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A true exploration of world history, Volume I presents early world history through an analysis of five chronological turning points seen through the prisms of eight different themes — origins, cities, empires, religion, trade, migrations, revolutions and technology. Focusing throughout on three major questions — What do we know? How do we know it? What difference does it make? — it helps readers make sense of the immensity of human historical experience. Volume I covers human origins and human cultures: 5 million B.C.E. - 10,000 B.C.E, The first cities 10,000 B.C.E. - 1000 C.E, Empire and Imperialism: 2300 B.C.E. - 1100 C.E, the rise of world religions: 600 B.C.E. - 1500 C.E and world trade: 1100 - 1776 C.E. For individuals interested in a comprehensive, yet manageable presentation of world history.
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The professional historian and the student of an introductory course often seem to pass each other on different tracks. For the professional, nothing is more fascinating than history. For the student, particularly one in a compulsory course, the whole enterprise often seems a bore. This introductory text is designed to help that student understand and share the fascination of the historian. It will also remind professors of their original attraction to history, before they began the specialization that has almost certainly marked their later careers. Furthermore, it encourages student and professor to explore together the history of the world and the significance of this study.
Professional historians love their field for many reasons. History offers perspective and guidance in forming a personal view of human development. It teaches the necessity of seeing many sides of issues. It explores the complexity and interrelationship of events and makes possible the search for patterns and meaning in human life.
Historians also love to debate. They love the challenge of demonstrating that their interpretations of the pattern and significance of events are the most accurate and the most satisfying in their fit between the available data and theory. Historians also love the detective work of their profession, whether it is researching through old archives, uncovering and using new sources of information, or reinterpreting long-ignored sources. In recent years historians have turned, for example, to oral history, old church records, files of photographs, cave paintings, individual census records, and reinterpretations of mythology.
Historical records are not simply lists of events, however. They are the means by which historians develop their interpretations of those events. Because interpretations differ, there is no single historical record, but various narrations of events each told from a different perspective. Therefore the study of history is intimately linked to the study of values.
To construct their interpretations, historians examine the values—the motives, wishes, desires, visions—of people of the past. In interpreting those values, historians must confront and engage their own values, comparing and contrasting these values with those of people in the past. For example, they ask how various people viewed slavery in the slaveholding societies of the past. In the back of their minds they compare and contrast those older values with values held by various people today and especially with their own personal values. They ask: How and why have values changed or remained the same through the passage of time? Why, and in what way, do my values compare and contrast with values of the past? By learning to pose such questions, students will be better equipped to discover and create their own place in the continuing movement of human history. This text, therefore, consistently addresses three fundamental questions: What do we know? How do we know it? What difference does it make? It emphasizes historiography, the process of creating historical records. Students will see that these records are neither gospel truth nor fabricated fiction, but a first step in understanding and interpreting the past. They will learn how historians frame questions for study and how the questions that are asked determine the answers that are found. They will learn to frame their own, new questions about both the past and the present.
Professional historians consider history to be the king of disciplines. Synthesizing the concepts of fellow social scientists in economics, politics, anthropology, sociology, and geography, historians create a more integrated and comprehensive interpretation of the past. Joining with their colleagues in the humanities, historians delight in hearing and telling exciting stories that recall heroes and villains, the low born and the high, the wisdom and the folly of days gone by. This fusion of all the social sciences and humanities gives the study of history its range, depth, significance, and pleasure. Training in historical thinking provides an excellent introduction to understanding change and continuity in our own day as well as in the past.
WHY WORLD HISTORY?
Why specifically world history? Why should we teach and study world history, and what should be the content of such a course?
First, world history is a good place to begin for it is a new field for professor and student alike. Neither its content nor its pedagogy is yet fixed. Many of the existing textbooks on the market still have their origins in the study of western Europe, with segments added to cover the rest of the world. World history as the study of the inter-relationships of all regions of the world, seen from the many perspectives of the different peoples of the earth, is still virgin territory.
Second, for citizens of multicultural, multiethnic nations such as the United States, Canada, South Africa, and India, and for those of the many other countries such as the United Kingdom and Australia which are moving in that direction, a world history course offers the opportunity to gain an appreciation of the national and cultural origins of all their diverse citizens. In this way, the study of world history may help to strengthen the bonds of national citizenship.
Third, as the entire world becomes a single unit for interaction, it becomes an increasingly appropriate subject for historical study. The noted historian E.H. Carr explained that history "is an unending dialogue between the present and the past." The new reality of global interaction in communication, business, politics, religion, culture, and ecology has helped to generate the new academic subject of world history.
