European Civilization from the Renaissance to the Present


Spring 2017
3 LeConte
Day & Time: 
TuTh 2-3:30
Class Number: 
  • A complete description is forthcoming. Please check back.
  • 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 — or perhaps in 1453, with the fall of Constantinople to the “Turks” —  and move rapidly through the Protestant and Catholic Reformations and Religious Wars, the "Crisis of the 17th Century," the development of "absolutist" states, the intellectual revolutions in science and philosophy, the French Revolution, industrialization, liberalism and socialism, more revolutions, colonial empires, the world wars of the 20th century, the Cold War, decolonization, and the formation of the European Union (among other topics).  The learning goal of the course is for students to produce interpretations of these events and processes, and to relate them to each other, relying on a close reading of primary sources. Themes on which we shall focus include: the definition of Europe and its Others (the identity of Europe); the problem of periodization and modernity (when and what was modern Europe?); and a study of the constituent components of modernity  (“politics,” “religion,” “economy,” “society,” “culture”) as these fields of knowledge and practice appeared successively in the history of Europe since the Renaissance.