Warfare, Witches, and the Outlines of Modern Life: Early Modern Europe, 1550-1700
Early modern Europe served as a kind of precedent for modern life, through developments such as the nation-state, 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, and more recent histories of women, popular culture, sexuality, peasant life, and magic.
Prerequisite(s) / Corequisite(s):
HIST 101 or HIST 111.
Course Rotation for Day Program:
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:
By Rice, Eugene F., Jr. and Grafton, Anthony (W.W. Norton) Category/Comments - Main Textbook Recommended
After the Black Death: A Social History of Early Modern Europe
By Huppert, George (Indian University Press) Category/Comments - Main Textbook Recommended
Early Modern European Society, 1500-1700
By Kamen, Henry (Routledge) Category/Comments - Main Textbook Recommended
Peasant Fires: The Drummer of Niklashausen
By Wunderli, Richard (Indiana University Press) Category/Comments - Monograph Recommended
Women and Gender in Early Modern Europe
By Weisner, Merry (Cambridge University Press) Category/Comments - Monograph Recommended
Turks, Moors, & Englishmen in the Age of Discovery
By Matar, Nabil (Columbia University Press) Category/Comments - Monograph Recommended
The Witchcraft Reader
By Oldridge, Darren (Routledge) Category/Comments - Monograph Recommended
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 Recommended
To understand the major themes in early modern political, social, religious, and economic thought
To understand the historical context in which early modern theorists wrote
To engage with primary works from the early modern period
To better understand some of the ways historians have interpreted the early modern period
To gain an introductory knowledge of interdisciplinary approaches in early modern social history, including anthropology, sociology, and cultural studies
To evaluate specific arguments made in historical texts and relate language used in texts to historical factors and contexts
Describe how European social, political, economic, and religious issues changed from the late-medieval through early modern era.
Explain early modern Europe as holding tensions between medieval religious beliefs and emerging early modern scientific and Enlightenment ideals.
Describe early modern Europeans’ and colonial others’ perceptions of one another.
Explain the relationships between state efforts at religious uniformity, and the causes and progress of civil conflict within and among European states.
Demonstrate understanding of early modern concepts of gender, childhood, class, and criminality.
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
Additional areas in which the instructor has expertise
Recommended maximum class size for this course: 35
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 objectives and cover the subjects listed in the topical
outline. 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.