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Trent University in Oshawa

History 2200 (2010-2011)

Europe From the French Revolution to the fall of Communism
Instructor: Andrea Geddes Poole Office Hours: Mondays 10:00-11:00

Class: Monday 11:00-1:50


This course deals with the social and cultural history of Europe during two profoundly turbulent centuries. We will study the major events that shaped European history between 1789 and the fall of the Soviet Bloc in 1989. This course will specifically focus on society and culture as well as political change and continuity.

Although there is no exam, this course does require a fair amount of reading. This course also emphasizes visual culture and students will be expected to use the links on the course web-site to virtually visit galleries and museums and familiarize themselves with the paintings, photographs, sculpture, building and interior design which will be referred to during seminar discussions and lectures. This course will also use films which will be shown in the course of the year and will form the main text for discussion (e.g., All Quiet on the Western Front). This course also expects a good deal of research work on the part of the student both for essays but also for weekly in-class presentations. So, although there is no exam, there is a lot of work.
Readings: Students are expected to complete the required reading for each week as these readings will form the substance of tutorial discussions. “Recommended Readings” can point you to further reading, perhaps for essays. Many sections of this syllabus pertaining to the readings contain a suggested “Focus Question” which might serve to shape and focus your thoughts regarding each week’s reading.
Lectures: Two hours, weekly
Tutorials: (20%) Weekly, 50 minutes. The focus of discussion will be the assigned readings, mainly the primary sources. Students are expected to attend all seminars, to have completed all the readings, and participate actively in the seminar discussion. Absences will quickly cut deeply into the 20% tutorial component of your final grade. Participation in tutorials is particularly important; everyone is expected to make a contribution.
Presentations: (20%) Each student will make a presentation on one week’s primary source readings and then lead the class discussion. The student will also be responsible for doing research to come up with a primary source of their own which they think is particular revealing. It can be as short as a quoted paragraph or as long as a speech, as long as it reveals; it can be a poem or a painting, if you have a good argument for why it is particularly useful. This source they will post on the course website for their tutorial colleagues to read prior to class. The student should start his or her presentation by analytically discussing (about 10-15 minutes) what they think is important about what the sources – the voices of the people of the day -- can tell us. The student is responsible for discussing both those sources I have assigned in the syllabus as well as the one source they are required to additionally dig up. The student will then lead the discussion by posing questions to their classmates. DO NOT START YOUR PRESENTATION BY RATTLING OFF YOUR LIST OF QUESTIONS. INSTEAD, PROVIDE AN ANALYSED CONTEXT FOR THE DISCUSSION. Students will email me, well in advance, their list of questions. You will be graded on the quality of your opening analysis, how well you lead the discussion and on the quality of the list of questions. Please feel free to consult me as you organize your presentation. Note: Students will not be allowed to make up for a missed presentation.
Essay # 1: (25%) First Research Essay: The main objective in this assignment is to pose a question and then build an argument, using primary sources (quotations from letters, memoirs, diaries, newspaper articles, etc.), leading your reader to a conclusion. The subject of this essay must focus on the period covered in the first half of the course. Make the title of your essay the question you are pursuing (e.g., “Why did revolutions break out in 1848?”). Students must clear their subject with me in writing, by November 1st. I will not accept papers written on a topic that I have not approved. The use of primary sources cannot be stressed enough. I want you all to act as historians in sifting and measuring the weight and importance of the primary sources as evidence as you present your case. Do not quote historians to me – quote the evidence itself. That does not mean you ignore historians. You should include, as part of this essay, include both a discussion of the state of debate on your particular question and a weighing and assessing of the positions taken by the main historians who have opined on your chosen topic. This paper should be approximately 3,200 to 4,000 words in length and it is due on Monday, December 6, 2010.*
Essay #2 (25%) Second Research Essay: Deploying your experience gained from the first research project, pose another question and refine your expertise in digging up primary source materials: letters, diaries, memoirs, newspaper articles, letters to the editor, etc. The topic for this second essay must focus on the period covered in the second half of the course. Students must clear their subject with me, in writing, by February 28th. I will not accept papers written on a topic that I have not approved. As before, the main objective in this assignment is to pose a question and then build an argument, using primary sources (quotations from letters, memoirs, diaries, newspaper articles, etc.), leading your reader to a conclusion. Again, make the title of your essay the question you are pursuing (e.g., “Why and when did the British Suffragette movement turn violent?”). Also as before, students should include, as part of this essay, a discussion of the state of debate and a weighing and assessing of the chief secondary sources. This essay should be between 3,200 and 4,000 words (between 10 and 12 pages) and it is due in class Monday April 4, 2010.*
Exam (10%) A take-home exam will be handed out on Monday, April 4th. It will be due, via e-mail, on Monday, April 11th.
* Extensions will only be considered in exceptional circumstances, and will require supporting documentation (e.g. medical notes). Any extension must be arranged before the due date. The penalty on late papers for which no extension has been arranged is three percent per day, including weekends. This is not negotiable.

