[Back to Modern Europe Syllabus]

Paul Halsall
Modern Western Civilization

Class 1:Course Introduction

I. Music

Explain music


All this is tied in with idea of Western culture

II. Administration

III. Welcome

IV. The Syllabus

V. An Overview of the Course Content

A. Nature of the Course - Taking a wide view

How the course hangs together -

It is hard work, but rewarding to come to understand these processes

B. Why Europeans Dominated cf. China or Turks?

- Refer Paul Kennedy Rise and Fall of Great Powers

We will look at all this by looking at how Europe operated internally - at how it changed, politically, socially and culturally.

VI. The Course

A. How the Old World Became the Modern World

1. What it was - The Ancien Regime

2. The series of revolutions that brought massive change

B. Result of Changes - The Modern World

C. The End of European Hegemony

European power did not last. Other states (US, USSR, Third World Peoples) since 19th C. have begun to claim their share. But factors within Europe led to rapid decline.

D. The Modern World

VII. What is History?

A. Why does the School make you take history - to give itself a good liberal arts image?

B. Why Study History/ What is History

C: Sources of History

Varies in different periods

  1. Archeology - material remains - pots
  2. Classical period - artifacts + copies of copies of copies of books
    -needs source criticism
  3. Modern-
    -Documents - least biased
    -Newspapers - do you Trust the Post, or Pravda?
    -Contemporary accounts or histories
    -Modern histories/ history is a scientific discipline - with verification procedures - the work of modern historians can tell us things about the past that people at the time did not know

E. Studying History - Techniques of Study

Will take all questions

  1. The Library - most important place
    Location and Hours
    - Reference Room
    - Catalogues
    Staff at Desk
    - Reserve Room
  2. The Internet
  3. Books - How to Read them
    -Quick flick through Headings
    -Ask yourself what you want to get out of the book
    -Read attentively - good reading of a moderate amount is better than a lot of lose skimming
  4. Note taking
    -Highlighting - Photocopy option with library books
    -Index cards - necessity of marking source on each card - plus using file boxes - Difficult to review work, but is good for papers -Precis + notes on paper
  5. Exams
    Will talk about it before midterms
    - necessity of answering all questions.
  6. Papers - where you learn the most
    Never just copy ideas from one book, or even one source.
    History is interactive - your justified reactions count.

NB ALL STUDENTS should try to read a modern newspaper - especially the NY TIMES - to understand the modern world is an aim of all education