European Civilization from the Renaissance to the Present

History 5

Fall 2014
Day & Time: 
TuTh 1230-2P

This course introduces students to European history from around 1500 to the present as an aspect of global history. During this period, a small, poor, and fragmented outcropping of Asia became a world civilization, whose political, cultural, and economic power touched the four corners of the world. Our course will ask how and why this happened. How, in other words, did "modernity" become "western," for better and worse? As we cover this half-millennium, we will look at major landmarks in European cultural, intellectual, social, political, and economic development as they played out on a local and on a global scale: the Renaissance, the epochal expansion of Europe into the new world, the break-up of Latin Christianity into the competing religious communities, the construction of the modern state, the formation of overseas empires and the coming of capitalism, the Scientific Revolution, the French Revolution, liberalism and the industrial revolution, socialism and the rise of labor, modern colonialism, the world wars, communism and capitalism, decolonization, and the Cold War and the European Union. Our readings will range from learned treatises in religion and classics in political theory to novels and plays and documents from the past, and perhaps a good history book or two. There will probably be no textbook. Work in sections focuses on discussions of the readings and on the improvement of writing skills. Three hours of lecture and two hours of section (required) per week.

Course Books

The Drowned and the Saved by Levi, Primo Vintage. ISBN: 978-0679721864 Required
Madame Bovary by Flaubert, Gustave Penguin Classics. ISBN: 978-0140449129 Required
Civilization and Its Discontents by Freud, Sigmund Martino Fine Books. ISBN: 978-1891396625 Required
The Cheese and the Worms: The Cosmos of a Sixteenth-Century Miller by Ginzburg, Carlo Johns Hopkins University Press. ISBN: 978-0801843877 Required
Nathan the Wise by Lessing, Gotthold Ephraim Bedford/St. Martin's . ISBN: 978-0312442439 Required
Modern European History by Viault, Birdsall McGraw-Hill. ISBN: 978-0070674530 Required