Academic dishonesty, which includes plagiarism and cheating, is an extremely serious academic offence and carries penalties varying from a 0 grade on an assignment to expulsion from the University.  Definitions, penalties, and procedures for dealing with plagiarism and cheating are set out in Trent University’s Academic Integrity Policy. You have a responsibility to educate yourself – unfamiliarity with the policy is not an excuse. Do not submit the same work for two courses: It constitutes an academic offence to submit the same work for credit in two separate courses. Even though, yes, it is your original work, you might unwittingly get yourself into trouble. See me if you have any doubts when planning your research. You are strongly encouraged to visit Trent’s Academic Integrity website to learn more –
Access to Instruction

It is Trent University’s intent to create an inclusive learning environment. If a student has a disability and/or health consideration and feels that he/she may need accommodations to succeed in this course, the student should contact the Disability Services Office (BL Suite 109, 748-1281, as soon as possible. Complete text can be found under Access to Instruction in the Academic Calendar.


John Merriman, A History of Modern Europe from the French Revolution to the Present, 3rd



Sept. 13 Introduction

Required Reading: Merriman Pp. 436-447
Recommended Reading: Eric Hobsbawm, Echoes of the Marseillaise: two centuries look back on the French Revolution (1990); Simon Schama, Citizens, Chritsopher Hibbert, The French Revolution


September 20–The French Revolution and its effect on Europe

Required Reading: Merriman, Pp. 447-478. Go to Fordham University’s Internet Modern History Sourcebook (linked to course website) and browse the sources on the French Revolution.

Recommended Reading: JT. Blanning, The French Revolutionary Wars; “Repression, 'Terror' and the Rule of Law in England during the Decade of the French Revolution” C. Emsley - The English Historical Review, Vol. 100, No. 397 (Oct., 1985), pp. 801-825; L. Colley, Britons (1992).

Focus: Question: How was news of the Revolution received in Britain, Germany, Austria and other parts of Europe? Did European perceptions of the Revolution change?


September 27 – Film “Danton”


October 4 – Napoleon re-draws the map of Europe

Required Reading: Merriman, Pp. 479-508. Click on course website link to Modern History Sourcebook and read the primary sources for “Napoleonic Europe”; Adam Hochschild, “Against all odds: the first great human-rights campaign--the movement to end slavery in the British Empire”, Mother Jones, vol.29, no.1, pp.66, (2004); also read the primary source posted by student doing the week’s presentation.
Recommended Reading: Adam Hochschild, Bury the Chains: Prophets and Rebels in the Fight to Free an Empire’s Slaves (2005); Lawrence C. Jennings, French Anti-Slavery: The Movement for the Abolition of Slavery in France 1802-1848 (2000); Franco-British Conference on slavery, Social History, vol. 24, no. 3, pp. 311-14, October 1999. Click on course website to see Jacques-Louis David’s paintings of Napoleon and Turner’s  Slavers Throwing the Dead and Dying Overboard with a Typhoon Coming On .
Focus Question: How and why did British and French attitudes towards slavery differ?


October 11 – Thanksgiving ---- No Class---Enjoy your turkey


October 18 – The Congress of Vienna: Restoration and Revolution

Required Reading: Merriman, Pp.508-512 & 569-578 & 586-598 & 605-609. Click on course website and follow links to read the description of the Bristol Riots. Click on Modern History Sourcebook at read primary sources for the Congress of Vienna

Recommended Reading: “The 1832 Reform Act Debate: Should the Suffrage Be Based on Property or Taxpaying?” Nancy LoPatin-Lummis, Journal of British Studies, vol. 46, no. 2, P. 320.  Follow the links on the course website and review the paintings of Jacques Louis David’s student, Ingres. Go to the course website and click on the “Penny Magazine” link for a weekly magazine (1832-35) aimed at the British working class.

