Contemporary world history: twentieth century

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Course Syllabus

California State University, Long Beach, Spring 2007

Monday and Wednesday, 2:00-3:15 p.m. in LA3-110

Professor ALI F. IĞMEN

Office: FO2-116, Phone: 562-985-8765, Email:

Office hours: Mondays 12:30-1:30 and 3:30-4:30 p.m., and by appointment.

I would like you to see this course as an examination of the ways in which the twentieth century societies responded to the demands of modernity. The main objective of this survey is to familiarize you with the history of modernity in the world, which began during the second part of the nineteenth century and led to the complicated events of the twenty-first century. The chronological emphasis begins with the pre-modern reform attempts of the late 1800s, and ends with the fall of Communism in Europe. The survey examines the history of change and continuity in world cultures and societies. The reformist, revolutionary and war-like behavior of various states transformed our world’s societies and cultures. In turn, the peoples of the world responded to these changes initiating a dynamic process. This course addresses the debates and struggles between the states and societies. At the end of the semester, I expect and hope that you will have a well-rounded awareness of following themes:

  1. What is World History?

  2. What is diversity in the global context?

  3. What is the influence of ideology in shaping contemporary societies and states?

  4. What is modernity, and what is modernization?

  5. How do we explain the transformation of colonial empires to nation-states?

  6. How do we interpret the Holocaust and genocides?

  7. How do we understand and discuss the changing role of religion?

  8. How do we analyze and describe the transformation of ethnic and national identity, gender and sexuality?

  9. How do we reconcile the environmental impact of modernization on our contemporary world?


  1. Articles on Beach Board via JSTOR and other library and on-line resources,

  2. Anderson, Jon Lee. Che Guevara: A Revolutionary Life,

  3. Everdell. William R. The First Moderns: Profiles in the Origins of Twentieth-Century Thought,

  4. Hochschild, Adam. King Leopold’s Ghost: A Story of Greed, Terror, and Heroism in Colonial Africa,

  5. Mosse, George. The Image of Man: The Creation of Modern Masculinity,

  6. Young, Louise. Japan’s Total Empire: Manchuria and the Culture of Wartime Imperialism,

  7. Yuan, Gao. Born Red: A Chronicle of Cultural Revolution.

*All the books are on course reserves at the library.


Acceptance of this syllabus implies acceptance of the rules and policies of this class. It serves as your contract for the course. I reserve the right to make small changes to this syllabus in accordance with the specifics of the class dynamic.

I will expect you to complete all the assigned readings for the day, before you come to class. You should be prepared to discuss the readings and participate in the group presentation project. All the written assignments are due at the beginning of class. I will deduct points for late papers. I will give incompletes only if there is a case of documented family or medical emergency. (See below). For incompletes, you must make arrangements with me in advance. To pass the class, you will complete all the assignments. Failure to complete any of these components means that you will fail the course.

Attendance is required. Missing more than three lectures will have a negative effect on your grade. I am not obligated to consider other absences accept the following excused absences: including illness or injury to the student; death, injury, or serious illness of an immediate family member or the like; religious reasons (California Education Code section 89320); jury duty or government obligation; university sanctioned or approved activities (examples include: artistic performances, forensics presentations, participation in research conferences, intercollegiate athletic activities, student government, required class field trips.) If in doubt, please read the CSULB attendance policy: Please contact me immediately if you need to be absent. If I do not hear from you, I will consider your absence unexcused.

Consistent tardiness will not be acceptable and will result in a grade deduction. You need to let me know ahead of time if you are going to be late. If you are late to class beyond 20 minutes of seminar time, I will consider you absent for the day.


I will not allow reading of extraneous materials, listening to headsets, private conversations between students and talking on cell phones. PLEASE TURN OFF CELL PHONES, PAGERS AND OTHER DISTRACTIONS!


It is the student’s responsibility to notify me in advance of the need for accommodation of a disability.

POLICY ON CHEATING AND PLAGIARISM: Plagiarism is presenting the work, ideas, or words of another person, including one of your peers, or a web site as one’s own. It is your responsibility to read the section on cheating and plagiarism in the CSULB catalog. I am obligated to follow these strict rules. Please talk to me if you have any questions about giving proper credit to other people’s work.

It is the student’s responsibility to withdraw from classes. Instructors have no obligation to withdraw students who so not attend courses, and may choose not to do so. Withdrawal from a course after the first two weeks of instruction requires the signature of the instructor and department chair, and is permissible only for serious and compelling reasons. During the final three weeks of instruction, withdrawals are not permitted except in cases such as accident or serious illness where the circumstances causing the withdrawal are clearly beyond the student’s control and the assignment of an incomplete is not practical. Ordinarily, withdrawals in the category involve total withdrawal from the university. (However, drops at this time are not generally approved except in cases of accident or serious illness.)


