Modern Europe: Key Topics and Debates
Consumerism and Globalization
What is Digital History? In answering this question, this course will examine the emergence of the “digital age” over the past thirty years and its considerable impacts upon historiographical methods and practices. In doing so, we will analyze and workshop various digital technologies, software, and platforms, which are reshaping the ways in which historians “do history” and, equally as important, the methods by which they interface with other scholars and the general public. In addition to the World Wide Web, some of the technologies we’ll analyze together include digitized historical archives, keyword searchable bibliographic databases, such as JSTOR, ProQuest, and Google Books, citation management software, including Zotero and EndNote, Wikipedia as a peer-to-peer platform for generating and disseminating historical knowledge, Geographic Information Systems and the “spatial turn,” and various history-themed video games and virtual reality services.
This course will introduce students to the major ideas, political and economic movements and dynamics, and revolutionary and catastrophic events which, taken collectively, have shaped the modern world. Focusing on the 18th through 21st centuries, students will explore the origins of modern politics, industrialization, urbanization, and imperial expansionism, the impacts of colonization on indigenous communities in places such as Africa and South/East Asia, the birth and spread of consumer Capitalism, the “discovery” of fossil fuels and the Second Industrial Revolution, the build-up to and consequences of the First and Second World Wars, and conflicts over (de)colonization between the United States and the Soviet Union during Cold War.
In this course, students will explore the political, economic, social, and cultural history of Europe between the 18th and 21st centuries. Beginning with the Enlightenment and the French Revolution, we will examine the genesis of modern politics, analyze the origins, impacts, and outcomes of the First and Second Industrial Revolutions, study the new – and oftentimes radical – intellectual, political, and cultural currents which emerged during the course of the “long” nineteenth century, explore the impacts and social, political, and economic consequences of the First and Second World Wars, including the founding of the United Nations and European Economic Community, investigate the consequences of the Cold War for the Continent, and, finally, examine some of the geopolitical and domestic challenges facing the European “project” today.
Upper Division Courses
This course will explore the cultural, economic, and geopolitical roles of foods and beverages in world history. Food and other essential everyday commodities serve as integral, although all too frequently unacknowledged, components of our daily lives. The critical study of food and the cultures which have sprouted up around its production and consumption holds great potential for illuminating the complex political, economic, and cultural processes which have shaped the emergence of our modern world. This course, therefore, will use foods and beverages as an analytical lens for examining a range of topics and themes in modern world history.
The first fifty years of Europe’s twentieth century were racked by violence, bloodshed and extraordinary political, economic, and socio-cultural changes. The purpose of this course is to explore the various political, social, and cultural upheavals which took place in Europe between the two world wars. In particular, we will analyze the origins and consequences of the “Great War,” the collapse of the Continent’s multi-national empires and the births of new democracies and – in the case of Russia, Italy, Germany, and Spain – dictatorships, the collapse of postwar international law and order, and, finally, the lurch into the catastrophes of the Second World War and the Holocaust.
In the postwar aftermath of Hitler’s genocidal imperial conquests, the “European” community sought to rebuild, and even redefine, itself. The post-war decades witnessed not only the “re-discovery” of Liberal Democracy in much of Western Europe, but also the emergence of welfare state programs (NHS), a common marketplace (EEC), and the emergence of what might be referred to as a pan-European consciousness. However, this is not to say that the Continent was without its problems. To the contrary, as students will learn in this course, the forty or so years between the founding of the United Nations and the collapse of the Soviet Union were witness to a variety of tumultuous, challenging, and destabilizing events and dynamics, including the rigidification of Cold War continental politics, the rising influence of and backlash against “Americanization,” anti-colonial liberation struggles in many of Europe’s (former) colonies, and the emergence of new ideologically-informed social and political movements.
Modern Italian History
This course will explore the cultural and political history of modern Italy from Napoleon (early-1800s) to the Economic Boom (1960s-1970s). In addition to studying the history of Italian Unification, students will explore topics in Italian colonialism in North and East Africa, the impacts of the First World War on Italian society, the twenty years of Benito Mussolini’s fascist dictatorship, World War II, and the country’s integration into the American-dominated post-war marketplace.
Digital History: A Beginner’s Introduction