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HIST 102: Modern Europe, 1815-Present

Frank Warren

(Submission #42)

Course Description

This course aims to give students a broad knowledge background in the history of academic inquiry and its place in the broader context of modern Europe, while they simultaneously practice the same methods of inquiry (argument-based reading and writing, critical thinking, and analysis of evidence) employed by professional historians. Its topics focus on social structures (evolution of industrial capitalism and its societal impact), ideologies, global (world wars, cold war), and the development of the European university and the role of liberal arts in society.

Readings, lectures, and discussion on the methods and role of the university in society will be contextualized throughout the course as part of our exploration of the times, places and ideas from which academic methods and the modern university developed (closely linked, as they are, to nation/state formation, urbanization/professionalization, both liberalism and critiques of liberalism, etc.) Assignments will ask students to use these same methods to analyze the efficacy and flexibility of the liberal arts as the system has developed over time, and to explore the connections between the history of the liberal arts and broader trends. The evolution of European thought on higher education and scientific/social-scientific inquiry underlies any survey of modern Europe, integral as these themes are to the intellectual history of western civilization. This proposal thus intends not to reinvent the existing survey of modern Europe to “make it fit,” but rather to make explicit the underlying assumptions, methods and goals already inherent in any history of modern Europe. The course is intended to make students self-conscious of their own place in this evolution, and to teach them not just how to read, think, and write as scholars, but also ‘why’, in the sense that they should develop an awareness of their own goals as scholars, in light of society’s needs and pressures, and how these goals, needs, and pressures have evolved over time.


Area of Knowledge and Inquiry: Analyzing Social Structures (SS)
Context of Experience: European Traditions (ET)
Extended Requirement: Not Applicable

Additional Course information

Credits: 3
Prerequisites: none
Existing Course: Existing
Existing Course Number: 102
Course Anticipated to be offered: Every Semester
Other (if specified): 
Number of Sections: 4 - 5
Number of Seats: 40 - 55 (unless W)


[Justification, Materials, Assessment, Administration (DOC)]   [Syllabus/Syllabi (DOC)]  

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