EARLY MODERN EUROPE (1400-1700)—HISTORY 105A and 105B

SPRING SEMESTER 2012/ Dr. George Dameron

                                          Office:  Library 306/Telephone x2318

Office Hours:  Mondays, 1-3; Wednesdays, 3:15-4:15, and by appointment

Email:  gdameron@smcvt.edu

Website: http://academics.smcvt.edu/gdameron/


Thomas More by Hans Holbein


Hans Holbein the Younger. Sir Thomas More.
© Frick Collection, New York




The primary goals of the course are the following:  1) to provide a broad, interdisciplinary overview of European history within a global context from the  fifteenth through eighteenth centuries; 2) to familiarize students with a variety of primary historical sources and documents for this period, 3) to introduce students to some of the principal issues and debates among historians associated with the early modern world, 4) to stimulate student interest in History, 5) to explore the role of this period in the formation of the modern world as well as to recognize the distance of its culture from our own,  6) to encourage a global understanding of historical change by studying the complex relations between Europe and the rest of the world in this so-called “age of exploration”; 7) to enhance the ability of students to think, speak, and write critically about History; 8) to learn to use library and information technology resources for historical research and study, 9) to fulfill a Liberal Studies requirement in Historical Studies, 10) to learn how to read a book-length secondary source critically, and 11) to complete a research paper using primary sources on a topic associated with the course. 



The class will usually consist of lectures and PowerPoint presentations on Mondays and Wednesdays, with Fridays usually devoted to discussion (with a focus on the primary sources).  Questions are welcome at any time.  Discussions and focus papers will primarily be organized around the primary sources and a set of weekly study questions posted at eCollege.  Every Friday there will be either a short quiz (5 minutes) or a one-page focus paper due.  Students must bring their focus papers to class on Fridays and turn them in during class time (late focus papers or make-up quizzes are acceptable only for medical or compelling family reasons).


Readings for the course will be either hardcopy or online (via Web sites or via our library’s database collection of online journals).


Students will take turns bringing in questions or comments at the beginning of class on days devoted to discussion. 



There are no prerequisites.  The requirements are the following:  class participation (10% of final grade); a brief quiz every other week on Fridays (10%), with the lowest score being dropped; an ungraded, two-page focus paper due every Friday when there is not a quiz (10%); one mid-semester hour exam on February 13 (objective and essay, 20% of final grade); a nine (9) to eleven (11)  page research paper (excluding bibliography and notes) on a topic associated with the course to be announced after the midterm (20% of final grade), due April 4; and a final examination in May (objective and essay, 30% of grade), date tba.


Attendance and Class Etiquette

As a courtesy, students should inform me in advance of any anticipated absence.   Students should arrange all travel arrangements so that they do not conflict with any scheduled classes, quizzes, or exams.   There are no make-ups for the focus papers, quizzes, or exams, except in the case of a documented illness or for verifiable and compelling personal or family reasons.

To promote an environment conducive to learning, students will not leave the classroom during class except in the case of serious illness.  Students will also refrain from checking email, text messages, updating Facebook, handling cell phone calls during class (cell phones must be turned off before class begins), and using laptops (except with my permission).

The Paper

The paper is due on at my office on April 4.  Students are free to turn in the paper earlier.  There will be a half a letter grade penalty (5 points) for every day the paper is late.   The paper will follow the required methods of citing primary and secondary sources, and it must also include a formal bibliography.  Students will use at least four primary and eight secondary sources for their papers.  History department policy requires students to use footnotes or endnotes in the proper format (no in-text citations).  A set of books and readings will be available on library reserve for students to use for their research.  After the midterm examination, I will distribute more specific instructions and guidelines for the paper as well as a bibliography.  For information on citing sources and creating bibliographies, see my Guide for Papers (posted at the eCollege site and at my Web site).    See also the citation guides posted at the Durick Library Web site under “Find Reference Sources” (Citation Guides). 



eCollege is Web-based course management system that we will use for this course.   Students should check the site regularly for any messages or announcements or new postings.



