Documentary Response


Your first assignment requires that you view in its entirely the recent (2012) PBS documentary Civilization: The West and the Rest hosted by historian Niall Ferguson. The six-part documentary is available for streaming to your home computer, laptop, smartphone, or tablet via YouTube.

Clicking on the following links to view individual episodes. Each lasts approximately 45 minutes: 

After (or while) watching the series, you will complete a two-part “answer sheet” designed to test your knowledge and comprehension of the documentary, its content, and themes.


1. Short-answer: In the first portion of the documentary response sheet you will provide short (one- or two-word) responses to questions of fact based upon information presented in the series. This component of the assignment is intended to demonstrate that you have watched the documentary, taken notes, and are capable of recalling (or cataloging) specific information contained within it.

2. Key Terms: This section of the assignment requires you to identify ten (10) significant terms, concepts, or events addressed at length in the series. Each of the ten terms must be followed by a short description of the item — including the time & place encountered in the past, the context in which it was presented, and a statement of its broader significance. Your short description of each item should not exceed three (3) sentences. Your key terms MAY NOT include any of the “six killer apps” identified by Ferguson as characteristic features of Western Civilization.

Distribution and submission of the response sheet

The Documentary Response Answer Sheet will be e-mailed to you in the form of a Word .docx file. You must submit your typed, completed response to me as an e-mail attachment no later than 5:00 pm on Wednesday, January 31st.

Your documentary response sheet must be delivered via e-mail attachment in the form of a Word document file.


[Last Name]+[First Initial]_DocResponse

EXAMPLE: SmithJ_DocResponse.doc

Students who do not label their file(s) according to the above format will received a -5% penalty on the corresponding assignment.