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Overview

This book interprets Western civilization broadly—continuing to discuss the Middle East beyond the confines of the ancient period. The chronologically organized narrative integrates political, social, economic, and intellectual history. It broadens readers¿ perspective on the American experience in context with the rest of the world, and helps them discover bridges to other cultures and develop sympathy with their struggles. KEY TOPICS Chapter topics cover The archaic states of the Bronze Age, The Iron Age, Aegean civilization, the Hellenistic era and the rise of Rome, Rome¿s empire and the unification of the Western world, the West¿s medieval civilization, the emergence of Europe, Europe¿s High Middle Ages, Renaissance and exploration, Europe¿s scientific revolution, and the Age of Enlightenment. For an understanding of the processes that formed the Western way of life.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780130984210
  • Publisher: Prentice Hall
  • Publication date: 11/6/2003
  • Edition description: Older Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 36052
  • Product dimensions: 6.62 (w) x 8.94 (h) x 0.82 (d)

Meet the Author

Daniel Frankforter is Professor of Medieval History at the Pennsylvania State University. He holds a bachelor's degree (philosophy) from Franklin and Marshall College, a master of divinity degree from Drew University, and master's and doctoral degrees (in medieval history and religious studies) from Penn State. His research has focused on the medieval English church and on the evolving role of women in medieval society. Articles on these topics have appeared in Manuscripta, Church History, The British Studies Monitor, The Catholic Historical Review, The American Benedictine Review, The International Journal of Women's Studies, Classical and Medieval Literature and Criticism, The Encyclopedia of Monasticism, and The Journal of Women's History. His books include: A History of the Christian Movement: An Essay on the Development of Christian Institutions, Civilization and Survival (vol. 1), The Shakespeare Name Dictionary (with J. Madison Davis), The Medieval Millennium: An Introduction, (2nd edition) The Western Heritage, Brief Edition (3rd edition, with Donald Kagan, Steven Ozment, and Frank Turner), an edition and translation o£ Poullain de la Barre's De L'Egalite des deux Sexes, and Stones for Bread: A Critique of Contemporary Worship. With over thirty years of teaching experience, he has developed fifteen courses focusing on aspects of the ancient and medieval periods of Western civilization, religious studies, and gender studies. His work in the classroom has been acknowledged by the Penn State Behrend Excellence in Teaching Award and the prestigious Amoco Foundation Award for Excellence inTeaching Performance.

William M. Spellman is Professor of History at the University of North Carolina, Asheville. He is a graduate of Suffolk University, Boston, and holds the Ph.D. from the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs at Syracuse University. He is the author of John Locke and the Problem of Depravity (Oxford, 1988); The Latitudinarians and the Church of England, 1660-1700 (Georgia, 1993); John Locke (Macmillan, 1995); European Political Thought, 1600-1700 (Macmillan, 1997); Monarchies, 1000-2000 (Reaktion, 2000); and The Global Community: Migration and the Making of the Modern World, 1500-2000 (Sutton, 2002).

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Preface

Why another Western civilization textbook? Indeed, in recent years some educators have dismissed the teaching of Western civilization as an outmoded concept. They claim that the Western civilization course was invented to promote Euro-American triumphalism and it has perpetuated colonialist attitudes, cultural intolerance, and even racism. In some undergraduate curricula, the course has been replaced by one that offers a broader survey of world civilizations.

The critics of Western civilization courses make some valid points-at least with respect to the way some courses have been taught. But the fact that a subject can be badly taught does not suggest that it should never be taught. Any national history can degenerate into propaganda and promote jingoism. The fault is less with the subject than with a loss of historical objectivity in its presentation.

