This is an introduction to the development of Western culture, ideas, religion, and political organization from the Reformation to the 20th century. The course deconstructs the notion of Western civilization and shows how understandings of “the West” have changed over time. It covers the emergence of a modern Western worldview, European imperialism and the repositioning of Europe within the Western imagination, the collapse of absolutist regimes, the emancipation of women, the spread of Western democracy, extremist political movements of both the left and the right, and ends with the collapse of communism in 1989.
John Bunyan, The Pilgrim’s Progress (London and New York: PenguinClassics, 2008).
Joseph Conrad, Heart of Darkness (Peterborough, ON: Broadview, 2003).
Eric Maria Remarque, All Quiet on the Western Front (New York: Ballantine Books, 1987).
Judith G. Coffin, Robert C. Stacey, Joshua Cole and Carol Symes, Western Civilizations: Their History and Culture, vol. 2 (Brief Third Edition) (W. W. Norton and Company, 2012).
Dante, Paradiso (1321)
Petrarch, “Letter to Cicero” (1345)
Martin Luther, On the Freedom of a Christian (1520)
Thomas Hobbes, Leviathan (1651)
Diggers’ Manifesto (1649)
John Locke, Two Treatises of Government (1690)
Arthur Barlowe, Narrative of a Voyage to Roanoke (1684)
Galileo, “Letter to the Grand Duchess Christina” (1615)
Memoires on Julie de Lespinasse
Condorcet, “The Future Progress of the Human Mind” (1795)
Mozart, “Letter to Gottfried von Jacquin” (1787)
Edward Gibbon, The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire (1776)
Giacomo Casanova, History of my Life (1797)
Declaration of the Rights of Man & Citizen (1789)
Mary Wollstonecraft, “A Vindication of the Rights of Woman” (1792)
Frederick Engels, The Condition of the Working Class in England in 1844 (1844)
Chartist petition (1848)
Karl Marx and Frederick Engels, The Communist Manifesto (1848)
Frederick Engels, “The Origin of the Family” (1884)
John Stuart Mill, “The Subjection of Women” (1869)
Rudyard Kipling, “The White Man’s Burden” (1899)
Edward Morel, “The Black Man’s Burden” (1903)
Heinrich von Treitschke, Politics (1899)
Ernest Edwin Williams, Made in Germany (1896)
Paul Valery, Speeches (1922)
Ernst von Salomon, The Outlaws (1930)
Charlie Chaplin, Modern Times (1936)
John Maynard Keynes, The Economic Consequences of the Peace (1919)
Universal Declaration on Human Rights (1948)
Winston Churchill, Iron Curtain Speech (1946)
Stalin, Interview to Pravda (1946)
Sukarno at the Bandung conference (1955)
Francis Fukuyama, “The End of History?” (1991)
The Medieval Worldview
The Italian Renaissance
The Lutheran Reformation
The English Reformation
The English Civil War
Class conflict in Early Modern England
Gender in Early Modern England
The Glorious Revolution
The Scientific Revolution
Religion and Revolution
The Public Sphere
Old Regime France
The French Revolution
Rights for Women
New political ideologies
Socialism and Communism
Communism and Gender Equality
Liberalism and Gender Equality
Imperialism: Australia & the Philippines
Nations and Nationalism
World War One
The Soldier’s Experience
World War II and the Holocaust
A New World Order
The Cold War
Anti-colonialism and civil rights movements
The victory of Liberal democracy
In-class exam on the Middle Ages through to Early Modern England.
Essay One: During the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, thinking rationally about society inevitably lead to equal rights for all people. Discuss.
Essay Two: To what extent did the horrors of imperialism and the First World War shake Europeans’ faith in Western Civilization?
Take-home exam on Francis Fukuyama’s interpretation of twentieth century history.