Early Modern Europe

Humanities & Social Sciences
Course Code
HIST 2201
Semester Length
Max Class Size
Method(s) Of Instruction
Course Designation
Certificate in Global Competency
Industry Designation
Typically Offered
To be determined


Course Description
HIST 2201, Early Modern Europe, explores the social, political, and cultural developments that shaped Europe from the mid-fifteenth century to the French Revolution. Major themes include: conflict and cooperation between Church and State; the cultural and intellectual worlds of the Renaissance; religious and political conflict from the Reformation and the Counter-Reformation to the Thirty Years’ War; absolute monarchies and republics; commerce and long-distance trade; global travel and the creation of overseas empires; the Scientific Revolution and technological change; the role of reason in the age of Enlightenment; ideas of political order and social change.
Course Content
A sample course outline may include the following topics.
Note: Content may vary according to the instructor’s selection of topics.
  1. Introduction: Early Modern Europe?
  2. Vitality and Renewal: Towns, States and Trade
  3. Medieval World Views: On Church and Reason
  4. The Renaissance: Humanism, Political Thought, and Cultural Transformation
  5. The Reformation: Origins and Consequences
  6. Exploration, Trade, and Overseas Imperialism
  7. The Elizabethan Era and the Golden Age of Spain
  8. The Rise and Decline of Sovereignty: France and England
  9. Attacks on Popular Culture: Witchcraft and Carnival
  10. Constitutionalism in the Making: The English Revolution
  11. Contested Empires: Ottoman, Austrian, and Russian
  12. The Scientific Revolution: The World Transformed
  13. The Enlightenment: Triumph of Reason?
  14. Enlightened Absolutism: The Promises and Limits of Reform
Learning Activities

Classroom instruction will include both lectures and seminar discussions. Lectures will provide instruction on weekly topics with opportunities for student inquiry and discussion. Seminars will encourage active class participation in the analysis of assigned primary and secondary readings. Classroom instruction may also include student presentations on specific readings and/or topics, and other types of student-led activities. Classroom instruction may also include tutorials and workshops on transferrable skills, including research methods, academic citation practice, and presentation skills.

Means of Assessment

Assessment will be in accordance with the Douglas College Evaluation Policy. Students may conduct research with human participants as part of their coursework in this class. Instructors for the course are responsible for ensuring that student research projects comply with College policies on ethical conduct for research involving humans.

Students will have opportunities to build and refine their research capacity and historical thinking skills through assessments appropriate to the level of the course. There will be at least three separate assessments, which may include a combination of midterm and final exams; research essays; primary document analysis assignments and essays; quizzes; map tests; in-class and online written assignments; seminar presentations; student assignment portfolios; group projects; creative projects; class participation.

The value of each assessment and evaluation, expressed as a percentage of the final grade, will be listed in the course outline distributed to students at the beginning of the term. Specific evaluation criteria will vary according to the instructor’s assessment of appropriate evaluation methods.

An example of one evaluation scheme:
Class Participation 10%
Student Presentation Project 15%
Primary Document Analyses 15%
Research essay 25%
Midterm exam 15%
Final exam 20%

Learning Outcomes
At the conclusion of the course, successful students will be able to demonstrate historical thinking skills, research skills, critical thinking skills and communication skills appropriate to the level of the course by:
  1. Locating, examining, assessing, and evaluating a range of primary sources and secondary scholarly literature critically and analytically (reading history).
  2. Constructing historical arguments, taking historical perspectives, and interpreting historical problems through different types of writing assignments of varying lengths (writing history).
  3. Participating in active and informed historical debate independently and cooperatively through classroom discussion and presentation (discussing history).
  4. Independently and cooperatively investigating the ways that history is created, preserved and disseminated through public memory and commemoration, oral history, community engagement, and other forms of popular visual and written expressions about the past (applying history).
Textbook Materials

Textbooks and Course Readers may be chosen from the following list, to be updated periodically.

An instructor’s custom Course Reader may be required. Additional online resources may also be assigned. Additional reading lists and links to specific resources also may be provided online or in the instructor’s course outline.

Cameron, Euan, ed. Early Modern Europe. An Oxford History. New York: Oxford University Press, 2001.

Kagan, Donald, Steven Ozment, Frank M. Turner, and Alison Frank. The Western Heritage. Vol. 1, To 1740. 12th ed. Boston: Pearson, 2020.

Konnert, Mark. Medieval to Modern: Early Modern Europe. Don Mills, ON: Oxford University Press, 2017.

Kumin, Bëat, The European World 1500–1800: An Introduction to Early Modern History. 3rd. ed. New York: Routledge, 2018.

Merriman, John. A History of Modern Europe. Vol. I, From the Renaissance to the Age of Napoleon. 4th ed. New York: W.W. Norton, 2019.

Slack, Paul. Plague: A Very Short Introduction. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012.

Spielvogel, Jackson. Western Civilization: A Brief History. Vol. 1, To 1715. 10th ed. Boston: Cengage, 2020.

Terpstra, Nicolas, ed. Lives Uncovered: A Sourcebook of Early Modern Europe. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2019.

Wiesner-Hanks, Merry E. Early Modern Europe 1450-1789. 2nd ed. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2013.

Wiesner-Hanks, Merry E. Women and Gender in Early Modern Europe. 4th ed. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2019.

Winks, Robin W., and Lee Palmer Wandel. Europe in a Wider World, 1350-1650. New York: Oxford University Press, 2003.

Winks, Robin W., and Thomas E. Kaiser. Europe, 1648-1815: From the Old Regime to the Age of Revolution. New York: Oxford University Press, 2003.

In addition, monographs or memoirs may be assigned.
Examples include:
Locke, John. Two Treatises of Government.
Montaigne, Michel de. Essays.
More, Thomas. Utopia.
Rousseau, Jean-Jacques. Émile.
Voltaire. Candide.



One 1000-level History course, or permission of the instructor.


No corequisite courses.


No equivalent courses.

Course Guidelines

Course Guidelines for previous years are viewable by selecting the version desired. If you took this course and do not see a listing for the starting semester / year of the course, consider the previous version as the applicable version.

Course Transfers

These are for current course guidelines only. For a full list of archived courses please see

Institution Transfer Details for HIST 2201
Alexander College (ALEX) ALEX HIST 223 (3)
Athabasca University (AU) AU HIST 3XX (3)
Camosun College (CAMO) CAMO HIST 120 (3)
Kwantlen Polytechnic University (KPU) KPU HIST 2102 (3)
Langara College (LANG) LANG HIST 1114 (3)
Simon Fraser University (SFU) SFU HIST 223 (3)
Thompson Rivers University (TRU) TRU HIST 2XXX (3)
Trinity Western University (TWU) TWU HIST 309 (6)
University of British Columbia - Okanagan (UBCO) UBCO HIST 116 (3)
University of British Columbia - Vancouver (UBCV) DOUG HIST 2201 (3) & DOUG HIST 2202 (3) = UBCV HIST 220 (6)
University of British Columbia - Vancouver (UBCV) UBCV HIST 2nd (3)
University of Northern BC (UNBC) UNBC HIST 2XX (3)
University of Victoria (UVIC) UVIC HSTR 240A (1.5)

Course Offerings

Summer 2023