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Based on the highly successful A History of World Societies, Understanding World Societies: A Brief History combines innovative pedagogy with a manageable regional and comparative approach to capture students' interest in the everyday life of the past. Abridged by 25%, the narrative is paired with distinctive pedagogy, designed to help students focus on significant developments as they read and review. An innovative end-of-chapter study guide helps students master key facts and move towards synthesis.
John P. McKay (Ph.D., University of California, Berkeley) is professor emeritus at the University of Illinois. He has written or edited numerous works, including the Herbert Baxter Adams Prize-winning book Pioneers for Profit: Foreign Entrepreneurship and Russian Industrialization, 1885-1913.
Patricia B. Ebrey (Ph.D., Columbia University), Professor of History at the University of Washington in Seattle, specializes in China. She has published numerous journal articles and The Cambridge Illustrated History of China, as well as numerous monographs. In 2010 she won the Shimada Prize for outstanding work of East Asian Art History for Accumulating Culture: The Collections of Emperor Huizong.
Roger B. Beck (Ph.D., Indiana University) is Distinguished Professor of African and twentieth-century world history at Eastern Illinois University. His publications include The History of South Africa, a translation of P. J. van der Merwe's The Migrant Farmer in the History of the Cape Colony, 1657-1842, and more than a hundred articles, book chapters, and reviews. He is a former treasurer and Executive Council member of the World History Association.
Clare Haru Crowston (Ph.D., Cornell University) teaches at the University of Illinois, where she is currently associate professor of history. She is the author of Fabricating Women: The Seamstresses of Old Regime France, 1675-1791, which won the Berkshire and Hagley Prizes. She edited two special issues of the Journal of Women's History, has published numerous journal articles and reviews, and is a past president of the Society for French Historical Studies.
Merry E. Wiesner-Hanks (Ph.D., University of Wisconsin-Madison) taught first at Augustana College in Illinois, and since 1985 at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, where she is currently UWM Distinguished Professor in the department of history. She is the coeditor of the Sixteenth Century Journal and the author or editor of more than twenty books, most recently The Marvelous Hairy Girls: The Gonzales Sisters and Their Worlds and Gender in History. She is the former Chief Reader for Advanced Placement World History.
Table of Contents
Maps, Figures and TablesSpecial Features Preface Version and Supplements Chapter 1The Earliest Human Societies, to 2500 b.c.e. How did humans evolve, and where did they migrate? Understanding the Early Human Past Hominid Evolution Homo Sapiens, "Thinking Humans" Migration and Differentiation What were the key features of Paleolithic society? Foraging for Food Family and Kinship Relationships Cultural Creations and Spirituality How did plant and animal domestication transform human society? The Development of Horticulture Animal Domestication and the Rise of Pastoralism Plow Agriculture How did Neolithic societies change over time? Social Hierarchies and Slavery Gender Hierarchies and Inheritance Trade and Cross-Cultural Connections Connections Chapter Study Guide Listening to the Past: Paleolithic Venus Figures Individuals in Society: The Iceman Chapter 2The Rise of the State in Southwest Asia and the Nile Valley, 3200-500 b.c.e. How is the invention of writing connected to the rise of cities and states? Written Sources and the Human Past Cites and the Idea of Civilization The Rise of States, Laws, and Social Hierarchies What kinds of states and societies emerged in ancient Mesopotamia? Environmental Challenges, Irrigation, and Religion Sumerian Politics and Society The Invention of Writing and Other Intellectual Advances The Triumph of Babylon and the Spread of Mesopotamian Civilization Hammurabi's Code and Its Social Consequences What were the characteristics of Egyptian civilization? The Nile and the God-King Social Divisions and Work in Ancient Egypt Migrations and Political Revivals New Political and Economic Powers What was unique about Hebrew civilization? The Hebrew State The Jewish Religion The Family and Jewish Life How did the Assyrians and Persians build and maintain their empires? Assyria, the Military Monarchy The Rise and Expansion of the Persian Empire The Religion of Zoroaster Connections Chapter Study Guide Listening to the Past: Gilgamesh's