Early Modern Europe

Curriculum Guideline

Effective Date:
Course Code
HIST 2201
Early Modern Europe
Humanities & Social Sciences
Start Date
End Term
Semester Length
Max Class Size
Contact Hours
Lecture: 2 hrs. per week / semester Seminar: 2 hrs. per week / semester
Method Of Instruction
Methods Of Instruction

Class sections will be divided between lectures and seminar discussions. The seminar discussion sessions will serve as a forum for the analysis and discussion of scholarly literature and as a testing ground for student hypotheses. The instructor will encourage students to elaborate, refine and revise ideas. Discussion sessions will also include tutorials in conducting historical research, the exploration of primary source documents, and practice in oral presentations. Participation in both lectures and seminar discussions is required for the successful completion of the course.

Course Description
This course examines early modern European history from the Renaissance to the mid-eighteenth century. As well as exploring the evolving economy and society, the course will consider the impact of new religious, political, and scientific ideas, and artistic representations of the age.
Course Content

A sample course outline would include the following topics.

Note: Content may vary according to the instructor’s selection of topics.


  1. Review of Historical Methods
  2. Early Modern Economies and Societies
  3. The Renaissance: Humanism, Political Thought, and the Arts
  4. Reformation and Counter-Reformation
  5. Elizabethan England and the Golden Age of Spain
  6. Religious Wars and the European Witch Craze
  7. The Age of Discovery and European Expansion
  8. The Early Modern City
  9. Early-Modern Mentalities
  10. Constitutionalism in the Making: The English Revolution
  11. Absolutism in the Making: France and Europe in the Age of Louis XIV
  12. The Scientific Revolution
  13. The Enlightenment: The Science of Man and Society
  14. Enlightened Absolutism: The Promises and Limits of Reform
Learning Outcomes

At the conclusion of the course the successful student will be able to:


  1. Examine historical sources critically and analytically (reading history). These sources include not only survey texts and scholarly articles, but also short monographs and extended primary sources.
  2. Create and communicate personal interpretations of historical problems (writing history). Forms for communication of personal interpretations include medium-length essays (from 1500-3000 words), comparative book reviews, short interpretive essays, primary source studies, and final examinations.
  3. Independently analyze the ideas of other students and the instructor in class in both tutorials and seminars (discussing history).
Means of Assessment

Assessment will be in accord with the Douglas College student evaluation policy. Specific components of evaluation will include some of the following: mid-term and final exams consisting of short answer questions and essay questions; in-class written work, quizzes, research paper; seminar presentations; short debate/position papers; participation in class discussions.


Specific evaluation criteria will be provided by the instructor at the beginning of the semester and will vary according to the instructor’s assessment of appropriate evaluation methods.


An example of one evaluation scheme:

Any combination of the following totalling 100%

Seminar presentation  10%
Class/seminar participation           15%
Research essay  30%
Midterm exam  15%
Final exam  30%
Total 100%
Textbook Materials

Textbooks and Materials to be Purchased by Students

Texts will be chosen from the following list, to be updated periodically:


Becker, C.L. The Heavenly City of the Eighteenth-Century Philosophers. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1992.


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


Darnton, R. The Great Cat Massacre and Other Episodes in French Cultural History. New York: Vintage, 1984.


Ginzburg, Carlo. The Cheese and the Worms. Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1992.


Huppert, G. After the Black Death: A Social History of Early Modern Europe. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1986.


Kagan, Donald, Steven Ozment, and Frank M. Turner. The Western Heritage. Volume B: 1300-1815. Upper Saddle River, N.J.: Prentice Hall, 2010.


Merriman, J., A History of Modern Europe. Vol. I: From the Renaissance to the Age of Napoleon. New York: W.W. Norton, 1996.


Ozment, Steven. The Burgermeister’s Daughter. New York: HarperPerennial, 1997.


Spielvogel, J.J. Western Civilization, Volume B, 1300 to 1815, 4th ed. Belmont, CA: Wadswoth / Thomson Learning 2000.


Weber, E., ed. The Western Tradition. Vol. 2, 5th ed. Toronto: D.C. Heath, 1995.


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 From the Old Regime to the Age of Revolution. New York: Oxford University Press, 2004.