Late Modern Europe: Part I

History 275B.001

Fall 2006
125 Dwinelle
Day & Time: 
W 4-6

This seminar will provide an introduction to some of the major issues of Europe's ";long 19th century"; (ca. 1789-1914): the impact of the French Revolution, the intellectual origins of socialism, religion and secularization, imperialism/empire, the crisis of the liberal state and of the international system. Woven through most of these topics, however, is the story of the changing ways Europeans were defining community -- as class, as confession, and especially as nation, an identity whose dominance in the 19th century we will by no means take for granted.

The purpose of the seminar is to prepare both specialists and non-specialists for their oral exams in late modern Europe and to familiarize them with influential approaches to central problems. Our normal mode will be to concentrate on a major work each week, sometimes with articles that put the week's topic in historiographical context. Works will be drawn from French, Russian, German, Habsburg, and English history. They will include classics, such as Gellner's Nations and Nationalism, Eugen Weber's Peasants into Frenchmen, and Hannah Arendt's Origins of Totalitarianism (parts I and II on antisemitism and imperialism), as well as work that is hot off the presses, such as Seth Koven's Slumming. Sexual and Social Politics in Victorian England (2004), Robert D. Crews's For Prophet and Tsar. Islam and Empire in Russia and Central Asia (2006), and J.P. Daughton's An Empire Divided: Religion, Republicanism, and the Making of French Colonialism, 1880-1914 (2006).

In order to get as much as possible out of the seminar, participants should become familiar with a good textbook on the period. Some possibilities: R. R. Palmer and Joel Colton, A History of the Modern World (the period from ca. 1780 to 1914); Gordon Craig, Europe 1815-1914 (old but still good); Charles Breunig, The Age of Revolution 1789-1850 (Norton paperback); E.J. Hobsbawm, The Age of Revolution; Norman Rich, The Age of Nationalism 1850-90 (Norton paperback)--but any work, or combination of works, will do.

Members will be required to turn in an accurate 5-sentence summary of each book every week. They will be expected to participate vigorously in discussion. And they will write a short historiographical essay (10-12 pages) on a relevant theme of their own choosing, due at the end of the semester.