Quest for Immortality Individuals in Society: Hatshepsut and Nefertiti Global Trade: Iron Chapter 3 The Foundation of Indian Society, to 300 c.e. What were the key characteristics of India's first civilization? What kind of society and culture did the Indo-European Aryans create? Aryan Dominance in North India Life in Early India Brahmanism What new religious beliefs emerged to challenge Brahmanism? Jainism Siddhartha Gautama and Buddhism Hinduism How was the Mauryan Empire created and what were its achievements? Encounters with the West Chandragupta and the Founding of the Mauryan Empire The Reign of Ashoka, ca. 269-232 b.c.e. How did political disunity shape Indian life after 185 b.c.e.? Connections Chapter Study Guide Listening to the Past: Conversations Between Rama and Sita from the Ramayana Individuals in Society: Gosala Chapter 4 China's Classical Age, to 221 b.c.e. How did geography shape the development of Chinese societies? The Impact of Geography Early Agricultural Societies of the Neolithic Age What were the most important developments in Shang China? Shang Society Bronze Metalworking The Development of Writing What was China like during the Zhou Dynasty? Zhou Politics Life During the Zhou Dynasty How did new technologies contribute to the rise of independent states? New Technologies for War The Victorious States What ideas did Confucius teach, and how were they spread after his death? Confucius The Spread of Confucian Ideas How did Daoism, Legalism, and other philosophies differ from Confucianism? Daoism Legalism Yin and Yang Connections Chapter Study Guide Individuals in Society: Lord Mengchang Listening to the Past: The Book of Mencius Chapter 5The Greek Experience, 3500-100 b.c.e. How did geography shape the early history of the Greeks? The Minoans and Mycenaeans The Development of the Polis How did Greek society and government develop during the Archaic age? Greece's Overseas Expansion The Growth of Sparta The Evolution of Athens What were the lasting achievements of the classical period? The Deadly Conflicts, 499-404 b.c.e. Athenian Arts in the Age of Pericles Daily Life and Social Conditions in Athens Greek Religion in the Classical Period The Flowering of Philosophy What were the social and political consequences of Alexander's conquests? From Polis to Monarchy, 404-200 b.c.e. Building a Shared Society The Growth of Trade and Commerce How did the mixing of cultures shape Hellenistic thought? Religion in the Hellenistic World Philosophy and Its Guidance for Life Hellenistic Science and Medicine Connections Chapter Study Guide Listening to the Past: Aristotle, On the Family and On Slavery, from The Politics Individuals in Society: Archimedes, Scientist and Inventor Chapter 6The World of Rome, 750 b.c.e.-400 c.e. What kind of society and government did the Romans develop in Italy? The Etruscans and Rome The Roman Conquest of Italy The Distribution of Power in the Roman Republic Social Conflict in Rome What were the causes and consequences of Roman expansion beyond Italy? Overseas Conquests and the Punic Wars, 264-133 b.c.e. New Influences and Old Values in Roman Culture The Late Republic and the Rise of Augustus, 133-27 b.c.e. The Successes of Augustus How did Roman rule lead to a period of prosperity and relative peace? Political and Military Changes in the Empire Life in Rome Prosperity in the Roman Provinces Eastward Expansion and Contacts Between Rome and China What was Christianity, and how did it affect life in the Roman Empire? Factors Behind the Rise of Christianity The Life and Teachings of Jesus The Spread of Christianity The Growing Acceptance and Evolution of Christianity How did rulers respond to the chaos of the third and fourth centuries? Diocletian's Reforms Economic Hardship and Its Consequences Constantine, Christianity, and the Rise of Constantinople Connections Chapter Study Guide Individuals in Society: Queen Cleopatra Listening to the Past: Cicero and the Plot to Kill Caesar Global Trade: Pottery Chapter 7East Asia and the Spread of Buddhism, 221 b.c.e.-800 c.e. How did political unification under the Qin and Han shape China? The Qin Unification, 221-206 b.c.e. The Han Dynasty, 206 b.c.e.