Focus Question: The French Revolution of 1830 and the Great Reform Act of 1832; genuine change or old wine in new bottles?


October 23rd – October 31st Mid-Term Break

(Therefore, no class on October 25th)


November 1 – The Revolutions of 1848

Required Reading: Merriman, Pp. 613-640. Click on course website link to Modern History Sourcebook and read the primary sources for “1848.”
Recommended Reading: Georges Duveau, 1848:The Making of a Revolution; Stacey Renee, “Novels, Myth, and the Image of the 1851 Anti-Coup Insurgents”, Proceedings of the Annual Meeting of the Western Society for French History Vol. 33, 2005; Spectacular Politics: Louis-Napoleon Bonaparte and the Fête Impériale, 1849-1870, Matthew Truesdell (1997) (available as an e-book). Click the George Sand and Flora Tristan link on course website for a discussion between three French historians (out of Mount Holyoke College’s conference) of George Sand’s and Flora Tristan’s views of women’s rights in mid-nineteenth century France.
Reading Focus Questions: Why does the Revolution of 1848 succeed in Paris but not in Germany or Austria, nor do the Chartists do not attain their objectives in Great Britain? What are the Chartists objectives? How is the French Revolution of 1848 so easily deformed?


November 8 – No Class, research for essays


November 15 - Industrial Growth, Capital Growth, Imperial Growth, Artistic Growth

Required Reading: Merriman, Pp.513-532 & 547-568. click on the Modern History Sourcebook and read the Leeds Woolen Workers’ Petition; Follow the links on the course website and read the following short extracts: Testimony before Lord Ashley’s Commission; Life of 19th Century Workers In England; Observations on the Loss of Woollen Spinning, Women Miners in the English Coal Pits, also read the primary source to be found and posted by student doing the week’s presentation.
Recommended Reading: Eric Hobsbawm, Industry and Empire (1999); The Age of Capital (1988); Kenneth Morgan, The Birth of Industrial Britain: social change 1750-1850 (2004); Benjamin Disraeli, Sybil, Victor Hugo, Les Miserables.


November 22– What do we mean by “Good Government”?

Required Reading: Merriman, Pp. 532-547. Michael Faraday: Observations on the Filth of the Thames, contained in a letter addressed to the Editor of The Times, 1855; read also the primary source to be found and posted by student doing the week’s presentation.

Visual Texts: Go to the links on the course website and follow them to the London engravings of Gustave Doré at this fine University of Cardiff website:; Follow the links of the course website and review the following paintings: Holman Hunt’s Awakening Conscience (1853) and Light of the World (1851-3);  John Everett Millais’ Isabella; Abraham Solomon’s, First Class, the Meeting, (revised version, 1855); original version.  
Recommended Reading: David P. Jordan, “Haussmann and Haussmannisation: The Legacy for Paris.” French Historical Studies 2004 27 (1): 87-113; Edwin Chadwick (1803-1890): Report on Sanitary Conditions, 1842; Luckin, Bill. “The Heart and Home of Horror: The Great London Fogs of the Late Nineteenth Century.”Social History 2003 28(1): 31-48; . S. Wohl, Endangered Lives: Public Health in Victorian Britain (London, 1983); Follow the links on the course website and examine the following paintings: Luke Fildes, Applicants for Admission to the Casual Ward; William Powell Frith, Poverty and Wealth; Hubert Von Herkomer, On Strike Hard Times; Frederick Walker, The Vagrants. Browse through these Victorian photographs:
Focus Question: Do all European nations view social obligations in the same way?


November 29 – The March of the Women, The March of Science

Required Reading: Merriman Pp. 686-733. Go to the course website and read the excerpts from The Subjection of Women, by John Stuart Mill that are posted there. Next, follow the Charles Darwin link to the “Victorian Web” and read “Introduction: Charles Darwin (1809-1882) gentleman naturalist”; remember to also read the primary source that will be found and posted by student doing the week’s presentation.
Recommended Reading: Patrice Debré, Louis Pasteur (2000) on reserve at Bata; For the full text of The Subjection of Women, follow the John Stuart Mill link on the course website. For an excellent entrée into the works of Darwin click on this site managed by Cambridge University: ; Sharon Marcus, Between Women: Friendship, Desire and Marriage in Victorian England (2007); Walkowitz, Judith R. “Going Public: Shopping, Street Harassment, and Streetwalking in Late Victorian London.” Representations 1998 (62): 1-30; Click on course website for: Charles Sowerwine, “Sexual Contract(s) of the Third Republic”; Jan Goldstein, The Post-Revolutionary Self: Politics and Psyche in France, 1750-1850 (2005) Click here for a discussion of Goldstein’s book:


December 6th – Nationalism, Anarchism and Anti-Semitism

Required Reading: Merriman, Pp. 649-682, 734-742. primary source to be found and posted by student doing the week’s presentation.
Visual Texts: Examine Northwestern University Library - Special Collections : The Siege and Commune of Paris, 1870-1871 : 1500 caricatures, 68 newspapers, hundreds of books and pamphlets, and about 1000 posters. A search engine on the site allows phrase searches. Click on the course website) and examine Edouard Manet’s portrait of Emile Zola. Then review the paintings of: Edgar Degas, Claude Monet and James McNeil Whistler. Contrast and compare the sculptures of Camille Claudel and Auguste Rodin. Examine John Everett Millais’ portrait of Gladstone, other images of Gladstone: The Grand Old Man Chopping Wood  (1877); commemorative print of Gladstone's career; 3/4 view. Other portraits used by way of contrast and comparison: Matthew Arnold. Millais's portraits of Disraeli.

Recommended Reading: Paula Hyman, From Dreyfus to Vichy (1979); J’Accuse by Emile Zola; Charles Sowerwine, The Sexual Contract(s) of the Third Republic; George R. Whyte, The Dreyfus Affair: A Chronological History (2005); Charles Sowerwine, France Since 1870: Culture, Politics, Society; Emile Zola, Ladies' Paradise  
Recommended Films: Topsy-Turvy, Emile Zola, Camille Claudel

Focus Question: Identify any differences between everyday life in fin de siècle in Paris, Vienna, Berlin and London. Does your answer change if you are considering everyday Jewish life? What if you are a woman?

Happy Holidays! See you in the new year!
January 10 - The Emergence of the Modern and the Road to War

Required Reading: Merriman, Chs. 20 & 21; click on link on course website for Jack London, People of the Abyss; also read source posted by presenting student.
Visual Texts: Follow the links on the course website and examine the pre 1914 paintings of: Walter Sickert, Vanessa Bell, Philip Wilson Steer and Henry Tonks, Paul Cezanne, Vincent van Gogh, Paul Gauguin Henri Matisse, André Derain, Georges Braque, Pablo Picasso and Georges Rouault.
Recommended reading: Guy de Maupassant, “A Parisian Affair” and “Laid to Rest.”

Howards End, Ann Veronica.
Is the idea of the “long nineteenth century” stretching from 1789 to 1918, a powerful myth?


January 17 – World War One

Required Reading: Merriman, Ch. 22; source posted by presenting student.

Recommended Reading: Robert Graves’ Good-Bye to All That, Henri Barbusse, Le Feu, (on reserve at Bata) Robert Wohl, The Generation of 1914 (1979); Modris Eksteins' Rites of Spring: The Great War and the Birth of the Modern Age (1989); Frank Field, Three French Writers and the Great War: Studies in the Rise of Communism and Fascism (1975); Frank Field, British and French Writers of the First World War: Comparative Studies in Cultural History (1991); Nicoletta Gullace, "White Feathers and Wounded Men: Female Patriotism and the Memory of the Great War" Journal of British Studies, 36 (April 1997): 178-206. Seth Koven, Remembering and Dismemberment: Crippled Children, Wounded Soldiers and the Great War in Great Britain" American Historical Review (Oct. 1994): 1167-1199.

Visual texts: Click on the WWI link on the course website for photographs of the conflict 1914-1918.
Did France and Britain experience the First World War in the same ways?


