History 112 European History: The Sixteenth Century to the Present Spring 2009

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History 112

European History:

The Sixteenth Century to the Present

Spring 2009

Lectures: MW 5:30 – 7:18 Mendenhall Laboratory (ML) 0191

SSL: Benzion N. Chinn

Office hours: M 3-5, and by appointment

Office: 009 Dulles Hall. Phone: 240 994 184

E-mail: chinn.26@osu.edu

Blog: www.izgad.blogspot.com

General Information

Welcome to the wonderful world of Modern European history!
In this course, we will study fundamental events and processes in European politics, war, economics, intellectual thought, culture, and society from the sixteenth century to the present. We will attempt to explain the origins of the contemporary world; the rise of modern secularism in its various manifestations and the rise of the modern liberal state. As we shall see there is more to this story than man all of a sudden becoming rational. We will strive to understand how Europeans lived and gave meaning to their lives in the “early modern” and “modern” eras.
The course is both topically and chronologically organized and emphasizes the common characteristics of European civilization as a whole rather than specific national histories. It traces threads of continuity while also examining the vast changes experienced by European society in these 400 years. In a course that spans several centuries and covers a large geographical area, the majority of peoples and events cannot be studied in detail. We will focus on particular cases that illustrate important patterns of change and conflict that have shaped the European world as we know it now. Hopefully this course will serve as a gateway for further explorations.
Throughout the course, students will learn skills that will be necessary for them both as history students and in most of life’s endeavors: critical and analytical thinking, writing, reading, listening, note taking, working in groups, and public speaking.

Objectives/Learning Outcomes

By completing the requirements for this Historical survey, students will:

  1. Acquire a perspective on history and an understanding of the factors that shape human activity. This knowledge will furnish students insights into the origins and nature of contemporary issues and a foundation for future comparative understanding of civilizations.

  2. Develop critical thinking through the study of diverse interpretations of historical events.

  3. Apply critical thinking through historical analysis of primary and secondary sources.

  4. Develop communications skills in exams, papers, discussions.

  5. Develop an understanding of the patterns of European history, and how they inform present-day European society, politics, and relations with the rest of the world.

Important Information

Students are very welcome to come and talk with me about any aspect of the course and the wonders of history. My office hours and location are listed above. I can also be reached by e-mail (chinn.26@osu.edu).
In accordance with departmental policy, all students must be officially enrolled in the course by the end of the second full week of the quarter. No requests to add the course will be approved by the department chair after that time. Enrolling officially and on time is solely the responsibility of each student.

Disability Services: Students with disabilities that have been certified by the Office for Disability Services will be appropriately accommodated, and should inform the instructor as soon as possible of their needs. The Office for Disability Services is located in 150 Pomerene Hall, 1760 Neil Ave; Tel: 292-3307, TDD 292-0901; http://www.ods.ohio-state.edu/.

This is a GEC course. This course fulfills the second half of the GEC Category 5. Arts and Humanities A. Historical Survey. It also fulfills the GEC category “International issues western (non-United States) course.”


I am not grading for attendance. My philosophy is that the real work of this class goes on outside of my classroom. My lectures serve to help you understand the material you are reading to equip you with the tools to get the most out of what you read. In theory one should be able to simply do the readings, not come to class, do all the assignments (one would have to come to class for the in class assignments) and do fine. Of course any student who could do that would have no need for my class to begin with. While one does not have to come to class one still has to participate. All students most e-mail me at least one question or serious comment about the reading by noon on class days. I use these questions as the basis for the class. My lectures are, in essence, my response to your questions.


All books have been put on two-hour reserve at Sullivant library.
All books are available for purchase at SBX and other area bookstores

**[Be sure to bring a copy of the readings to each discussion section as you will refer to the readings regularly during discussion]**

Required Books:

Norman Davies – Europe: a History

Deborah Lipstadt – History on Trial

ETEP Reader (Make sure to get the one assigned to this specific class. It will have my name on it.)

Grades will be computed on the following standard scale:

A: 92.6% and above B+: 87.6% to 89.5% C+: 77.6% to 79.5% D+: 67.6% to 69.5%

A-: 89.6% to 92.5% B: 82.6% to 87.5% C: 72.6% to 77.5% D: 62% to 67.5%

B-: 79.6% to 82.5% C-: 69.6% to 72.5% E: below 62%
Two special comments:

1) Since the University does not record D- grades, a student earning a course average below 62 will receive an E in this course.

2) In order to pass the course, you must pass the Final Exam with at least a 62.

Breakdown of Assignments

Class Participation – 15%

Maps and Quizzes – 15%

Paper #1 - 20%

Paper #2 - 20%

Final – 30%

Map Assignments and Quizzes

The “quizzes” component of your discussion section grade (15% of your total grade) includes two map exercises (one take-home and one in-class) and three in-class quizzes.

  • Quizzes: Each quiz will comprise 3-4 short questions based on the materials in the reading assignments and lectures.

  • Map assignments:

    • Map assignment #1: European towns and physical geography (take home)

    • Map assignment #2: Contemporary Europe, political (in-class).

      • On take-home map assignment, students will be able to use published atlases (the best option) and/or good web maps (I recommend maps from National Geographic, the CIA, and the UN).

      • In-class map assignment (#2): Students will be required to know the locations of the countries of Europe today. In class, they will be given a map of today’s Europe with the borders marked and asked to fill in the names of the countries from a list provided. (usually approximately 30 countries)

Grading Your Exams and Papers:

I furnish below brief descriptions of how you will earn your essay grades:

  • "C” essays will include: an introductory paragraph that contains your thesis; a body of several paragraphs in which you offer evidence from the readings, lectures, and discussions to support your thesis; and a conclusion that reiterates your basic argument. That being said this paper will have serious methodological problems.

  • "B” essays will include: all of the above requirements for a “C” essay. It will demonstrate basic competence and understanding of the required assignment.

  • "A” essays will include: all of the above requirements for a “B” essay plus more data and some indication of independent or extended thought. To get an “A” you are going to have to impress me by doing something that exceeds my expectations of 112 students.

  • As for “D” and “E” essays: usually, these essays do not include a viable thesis and/or they do not include very much information from the course.

Late Paper Assignments and Make-Up Exams

Students must take the final exam at the scheduled times. Students will be allowed to take a make-up exam only for urgent reasons, such as medical or legal emergency. In such instances, students should, if possible, contact the instructor at least one day in advance. The student will be expected to present written proof of the emergency, such as an official statement from the University Medical Center. Without a valid excuse, students may be permitted (at the discretion of the instructor) to take a make-up exam. However, their grade will be reduced by a full letter (e.g., an A will be dropped to a B) for each week that passes after the scheduled exam time.

Extensions for the paper are granted at the discretion of the instructor to those students presenting valid and verifiable excuses (again you will be expected to provide written documentation). Students who are unable to fulfill assignments as scheduled for family, religious, or medical reasons must contact the instructor before the due date of the assignment. Papers that are received late without just cause or without a previously approved excuse will be graded down by a full letter per day late.

The pressures of other course work, employment, and extra-curricular activities do not constitute valid excuses for late assignments. Note due dates on the syllabus and plan ahead. If the instructor is not available to approve excuses, leave a message on his/her e-mail or office voice mail (failing that, you may leave a message for the instructor on his e-mail or voice mail). There is no provision in this course for additional papers for extra credit or to substitute for requirements.

Submission of Assignments

All assignments are mandatory. If you do not submit one assignment, your final grade will be reduced by one full letter grade in addition to giving you zero for that assignment. If you do not submit two or more assignments, you will automatically fail the course.

Grade Reconsideration

A student who wishes reconsideration of his/her grade on an examination or paper should resubmit the assignment in its entirety to the instructor. The exam/paper should be accompanied by a written exposition explaining why the grade is not an accurate appraisal of the work. Appeals must be initiated within ten days after the paper/exams were returned to the class. In reviewing a paper or exam on appeal, the instructor reserves the right to raise, confirm, or lower the grade.

Plagiarism, Cheating, and Academic Misconduct

Plagiarism, cheating, or other academic misconduct will not be tolerated and will be reported to the Committee on Academic Misconduct. It is the responsibility of the Committee on Academic Misconduct to investigate or establish procedures for the investigation of all reported cases of student academic misconduct. Faculty Rules (3335-5-487) require that instructors report all instances of academic misconduct to the committee. Be forewarned that I will pursue cases of academic misconduct to the appropriate University committee. For additional information, see the Code of Student Conduct at http://studentaffairs.osu.edu/resource_csc.asp .

Plagiarism is theft. Please read the attached definition of plagiarism (Appendix B from University Survey: A Guidebook and Readings for New Students), see the websites: http://cstw.osu.edu/ and http://cstw.osu.edu/writing_center/handouts/index.htm. If you do not understand what plagiarism entails as it is described in this excerpt from the student handbook and/or websites, you should see the instructor before beginning any of these assignments.

Paper Assignments:

Over the course of this quarter you will be assigned two papers to write. While you have to do both of these assignments, you can choose the order that you do them in.

Paper Assignment #1: You will write a 3-5 page paper reviewing a work of historical fiction (either from the list below or approved by the teacher). In particular you will analyze the work in question from a historical perspective. How does the author view the period being dealt with? How accurate is the book; what sort of liberties does the author take?

Paper Assignment #2: You will write a 3-5 page paper reviewing a scholarly work of non-fiction (either from the list below or approved by the teacher). What argument does the author make about his subject matter? Is the author’s argument convincing? How does the work contribute to our understanding of the period?

Both of these assignment will require that you formulate a thesis and that you devote body of your essay to defending that thesis.

Works of Historical Fiction

Libba Bray: A Great and Terrible Beauty (Victorianism, Women)

Tracy Chevalier: Girl with a Pearl Earring (Early Modern Society, Women)

Bernard Cornwell: Richard Sharpe series (Napoleonic Wars)

Charles Dickens: Tale of Two Cities (French Revolution)

Umberto Eco: Eternal Flame of Queen Loana (Fascism, Historical Method)

Emile Guillaumin: The Life of a Simple Man (Nineteenth century French peasantry)

Thomas Keneally: Schindler’s List (Holocaust)

Katharine Mcmahon: The Alchemist’s Daughter (Scientific Revolution, Early Enlightenment, Women)

James A. Michener: The Drifters (Cultural Revolution)

Patrick O’Brian: Aubrey/Maturin series (Napoleonic Wars)

Erich Maria Remarque: All Quite on the Western Front (World War I)

Conrad Richter - The Light in the Forest (Enlightenment, Rousseau)

Baroness Emma Orczy: The Scarlet Pimpernel (French Revolution)

Arturo Perez-Reverte: Captain Alatriste series (Early Seventeenth Century Spain)

Elizabeth Peters: Amelia Peabody series (Victorianism, Egypt, Women)

Alexander Solzhenitsyn: August 1914 (World War I)

Art Spiegelman: Maus (Holocaust)

For more suggestions see http://www.historicalnovels.info/index.html


Gene Brucker - Giovanni and Lusanna: Love and Marriage in Renaissance Florence (Renaissance, Women)

B.S Capp - The Fifth Monarchy Men: A Study of Seventeenth-century English Millenarianism (English Civil War, Apocalypticism)

Elisheva Carlebach - Divided Souls (Jews, Early Modern Identity)

Natalie Zemon Davis - The Return of Martin Guerre (Women, Early Modern Society)

Elizabeth Eisenstein - The Printing Revolution in Modern Europe (Renaissance, Scientific Revolution)

Leon Festinger - When Prophecy Fails (Apocalypticism)

Jeffery Friedman - The Poisoned Chalice (Enlightenment)

Christine Garwood - Flat Earth: The History of an Infamous Idea (Victorianism)

Carlo Ginzburg - The Cheese and the Worm (Early Modern Society)

Night Battles (Witch Trials, Early Modern Society)

Ecstasies (Witch Witch Trials)

Matt Goldish - Sabbatean Prophets (Jews, Early Modern Society)

Christopher Hill - Antichrist in Seventeenth-Century England (Apocalypticism, English Civil War)

Susannah Heschel - The Aryan Jesus: Christian Theologians and the Bible in Nazi Germany (Nazism)

Richard Kagan - Lucrecia’s Dreams (Inquisition, Women)

Thomas Laqueur - Making Sex

Solitary Sex1

Phyllis Mack - Visionary Women: Ecstatic Prophecy in Seventeenth-Century England (Women, English Civil War)

Richard Popkin - Messianic Revolution: Radical Religious Politics to the End of the Second Millennium (Apocalypticism)

Dava Sobel - Galileo’s Daughter (Scientific Revolution)