-220 c.e. Han Intellectual and Cultural Life Inner Asia and the Silk Road Life in Han China China and Rome The Fall of the Han and the Age of Division How and why did Buddhism spread throughout East Asia? Buddhism's Path Through Central Asia The Appeal and Impact of Buddhism in China What were the lasting accomplishments of the Sui and Tang Dynasties? The Sui Dynasty, 581-618 The Tang Dynasty, 618-907 Tang Culture How were elements of Chinese culture adapted throughout East Asia? Vietnam Korea Japan Connections Chapter Study Guide Global Trade: Silk Individuals in Society: The Ban Family Listening to the Past: Sixth-Century Biographies of Buddhist Nuns Chapter 8Continuity and Change in Europe and Western Asia, 200-850 How did the Byzantine Empire preserve the Greco-Roman legacy? Sources of Byzantine Strength The Sassanid Empire and Conflicts with Byzantium The Law Code of Justinian Byzantine Intellectual Life Life in Constantinople How and why did Christian institutions change in late antiquity? The Evolution of Church Leadership and Orthodoxy The Western Church and the Eastern Church The Iconoclastic Controversy Christian Monasticism How did Christianity spread and develop in late antiquity? Christian Beliefs and the Greco-Roman Tradition Saint Augustine Missionary Activity Conversion and Assimilation How did the barbarians affect change in Europe and western Asia? Social and Economic Structures Chiefs, Warriors, and Laws Migrations and Political Change The Frankish Kingdom Charlemagne Connections Chapter Study Guide Individuals in Society: Theodora of Constantinople Listening to the Past: Gregory of Tours, The Conversion of Clovis Chapter 9The Islamic World, 600-1400 Who was Muhammad and what did he teach? Arabian Social and Economic Structure Muhammad's Rise as a Religious Leader The Tenets of Islam What explains the speed and scope of Islamic expansion? Islam's Spread Beyond Arabia Reasons for the Spread of Islam The Caliphate and the Split Between ShiÕa and Sunni Alliances The Abbasid Caliphate Administration of the Islamic Territories How and why did Islamic states change between 900 and 1400? Breakaway Territories and Shi'a Gains The Ascendancy of the Turks The Mongol Invasions What social distinctions were important in Muslim society? The Social Hierarchy Slavery Women in Classical Islamic Society Why did trade thrive in Muslim lands? What new cultural developments emerged in this period? The Cultural Centers of Baghdad and C—rdoba Education and Intellectual Life The Mystical Tradition of Sufism What characterized Muslim-Christian interactions? Connections Chapter Study Guide Listening to the Past: Abu Hamid Al-Ghazali, The Etiquette of Marriage Individuals in Society: Ibn Battuta Chapter 10African Societies and Kingdoms, 1000 b.c.e.-1500 c.e. How did geography shape the history of Africa's diverse peoples? Africa's Geographical and Human Diversity Egypt, Race, and Being African How did the advent of settled agriculture affect early societies? Settled Agriculture and Its Impact Bantu Migrations Life in the Kingdoms of the Western Sudan, ca. 1000 b.c.e.-800 c.e. What role did the trans-Saharan trade play in West African history? The Berbers of North Africa Effects of Trade on West African Society The Spread of Islam in Africa What kingdoms and empires emerged in Africa between 800 and 1500? The Kingdom of Ghana, ca. 900-1100 The Kingdom of Mali, ca. 1200-1450 Ethiopia: The Christian Kingdom of Aksum The East African City-States Southern Africa and Great Zimbabwe Connections Chapter Study Guide Individuals in Society: Amda Siyon Listening to the Past: A Tenth-Century Muslim Traveler Describes Parts of the East African Coast Chapter 11The Americas, 2500 b.c.e.-1500 c.e. How did early peoples of the Americas adapt to its diverse environments? Settling the Americas The Development of Agriculture What characterized early societies in the Americas? Mounds, Towns, and Trade in North and South America Olmec Agriculture, Technology, and Religion What kinds of societies emerged in the classical era? Maya Agriculture and Trade Maya Science and Religion Growth and Assimilation of the Teotihuacan and Toltec Cultures Hohokam, Hopewell, and Mississippian Societies Who were the Aztecs and how did they build an empire? Religion and War in Aztec Society Social Distinctions Among the Aztecs The City of Tenochtitlan What were the strengths and weaknesses of the Inca empire? Earlier Peruvian Cultures Inca Imperialism and Its Religious Basis The Clan-Based Structure of Inca Society Connections Chapter Study Guide Individuals in Society: Tlacaelel Listening to the Past: Felipe Guaman Poma de Ayala, The First New Chronicle and Good Government Chapter 12 Cultural Exchange in Central and Southern Asia, to 1400 How did Central Asian nomads conquer nearby settled civilizations? Nomadic Society The Turks The Mongols Mongol Daily Life How did the Mongols build and govern a Eurasian empire? Chinggis Kahn Chinggis's Successors The Mongols as Rulers How did the Mongol conquests facilitate cultural exchange? The Movement of Peoples The Spread of Disease, Goods, and Ideas What was the result of India's encounters with Turks and Mongols? The Gupta Empire, ca. 320-480 India's Medieval