What enabled the western European nations, in a process that began around the year 1500, to dominate nearly all of the peoples of the world? How did the geographic positioning, the history, and the cultural traditions of the West create the foundation for all that is familiar today? These are the two focusing questions of this course. Knowing, thinking, and writing about how the West developed is crucial to understanding our responsibilities in the world today. This course is divided into 12 units that survey the history of western civilization from its ancient Near Eastern beginnings to the Renaissance. An additional emphasis is placed on academic writing; students complete research papers in this class.