Medieval and Early Modern World (c. 500 – 1700 CE)

Home/ Medieval and Early Modern World (c. 500 – 1700 CE)
Course TypeCourse CodeNo. Of Credits
Foundation CoreSUS1HS4024

Course Coordinator and Team: Denys P. Leighton (with Yogesh Snehi)

Email of course coordinator: denys[at]aud[dot]ac[dot]in

Pre-requisites: Ancient Societies (SUS1HS401)

Aim: This course familiarizes students with structures and dynamics of the ‘medieval’ and ‘early modern’ world by focusing on relations among societies and civilizations. Attention will be directed towards phenomena such as human migration, cultural (including religious) movements within and across regions, technological diffusions and patterns of economic activity that spanned regions or several parts of the globe (e.g., regional and ‘long-distance’ trade). The collapse of the western Roman empire 300 - 500 CE, the expansion of Islamic polities to 1000 CE, the Crusades of Europeans to ‘the Holy Land’, European colonizations of the Americas, Asia and Africa c. 1500 – 1800 CE and the wars of Reformation/Counter-Reformation Europe c. 1500 – 1700 CE will be examined. In sum, this course acquaints students with world or global history not as a sum of regional and national histories but rather as ‘connected histories’.

Assessment details with weights:

  • Writing assignment 1 (due in late August): counts for 20% of course grade
  • Mid-term written examination (late September): 25%
  • Writing assignment 2 (due in late October): 20%
  • End-term examination (during designated ‘end-sems’ period): 35%

Representative Readings and Learning Materials:*

  • J. L. Abu-Lughod, Before European Hegemony (New York: Oxford UP, 1989)
  • J. H. Bentley, ‘Cross-Cultural Interaction and Periodization in World History’, American Historical Review (1996)
  • Peter Brown, The World of Late Antiquity, A.D. 150 -750 (New York: Norton, 1971)
  • Euan Cameron, ed., Early Modern Europe: An Oxford History (New Delhi: Oxford UP, 2003)
  • Philip D. Curtin, Cross-Cultural Trade in World History (Cambridge UP, 1984)
  • Christopher J. Friedrichs, ‘What Made the Eurasian City Work? Urban Political Cultures in
  • Early Modern Europe and Asia’, in: Glenn Clark, Judith Owens and Greg T. Smith (eds), City Limits: Perspectives on the Historical European City (Montreal and Kingston: McGill-Queen's UP, 2010), 29-64
  • A.G. Hopkins, ed., Globalization in World History (London: Pimlico/Random House, 2002)
  • Ira M. Lapidus, A History of Islamic Societies, 3rd edn. (Cambridge UP, 2014), selected chapters
  • David Levering Lewis, God’s Crucible: Islam and the Making of Europe, 570 – 1215 (New York: W. W. Norton, 2008)
  • Patrick Manning, ‘The Problem of Interactions in World History’, American Historical Review (1996)
  • Kenneth Pomeranz and Steven Topik, The World That Trade Created, 3rd edn (New York: Taylor and Francis, 2013)
  • Maarten Prak, ‘Citizenship in Pre-Modern Eurasia: A Comparison Between China, the Near East and Europe’ (2011):
  • William Rosen, Justinian’s Flea: The Great Plague and the End of the Roman Empire (New York: Penguin, 2008)
  • Linda Shaffer, ‘Southernization’, Journal of World History (1994)
  • Robert Tignor, et al, Worlds Together, Worlds Apart, 4th edn. (New York: Norton, 2014), selected chapters

*Students will read selections from the works listed above.

The following websites will be accessed: