Nipissing University

HISTORY 1505 -- History of the Modern World


Course Director: Dr. Steve Muhlberger

What this course is about:

HIST 1505 is one of two introductory courses offered by Nipissing University's History Department.   "History of the Modern World" aims to give you a framework for thinking about the world as a whole.   It emphasizes interconnections, the roots of what is currently called "globalization," a process that has been going on for a very long time.  

The course will examine the distinctive characteristics of major regional cultures, and the huge movements -- military, economic, and social -- that have affected them
Home Page for the Course: 


Home Page for Seminars:

How to contact the instructors:

Course Director:  Dr. Steven Muhlberger

E-mail: stevem {at}

Office: H 312

Office Hours:  Wed 3:30-4:30

       Office Phone: 474-3461 ext 4458

Home Phone: 776-1247

Weblog (often has additional announcements and course-related material):


Academic home page (permanent links to course material):



Seminar Leader:  Dr. Mark Crane

E-mail:  markc {at}

Office:  H 315

Office Phone: 474-3461 ext  4181

Academic home page:

Required Books:

1. Text Book:


Robert Tignor et al., Worlds Together, Worlds Apart.


This book is the basis for much of the lecture material, and of the exams.


2. Source Book:


Merry E. Wiesner et. al., Discovering the Global Past:  A look at the evidence, v. II, 2nd ed.


This book will be used in seminars as the basis of seminar discussion and writing assignments.


3. Writing Guides:


Gerald Graff and Cathy Birkenstein, They Say/I Say:  The moves that matter in academic writing


This book will also be used in seminar as a guide to how to make an academic argument, and why academic arguments are worth making.


Mary Lynn Rampolla, A Pocket Guide to Writing in History


This is a more technical guide to writing. History majors will use this book throughout their time at NU.  The answer to the question "What kind of footnotes do you want?" is "Look it up in the Rampolla book." 


4.  Novel:




Your second term essay will be based on reading one of several novels.   A list of possible novels will be issued later.


Writing assignments in conjunction with seminar readings:

 1. Assignment 1 – 19 October (due in lecture that day) – 5%

 2. Assignment 2  -- 16 November. -- (due in lecture) 10% 

 3. Assignment 3 – 8 February (due in lecture) -- 15%




4.      Essay  -- 1 March – 20 %




 5.  First term exam – 30 November -- 20%

 6.  Final examination – TBA April -- 30%

How to pass this course 

The secret of good grades in a university course is active engagement in the course on a week-by-week basis.   Active engagement includes these simple things:

1.  Coming to every lecture and paying attention.
2.  Coming to every seminar, asking questions and making comments.
3.  Reading all assigned textual material.
4.  Handing in all written assignments.
5.  Handing in all written assignments on time.
6.  Studying diligently for the two exams, possibly in cooperation with other students.

Numbers 4 and 5 are very important.   Most students who fail history courses have not handed in all assignments.   Most students who end up with Ds or low Cs have handed in assignments late.  These same students usually have skipped many classes.

How to get an "A" in this course

To get an A, you have to go beyond active engagement and show excellence.   As a famous medieval knight said "He [or she] who does more is of greater worth."

What does "more" mean?   Among other things it includes:

Lectures and Lecture-Related Readings

On each Thursday there will be two separate lectures with a short break in between.   T (page numbers) indicates the assigned reading from the Robert Tignor book for that set of lectures.

There is a separate schedule of seminar-related readings and assignments on Mark Crane’s website.

Sept  7 Introduction to the Course; Introduction to the World, 1300
            T 4-7

Sept. 14 The Americas and Africa; The Islamic regions and India
            T 3-21

Sept. 21  Christendom; East Asia and Southeast Asia
            T 21-41

Sept. 28  Islamic Dynasties; Ming China
            T 43-66

Oct. 5 Europe in the Late Middle Ages; The Renaissance
            T 67-77

Oct. 9-13 Thanksgiving and Study Week

Oct. 19 Europe Expands in the Eastern Hemisphere; Atlantic Exploration
            T 78-106

Writing Assignment 1 due, at beginning  of lecture

Oct. 26  TBA

Nov. 2 Europe's Transformation in the 16th c.;  Trade in Asia
            T 106-17

Nov.  9 Colonial Development and the Atlantic; Asia in the 17th and 18th c.
            T 118-46
Nov. 16 Japan and Russia; Late 17th c. Europe
           T 147-61 

Writing Assignment 2 due, at beginning  of lecture

Nov. 23 Asia in the 18th c.; European Enlightenment
          T 162-86

Nov. 30 Term test

Jan. 11 American Cultures; Oceania
            T 186-203

Jan. 18 Revolutions; European Economic Expansion and Reactions to It
            T 203-37

Jan. 25 Cultural Change, Islam and Africa; Chinese Radicalism
            T 239-50

Feb. 1 Euro-American Radicalisms; Colonial Insurgencies  
            T 251-69


Feb. 8 Nations; Empires
            T 271-307

Writing Assignment 3 due, at beginning  of lecture

Feb. 15 Modernism and Unrest; Nationalism and Race
            T 309-345

Feb. 19-23  Study Week

Mar. 1 World War I, Causes and Combat; Results of WW I
            T 347-56

            Essay due at beginning of lecture

Mar. 6 Authoritarianism in Europe; Anti-Colonialism
            T 361-82

Mar.  15 American Success and Failure; World War II
            T 357-63, 387-92

Mar. 22 The Cold War and Hot Wars; Decolonialization
            T 392-423

Mar. 29 The Collapse of Post-War Structures; Post Cold-War Divisions
            T 423-61
Apr. 5 Recent Events; Review for Exam