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Course Description

Procession of a Peasant Wedding painting by Flemish painter Jan Brueghel the Elder

This course will deal with the evolution and expansion of European society during the pre-industrial era. Commencing with the Renaissance and Reformation it will survey such themes as the voyages of exploration, the impact of western culture on indigenous societies, the development of commercial capitalism, the transformation of science and technology and the conflict between imperial powers in Europe and overseas.

Learning Outcomes

By the end of the course, the learner should be able to:

  1. Outline and summarize the major changes and events that took place in the period 1350-1800 and explain the impact these changes have had globally;
  2. Place events of the early modern world in a chronology and identify the links between events: both causal effects as well as more complex interconnections;
  3. Outline the main facts and explanations of an historical event and recognize that there may be several interpretations of the same event;
  4. Differentiate between primary and secondary sources and formulate the issues related to using primary sources (such as biases, contrasting perspectives, when they were written, etc.);
  5. Identify scholarly sources suitable for an academic paper and develop a bibliography by using the Chicago reference system;
  6. Identify the thesis of a scholarly article and describe this in writing; and
  7. Narrow down a research topic for a research paper.

Course Topics

  • Introduction to the early modern period
  • Early modern society and economy
  • Europe during the Renaissance
  • The Reformation
  • The age of religious warfare
  • Europe explores the world
  • Absolute and limited monarchy in the seventeenth century
  • Warfare in the age of absolutism
  • Economy and industry in the eighteenth century
  • The Enlightenment
  • The eighteenth century state system
  • Colonial empires


Assessment Item Weight Learning Outcomes
Primary Source Discussions 15% 2, 6
Quizzes 20% 1, 2, 3, 6
Research Project Log 5% 5, 7
Research Project Draft 10% 3, 4, 5, 7
Research Project 20% 3, 4, 5, 7
Take-Home Final Exam 30% 1, 2
Total 100%  


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*Course details are subject to change.


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