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Over the centuries, philosophers and historians have asked how societies evolved from simple hunter-gatherer bands to complex urban civilizations. Human prehistory and history have shown the repeated cycles of the rise, expansion and collapse of early civilizations in both the Old and New World. What do the similarities and differences in the development of these first civilizations tell us about the nature of societal change, civilization and the state, and human society itself? The course will examine these issues through an introductory survey of the earliest civilizations in Mesopotamia, Egypt, India, Mesoamerica and South America. Classical and modern theories on the nature, origin, and development of the state will be reviewed in light of the archaeological evidence.
Format: lecture; Class discussion and debates will complement lecture with powerpoint presentation. In the Fall 2020, the course will have a hybrid format. In person and remote students will attend lectures or class discussions during the regular twice-a-week schedule, with an additional synchronous session for remote students to address questions. If remote students cannot attend additional Q&A session, open office hours will also be available.
Grading: no pass/fail option,
yes fifth course option
midterm, final exam, 15pp analytical paper, two quizzes
First and second years.
This course is cross-listed and the prefixes carry the following divisional credit:
ENVI Humanities, Arts + Social Science Electives