The use of laptop computers is welcome, but students must first secure my permission.  However, use of laptops during class will be limited to course-related work (note-taking, viewing the syllabus, exploring the eCollege site, and so on).  Use of computers during class for purposes other than those related to the course is unacceptable and will result in the loss of this privilege for the remainder of the semester.  Those using laptops in class will sit in the front of class.


The student is responsible for familiarizing herself or himself with the Academic Integrity Policy of the College.   Violations of academic integrity (plagiarism, multiple submission, unauthorized assistance, interference, interference using information technology) can result in sanctions ranging from failure for the assignment, failure of the course, the obligation to repeat the assignment with a lower grade, or dismissal from the course.  The Judicial Review Board may impose other sanctions as well.  Plagiarism is a serious academic offense.   According to the Policy on Academic Integrity included in the Student Handbook and Code of Conduct and posted online, plagiarism is the presentation  of “another person’s ideas as your own, by directly quoting or indirectly paraphrasing, without properly citing the original source. This includes inadvertent failure to properly acknowledge sources.”   



Students with learning differences (documented by the Office of the Coordinator of Academic Compliance, Ms. Antonia Messuri) are eligible for appropriate accommodations. Please see me early in the semester if you require any accommodation.


THE HUMANITIES PROGRAM CONCERT SERIES (co-sponsor:  The Department of History)

The course will include a special concert of music from the seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth centuries by two internationally known musicians, Paul Orgel and Kevin Lawrence.  The concert will take place in the evening on March 6.  Prior to the concert, Dr. Orgel will lecture to the class and lead a discussion about the music that they will feature.  The program will include music by Bach, Mozart, and Beethoven.




Required Books for Purchase:


·         Margaret Jacob, The Enlightenment:  A Brief History with Documents  (Bedford St. Martin’s 2001).  ISBN 0312179979

·         Brian Levack, The Witch-Hunt in Early Modern Europe, 3rd edition (Longman 2006). ISBN 978-0582419018.

·         William Shakespeare, Henry V (New York: Viking Penguin).  ISBN 978-0140714586

·         Merry Wiesener-Hanks, Early Modern Europe, 1450-1789 (Cambridge 2006).  978-0521005210

·         Merry Wiesener-Hanks, The Renaissance and Reformation:  A History in Documents  (Oxford 2011).  ISBN 9780195338027



Required Reading On Reserve in Durick Library and online:


The Internet Modern History Sourcebook (online), selected sources tba



Required Reading Online:




Week One:  Introduction (The World in 1450)


Week Two:  Society in Europe, 1450-1600


Week Three:  Politics, 1450-1600


Week Four:  Intellectual and Cultural Life, 1450-1600


Week Five:  Religious Change, 1450-1600


Week Six:  Economy and Technology, 1450-1600


Week Seven:  Europe and the Wider World

o   Reading:  Wiesner-Hanks, chapter 10 (pages 357-363)


Week Eight:  Music in Early Modern Europe (The Humanities Program Spring 2012 Concert)

o   Program:  three sonatas (Bach: Sonata in G, violin and keyboard; Mozart: Sonata in A, K. 526, Beethoven: Sonata No. 7 in C minor, Op. 30 No. 2)

·         March 7:  no class because of March 6 concert

·         March 9:  Focus paper on concert (to be turned in at my office by 11:30 am) and one-page response to film (“Art of the Western World:  Realms of Light—The Baroque”)


Week Nine:  Spring Recess


Week Ten:  Politics and Power, 1600-1789


Week Eleven:  Culture and Intellectual Life, 1600-1789


Week Twelve:  Religious Change, 1600-1789


Week Thirteen:  Religious and Intellectual Change, 1600-1789


Week Fourteen:  Economics and Technology, 1600-1789


Week Fifteen:  Europe and the Wider World, 1600-1789


Week Sixteen:  Europe and the Wider World, 1600-1789


Final Examinations: