Summer 2016 - HIST 472W D100

Problems in World History (4)


Class Number: 4744

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Mo 9:30 AM – 1:20 PM
    HCC 1510, Vancouver

  • Prerequisites:

    45 units including nine units of lower division history.



An advanced examination into the concepts and methodology of world history. Selected themes may include globalization, modernization, migration, religious expansion, colonialism, imperialism, and the teaching of world history. Content may vary from offering to offering; see course outline for further information. HIST 472W may be repeated for credit only when a different topic is taught. Writing.


“In July 1973, Afghanistan’s King Mohammed Zahir Shah was overthrown by his cousin Daud, who then abolished the monarchy and declared himself the president of a republic. The New York Times sarcastically editorialized that Afghanistan had just 'leaped into the sixteenth century.' Radio reports soon brought news of this slight even to provincial northern Afghanistan, where I was working at the time. Daud’s government in Kabul expressed its displeasure, but an Afghan friend familiar with the region’s complex history saw it differently. 'We may have acted hastily,' he joked. 'The 15th century was pretty good around here!'”[1] 

The land between the Hindu Kush and the Indus River has, in my opinion, the most interesting history of any region on the planet. It has been called the traffic circle of empires, at the intersection of Persia, India, and Central Asia. It rests on the fault line between the sedentary and the nomadic. Depending on the period and the observer's perspective, it has been seen as the most or the least civilized. This semester we take a longue durée approach to the history of what is now Afghanistan and northwest Pakistan, from the Copper Age until today.

[1]  Thomas Barfield, “Is Afghanistian 'Medieval'?” Foreign Policy, June 2, 2010.


  • Seminar participation 25%
  • Quizzes on the Dari and Pashto alphabet 5%
  • Two eight-page papers (source analysis) 55%
  • Two referats (formal presentations on research) 5%
  • Quiz on the basic geography and history of Afghanistan 5%
  • Quiz on the basic geography and history inThe Dari or Pashto language, or your average score on the two papers, whichever is higher 5%



Thomas Barfield, Afghanistan: A Cultural and Political History (2012) (ISBN 0691154414)

Nazanin Mirsadeghi, How to Write in Persian (2015) (ISBN 1939099471)
to save you money, given the high US/CAD exchange rate, the SFU bookstore is not ordering Mirsadehi; you can purchase it from

Willem Vogelsang, The Afghans (2008) (ISBN 1405182431)

Other readings will be made available online

Registrar Notes:

Each student is responsible for his or her conduct as it affects the University community.  Academic dishonesty, in whatever form, is ultimately destructive of the values of the University. Furthermore, it is unfair and discouraging to the majority of students who pursue their studies honestly. Scholarly integrity is required of all members of the University.

SFU’s Academic Integrity web site contains information on what is meant by academic dishonesty and where you can find resources to help with your studies.  There is also a section on tutoring.