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Introduction to Modern World History 

Department: History

Instructor: Semih Gokatalay
Instructor's Email:
Prerequisites: None
Section ID: 155034

Schedule: Mon., Wed., & Fri 1PM - 3PM PST


Course Description

In this course, you will learn about modern world history by adopting an interdisciplinary perspective and using non-traditional methods. This course begins with World War I and then looks at the Great Depression, World War II, decolonization, nuclear race, and the civil rights movement. The course ends with the collapse of the U.S.S.R. and the rise of neoliberalism. We will focus on new interpretations of modern history, including histories of childhood, food, gender, medicine, movies, music, sports, and technology, rather than standard and old-fashioned interpretation of political and military histories. After taking this course, you will understand that international developments and economic and diplomatic crises influenced not only political discourses but also our everyday life.

This course is not limited to future students of humanities and social science. It was also designed for those who want to study other disciplines. Instead of memorizing certain names and remembering historical facts, we will take a look at broader themes and international phenomena that heavily shaped our world. We will utilize lectures, small group discussions, slides, short videos, memes, and game-based learning platforms. Dialogue and even disagreement are encouraged, provided they are done so respectfully. You will need to participate in discussion boards, produce multiple-step written assignments, and complete individual projects. As it is an online class, we do not have any exam. 

Course Goals / Learning Objectives

Upon completion of the course, students will have:

  • The course has two main purposes:
    • To deepen your understanding of modern world history by introducing several key concepts and develop the critical thinking and reading skills necessary for academic success in your future college life
    • To prepare you for college-level writing and develop your ability to conduct scholarly research and write academic arguments, based on critical thinking.
  • When you successfully complete this course, you will be better able to:
    • Articulate how new ideas and cultural encounters shape the historical development of the modern world
    • Engage in substantive and respectful discussion of course concepts with peers
    • Produce creative reflections on your course learning
    • Formulate and carry to complete an academic research project, including
      • Conducting academic research using online resources and digital databases
      • Managing the research and writing process
      • Identifying a significant and relevant issue that fits the scope of the assignment
      • Supporting the claim with logical reasoning and thorough analysis of textual evidence

Tentative List of Topics

  • History of Childhood
  • History of Food
  • History of Gender
  • History of Medicine
  • History of Movies
  • History of Music
  • History of Sports
  • History of Technology


*Courses vary by experience and exposure to content. Instructors have the ability to change content and pace to serve the needs of students. Courses have been modified for online teaching.