Instructor: Dr. Sean Eedy

Introduction: The twentieth century has been defined differently for the purposes of historical inquiry.  Often, we are presented with what has come to be known as the “short” twentieth century from the end of the First World War in 1918 until the Fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989.  These historical markers are often characterized as those instances of momentous change that cause fundamental breaks or ruptures from that which came before.  The First World War is often marked as the point where the European Balance of Power established after the French Revolution in 1789 was forever ended.  However, without the French Revolution as a starting point, identifying the beginning of the twentieth century with the conclusion of the First World War makes little sense.

As such, this course begins with the establishment of the new European order following the unification of Italy and Germany and the road to war in 1914.  Taking this long view of the twentieth century, the time period becomes one of rupture and upheaval, of civil war and revolution across the First World War, the Second World War, the revolutionary moments of 1953 and 1956 against Soviet hegemony, 1968 in both Eastern and Western Europe, and the peaceful revolutions of 1989 that brought an end to Soviet Empire and the Cold War more broadly.

This course will introduce students to some of the problems across the European twentieth century that created the tension, conflict, and ruptures between the Great European Powers and split the world in militarized, ideological Blocs.

Class Format:  This class meets for a two-hour lecture and a one-hour discussion group every week.  Lectures will typically approach the larger ideas and events associated with the course and the time period.  Discussions, on the other hand, will focus on social and cultural activities, and how people understood and adapted to the world changing around them.

Aims and Goals:  Students should complete HIST 1002A with a greater understanding of the process of writing history and of conducting historical research.  Students are encouraged to develop their analytical and interpretational skills through the critical examination of a wide array of historical writing and representations of history, including primary and secondary sources, films, literature, comics, etc.  In essays and seminar discussions, students should be able to critically assess evidence and develop original arguments and analyses, communicating their ideas clearly, effectively, and logically.

Assessment:  This course is reading and writing heavy.  Students will also be evaluated in discussion groups based on their preparedness and their interactions with the group.  At the end of each term, students will write a two-hour exam held during the scheduled examination period in December and April.

In the first term, students will be asked to complete a map quiz and short essay.  The second term assignment will consist of a research essay. Students will be required to submit a topic proposal and annotated bibliography in addition to the essay itself.

In pairs, students will be asked to present on a topic of their choosing related to the course material.  These presentations will be conducted in discussion groups and will be scheduled in either Fall or Winter term, depending on the topic selected.