The Wake Forest class History 103: World Civilizations to 1500 explores how people around the world—at different times and for different reasons—organized themselves politically, economically, and socially as a response to their particular geographical and environmental conditions.
Throughout the semester, the students in HST 103 have studied a variety of historical documents, including ancient travel journals, ethnographical treatises, plays, poetry, and epics. Studying objects allowed students to gain a different appreciation of history by showing physical evidence of the past. History relies on written sources, but what about the unwritten stories? In this exhibit, the students have used objects as illustrations of human history in order to form a deeper narrative.
The students arranged three display cases based on the three themes of the course: the relationship between society and nature as a philosophical dilemma; the relationship between the individual and society as a cultural and political manifestation; and, the relationship between the individual and deity as a religious expression. Taken together they represent the most spectacular examples of social formation. The legacy of these civilizations is one of cultural syncretism manifested in the diversity and complexity of their traditions and ideas.
This exhibit was curated by students in Dr. Jeffrey Lerner’s HST 103 class taught during the Fall 2019 semester.