CORC 1220    WILSON    FALL 2010

about this course

CORC 1220 (Formerly Core 2.2): The Shaping of the Modern World

ET6 / 0215                                                      Office Hours
Tuesdays 6:30 – 9:00 p.m.                               Tuesdays 5:30 – 6:30 p.m.
Room 517A                                                     Room 515A

Course Description: A history of modernity since 1500: from EuropeÕs expansion and the emergence of the Atlantic world to a global society. Early modern societies, cultures, and state structures. Effects of trade, colonialism, and slavery. Enlightenment and revolutions. Comparative industrialization and urbanization. Nationalism, internationalism, and totalitarianism. Demography, environment, and gender.

This course is called ÒThe Shaping of the Modern WorldÓ—the events and movements that created our world. We are looking at how and why the world we know—the modern world around us—has developed the way it has over the last few centuries. We concentrate on Western culture, mainly Europe and America, but placing the West in a global context.

Goals and Objectives: A closer understanding of our relationship to the past, and how we can better understand the people who live there; of the role of primary sources; of the ideas and movements that help to create and shape the modern era; of the variety of societies and peoples throughout time and space, and how the relationships between societies create change; of the transforming events that change the world, and how those transformations affect us in the present day.

contact info

Mark B. Wilson

Office: Room 515A
Phone: (718) 951-5000 ext. 1170
            (office hours only)

History Department

Office:     Room 524A
Phone:     (718) 951-5303
Mailbox:  I have a mailbox in the history dept. you can use
               to drop off assignments. ItÕs UNDER my name.

Please use me as a resource: Come to my office hours, talk to me after class, or send me emails with any questions you have—whether they relate to the requirements of the course or ideas weÕre reading about or discussing in class.

You may email me your written assignments, but it doesnÕt ÒcountÓ unless you get an email back from me saying I received it. Unless I reply back to you, I didnÕt receive it. If thereÕs any question about whether IÕm receiving your emails, please talk to me about it in class.



The Textbook:
Jackson J. Spielvogel
Western Civilization: A Brief History

Volume II, 7th Edition
Wadsworth: Cengage: 2011
ISBN: 978-0-495-57149-0

The Reader:
Brooklyn College Dept. of History
The Shaping of the Modern World

5th Edition
Pearson Custom Publishing: 2010
ISBN: 0-536-48964-5



*     Available from Brooklyn College Bookstore, either in person or via their website:

*     Available for slightly less from Amazon and other online retailers, but make sure you get the right edition (see below). Use the ISBN above to search for this volume and edition

*     You can rent the textbook online for the semester for about half price. For more info,
go to and search for this book by ISBN (without the hyphens)

*     Brooklyn College Bookstore (in person)

*     You can get an e-book version of this book at half price. To purchase an access code, go to

PLEASE NOTE THE EDITION: I am using the latest edition of this book, which differs substantially in organization from earlier editions (4th Edition and before). Make sure the cover looks like this one.
If you get an earlier edition, you will have difficulty following the assignments.

There is a new edition available for this year. The contents are almost the same — a couple of readings were dropped from the 4th edition.

You can use either the old (4th) edition, if you find it used, or the new (5th) edition.


DonÕt waste this opportunity! Make the most out of this class.

*     Be on time and prepared. By prepared, I mean you should come into class having done the readings for that day and thought about them. Come in ready to talk about your reactions to the readings and the questions they raised in your mind.

*     Class attendance is required. Missing classes will damage your grade. The textbook is designed to just give you the basics; itÕs in class that we try to make sense of things and sift out whatÕs important. Missing classes means you miss out on a key part of our trying to put things together. Plus, if you miss classes, youÕll miss quizzes, which will put a big crimp in your grade for the course. Religious observances that affect your class attendance should be discussed in advance.

*     Cell phones and electronics need to be silenced and stowed. A phone ringing during class is hugely disruptive. Texting during class is just as rude as talking on the phone.

*     Late assignments will be marked down. Written assignments will be marked down one letter grade per class meeting after the assignment due date, up to a maximum of 30 points. That means youÕre still better off turning in your paper late, and having it be marked down, than not turning it in at all, and getting a zero.

*     Check your email. Make sure I have a good email address for you and check it, as I occasionally send information and updates by email. If you have not gotten an email from me within the first week after school begins, check your spam folders. If you canÕt find an email from me, email me to let me know.

*     Plagiarism will result in a zero. CUNY, like all academic institutions, does not tolerate academic dishonesty. Single instances of plagiarism will yield a zero for the assignment. Multiple instances will result in a zero for the course and disciplinary action from the College. (See below.)

*     Talk to me if youÕre struggling. Come to me in office hours or after class, and the sooner the better. DonÕt wait until itÕs too late to turn things around.

Academic Dishonesty

The faculty and administration of Brooklyn College support an environment free from cheating and plagiarism. Each student is responsible for being aware of what constitutes cheating and plagiarism and for avoiding both. The complete text of the CUNY Academic Integrity Policy and the Brooklyn College procedure for implementing that policy can be found at: If a faculty member suspects a violation of academic integrity and, upon investigation, confirms that violation, or if the student admits the violation, the faculty member MUST report the violation.

Center for Student Disability Services

In order to receive disability-related academic accommodations students must first be registered with the Center for Student Disability Services. Students who have a documented disability or suspect they may have a disability are invited to set up an appointment with the Director of the Center for Student Disability Services, Ms. Valerie Stewart-Lovell at 718-951-5538. If you have already registered with the Center for Student Disability Services please provide your professor with the course accommodation form and discuss your specific accommodation with him or her.


assignments and course grade

Your course grade will be based on the following:



WeÕll have very short quizzes at the start of most meetings to help gauge our relationship with the material in the readings.

*     Quizzes are based on the readings for that class in both the textbook and the reader. If you did your reading for the class, you should be prepared for the quiz.

*     Missed quizzes are not made up. If you come late to class and miss a quiz, youÕll get a zero for that quiz. Therefore, please make sure you come to class on time and prepared.

*     Quizzes are always based on the readings listed on the assignment sheet, even if I am slightly behind the syllabus in the topics I discuss in class. Make sure you do the assigned readings.


Primary Source Write-Up and Presentation

Everyone will sign up for one of the short primary source selections in the reader.

*     Your write-up involves answering the 8 questions about primary sources in the ÒExamining Primary SourcesÓ handout. Your write-up needs to be only 1–2 pages.

*     The day we discuss that primary source in class, you will introduce it to the class. YouÕll give a really short, 2–3 minute presentation, which will simply be you reading (or telling us) your answers to the 8 questions from your write-up.

*     You need to then turn the write-up in to me. I need the write-up to give you a grade.


Position Paper

Over the course of the semester youÕll do some research on a particular topic (from a list of topics IÕll provide) and write a 5–7 page paper that takes a position on that topic. In other words, youÕll be telling me what your opinion is on some controversy related to the topic youÕve researched, and supporting your opinion with evidence and reasoning from your readings.

*     If youÕve never done anything like this before, donÕt worry. I will be talking to you in class about approaching the research, how to structure the paper, and other things that will help you put this together. IÕll also have handouts and examples.

*     YouÕll turn in (a) a proposal, telling me what youÕre going to write about; (b) an optional draft, so I can give you some guidance before you turn in the paper; and (c) the final paper.

*     Because I accept drafts, I do not allow students to submit revised versions of their final paper after the final due date. The draft is worth +5 points on the paper grade if turned in on time.


Midterm Exam                        Tuesday, Oct. 26, 6:30 – 7:45 p.m.


Final Exam                                  Tuesday, Dec. 21, 6:00 – 8:00 p.m.