Europe and the World: Wars, Empires, Nations 1648-1914

History 162A

Fall 2017
2060 Valley Life Sciences
Day & Time: 
TuTh 5-6:30
Class Number: 

Two all-consuming wars enclose this course. The treaties of 1648 worked to bring an end to the ferocious Wars of Religion that raged throughout the continent for three decades. In 1914, Europe was on the verge of an unexpectedly brutal war that, rather than being the war to end all wars, ushered in the most violent century of Europe’s long-bloodied past. How many times between these heartbreaking tragedies did Europeans recreate themselves?

In this course, we will engage the high-political narrative of European modernization: the theory of absolutism, the rise of the state system, and the Concert of Europe for example. Along with which, we will come to know impressive personalities: Catherine the Great, Napoleon, Otto von Bismarck, and many more. However, that narrative will always be informed by the cultural and social structures that created and coevolved with changing politics, providing opportunities, momentum, and limitations to political life. What structures of authority connected non-French-speaking peasants in Languedoc to the governmental ambitions of Louis XIV? Why did emergent class-consciousness erupt in the political revolutions of 1848? How did industrialization, economic inequality, and nationalism in part lead to the First World War? Major topics include: state formation, absolutism, enlightenment, industrialization, the French Revolution, nationalism, the Congress of Vienna, 1848, the unifications of Italy and Germany, imperialism, and the origins of the First World War.