European Civilization from the Renaissance to the Present

History 5

Spring 2016
Day & Time: 
TuTh 200-330

This course introduces students to the history of Europe since the late Renaissance, surveying the landmark events, dates, people, and historical processes of European history over the last half-millennium.  We begin in 1492 with the European conquest of the New World and the development of the “new monarchies” in Europe, and move rapidly through the Protestant and Catholic Reformations and Religious Wars, the development of strong and increasingly national states, the intellectual revolutions in science and philosophy, the French Revolution, industrialization, liberalism and socialism, colonial empires, the world wars of the 20th century, the Cold War, decolonization, and the formation of the European Union.  Throughout the course, we will focus on the reading and interpretation of primary sources, using an array of documents to introduce students to the sources of historical knowledge and the interpretive practices of historical thinking  – from theological tracts to accounts of conquest, from philosophical texts to political treatises, from descriptions of social conditions to speeches, memoirs, letters, and visual artifacts.  Themes on which we shall focus include the changing nature of political authority and practices and the changing expressions of collective identities in Europe.  Requirements include attendance at two weekly lectures and a two-hour section meeting devoted to discussing primary sources; several short papers, a midterm, and a final.