  1. Class Participation: I will expect you to participate in class discussion. I will call on you. If you are too shy to participate, you need to talk to me so that we can make other arrangements, such as written responses to readings, to make up for this portion of the grade. For the most part, the themes of this course are current and controversial. There is a great potential of passionate discussion. I will expect you to respond and refer to the topic at hand rather than the individual. In other words, please challenge your peers’ view points instead of questioning their personal motives. Please voice your agreements and disagreements respectfully. According to Mohandas Gandhi “when restraint and courtesy are added to strength, the latter becomes irresistible.”

  1. Group Presentation Project: The goal of this exercise is to help you improve your interpersonal communications skills and learn to work within a group. It is essential that you make decisions together and solve problems cooperatively. You will choose one of the chapters from The First Moderns of William R. Everdell. I will provide a sign-up sheet on February 5th. Your assignment is to place the individuals in your chosen chapter in historical context. This assignment requires basic background research on the persons and the history the surrounds them. You must provide specific examples to show how World History shaped these figures. Your group will have 20 minutes to present the material. Your classmates will grade your presentation. Fifty percent of the final grade will be the average of their grades for the presentation. Be cooperative, supportive, original and creative!

  1. Writing Assignment Requirements: You will write a fifteen-page essay with double spaced paragraphs and one-inch margins. The essay should demonstrate your own views on the specific topic at hand. You will choose an event in the twentieth-century (other than the two World Wars), which changed the course of history. This change does not need to influence the entire world. It could have made a regional transformation. This transformation will be the focus of your essay.

You are required to make use of both primary (see below) and secondary sources to construct a coherent argument and to substantiate it with evidence. You need to compose an argument to demonstrate why this particular event changed the course of history. The essay will exhibit the ability to integrate material from the lectures, readings and class discussions.

    1. “A lecture in the Club of the Umma Party,” by Bahithat al-Badiya. 1909,

    2. “Speech to the National Socialist Women’s Association,” by Gertrud Scholtz-Klink. 1935,

    3. “Where is Woman Going,” by Amanda Labarca, 1920,

    4. “Silent Spring,” by Rachel Carson, 1963,

    5. “Speech before the French Chamber of Deputies” by Jules Ferry, 1883,

    6. “The Plan of Ayala,” by Emiliano Zapata, 1911,

    7. “London Manifesto,” Pan-African Congress, 1921,

    8. “Letter to the French Chamber of Deputies,” by Nguyen Thai Hoc, 1930,

    9. “Two Proclamations of Boxer Rebellion, 1900,

    10. “Records of the Maji-Maji Uprising,” 1905,

    11. “Speech to the Indian National Congress,” by Bal Gangadhar Tilak, 1907,

    12. “The Problem of the Indian and the Problem of Land,” by Jose Carlos Mariategui, 1928.

  1. Writing Style Requirements: When you draw upon someone else’s work, you must use proper footnote, endnote and bibliographical format. For guidance about style and editing, refer to the “History Department Style Manual.” You may also make use of the Learning Skills Center or the Writing Resource Center. Additional sources are:

  1. The Chicago Manual of Style,

  2. A Manual for Writers of Term Papers, Theses and Dissertations by Kate Turabian,

  3. Elements of Style by Strunk and White,

  4. A Short Guide to Writing About History by Marius and Page.

  1. Midterm and Final Exams: The exams will have three sections: a blank map, identifications, and an essay. The two exams will be weighed equally.


Class Participation 10%

Group Presentation Project 15%

The Essay 25%

Midterm Exam 25%

Final Exam 25%

Week One:


  • Everdell, to page 115

January 29: What is world history?
January 31: Technological and economic inventions: Adam Smith (1723-1790), The Wright Brothers (Wilbur, 1867- 1912 and Orville, 1871-1948), Emma Goldman (1869-1940) and Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900)
Week Two:


  • Everdell, to page 240

  • Engels, F. and K. Marx (1848). The Communist Manifesto

February 5: Modernity and rational thought: Charles Robert Darwin (1809-1882) and Marie Curie (1867-1934)
February 7: Communism and Capitalism: Karl Heinrich Marx (1818-1883) and Winston Churchill (1874-1965)
Week Three:


February 12: Artists and thinkers: Pablo Ruiz Picasso (1881-1973), Arnold Schoenberg (1874-1951) and Rabindranath Tagore (1861-1941)
February 14: Revolutionaries and conservatives: Emmeline Pankhurst (1858-1928), Alfred Dreyfus (1859-1935) and Tsar Nicholas Aleksandrovich Romanov II of Russia (1868-1918)

Week Four:


  • Hochschild, part 1

February 19: Colonizers and liberators: King Leopold II of Belgium (1935-1909), Stephanus Johannes Paulus ‘Paul’ Kruger (1825-1904) and Cetshwayo kaMpande (1826-1884)
February 21: The Americans: Jose Julián Martí y Pérez (1853-1895), Theodore Roosevelt Jr. (1858-1919), José Enrique Rodó (1872-1917) and Félix Rubén García Sarmiento (1867-1916)
Week Five:


  • Hochschild, part 2

February 26: Changing face of East Asia: Dowager Empress Tz’u-hsi (1861-1908), Sun Yat-sen (1866-1925), and Itō Hirobumi (1841-1909)
February 28: Europe in crisis: Franz Ferdinand (1863-1914), Paul von Hindenburg (1847-1934) and Mustafa Kemal Ataturk (1881-1938)
Week Six:


  • Mosse, read the entire book

March 5: The influence of North American art: Mary Pickford (1892-1979), Rudolph Valentino (1895-1926), Jean Harlow (1911-1937), Douglas Fairbanks (1883-1939) and Louie Armstrong (1901-1971)
March 7: The Bolsheviks: Vladimir Ilyich Ulyanov ‘Lenin’ (1870-1924) and Joseph Vissarionovich Dzhugashvili ‘Stalin’ (1879-1953)
Week Seven:


  • Young, part 1 and 2

March 12: Fascist power: Benito Amilcare Andrea Mussolini (1883-1945), Sergei Eisenstein (1898-1948) and Józef Klemens Piłsudski (1867-1935)
March 14: Latin Americans rebel: Doroteo Arango Arámbula (Pancho Villa) (1878-1923), Emiliano Zapata Salazar (1879-1919), Lázaro Cárdenas del Río (1895-1970) and Getúlio Dornelles Vargas (1882-1954)

Week Eight:


  • Young, part 3

March 19: East Asia in crisis: Chiang Kai-shek (Jiang Jieshi) (1887-1975) and Hara Takashi (Hara Kei) (1856-1921)
March 21: South Asia fight for independence: Mohandas Karamchand ‘Mahatma’ Gandhi (1869-1948) and Jawaharlal Nehru (1889-1964)
EXTRA CREDIT EVENT: “EURASIAN WOMEN AND SELF RELIANCE CONFERENCE” on March 22 at the Pointe. See the History Department web page for details. It is an all day event, which includes complimentary lunch. You need to RSVP to me by email.
Week Nine:


  • Young, part 4 and the conclusion

March 26: Middle East and North African revolutions: Saad Zaghlul (1859-1927), Reza Shah (1878-1944) and Benjamin Theodor Herzl (1860-1904)
Week Ten:


  • Gao, to page 112

  • Aitmatov, Chingiz: Mother Earth (a short story)

April 9: African and Caribbean fight for freedom: Jan Christiaan Smuts (1870-1950), James Barry Munnik Hertzog (1866-1952) and Marcus Mosiah Garvey (1887-1940)
April 11: Whole scale murder and destruction: Adolf Hitler (1889-1945), Sergey Mironovich Kirov (1886-1934), Lavrentiy Pavlovich Beria (1899-1953) Francisco Franco y Bahamonde (1892-1975) and Léon Blum (1872-1950)
Week Eleven:


  • Gao, to page 200

April 16: Trying to save the world: Franklin Delano Roosevelt (1882-1945), Harry S. Truman (1884-1972), George Catlett Marshall Jr. (1880-1959) Dwight David "Ike" Eisenhower (1890-1969) and Nikita Sergeyevich Khrushchev (1894-1971)
April 18: Trying to save human dignity: Rosa Parks (1913-2005), Malcolm X (1925-1965) and Martin Luther King Jr. (1929-1968)
Week Twelve:


  • Gao, finish the book

April 23: Africa after colonialism: Muammar Abu Minyar al-Gaddafi (1942-), Kwame Nkrumah (1909-1972) and Akinwande Oluwole "Wole" Soyinka (1934-)
April 25: Asia reclaims its own rule: Mao Zedong (Tse-Tung) (1893-1976), Muhammad Ali Jinnah (1876-1948), Hồ Chí Minh (1890-1969) and Kim Il-Sung (1912-1994)
Week Thirteen:


  • Anderson, part 1

April 30: Latin Americans invent new ideologies of freedom: Fidel Alejandro Castro Ruz (1926-), Ernesto ‘Che’ Guevara de la Serna (1928-1967) and Gustavo Gutiérrez Merino (1928-)
May 2: Apartheid: Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela (1918-)
Week Fourteen:


  • Anderson, part 2

  • Kanafani, Ghassan. “Palestine’s Children: Return to Haifa” (a short story)

May 7: Israel emerges: Gamal Abdel Nasser (1918-1970), Golda Meir (1898-1978) and Mohammed Anwar al Sadat (1918-1981)
May 9: A New World: Charles André Joseph Marie de Gaulle (1890-1970), Leonid Ilyich Brezhnev (1907-1982), Margaret Hilda Thatcher, Baroness Thatcher (1925-), Lech Wałęsa (1943-)
Week Fifteen:


  • Anderson, part 3

May 14: The Year that rocked the World: 1968
May 16: The Leaders who changed the World: Bob Marley (1945-1981), Betty Friedan (1921-2006), Ronald Wilson Reagan (1911-2004), Václav Havel (1936-), Mikhail Sergeyevich Gorbachyov (Gorbachev) (1931-) and Fourteenth Dalai Lama Tenzin Gyatso (1935-)
Week Sixteen:

May 21


  • FINAL EXAM: 12:30-2:30 P.M.

HISTORY 396: Contemporary World History: Twentieth Century, Ali F. İğmen

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