Students at American colleges and universities are—regardless of their distant ethnic backgrounds—immersed in a culture deeply indebted to Europe and the Mediterranean region. Other parts of the globe have made undoubted contributions to the culture of what is largely an immigrant nation, but these influences integrate with the values and institutions of what is invariably described as "the West." Despite this, most students begin their undergraduate careers with very little knowledge of the roots of their Western way of life. Those who come from American high schools have repeatedly been taught their national history, but they seldom have more than a brief, cursory exposure to its background. Their lack of understanding of the historical processes that shaped the West makes it difficult for them to situatethe American experience in a global context (see the map insert, "The West and the World"). Far from narrowing their perspective, a course in Western civilization can help them understand the development of other cultures and sympathize with their struggles.

Approach

The West: Culture and Ideas defines West in the broadest terms as encompassing all the cultures that trace at least some of their ancestry to the ancient Mediterranean world. Many of the textbooks currently available for teaching courses in Western civilization begin with a brief treatment of ancient Mesopotamian and Egyptian civilizations and then largely abandon the Middle East for Europe. When they reach the medieval period, they mention the rise of Islam but leave students with the impression that Islam is an alien, non-Western phenomenon. This obscures the fact that both Christians and Muslims built on the same cultural foundations: Hebraic religious tradition and Hellenistic philosophy and science. It also minimizes the importance of the aid that the Muslim world gave medieval Europe in reclaiming the legacy both shared from the ancient era. With the rise of the Ottoman Empire, Islam often disappears from the narrative (except for brief references to later European encroachments on Ottoman territory). Such minimal treatment of Muslim history poorly prepares students to understand the current international political situation and to evaluate critically common "Western" assumptions about what is, with only partial accuracy, called "the East." The future of much more than the West may depend on Western civilization's Euro-American and Middle Eastern heirs re-examining their history of interaction and divergence.

Despite the fact that civilization is their subject, most textbooks pay little attention to defining the term and usually content themselves with listing a few of its common attributes (cities, literacy, etc.). The West: Culture and Ideas urges students to think more deeply about the nature of civilized life by investigating the function of civilization—the explanation for the institutions and technologies that a specific civilization may or may not evolve. It defines civilization as the survival strategy characteristic of the human species; a strategy that relies on learning more than instinct. This definition invites reflection on the traditional distinction between history and prehistory and prompts discussion of the effects that eons of prehistoric experience may or may not have on contemporary human behavior.

Defining civilization as a survival strategy raises another issue that helps students discover the relevance of history for their lives. It suggests that historical events should be understood as adaptations to environments. The West: Culture and Ideas consistently relates historical developments to environmental contexts. Environments are conceived broadly to include both natural ecologies and cultural legacies. An insert of color art ("A Sense of Place: The World through Human Eyes") graphically illustrates how views of the world change in tandem with the evolving interests and values of human communities. The intent is to help students improve perspectives on their personal points of view by reminding them that cultures train their members to perceive the world around them in specific ways. Judgments that seem obviously correct to some may, therefore, appear less so to others. The environmental theme that runs through the text is not meant to promote a particular environmental reform agenda, but it is intended to suggest that an understanding of history is essential for assessing the ecological challenges that face contemporary societies (and are of special concern to many youth).

Organization

The volume of tourist traffic flowing through historical sites and the existence of a History Channel prove that the public at large finds the past innately interesting for its own sake. Students, however, are often afflicted with "presentism," the assumption that the past is an alien land—a curious, but irrelevant, realm. To encourage them to relate the experiences of long-vanished peoples to their own lives, each chapter of the text begins by posing a "larger issue," a question of broad scope or general significance that is raised by something in the period the chapter treats. The chapter is not an essay on the question, and the chapter does not propose a definitive answer to the larger issue it asks students to consider. The larger-issue feature provides a springboard for wide-ranging class discussions of questions that have no simple answers. Debating the issues they raise helps students discover for themselves that the past is more intriguing (and knowledge of its history more useful) than they may have realized.

