response to the questions and think how you would organize the information to defend those hypotheses. Engaging the course material in this way on a regular basis will help you do well in this course and will help you reach the point where you can do excellent work in the more advanced courses of the History Major, including the Seminar.


NOTE: You may return to this page either by using Netscape's "back" option or by selecting the highlighted command at the end of each class session assignment page.


Mail questions and comments to owenjack at -- isu.edu, or send a message now. Please include your name and e-mail address in the body of your message.

You may return to the course syllabus.


All contents copyright © 1996-2007.
J. B. Owens
All rights reserved.

Revised: 10 June 2007

URL: http://www.isu.edu/~owenjack/westciv/reading.html