World Thought and Culture II Syllabus



0973 IDS 3323 World Thought and Culture II
Summer 2012
Jennifer Long, PhD and Layne Thrift, MFA
12:20-1:20 MTWF
Troutt 320

Contact Information

Troutt 317
Office Hours: Monday -Friday, 1:30-2:30

Davis 113
Office Hours:

Course Description

World Thought and Culture, according to the course catalog,  examines representative thought and expression of a number of world civilizations from 500 C.E. to 1650 C.E; the course focuses on significant achievements in architecture, art, drama, literature, music, philosophy, religion and science.

We’ll be following the major ideas in the world chronologically, from the viewpoints of many areas of the world, specifically Europe, China, Asia, and the New World. We’ll focus on a few main threads (although we don’t promise to contain ourselves to just these topics), including Empire (conquests, rise of the modern state); Education (rise and spread of literacy); Trade and Economics; Art; Religion (spread of Christianity, Buddhism, and Islam, and what happens when they collide); and Science (especially Chinese, Indian, and Arab). We will continually come back to “big” questions about these cultures:

·         Why did these cultures evolve differently?

·         What ideas are at the foundations of each culture?

·         What happens when these cultures come into contact/conflict with one another? Do the foundational ideas change?

·         How are the ideas within a specific culture related to one another?

·         How do ideas spread from one culture to another?

 The IDS Core Curriculum and World Thought

 World Thought II is part of USAO’s unique interdisciplinary Core Curriculum, and thus has a larger purpose apart from disseminating information about the history of world ideas from 500 to 1650. Indeed, the specific content itself will change from semester to semester and from section to section depending on the faculty who are part of the teaching team. The objectives of this—and all IDS courses—are larger, more complex, and much more significant. We aim to produce students who will learn and use the skills of critical thinking, enabling them to become good consumers, questioners, and analyzers of information; develop a life-long love of learning; and appreciate the value of multiple perspectives in understanding and analyzing complex issues.

Because each IDS course shares these common goals, the Core Curriculum is an integrated whole. We encourage students to move through the Core in its prescribed order, from courses that deal with the Individual, and then broaden into the Natural World, the Community and the Nation, and finally the World of Ideas. The Skills Courses (including Writing, Rhetoric and Mathematics) should be completed before the student begins the sophomore-level IDS courses, as these skills are imperative to success there and beyond. (For more information about the IDS Core Curriculum, see the IDS webpage at

World Thought has more specific goals as well. We aim to produce students who will think critically about ideas; understand the myriad ways that history informs the present; and make connections between the social, cultural, artistic, religious, and philosophical realms.

 Books,  Readings, and Discussions

Reading the assignments carefully and thoroughly is essential for success in this course. You are expected to have read the day’s assignment before coming to class, or lecture will not be productive for you. But once won't be enough for full understanding—you should be prepared to reread the assignments after we discuss them in class, and to return previously discussed readings as new ideas present themselves. Reading assignments are listed on the class schedule below. And remember that while you do not have to agree with every idea you read, it is your job to understand them.

·         Chaucer, Geoffrey. The Canterbury Tales. Oxford University Press, 2008. (ISBN: 978-0-19-953562-0)

·         Greenblatt, Stephen. Swerve: How the World Became Modern. (ISBN: 978-0-39-306447-6)

·         Shakespeare, William. Shakespeare's Sonnets. Ed. Katherine Duncan-Jones. Arden Shakespeare, 2007. (ISBN: 978-1-903436-57-8).

·         The World Thought II LEO, at

·         additional readings,  linked through the syllabus or handed out in class

As enrollment for the summer is rather small (we really have no idea why--other students are going to be very sorry when they hear how fun this class was!), there will be ample opportunity for discussion. We expect students to be active participants in class by offering questions and ideas. As stated earlier in the syllabus, this class is about ideas, and learning to think about the importance of cultural history to our world today. So there are no questions that will take us "off track"; there is no one track for this class.


Reading Quizzes

Every Monday, class will begin with a short quiz covering the assigned readings. The 10-point quizzes will be given on:

            June 4
            June 11
            June 18
            June 25
            July 2
            July 9
            July 16
            July 23
            July 30

Missed quizzes cannot be re-taken.

Weekly Writing Assignments

Each Friday, students will  submit a writing assignment (200-250 words) in response to a question posted on The questions will ask you to critically consider the assigned readings and make connections between those ideas and others discussed in class. Class ID: 5146959

Class password: swerve

The 20-point writings are due:

            June 1
            June 8
            June 15
            June 22
            June 29
            July 6
            July 13
            July 20
            July 27

Late assignments will not be accepted.


