Europe and the Modern World

Project Description

modern european history

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Professor: Sarah Zaides
T/TH 12:40-2:50pm
Credits: 5 I&S
Summer Full-Term

The 20th century was the bloodiest, but also the most modern century. Two world wars, genocides, and ethnic cleansing give credence to Zygmunt Baumann’s statement that “modernity made racism possible.” This course is a survey of Modern European History from the beginnings of the French Revolution to the formation of the European Union. Students will learn to analyze primary documents, including cultural sources such as art, literature, and music. Special attention will be paid to the dissolution of the Ottoman and Russian Empires and to the nation-states that resulted. We will spend more time considering the contexts and lessons of the Armenian Genocide and the Holocaust.

Each week’s lectures survey the political, economic, social and cultural contexts in which the assigned books were written. Attendance and reading is mandatory. The second hour of Thursday’s class will be dedicated to discussion and will begin with a reading quiz. It is very important that students attend class well prepared, and ready to engage with the material. Students are encouraged to speak up, ask questions, and disagree.

Papers are opportunities to crystallize ideas and to improve analytical and writing skills.  Students will write two papers. The first paper will be should be 4-5 pages in length and is a historiographical response paper. The second paper, on Ordinary Men, should be 6-8 pages in length.

This course counts as a Jewish Studies elective if both papers relate to Jewish Studies topics.

To learn more about registering for summer quarter at UW, click here.