Course Review: HIST 108

Global History of Capitalism

“Historians don’t like numbers very much. For this reason, they have left the historical enquiry of capitalism to the economists for far too long.'”

Text: Capitalism by Paul Bowles

Prof: Dr.Daniel VIckers and Dr Sebastian Prange

Prange and Vickers are like opposites. Prange is a tall, young, European man, always dressed impeccably. He has a more global outlook, and his research is on Medieval India. Vickers is shorter and older and has this good ol’ fashioned Canadian vibe. He seems to be pretty focussed on his area of research, New England farming communities.  However, Vickers is a very entertaining Professor, and has a lot of unique insights that really make you think. Prange is more structured, and is quite a methodical instructor, covering all the key arguments and points. In my opinion, they were a good team for this course, balancing each-other out well.


Difficulty

Good luck getting an A+ in this course. Highest score was 87. Other than that, class wasn’t too hard to understand. Some readings were a bit long-winded, but were okay on the whole. The weekly seminar paper was achievable, since they were expected to be short. I would have preferred two weeks though, and written something slightly longer. The midterm was all about speed for me. I left only 10 minutes for the last of three essays, so I didn’t do very well. The final was significantly easier for me, since we had more time.


Key Concepts

 

Capital

Money

Trust

Work Ethic

Corporations

Division of Labour

 


 Hard Concepts

Historical Argument: Different from a normal essay. Very important to take a stance and argue that position, while considering evidence on either side. Stating key arguments and defining all terms in introduction is key. Also remember to summarize the discussion in each paragraph, to drive the point home.

Economic concepts: Depending on how much economics you know, some of the concepts might be new. For example, the process by which government debt was turned into shares in a company seemed kind of confusing initially, since I didn’t really understand how government debt worked.


Conclusion

Fun elective for me. Improved my argumentation a lot, I think. Don’t expect great grades, though. I could not recommend this course enough for a student in Commerce or Economics, because it gives a historical perspective to a lot of the things that are taken for granted in those fields.

 

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