Age and the First Encounter with Islam The Delhi Sultanate Life in Medieval India How did states develop along the trade routes of Southeast Asia and beyond? State Formation and Indian Influences The Srivijaya Maritime Trade Empire The Spread of Indian Culture in Comparative Perspective The Settlement of the Pacific Islands Connections Chapter Study Guide Listening to the Past: The Abduction of Women in The Secret History of the Mongols Individuals in Society: Bhaskara the Teacher Global Trade: Spices Chapter 13States and Cultures in East Asia, 800-1400 What were the causes and consequences of the medieval Chinese economic revolution and what was its impact? How did government and society change in the Song and Yuan Dynasties? The Song Dynasty The Scholar-Officials and Neo-Confucianism Women's Lives in Song Times China Under Mongol Rule How did Korean society and culture develop under the Koryŏ Dynasty? What characterized Japan's Heian Period? Fujiwara Rule Aristocratic Culture What were the causes and consequences of military rule in Japan? Military Rule Cultural Trends Connections Chapter Study Guide Global Trade: Tea Individuals in Society: Shen Gua Listening to the Past: The Pillow Book of Sei Shonagon Chapter 14Europe in the Middle Ages, 800-1450 How did medieval rulers try to create larger and more stable territories? Invasions and Migrations Feudalism and Manorialism The Restoration of Order Law and Justice How did the Christian church enhance its power and create new practices? Papal Reforms Monastic Life Popular Religion The Expansion of Christianity What were the motives, course, and consequences of the Crusades? Background and Motives The Course of the Crusades Consequences of the Crusades What characterized European society in the Middle Ages? The Life and Work of Peasants The Life and Work of Nobles Towns, Cities, and the Growth of Commercial Interests The Expansion of Trade and the Commercial Revolution What were the key educational and cultural developments? Universities and Scholasticism Cathedrals and a New Architectural Style Troubadour Poetry Why have the later Middle Ages been seen as a time of calamity and crisis? The Great Famine and the Black Death The Hundred Years' War Challenges to the Church Peasant and Urban Revolts Connections Chapter Study Guide Individuals in Society: Hildegard of Bingen Listening to the Past: An Arab View of the Crusades Chapter 15Europe in the Renaissance and Reformation, 1350-1600 What were the major cultural developments of the Renaissance? Wealth and Power in Renaissance Italy The Rise of Humanism Christian Humanism Printing and Its Social Impact Art and the Artist What were the key social hierarchies in Renaissance Europe? Race and Slavery Wealth and the Nobility Gender Roles How did the nation-states of western Europe evolve in this period? France England Spain The Habsburgs What were the central beliefs of Protestant reformers? Criticism of the Church Martin Luther Protestant Thought and Its Appeal The Radical Reformation and the German Peasants' War Marriage and Women's Roles The Reformation and German Politics England's Shift Toward Protestantism Calvinism and Its Moral Standards How did the Catholic Church respond to the advent of Protestantism? Papal Reforms and the Council of Trent New Religious Orders Why did religious violence escalate in this period? French Religious Wars Civil Wars in the Netherlands The Great European Witch-Hunt Connections Chapter Study Guide Individuals in Society: Leonardo da Vinci Listening to the Past: Martin Luther, On Christian Liberty Chapter 16The Acceleration of Global Contact, 1450-1600 How did trade link the peoples of Africa, Asia, and Europe prior to 1492? The Trade World of the Indian Ocean Peoples and Cultures of the Indian Ocean Trade with Africa and the Middle East Genoese and Venetian Middlemen How and why did Europeans undertake voyages of expansion? Causes of European Expansion Technology and the Rise of Exploration The Expanding Portuguese Empire Christopher Columbus's Voyages to the Americas Later Explorers Spanish Conquest in the New World What was the impact of conquest? Colonial Administration The Impact of European Settlement on the Lives of Indigenous Peoples The Columbian Exchange Sugar and Early Transatlantic Slavery The Birth of the Global Economy How did expansion shape cultural values and beliefs in Europe and the Americas? New Ideas About Race Michel de Montaigne and Cultural Curiosity William Shakespeare and His Influence Religious Conversion in the New World Connections Chapter Study Guide Individuals in Society: Zheng He Listening to the Past: Columbus Describes His First Voyage Global Trade: Silver Chapter Endnotes Index