Course syllabus

The full syllabus, containing the course schedule and lists of readings, can be downloaded here


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HISTORY 103/G: Global History

SEMESTER 1, 2019

15 points

Course Convenor: 

Professor Jonathan Scott -

Room 702, Arts 1


Associate Professor Maartje Abbenhuis -

Room 703, Arts 1


Dr Joseph Zizek -

Room 735, Arts 1



Jake Bransgrove  Office Hours Mondays 1.15-3.15 pm Arts 1, Room 303.

Michaela Selway Office Hours Thursdays 2-4, Arts 1, Room 304 (consultation room 4).

Kieran Sinclair  Office Hours Friday 11-1, Arts 1, Room 303.

Ross Wardrop  Office Hours Thursday 12-2 pm Arts 1, Room 304.


Tuakana Tutor

Nicholas Jones Office Hours Tuesday 10 am-12pm Arts 1, Room 308.


Class Representatives

Justice Rowe

Tom Barrand


Class Times

History 103/103G has two fifty-minute lectures per week:

  • Mondays at 11 am and Thursdays at 11 am


  • One fifty-minute tutorial each week.  Please note that tutorials meet in Week 1 of the course.

Please confirm all rooms and times on Student Services Online


Course Objectives and Content:              

At Stage I we introduce students to some of the basic aspects of the study of history. This course focuses on the period from the late 15th century, when the global integration of communities began to take shape. It considers developments which increasingly bound the fates of all peoples together, including the emergence of world trade networks, the growth of world religions, the formation of world empires, and the migrations of peoples across the continents. Through the thematic and chronological study of global history it is anticipated that students will gain a deeper understanding of the issues that affect their daily lives.

You will obtain an overview of key developments in global history since the fifteenth century. You will also learn that history is not merely concerned with finding out what happened but also with trying to explain how and why things happened. You will, therefore, be introduced to some of the varying interpretations of historians who have written on the subject which you are studying. Where appropriate, you will also be introduced to some primary materials to show the kinds of evidence on which historians base their interpretations and explanations.

Skill outcomes:

An important element of Stage I courses is to impart skills that a historian needs and that can also be used in other fields which require the assimilation, assessment and presentation of information. These skills include:

  • The effective use of the library and information technology and the opportunity to develop and use information literacy competencies in learning contexts and assessments
  • The ability to take notes from lectures and secondary sources
  • The ability to reference work in accurate footnotes/endnotes and bibliographies
  • The ability to present a reasoned argument, written in standard English and based upon evidence

Course Objectives:

  • To present students with an historical overview of the sequence of commercial, cultural, environmental and political events that have brought the peoples of the world together since the fifteenth century
  • To examine the nature of the encounters between peoples of different cultures over time
  • To familiarise students with some of the principal concepts which determined the course of modern history such as imperialism, industrialisation, nationalism, democracy, communism, indigenous rights and globalisation
  • To develop students' ability to discuss their ideas in a range of both written and oral forms
  • To improve students ability to write an academically accredited piece of work


Coursework Requirements

Assessment will consist of weekly tutorial tests, an essay, and an end-of-semester examination. Marks are distributed as follows:

20% = Tutorial Quizzes: 10 weekly quizzes @ 2% each     

30% = Essay (1,500 words), due Friday 3 May

50% = Examination (2 hours, essay-type), held during University Examination Period       


Lecture Schedule (provisional):

Week 1:

Monday 4 March           Introduction (Jonathan Scott)

Thursday 7 March        A World in Motion (Joe Zizek)

Week 2:

Monday 11 March      Empires of Islam, 1500-1800 (Jonathan Scott)

Thursday 14 March    China (Melissa Inouye)

Week 3:

Monday 18  March    Iberian Colonisation of the Americas (Jonathan Scott)

Thursday 21 March     Empires of Commerce (Joe Zizek)

Week 4:

Monday 25 March      Cultural change in Europe (Jonathan Scott)

Thursday 28 March     Empires of Culture (Joe Zizek)

Week 5:

Monday 1 April          Empires of the North Sea (Jonathan Scott)         

Thursday 4 April        Atlantic Revolutions  (Jonathan Scott)

Week 6 

Monday 8 April          Industrialisation  (Joe Zizek)

Thursday 11 April      Industrial Globalization  (Maartje Abbenhuis)


Mid Semester Break


Week 7:

Monday 29  April     Revolutionary Dominoes (Maartje Abbenhuis)

Thursday 2 May         Pacific Environments (Jonathan Scott)

                              ***Essay Due 4pm Friday 3 May***


Week 8: 

Monday 6 May         Restoration and Revolution in Meiji Japan (Ellen Nakamura)

Thursday 9 May        Global Migrations (Joe Zizek)   

Week 9:

Monday 13 May        Global Cities (Joe Zizek) 

Thursday 16 May      Global War (Maartje Abbenhuis)   

Week 10:

Monday 20 May        Genocide (Maartje Abbenhuis)

Thursday 23 May       Twentieth Century Revolutions (Joe Zizek)

Week 11:

Monday 27 May        Twentieth Century Empires (Maartje Abbenhuis)

Thursday 30 May       Global Humanity or Broken World? (Joe Zizek)

Week 12:

Monday 3 June          QUEEN’S BIRTHDAY:  NO LECTURE   

Thursday 6 June         Overview and Exam Information (Jonathan Scott)



Course Textbook (available from UBS)

R. McNeill and William H. McNeill, The Human Web: A Bird’s Eye View of World History, W. W. Norton and Co., New York, 2003.

[NB. we have also placed six copies of the textbook on 2-hr Short Loan at the General Library]


Workload and deadlines for submission of coursework:           

The University of Auckland's expectation is that students spend 10 hours per week on a 15-point course, including time in class and personal study. Students should manage their academic workload and other commitments accordingly. Deadlines for coursework are set by course convenors and will be advertised in course material. You should submit your work on time. In extreme circumstances, such as illness, you may seek an extension but you may be required to provide supporting information before the assignment is due. Late assignments without a pre-approved extension may be penalised by loss of marks – check course information for details.

Course summary:

Date Details