European Civilization, 1648-1945

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Course Date: Anytime (self-paced)

Price: free

Course Summary

This course offers a broad survey of modern European history, from the end of the Thirty Years' War to the aftermath of World War II. Along with the consideration of major events and figures such as the French Revolution and Napoleon, attention will be paid to the experience of ordinary people in times of upheaval and transition. The period will thus be viewed neither in terms of historical inevitability nor as a procession of great men, but rather through the lens of the complex interrelations between demographic change, political revolution, and cultural development. Textbook accounts will be accompanied by the study of exemplary works of art, literature, and cinema.

Course Instructors

Professor John Merriman

John Merriman is Charles Seymour Professor of History at Yale University. Specializing in French and modern European history, he received his Ph.D. from the University of Michigan. His publications include The Agony of the Republic: The Repression of the Left in Revolutionary France, 1848-1851, A History of Modern Europe Since the Renaissance, and Police Stories: Making the French State, 1815-1851. He is currently at work on Dynamite: Emile Henry, the Café Terminus, and the Origins of Modern Terrorism in Fin-de-Siecle Paris. In 2000, Professor Merriman was the recipient of the Yale University Byrnes-Sewall Teaching Prize.

Course Description

Browning, Christopher. Ordinary Men. New York: Harper Perennial, 1998.Merriman, John. A History of Modern Europe: From the Renaissance to the Present. 2nd ed. New York: W. W. Norton & Company, 2004.Orwell, George. Homage to Catalonia. New York: Harvest Books, 1980.Smith, Helmut. The Butcher's Tale. New York: W. W. Norton & Company, 2003.Winter, Jay. Sites of Memory, Sites of Mourning: The Great War in European Cultural History. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1998.Zola, Emile. Germinal. London: Penguin Books, 2004. There will be weekly discussion sections, a midterm examination, several superb films, a final examination, and a short (6-8 pages), fun paper.Grades will be determined by equally weighing the midterm, final and paper grades.

Format

This Yale College course, taught on campus twice per week for 50 minutes, was recorded for Open Yale Courses in Fall 2008.Download all course pages [zip - 10MB]Video and audio elements from this course are also available on:

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