European Civilization from the Renaissance to the Present

History 5

Spring 2015
390 Hearst Mining
Day & Time: 
TuTh 11-1230P

This course introduces students to European history from around 1500 to the present. During this time, a small, poor, and fragmented Europe became a world civilization, whose political, cultural, and economic power now touch the four corners of the globe. 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: the Renaissance, the epochal expansion of Europe into the new world, the break-up of Latin Christianity into competing religious communities, the construction of the modern state, the formation of overseas empires, 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 fascism, decolonization, the Cold War, and the European Union. Our readings will include learned treatises in religion, classics in political theory, fiction, and other documents from the past, as well as a textbook. Work in sections centers on reading and discussion of original sources and of lectures, and on the improvement of writing skills. Three hours of lecture and two hours of section (required) per week.

Course Books

The Prince by Niccolo Machiavelli Penguin Classics. ISBN: 0140449159 Required
Modern European History by Birdsall Viault McGraw-Hill. ISBN: 0070674531 Required