The Making of Modern Europe

c. 1300 to 1815

In our course, “The Making of Modern Europe, c. 1300-1815," we will learn about continental Europe and the British Isles from the late Middle Ages to the age of Napoléon. This course studies the movement of people and ideas in European history beginning with the early fourteenth century. The students are asked to build a narrative of European history, understanding the major historical events and processes of the early-modern era through the French Revolution and the Age of Napoléon, examining them for their political, economic, diplomatic, religious, social, and cultural implications. Students will engage both primary and secondary sources in their study of the past, cultivating their skills as blossoming historians and effective writers. 

Europe in the World

1815 to the Present

In our course, "Europe in the World, 1815 to the Present," we will learn about continental Europe and the British Isles from the age of Napoléon to the present day, focusing on the political and cultural forces that shaped the world in which we live. We will learn about class formation and the rise of the public sphere. We will learn about Europe’s rise to world supremacy during the age of overseas empires and its retreat from power through the world wars and the era of decolonization. 

Germany and the World

1815 to the Present

This course will examine the history of German-speaking central Europe from the collapse of the Holy Roman Empire to the present day. In that period, Germans endured many wars on their soil, pursued a global empire, provoked two world wars, waged unrestrained genocide against Europe's Jews, and stood at the front lines of a cold war. Divided by the Iron Curtain for half of the twentieth century, the German people were partitioned by ideology; the western republic became one of the wealthiest countries in the world and the most powerful state in Europe, while the eastern dictatorship became a grim, repressive society. Each of Germany's many transformations and permutations brought social upheaval and cultural transformation. Among the major political structures, we will explore national identity, generational divides, changing relationships between the sexes, and the history of everyday life. 

The Global Cold War

Cultures of Conflict

The Cold War, which dominated world politics between 1945 and 1991, pitted the United States and its western allies against the Soviet Union and its Warsaw Pact. Though no direct confrontation brought the Americans and Soviets onto the battlefield against one another, half a century of proxy wars, arms races, and nuclear blackmail kept their peoples in perpetual fear of apocalyptic war. In this seminar, we will study the cultures of conflict that emerged from decades of cold war. Looking beyond the politico-military narrative of the bipolar world, we will explore representations of the Cold War conflict in music, film, and fiction. From James Bond to Star Trek, we will see how popular culture responded to the struggle and will study the espionage, intrigue, shadow wars, and conflict that came to define generations. Our studies will prove theoretically rich and will appeal to those who have interest in rigorous textual analysis. 

Grand Strategies in War and Peace 

This course will explore grand strategy in history, theory, and practice. In the simplest terms, grand strategy is that which so integrates the policies and armaments of a state that the resort to war is rendered either unnecessary or is undertaken with the maximum chance of victory. Always with an eye toward grand strategic thinking, students also will learn about tactical, operational, and strategic levels of analysis. They will acquaint themselves with the major works of classical and modern strategy, including the writings of Sun Tzu, Thucydides, Machiavelli, Clausewitz, and others. Our studies will prove theoretically rich and will appeal to those who have interest in challenges of contemporary international affairs.