Pieter Spierenburg - The Spectacle of Suffering: Executions and the Evolution of Repression: From a Preindustrial Metropolis to the European Experience (Early Modern Society)

Barbara Tuchman - Guns of August (World War I)

D. P. Walker - The Decline of Hell: Seventeenth-Century Discussions of Eternal Torment (Early Modern Religion)

Frances Yates - Giordano Bruno and the Hermetic Tradition (Renaissance, Scientific Revolution)

Perez Zagorin - How the Idea of Religious Toleration Came to the West (Wars of Religion)

Movies: At several points during the quarter I will be showing films related to the material. While I think these films are useful and will be worth your while to watch, I am not about to invest an entire class period in showing them. I will though introduce the film and start it during the last half hour of class. Students are free to stay and watch or leave at their leisure. I have penciled in two tentative films, but I am open to alternatives.

Class Schedule and Assignments

  1. March 30. Introduction: The Historical Method

Highly recommended: Herbert Butterfield – The Whig Interpretation of History

  1. April 1. Renaissance and Reformation

Davies 469-507.

Luther’s 95 Theses (http://www.iclnet.org/pub/resources/text/wittenberg/luther/web/ninetyfive.html)

Papal Condemnation of Luther (http://www.papalencyclicals.net/Leo10/l10exdom.htm)

  1. April 6. Religion Wars and European Society

Davies 526-39, 563-69.

Carmen: Magdalena and Balthasar, Edmund Williamson

Move: The Return of Martin Guerre

  1. April 8. Scientific Revolution

Carmen: Barzun - “the Invisible College”

Video – Galileo’s “Dialogue” (http://library.ohio-state.edu/record=b5743543~S3)2

Quiz #1

  1. April 13. Rise of Absolutism

Davies 615-28.

Carmen: Barzun – “The Monarch’s Revolution”

James I, Charles I, Thomas Hobbes, Louis XIV

  1. April 15. The English Civil War and the Glorious Revolution (Passover No Class. You are still responsible for your reading and for the material I post.)

Davies pg. 545-53, 628-38.

ETEP – The English Revolution

Carmen: John Locke (From the Second Treatise on Government)

  1. April 20. Enlightenment I

Davies 577-614.

Carmen: John Locke (Justification for the Glorious Revolution), Voltaire, Rousseau, Wollstonecraft.

Map # 1 Due

  1. April 22. Enlightenment II


Kant – “What is Enlightenment?” (http://www.english.upenn.edu/~mgamer/Etexts/kant.html)

Quiz #2

  1. April 27. French Revolution I

Davies 675-757

  1. April 29. French Revolution II

Carmen: French Revolution

ETEP – The Napoleonic Empire in Europe: Liberation or Exploitation?

  1. May 4. Industrial Revolution

Carmen: Industrial Revolution I & II.

Paper #1 Due

  1. May 6. Marxism

Davies pg. 835-41.

Communist Manifesto (http://www.anu.edu.au/polsci/marx/classics/manifesto.html)

  1. May 11. Imperialism and the European City

Davies pg. 848-54.

Carmen: Orwell, Belgian Congo, Vienna and Paris I & II

  1. May 13. World War I and its Aftermath.

Davies 875-96, 901-38.

Carmen: Palmer, Kern

  1. May 18. The Russian Revolution and Stalinism

Davies pg. 959-65.

Reading: ETEP – The Russian Revolution

Carmen: Behind the Urals

  1. May 20. Nazi Germany

Davies pg. 965-98.

Quiz #3

  1. May 25. Memorial Day. (No Class)

  1. May 27. World War II

Davies pg. 998-1055.

Movie: Downfall

  1. June 1. Cold War

Davies pg. 1058-1136.

Map Assignment #2 (In Class)

  1. June 3. Cultural Revolutions

Reading: ETEP – The End of Consensus: The Student Revolts of the 1960s.

In class presentations on European countries.

  1. Conclusion

Lipstadt - History on Trial

Paper #2 Due

  1. June 8. Final Exam

1 For those who might be put off (or attracted) by Laqueur’s racy titles, these are serious works of scholarship dealing with changes in notions of sexuality during pre modern times. Once you get past the book title one is going hard pressed to find much to titillate or take offense at. One way or another I do strongly recommend them.

2 This documentary is part of your reading assignment. You are to have watched it before coming to class.

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