The Making of Modern Europe, 1450 – Present

History 5

Fall 2015
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 as a claim to universal knowledge; the French Revolution; liberalism and the industrial revolution;  socialism and the formation of the working class; the role of women in various contexts and the rise of feminism; 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 to exemplary articles by modern historians.. There will 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

Survival in Auschwitz by Primo Levi Touchstone. ISBN: 978-0684826806 Required
Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert Penguin Classics. ISBN: 978-0140449129 Required
Civilization and its Discontents by Sigmund Freud W.W. Norton & Company. ISBN: 978-0393304510 Required
The Cheese and the Worms by Carlo Ginzburg Johns Hopkins University Press. ISBN: 978-0801843877 Required
Nathan the Wise by Gotthold Ephraim Lessing Bedford/St. Martin's. ISBN: 978-0312442439 Required
Modern European History by Birdsall Viault McGraw-Hill Education. ISBN: 978-0070674530 Optional