Historians often refer to the period from roughly 1400 to 1800 as the “early modern” era. Between the beginning and end point of those four centuries, Europe was transformed from “just another part of the civilized world” to the single most powerful and influential part of the world, able to influence events everywhere. The early modern era laid the groundwork for the world as it is today. The institutions that developed, including the idea of “the state,” capitalism, scientific inquiry, and the public sphere all mark the era as modern. But modernity was mixed with elements inherited from the Middle Ages that would eventually be superseded. Thus the modifier “early.” Although this period laid the groundwork for modern institutions, the actual institutions that dominated in this era would mostly be unrecognizable today. The constant interplay of continuity and change/innovation and tradition will be a running theme of the course.
This course combines intensive reading, taking notes on lectures, close analysis of both primary and secondary sources, individual and group discussion, and some online reading.
The grade for this course will be based on five factors, weighted as indicated:
• A final exam (30%),
• A 5-6 page paper based on assigned readings for the course (20%)
• A minimum of five blog posts/comments on the course blog in response to classroom prompts (20%)
• A group in-class presentation analyzing Wikipedia treatments of themes in the course (20%),
• Regular attendance and participation in class discussions (10%)
More specific requirements for the paper, group in-class presentation, and class blog contributions will be distributed early in the semester, so you will have a long lead-time to work on it.
Due dates for the assignments are noted in the schedule of classes.
Peter Wallace, The Long European Reformation (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2003)
Robert DuPlessis, Transitions to Capitalism in Early Modern Europe (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1997)
Natalie Zemon Davis, The Return of Martin Guerre (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1983)
Tryntje Helfferich, The Thirty Years War: A Documentary History (Indianapolis: Hackett Publishing Company, 2009)
William Doyle, The French Revolution: A Very Short Introduction (New York: Oxford University Press, 2001)
David A. Bell, The First Total War (Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2007)