January 24 –The Russian Revolution

Required Reading: Merriman Ch. 23; source posted by presenting student

Recommended Reading: Jack Reed, Ten Days that shook the World


January 31st--The Social and Financial Crisis

Required Reading: Merriman, Ch. 24; source posted by presenting student; George Orwell, Down and Out in Paris and London;

Recommended Reading: Janet Flanner, Paris Was Yesterday 1925-1939 (1988); Charles Sowerwine, France Since 1870: Culture, Politics and Society (2001); Follow link on course website to find the H-France forum on Robert O. Paxton’s French Peasant Fascism: where four eminent French historians take issue with Paxton’s position. Be sure to also read Paxton’s response. Henry Dorgeres, Greenshirts and the Crises of French Agriculture, 1929-1939, Margaret Morris, The General Strike (1976); Susan Kingsley Kent, Making Peace: The Reconstruction of Gender in Inter-War Britain (1994), ch.3, 51-73. George Orwell, The Road to Wigan Pier

Visual Texts: Click on the course website and review the paintings of Mark Gertler, Stanley Spencer, Pablo Picasso, Sonia and Robert Delaunay, Francis Pacabia, Marcel Duchamp, Georges Braque.


February 7 - The Road to War

Required Reading: Merriman, Ch. 25; source provided by presenting student; George Orwell, Homage to Catalonia
Recommended Reading: M.D. Gallagher, “Leon Blum and the Spanish Civil War”, Journal of Contemporary History vol. 6 (1971) 56-64; Remi Skoutelsky, ‘”Espoir guidait leur pas: les volontaires francais dans les Brigades Internationales 1936-1939 (1998); Bill Alexander, British Volunteers for Liberty Spain 1936-1939 (1982); Jason Gurney, Crusade in Spain (1974).
Visual Texts: Picasso’s Guernica; Click on this website from exhibition of Spanish Civil war posters and review:
Was there a connection between conditions in Britain and France and volunteering to fight in the Spanish Civil War?


February 14–- Film: The Sorrow and the Pity

Required Reading: Julian Jackson, The Fall of France; Marc Bloch, Strange Defeat; Richard Vinen, The Unfree French: Life under the Occupation (2007).


Mid-Term Break February 19th – February 27th

(Thus no class on February 21st)


February 28 – World War Two

Required Reading: Merriman, Ch. 26; follow link on course website for the collected people’s memories of the Battle of Britain:
Recommended Reading: Click on the link to H-France on the course website and read the forum discussion concerning Robert J. Young’s France and the Origins of the Second World War. Follow the link on the course website for the primary document collections at the Imperial War Museum


March 7 – Recovery?

Required Reading: Merriman, Ch. 27; peruse the following founding texts of social democratic Britain: the Beveridge Report of 1942 at and the Labour Party election manifesto for 1945 at Read source posted by presenting student.
Recommended Reading: Rebecca Pulju, Changing Homes, Changing Lives: Material Conditions, Women's Demands, and Consumer Society in Post-World War II France, Proceedings of the Western Society for French History, 2003; D. Cogan, De Gaulle: A Biography with Documents, Plenty by David Hare; Look Back in Anger by John Osborne.


March 14 – No Class, research topic for your essays


March 21 – Retreat from Colonialism

Required Reading: Merriman, Ch. 28. Read source posted by presenting student. Read the oral histories of those arriving in Britain from the Caribbean on the SS Empire Windrush: Follow link on course website to an article by Lee Whitfield, “Algeria in France: French Citizens, the War, and Right-wing Populism in the Reckoning of the Republic in Languedoc, 1954-1962” Proceedings of the Western Society for French History, 2005, vol. 33.

Recommended Reading: White Teeth by Zadie Smith; J. Talbott, The War without a name: France in Algeria 1954-1962 (1980); Click here for Chris Waters, “Dark Strangers” in Our Midst: Discourses of Race and Nation in Britain, 1947-1963,” Journal of British Studies Vol. 36, No. 2 (April 1997), pp. 207-238; Hanif Kureishi, My Son the Fanatic . There is a good discussion of Kureishi's importance to British-Asians in the London Review of Books. ______________________________________________________________________________

March 28 1968 and all that

Required Reading: Merriman, Pp.1176-1187. Follow link on course website to: Read presenting student’s primary source.

Recommended Reading: David Caute, Sixty-Eight: The Year of the Barricades (1988); Robert Daniels, The Year of the Heroic Guerrilla: World Revolution in 1968 (1989); Ignazio Silone, Emergency Exit (1968); Edgar Morin, The Red and the White:Report from a French Village (1970); seriously recommended film: Jonah Who will be 21 in the year 2000.

April 4 - 1989 The Fall of the Eastern Bloc

Required Reading: Merriman, Pp. 1188-1209

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