Ruling Europe: the Making and Unmaking of Political Orders after the French Revolution
Full course description
This course examines the multiple ways in which Europeans and those who have fallen under European-rule have sought to make and unmake political orders. It covers the period from the onset of modern democratic regimes in the late eighteenth century to the collapse of the Soviet Union. The course explores the period as a sequence of changing political regimes that were expressions of specific social and material realities as well as the outcome of competition between different political ideologies: absolute and limited monarchy, liberalism and socialism, liberal democracy and social democracy, communism and fascism. The course asks how different political regimes emerged, how they were legitimised, how the definition of who was part of the political community changed, why Europeans supported or challenged them, how they were eventually unmade or re-made, and what the legacies of these regimes are for present-day Europe. In doing so, the course relates these shifting political orders and imaginaries to different spatial dimensions, exploring the interaction between the national, international, transnational, and the supranational.
The course draws on perspectives and concepts from political philosophy and sociology and explores them in relation to specific historical contexts, processes, and events. As such, it places a particular emphasis on training students in the close reading and analysis of different types of historical primary sources as well as on introducing them to key original writings by highly influential political theorists.
By the end of this course, students will be able to:
- Identify various basic forms and processes of political ordering that have shaped European politics from the French Revolution to the collapse of the Soviet Union
- Demonstrate a conceptual grasp of some of the ideas that have been deployed to legitimate these forms and processes, as well as an understanding of how historical processes have shaped these ideas.
- Understand the role that the political ordering of the past has played in shaping the current institutional and political structures of Europe
- Conduct and present a basic analysis, contextualisation, and interpretation of different types of primary sources
Evans, Richard, J. (2016). The Pursuit of Power: Europe, 1815-1914. London: Penguin; Gildea, Robert (2003). Barricades and Borders: Europe 1800-1914. Oxford: OUP; Hobsbawm, Eric J. (1996). The Age of Revolution: 1789-1848. New York: Vintage Books; Hobsbawm, Eric J. (1996). The Age of Extremes. A History of the World, 1914–1991. New York: Vintage Books; Jarausch, Konrad (2015). Out of Ashes: A New History of Europe in the Twentieth Century. Princeton: Princeton University Press; Judt, Tony (2005). Postwar. A History of Europe Since 1945. London: Pimlico (various reprints available); Mazower, Mark (1998). Dark Continent: Europe's Twentieth Century. London: Allen Lane; Merriman, John (2019). A History of Modern Europe. From the Renaissance to the Present, 4th ed., London: WW Norton; Patel, Kiran (2020). Project Europe: A History, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.