THE ORIGINS AND DEVELOPMENT
OF THIS TEXT
The inspiration for this text was a ground-breaking four-year program in the School District of Philadelphia, 1988-92. Teachers in the District asked for instruction in world history so that they could better teach their ninth-grade course and, indeed, rewrite its curriculum. In the program established to meet their request, some thirty college professors met with about one hundred Philadelphia teachers. I was the academic coordinator, teaching several of the formal courses offered and responsible for staffing the others. From the courses we designed for teachers came the basic framework for the current text. There is no better, more interactive, more critical, yet more helpful audience for new teaching materials than students who are themselves teachers. Together we learned a great deal about the study and teaching of world history at high school, college, and graduate levels.
Following this schools-based project, twenty college professors from twelve different colleges and universities and twenty high school teachers from fifteen different schools in the Philadelphia metropolitan region were awarded a substantial grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities to pursue further methods of teaching world history—content and pedagogy—at the college level in ways that would best prepare future teachers. I served as project director. Participation in this two-year collaborative project helped me further to refine the content and the method of the current text.
Finally, in conjunction with these major projects, I began in 1990 to offer a year-long course in world history at Temple University, Philadelphia. The structure of that course is the structure of this text. As each chapter was completed, I included it in the reading materials of the course. So the text has had five years of field testing.
ORGANIZATION AND APPROACH
The text, like the year-long course, links chronology, themes, and geography in eight units, or parts of study. The parts move progressively along a time line from the emergence of early humans to the present day. Each part emphasizes a single theme—for example, urbanization or religion or trade—and students learn to use all eight themes to analyze historical events and to develop a grasp of the chronology of human development. Geographically, each part covers the entire globe, although specific topics place greater emphasis on specific regions.
IMPORTANT SPECIAL FEATURES
To provide the students with direct experience of the historian's craft the text includes:
Primary sources to illuminate the experiences of an age and place directly. Their analysis is an essential part of the study of history. Historians' later interpretations to provide perspective on how historical records were produced and fought over. The analysis of these secondary sources is an essential part of the study of historiography. Sidebars to provide more detailed discussions of particular issues beyond the narrative. Such supplements appear in every chapter. Extensive, clear, and informative charts and maps to represent information graphically and geographically. A wide range of illustrations, many in color, to supplement the written word. Some of the illustrations are grouped into "Spotlights" to illuminate specific issues. These include, for example, at the earliest, a Spotlight on the reconstruction of Neanderthals, which explores the ways in which Neanderthals have been represented through time, to, at the latest, a portfolio of the murals of Diego Rivera, indicating how an individual artist interprets and represents the history of his people through his painting.
Collectively, these materials provide a rich, comprehensive, and challenging introduction to the study of world history and the methods and key interpretations of its historians.
REVISIONS IN THE SECOND EDITION
The second edition brings many additions and revisions. Some of the new materials reflect increases in knowledge in the last three years: new material on Ardipithecus ramidus, reported in Chapter 1; the oldest known alphabetic writing, a Semitic script discovered in Egypt from 1900 B.C.E., noted in Chapter 2; 9000-year old, still-playable flutes from China, and significant new excavations on the Niger River at Jenne Jeno, reported and discussed in Chapter 4. Others analyze recent events such as the precipitous decline and partial rebound of the economies of several Asian countries; nuclear weapons tests in India and Pakistan; the influence of drug traffic in Latin America; the election of President Mohammed Khatami in Iran and the resignation of President Boris Yeltsin in Russia.
The new materials also respond in part to the author's experience in teaching the text, suggestions made by friends and colleagues, and evaluations gathered by the publisher from professors selected from across the United States. Thus, the discussion of the Roman Empire has been restructured for greater clarity; the coverage of medieval, early modern, and twentieth-century Europe has been expanded; and the history of science has been augmented. The introduction to the twentieth century has been enhanced with new materials on the cold war, decolonization, economic globalization, the internet, the human genome project, and the international drug trade. Greater attention has been given to America's role in the world including its continuing struggles with issues of civil rights at home and abroad.
Chapters now conclude with explicit explorations of the consequences and significance of their subject matter. Comparisons of the institutions of different areas of the world, fundamental to the structure of each part of the text, are now drawn explicitly throughout the book. Several of the "Spotlight" artwork features of the first edition have been replaced by new ones, as have many of the illustrations and several of the maps. Each chapter now includes a "Profile" biography illuminating the significance of an important person from its era. These include emperors and an empress dowager, historians, a film maker, a popular singer, an explorer, religious leaders, a family of archaeologists, warriors, democratically elected political politicians, and some whose careers defy simple categorization. Timecharts in each chapter have been revised and redesigned to improve accessibility and usefulness, and new "Connection" boxes link material between chapters and enhance the chronological framework of the book.
All these changes do not, however, change the essential structure of the text, with its emphasis on chronology, theme, and geography; its integration of text, primary and secondary source materials, maps, and artwork; and its emphasis on the fundamental questions of "What Do We Know?", "How Do We Know It?", and "What Difference Does it Make?"From the Back Cover:
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