Contemporary World History
Full course description
The course intends to trace back current situations to their historical backgrounds. The first three tasks, under the caption “Toolkit”, will therefore consist of a brief exploration of the philosophy of history and some issues regarding historical perspective, a discussion of the concepts of ‘state’ versus ‘nation’ (in anticipation of issues regarding decolonization, specific regional conflicts, and possible sources for conflict in general that will be discussed in later tasks) and a discussion of the Cold War as an influential factor in recent history.
Each of the following tasks, under the captions of “Area surveys” and “Assessment of the current global situation” respectively, will be built around a case that represents the underlying problem, and both combined will lead the students to specific source material. Examples of such cases are decolonization, the economic development of Asia, conflict in Africa, and the implications of the current position of the USA as 'solitary superpower'.
- To provide students with an understanding of the main trends in politics, demography, society and culture over the last 70 years and to put these trends in a global context.
- To develop a critical attitude towards the use of historical theory, and the interpretation of historical data and processes.
- Antony Best, Jussi M. Hanhimäki, Joseph A. Maiolo and Kirsten E. Schulze, International history of the twentieth century and beyond, Third edition, Routledge. 2015.