Students are responsible for one 10 page paper during the semester. This assignment is very broad: choose any two ideas from the course (subject to approval by the instructors), and write a paper in which you explore the connections between those ideas. You should follow standard MLA formatting rules. We will discuss this more fully in class. The due dates associated with the paper are as follows:

Topic: June 23rd

Rough draft (at least the introduction and 5 pages, submitted through and a hard copy in class): July14

Final paper: last day of class


There will be two essay exams; the midterm is scheduled for _____and the final is scheduled for _____


Quizzes: 9 @ 10 points = 90 points

Writing Assignments: 9 @ 20 points = 180 points

Paper topic: 20 points

Rough draft: 50 points

Final Paper: 100 points

Midterm: 100 points

Final: 100 points

                for a total of 640 points

Final grades will be assigned according to the following scale:

576-640 points = A
512-575 points = B
448-511 points = C
384-447 points = D
383 points and below = F

A grade of Incomplete will be given only in the direst of circumstances. A grade of Withdraw Passing may be given at any time, however. 

Class Policies

 Cell Phones and Other Electronic Devices

Cell phones and other beeping, chirping, singing, game-playing, text-messaging and noise-making electronic things must be turned OFF during class and kept out of sight.  Because of the potential for distraction (for you and those sitting around you), laptops use is not allowed in class. (Exceptions can be made only in the case of a documented accommodation need. Please inform the instructors if this is the case).

We know you think that you can listen to lecture, check your Facebook, take notes, text your friends about where to meet for lunch, formulate intelligent questions, read your email, participate in class discussion and listen to your iPod all at the same time, but you can't. Lots of good research tells us that multitasking detracts from the learning experience and can actually make you dumber (see, for example, "The Myth of Multi-Tasking" at

Be fully present in the classroom; treat class as a one hour refuge from all the other electronic demands in your life. You might find that all those pressing demands on your time—all those incoming texts, all the new Facebook statuses, all the waiting messages—really aren’t all that urgent. You might even find that the electronic silence gives you a calm space in which to really think and learn.

 That said, if your cell phone or other beeping, chirping, singing, game-playing, text-messaging or noise-making electronic thing goes off in class, you will be asked to leave. If you're texting or emailing or checking your Facebook in class, you'll be asked to leave.

 Academic Dishonesty

Academic dishonesty will not be tolerated in this or any other class on campus. Academic dishonesty includes, but is not limited to: Plagiarism (see page 22 of student handbook for definition); Fabrication (page 23); Cheating (page 23); Forgery and Altering Documents (page 23). All instances of dishonesty will be result in penalty without exception. The maximum penalty for the first offense is a grade of "F" for the course (page 23) and the incident will be reported to the Academic Vice President for inclusion in the studen0'st permanent university file. A second and all subsequent offenses (in any course across the university) may result in the student's expulsion from the university. We're really not kidding about this. Don't cheat. We mean it.

 ADA Statement

According to the ADA, each student with a disability is responsible for notifying the University of his/her disability and requesting accommodations. If you think you have a qualified disability and need classroom accommodations, contact the office of Student Services located on the third floor of the Student Center.  Please advise the professor of your disability as soon as possible, to ensure timely implementation of appropriate accommodations. Faculty have an obligation to respond when they receive official notice of a disability from Student Services but are under no obligation to provide retroactive accommodations.  To receive services, you must submit appropriate documentation and complete an intake process during which the existence of a qualified disability is verified and reasonable accommodations are identified.  Call 405-574-1278 for more information.


 TENTATIVE Course Schedule: check often, as readings will be added

Check this schedule often, as readings may be rearranged, or new ones added.

Week 1 (Tuesday May 29- Friday June 1)

Topics: Introduction, and 500s-600s


·         Kalidasa poetry: "Autumn," "Look to this Day," and "Waking"  at

·         Cuthbert Handout

·         Cuthbert podcast at
·         Swerve, Chapters 1 and 2

Week 2 (Monday June 4-Friday June 8)

Topics: 700s-800s


·         Swerve, Chapters 3-6

·         Mayans and Aztecs

Week 3 (Monday June 11-Friday June 15)

Topics: 900s


·         Swerve, Chapters  7-11

·         "Song of Roland"  Handout

Week 4 (Monday June 18- Friday June 22)

Topics: 1000s


Week 5 (Monday June 25- Friday June 29)

Topics: 1100s


Week 6 (Monday July 2- Tuesday July 3)

Topics: 1200s


Due: Fifth writing assignment on Tuesday the 5th

 Week 7 (Monday July 9- Thursday July 12)

Topics: 1300s


·         Canterbury Tales

·         The Plague Genome:

Week 8 (Monday July 16- Thursday July 19)

Topics: 1400s


·         Machiavelli Handout

·         "Money and Beauty" at

Week 9 (Monday July 23- Thursday July 26)

Topics: 1500s


·         Shakespeare's Sonnets # 1, 2, 8, 12, 15, 17, 18, 20, 23, 30, 35, 49, 50, 61, 66, 71, 73, 91, 98, 116, 130, 141

·         Luther's 95 Theses at Project Gutenberg:   

          "How Luther Went Viral" from the Economist

Week 10 (Monday July 30- Tuesday July 31)

Topics: 1600s