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Master Syllabus

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Administrative Unit: History and Political Science Department
Course Prefix and Number: HIST 329
Course Title: Warfare, Witches, and Life in Early Modern Europe, 1550-1700
Number of:
Credit Hours 3
Lecture Hours 3
Lab Hours 0
Catalog Description:

Early modern Europe served as a kind of precedent for modern life, through developments such as the nationstate, free-trade economies, competitive empire-building, and science and industry. The course explores traditional topics such as the Reformation, the Thirty Years’ War, absolutism and constitutionalism, and the Scientific Revolution, as well as more recent histories of women, popular culture, sexuality, peasant life, and magic. Prerequisite: HIST 101 or HIST 111.

Prerequisite(s) / Corequisite(s):

Prerequisite: HIST 101 or HIST 111.

Course Rotation for Day Program:

Offered Occasionally

Text(s): Most current editions of the following:

A textbook, a monograph, and the use of primary sources are required in this course.

Main textbook:  Choose one from texts 1-3 below

Monograph:  Choose one from texts 4-8 below

Required primary sources:  Significant use of primary sources is required in this course.  Sources may be obtained from one or more of the sites below:

The Foundations of Early Modern Europe, 1460-1559
By Rice, Eugene F., Jr. and Grafton, Anthony (W.W. Norton)
Category/Comments - Main Textbook
After the Black Death: A Social History of Early Modern Europe
By Huppert, George (Indian University Press)
Category/Comments - Main Textbook
Early Modern European Society, 1500-1700
By Kamen, Henry (Routledge)
Category/Comments - Main Textbook
Peasant Fires: The Drummer of Niklashausen
By Wunderli, Richard (Indiana University Press)
Category/Comments - Monograph
Women and Gender in Early Modern Europe
By Weisner, Merry (Cambridge University Press)
Category/Comments - Monograph
Turks, Moors, & Englishmen in the Age of Discovery
By Matar, Nabil (Columbia University Press)
Category/Comments - Monograph
The Witchcraft Reader
By Oldridge, Darren (Routledge)
Category/Comments - Monograph
The Order of Books: Readers, Authors, and Libraries in Europe between the Fourteenth and Eighteenth Centuries
By Chartier, Roger (Stanford University Press)
Category/Comments - Monograph
A Student's Guide to Writing in History
By Rampolla, Mary Lynn (Macmillan Press)
Course Learning Outcomes
  1. Describe how European social, political, economic, and religious issues changed from the late-medieval through early modern era.
  2. Explain early modern Europe as holding tensions between medieval religious beliefs and emerging early modern scientific and Enlightenment ideals.
  3. Describe early modern Europeans’ and colonial others’ perceptions of one another.
  4. Explain the relationships between state efforts at religious uniformity, and the causes and progress of civil conflict within and among European states.
  5. Demonstrate understanding of early modern concepts of gender, childhood, class, and criminality.
Major Topics/Skills to be Covered:

Because the course represents an upper-level history elective, it bears a distinctive responsibility for teaching advanced knowledge within the discipline. It must be distinguished as an advanced course by three structural components: extensive reading, intensive writing, and historiographical thinking. It must require advanced students to complete both in-class and out-of-class projects (i.e., midterms, finals, team reports, quizzes, research papers).  The reading load should be a minimum of 1000 pages; the course writing assignments should total c5000 words. 

The major topics include but are not limited to the following areas:

  • The context of Europe in the 1550s
  • Economic structures, including forms of industrialization
  • Family and household structures
  • Women's roles: mother, scold, wife, spinster
  • Childhood and youth
  • High and low, elite and popular cultures
  • Popular politics; riot and rebellion
  • Law enforcement, crime and punishment
  • Religion, the reformation, and social transformations
  • Encounters with other cultures, including the Americas, Asia and Africa

Recommended maximum class size for this course: 35

Library Resources:

Online databases are available at the Columbia College Stafford Library.  You may access them using your CougarTrack login and password when prompted.

Prepared by: David Karr Date: December 7, 2016
NOTE: The intention of this master course syllabus is to provide an outline of the contents of this course, as specified by the faculty of Columbia College, regardless of who teaches the course, when it is taught, or where it is taught. Faculty members teaching this course for Columbia College are expected to facilitate learning pursuant to the course learning outcomes and cover the subjects listed in the Major Topics/Skills to be Covered section. However, instructors are also encouraged to cover additional topics of interest so long as those topics are relevant to the course's subject. The master syllabus is, therefore, prescriptive in nature but also allows for a diversity of individual approaches to course material.

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