Foundations of Western Civilization

Learning Highlights

The original "Joanie on the Stoney," ©Musée d'Orsay

The original “Joanie on the Stoney,” ©Musée d’Orsay

In my first history course of college, I learned about western history from the beginnings of the Fertile Crescent through the Reformation period. My class took an in-depth look at the life of Joan of Arc, Longwood’s patron saint, by reading Joan of Arc by Herself and her Witnessesa firsthand account of her life. It was particularly interesting to study medieval warfare entirely focused around a single individual, as it humanized the topic.
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Biggest Takeaway

Beyond studying historical events, I truly learned how to be a history student during this class. My most challenging course of the first semester, Foundations of Western Civilization primed me to become a strong reader and writer within the history discipline. Before the class begun, I questioned the need for me to be enrolled because I assumed the class would be a review from high school. However, the class proved to be invaluable as a public history major and provided me with the skills to approach confusing historical documents and nebulous research questions.

Work Sample

Unlike typical history papers requiring analyzing primary source documents and contrasting events, I wrote a work of time travel fiction for my final class project. It focused on medicine technologies in Anglo-Saxon England. My paper incorporated elements of Bald’s Leechbook, a primary source text, to legitimize my work of historical fiction. Scientific phenomenons described in the paper are also based in truth; the story was initially inspired by RadioLab’s Staph Retreat. However, my knowledge of Chicago-style citations was still developing while writing this paper; the footnotes section has room for improvement.

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