The world today has been turned into a global village in many ways. Information is available at a click, financial transactions happen instantly and many things that were deemed impossible years ago are now very possible. Some have called this age the information or knowledge age. But how has all this been possible? What changes and developments and human transactions have taken place in the past that have contributed to this world as it is today? This course on world civilisation takes us back to the ancient past exposing how the world and humanity evolved in its social, economic, ideological and technological processes. It debunks some of the myths about ancient civilisations of the world.  In this sense, the course examines human interactions and encounters as they transformed over time.


Course Objectives


By the end of the course, students should be able to:


1.      Acquire basic knowledge on selected world civilisations in the past.

2.      Demonstrate critical thinking and analytical abilities in their understanding of historical developments.

3.      Make application, synthesis, communication and integration of what they would have learnt

4.      Use appropriate sources in coming up with research papers. 



Methods of Assessment


The course will be done through a series of lectures and student presentations. Because of the voluminous nature of significant developments in the past selected case studies will be used to examine a number of world developments particularly those that reflect on innovation as well as unifying and liberating elements.



Details of Assessment Elements


Assessment will be based on the following criteria

Two research papers                                                                -                       25%

Class Presentation and Participation                                                   -                       15%

End of Semester exams                                                                      -                       50%


Two Papers

Each student will produce two papers, one of which is an in-class exercise, during the course of the semester on topics to be discussed and agreed on. The first paper should be at least 4-6 pages long, double spaced, font size 12 and font type Times New Roman. Students are expected to conduct individual research on each of their respective topics. Clarity and organisation of thought and a concise grammatically correct structure will be the primary grading measures. First paper will be due on 30 September 2015 while the second paper will be written in the week between 17 and 21 October 2015.


Class Participation

Discussion is central to the success of this class. It stimulates the minds and triggers interest in the subject matter. Everyone is expected to read in advance material that would have either been circulated or recommended so that they are able to make meaningful participation. As the assessment shows, presentation and participation contribute to someone’s final mark at the end of the semester.


Final Exam

There will be one end-of-semester exam which will be based on the course content indicated in this course outline


Nature and Consequences of Delay


Delay in submission of assignments and preparation of presentations will attract subtraction of marks.


Integrity policy


Plagiarism is an academic crime that will not be tolerated.   




Topic 1: Introduction


·         Why study world civilisation?

·         Historiography of world civilisations


Topic II: Mesopotamia


·         Locating Mesopotamia

·         Explaining its rise and fall

·         Social, economic and political organisation


Topic: III Indus Valley.


·         Locating the Indus Valley

·         Significance of the Indus civilisation

·         Explaining its rise and fall

·         Social, economic and political organisation



Topic IV: Greek Civilisation


·         The Rise of Greek City States

·         Social, economic organisations

·         Ideas and ideologies

·         Inventions and discoveries


Topic V: African Civilisations

·         Egyptian civilisation

·         The Great Zimbabwe state

·         West African Empires (Songhai, Ghana, Sudan, Mali and Ghana)



Topic VI: Expanding the Zones of Exchange and Encounter (600 – 1800)


·         Trans-Saharan Trade System.

·         Maritime Revolution: European Overseas Expansion.

·         Slave trade


Topic VII: Age of Revolutions and Empire (1750 – 1914)


·         Industrial revolution

·         The American Revolution and its Significance

·         The French Revolution, its Causes and its Wider Consequences

·         Imperialism


Topic VIII: Establishment of Major World Religions in Africa


·         Christianity

·         Islam


Topic IX: The Folly of Ideologies (1914 – 1945)


·         The First World War: Causes and Impact (Presentation)

·         Dictatorship in Europe

·         The Second World War


Topic X: The Middle East


·         The Jewish question - Debates

·         Impact of the Arab-Israel Conflict