Each chapter is supplied with aids to assist the comprehension of its reader. A quotation from a primary source introduces the chapter's theme. The topics covered in the chapter are listed at its head. The text is divided into sections and subsections with headings that make its content easy to outline. It contains ample maps, illustrations, and timelines. Two special features help expand the coverage and add human interest to the narrative. Each chapter has two sidebar essays, one dealing with an individual whose life illustrates something about the era being described and another exploring one of the period's significant technological or cultural developments. The narrative unfolds chronologically and avoids shifting back and forth in time—something that many students claim makes a text confusing and difficult to understand. Politics often provides the skeleton of the story, but the traditional "names, dates, and battles" are fleshed out with materials from social, economic, and intellectual history. Attention is paid to segments of society (women, slaves, peasants, etc.) whose contributions sometimes receive insufficient recognition in survey courses. To help students grasp the overall outline of the book, related chapters are grouped together into parts. An image and short essay introduce each part and establish its themes.

A list of review questions that can be used either for class discussion or written assignments ends each chapter. A list of suggested resources can also be found in the back of the book. Additional exercises, documents, study guides, and other resources are provided on the Companion Website™ and on a CD-ROM bound with the text.

Supplements

Companion Website™. A powerful study tool, the Companion Website™ provides chapter summaries, study questions, map-labeling exercises, document-based exercises, and Web-based exercises tied specifically to The West. The Faculty Module provides useful classroom material for instructors. Interactive maps, designated by an icon and located on the book's Companion Website™, encourage students to further explore the relationship between geography and history.

Western Civilization Documents CD-ROM. Included with every new copy of The West, the new Documents CD-ROM offers over 200 primary sources central to the history of the West in easy-to-navigate, print-enabled PDF files. Analytical questions located at the end of each primary source allow students to respond online. A correlation chart at the front of The West coordinates the chapters of the book with the documents on the CD-ROM. A two-volume print version of the documents is also available, which can be bundled with the text at no extra charge.

Instructor's Resource Manual and Test-Item File. The Instructor's Resource Manual provides chapter outlines, detailed chapter overviews, discussion questions, lecture strategies, and essay topics. The Test-Item File contains over 1,000 multiple choice, true-false, essay, and map questions, organized by chapter.

Prentice Hall Custom Test

Available for Windows and Macintosh platforms, this computerized test-management dram allows users to create and edit their own tests using items from the Test-Item File.

Practice Tests (Volumes I and II). Free when packaged with The West, Practice Tests provide students with chapter outlines, map questions, sample exam questions, analytical reading exercises, and essay questions tied to the text.

Lives and Legacies: Biographies in Western Civilization (Volumes I and II). This two-volume collection provides brief, focused biographies of 60 individuals whose lives provide insight into the diversity of the West. Each biography includes an introduction, pre-reading questions, and suggested readings. Free when bundled with the text.

Penguin Classics. Prentice Hall is pleased to provide students with significant discounts when copies of The West are purchased together with titles from the acclaimed Penguin Classics series in Western Civilization. Contact your Prentice Hall representative for details.

Evaluating Online Resources, with Research Navigator. This brief guide focuses on developing the critical-thinking skills necessary to evaluate and use online resources. It also provides an access-code and instruction on using Research Navigator™, a powerful tool that streamlines the research process. Free to students when bundled with The West.

Understanding and Answering Essay Questions. This brief guide, available free to students when bundled with the text, provides helpful study techniques for understanding different types of essay questions and crafting effective essays.

Reading Critically About History: A Guide to Active Reading. This brief guide focuses on the skills needed to master the essential information presented in college history textbooks. Free when bundled with the text.

Prentice Hall Atlas of Western Civilization. This four-color historical atlas provides additional map resources to reinforce concepts in the text.

Read More Show Less

Introduction

Why another Western civilization textbook? Indeed, in recent years some educators have dismissed the teaching of Western civilization as an outmoded concept. They claim that the Western civilization course was invented to promote Euro-American triumphalism and it has perpetuated colonialist attitudes, cultural intolerance, and even racism. In some undergraduate curricula, the course has been replaced by one that offers a broader survey of world civilizations.

The critics of Western civilization courses make some valid points-at least with respect to the way some courses have been taught. But the fact that a subject can be badly taught does not suggest that it should never be taught. Any national history can degenerate into propaganda and promote jingoism. The fault is less with the subject than with a loss of historical objectivity in its presentation.

Students at American colleges and universities are—regardless of their distant ethnic backgrounds—immersed in a culture deeply indebted to Europe and the Mediterranean region. Other parts of the globe have made undoubted contributions to the culture of what is largely an immigrant nation, but these influences integrate with the values and institutions of what is invariably described as "the West." Despite this, most students begin their undergraduate careers with very little knowledge of the roots of their Western way of life. Those who come from American high schools have repeatedly been taught their national history, but they seldom have more than a brief, cursory exposure to its background. Their lack of understanding of the historical processes that shaped the West makes it difficult for them to situate theAmerican experience in a global context (see the map insert, "The West and the World"). Far from narrowing their perspective, a course in Western civilization can help them understand the development of other cultures and sympathize with their struggles.

Approach

The West: Culture and Ideas defines West in the broadest terms as encompassing all the cultures that trace at least some of their ancestry to the ancient Mediterranean world. Many of the textbooks currently available for teaching courses in Western civilization begin with a brief treatment of ancient Mesopotamian and Egyptian civilizations and then largely abandon the Middle East for Europe. When they reach the medieval period, they mention the rise of Islam but leave students with the impression that Islam is an alien, non-Western phenomenon. This obscures the fact that both Christians and Muslims built on the same cultural foundations: Hebraic religious tradition and Hellenistic philosophy and science. It also minimizes the importance of the aid that the Muslim world gave medieval Europe in reclaiming the legacy both shared from the ancient era. With the rise of the Ottoman Empire, Islam often disappears from the narrative (except for brief references to later European encroachments on Ottoman territory). Such minimal treatment of Muslim history poorly prepares students to understand the current international political situation and to evaluate critically common "Western" assumptions about what is, with only partial accuracy, called "the East." The future of much more than the West may depend on Western civilization's Euro-American and Middle Eastern heirs re-examining their history of interaction and divergence.

Despite the fact that civilization is their subject, most textbooks pay little attention to defining the term and usually content themselves with listing a few of its common attributes (cities, literacy, etc.). The West: Culture and Ideas urges students to think more deeply about the nature of civilized life by investigating the function of civilization—the explanation for the institutions and technologies that a specific civilization may or may not evolve. It defines civilization as the survival strategy characteristic of the human species; a strategy that relies on learning more than instinct. This definition invites reflection on the traditional distinction between history and prehistory and prompts discussion of the effects that eons of prehistoric experience may or may not have on contemporary human behavior.

Defining civilization as a survival strategy raises another issue that helps students discover the relevance of history for their lives. It suggests that historical events should be understood as adaptations to environments. The West: Culture and Ideas consistently relates historical developments to environmental contexts. Environments are conceived broadly to include both natural ecologies and cultural legacies. An insert of color art ("A Sense of Place: The World through Human Eyes") graphically illustrates how views of the world change in tandem with the evolving interests and values of human communities. The intent is to help students improve perspectives on their personal points of view by reminding them that cultures train their members to perceive the world around them in specific ways. Judgments that seem obviously correct to some may, therefore, appear less so to others. The environmental theme that runs through the text is not meant to promote a particular environmental reform agenda, but it is intended to suggest that an understanding of history is essential for assessing the ecological challenges that face contemporary societies (and are of special concern to many youth).

Organization

The volume of tourist traffic flowing through historical sites and the existence of a History Channel prove that the public at large finds the past innately interesting for its own sake. Students, however, are often afflicted with "presentism," the assumption that the past is an alien land—a curious, but irrelevant, realm. To encourage them to relate the experiences of long-vanished peoples to their own lives, each chapter of the text begins by posing a "larger issue," a question of broad scope or general significance that is raised by something in the period the chapter treats. The chapter is not an essay on the question, and the chapter does not propose a definitive answer to the larger issue it asks students to consider. The larger-issue feature provides a springboard for wide-ranging class discussions of questions that have no simple answers. Debating the issues they raise helps students discover for themselves that the past is more intriguing (and knowledge of its history more useful) than they may have realized.

Each chapter is supplied with aids to assist the comprehension of its reader. A quotation from a primary source introduces the chapter's theme. The topics covered in the chapter are listed at its head. The text is divided into sections and subsections with headings that make its content easy to outline. It contains ample maps, illustrations, and timelines. Two special features help expand the coverage and add human interest to the narrative. Each chapter has two sidebar essays, one dealing with an individual whose life illustrates something about the era being described and another exploring one of the period's significant technological or cultural developments. The narrative unfolds chronologically and avoids shifting back and forth in time—something that many students claim makes a text confusing and difficult to understand. Politics often provides the skeleton of the story, but the traditional "names, dates, and battles" are fleshed out with materials from social, economic, and intellectual history. Attention is paid to segments of society (women, slaves, peasants, etc.) whose contributions sometimes receive insufficient recognition in survey courses. To help students grasp the overall outline of the book, related chapters are grouped together into parts. An image and short essay introduce each part and establish its themes.

A list of review questions that can be used either for class discussion or written assignments ends each chapter. A list of suggested resources can also be found in the back of the book. Additional exercises, documents, study guides, and other resources are provided on the Companion Website™ and on a CD-ROM bound with the text.

Supplements

Companion Website™. A powerful study tool, the Companion Website™ provides chapter summaries, study questions, map-labeling exercises, document-based exercises, and Web-based exercises tied specifically to The West. The Faculty Module provides useful classroom material for instructors. Interactive maps, designated by an icon and located on the book's Companion Website™, encourage students to further explore the relationship between geography and history.

Western Civilization Documents CD-ROM. Included with every new copy of The West, the new Documents CD-ROM offers over 200 primary sources central to the history of the West in easy-to-navigate, print-enabled PDF files. Analytical questions located at the end of each primary source allow students to respond online. A correlation chart at the front of The West coordinates the chapters of the book with the documents on the CD-ROM. A two-volume print version of the documents is also available, which can be bundled with the text at no extra charge.

Instructor's Resource Manual and Test-Item File. The Instructor's Resource Manual provides chapter outlines, detailed chapter overviews, discussion questions, lecture strategies, and essay topics. The Test-Item File contains over 1,000 multiple choice, true-false, essay, and map questions, organized by chapter.

Prentice Hall Custom Test

Available for Windows and Macintosh platforms, this computerized test-management dram allows users to create and edit their own tests using items from the Test-Item File.

Practice Tests (Volumes I and II). Free when packaged with The West, Practice Tests provide students with chapter outlines, map questions, sample exam questions, analytical reading exercises, and essay questions tied to the text.

Lives and Legacies: Biographies in Western Civilization (Volumes I and II). This two-volume collection provides brief, focused biographies of 60 individuals whose lives provide insight into the diversity of the West. Each biography includes an introduction, pre-reading questions, and suggested readings. Free when bundled with the text.

Penguin Classics. Prentice Hall is pleased to provide students with significant discounts when copies of The West are purchased together with titles from the acclaimed Penguin Classics series in Western Civilization. Contact your Prentice Hall representative for details.

Evaluating Online Resources, with Research Navigator. This brief guide focuses on developing the critical-thinking skills necessary to evaluate and use online resources. It also provides an access-code and instruction on using Research Navigator™, a powerful tool that streamlines the research process. Free to students when bundled with The West.

Understanding and Answering Essay Questions. This brief guide, available free to students when bundled with the text, provides helpful study techniques for understanding different types of essay questions and crafting effective essays.

Reading Critically About History: A Guide to Active Reading. This brief guide focuses on the skills needed to master the essential information presented in college history textbooks. Free when bundled with the text.

Prentice Hall Atlas of Western Civilization. This four-color historical atlas provides additional map resources to reinforce concepts in the text.

Read More Show Less

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