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HIST 202-303 (spring 2014)
Dr. Chase Richards
[email protected]
College Hall 216C
TR 1:30-3 p.m. o.b.a.
Revolutions in Modern Europe
W 2-5 p.m., Meyerson Hall B5
When and why did revolution become a recurrent feature of modern politics, and how
have people experienced it? How have those in power attempted to grapple with
revolution—which has typically meant to suppress or at least rechannel it? What motivates
the so-called “masses” to revolt, and how do revolutions politicize them? What is lost in
revolutions, and what outlives or emerges from them? In this course, designed as an
undergraduate seminar, we will grapple with all of these questions and more. Beginning
with the French Revolution of 1789, we will survey a wide range of revolutionary moments
in modern European history, including the complex French legacy, the “polycentric”
Revolution of 1848, the age of national unifications, the upheavals associated with World
War I, decolonization, 1968, and the end of the Cold War. Our readings will encompass
not only relevant secondary literature but key primary sources, such as writings by
Edmund Burke, Olympe de Gouges, Mary Wollstonecraft, Toussaint L’Ouverture, Karl
Marx, Giuseppe Mazzini, Vladimir Lenin, Rosa Luxemburg, and Albert Camus. Assessment
is based on class participation, a take-home midterm, and a take-home final.
HIST 202-303 (spring 2014)
I. Required readings
David Harvey, A Brief History of Neoliberalism (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2005).
Toussaint L’Ouverture, The Haitian Revolution, ed. Nick Nesbitt (London: Verso, 2008).
John Merriman, A History of Modern Europe, vol. 2, From the French Revolution to the
Present, 3rd ed. (New York: Norton, 2009).
Various materials posted to Canvas.
All hard-copy materials are available for purchase at Penn Book Center. They have also
been placed on short-term loan at Rosengarten Reserve in Van Pelt Library. BorrowDirect
and E-ZBorrow are always options as well. Students who obtain older editions are
responsible for any resultant gaps or differences in pagination.
II. Course components
In a seminar, your role is not only to observe and contemplate,
but also to participate actively. Regular and punctual attendance is crucial. Every
student is granted one “freebie” absence. Use it wisely! Each subsequent
unexcused absence will lower your participation grade by two steps, e.g. A- to B.
An absence is excused only with some sort of hard-copy note from a physician,
counselor, coach, etc. Yet simply being present is only part of your commitment.
Come having read everything required, and well: underline, highlight, jot down
questions. Take detailed notes and make meaningful contributions to discussion.
! TAKE-HOME MIDTERM. For this essay-based exam, you will choose from one of
several prompts and write a response of 6-8 pages in length. You will be expected
to cite and analyze our readings to support your argument. This is due on March 5.
! TAKE-HOME FINAL. For this essay-based exam, you will choose two prompts: one
from several options dealing with the second half of the course, as well as a second
prompt of a cumulative nature. Your response to the first should be 6-8 pages in
length, while the second should be 8-10 pages long. In both cases you will again
be expected to cite and analyze our readings to support your argument. This is due
by May 5.
III. Assessment
class participation
take-home midterm
take-home final
A-level work, besides evincing strong grammar, syntax, and overall style, reflects
independent thinking in close dialogue with the sources. B-level work meets only some of
these standards and/or meets them only partially. C-level work is merely satisfactory or
rote, while D-level work begins to show severe problems of content, analysis, or
composition. Failed efforts will receive an F.
HIST 202-303 (spring 2014)
IV. Policies, expectations, and tips
Your teacher reserves the right to modify this syllabus when absolutely necessary.
Appointments during regular office hours must be scheduled via Canvas.
Come to class on time.
E-distraction has become a problem since the mid-2000s. It is unstudious in the
classroom and unprofessional in the workplace, and it is also a surefire way to
torpedo your participation grade. Laptop computers are not allowed during
class. For readings and notetaking you may use a tablet computer, but only if the
WiFi function is disabled. Keyboard peripherals are not permitted. Your teacher
reserves the right to ban use of all computing devices for the duration of the course
if abuse of even tablet computers comes to light.
Mobile telephones must be muted and put away, out of your sight and mine, once
class begins. Keep your mobile telephone in a bag or pocket, not in your lap.
Drinks in closed containers and simple snacks with minimal odor (e.g. granola bars)
are allowed during class, but please leave burritos, salads, sandwiches, stews,
cheese plates, roast mutton, etc. at home. Dining in class is inconsiderate to your