FSS:VIS403 Making of Europe - Course Information

VIS403 Modern European State Formation

Faculty of Social Studies
Spring 2018
Extent and Intensity
1/1. 6 credit(s). Type of Completion: zk (examination).
prof. PhDr. Vít Hloušek, Ph.D. (lecturer)
PhDr. Pavel Pšeja, Ph.D. (lecturer)
Mgr. Petra Kuchyňková, Ph.D.
Department of International Relations and European Studies - Faculty of Social Studies
Contact Person: Olga Cídlová, DiS.
Supplier department: Department of International Relations and European Studies - Faculty of Social Studies
Tue 13:30–15:00 P22
Course Enrolment Limitations
The course is only offered to the students of the study fields the course is directly associated with.
Fields of study the course is directly associated with
Course objectives
This course introduces students to the development of Europe since the 17th century (i.e. of the so-called modern Europe) as a unique project based on very broad processes; therefore, it primarily aims at outlining the trends constituting social background of this development - nationalism, colonialism, secularisation, technological innovation and so on. At the end of the course, the students shall be familiar with social thinking and habits that occurred in the 16th and 17th centuries, with the power conflicts that constituted the bases of the modern European states, with the 19th century as a breaking point both with regard to power constellation, and to general shifts in European societies of the time, and also with both world wars of the 20th century as - in a sense - the climax of the previous processes. At the end of the course, student should be able to interpret the notion of European state system history and to explain its internal periodization. Student should be able to compose main trends of economical, societal, intellectual, and political development. Student should be able as well to compare changes of European domestic and international politics since the Peace of Westphalia till the outbreak of the Cold War.
  • 1. The Peace of Westphalia and the Emergence of a New Europe. Introduction (basic overview of the course and related topics). Roots of societal changes in the 17th century, Reformation, Counter-reformation; Erasmus, Luther and other major figures as creators of a new society; notion of sovereignty; origins of nation states etc. 2. Power, States and Society in 1648-1789. Diplomacy based upon the Raison détat; French struggles for predomination (War for Spanish Legacy, Wars for Austrian Legacy, Seven Years' War - French and Indiana War), balance of power in the 18th century, Prussia and Russia as emerging powers, decline of Ottoman empire; absolute monarchy - polity, politics and bureaucracy; economy of mercantilism. 3. The Birth of Modern European Thinking. Philosophy as a major tool in social transformation; Descartes, Spinoza, Locke and other thinkers of the 17th century, Enlightenment; Rousseau as an archetype of a modern intellectual; roots of ideologies etc. 4. The Great Transformation: Europe in 1789-1814/1815. The French revolution and the consequent wars; influences on the structure of states in Europe; system of French satellites; Napoleons united Europe; social dimension of the French revolution and Napoleons reign. 5. European Nations under the Concert of Powers (1815-1854). Congress in Vienna and new order for Europe; emancipation of European small nations; movements for democracy in Europe; industrialization as a facet of the upcoming social transformations; 1848 as a breaking point; the rise of the leftist visions of society. 6. The Rise and Decline of European Concert (1854-1890s). New players in the game (Italy, Germany etc.); problems of multinational states (Russia, Austria-Hungary); imperialism as a moving force; birth of mass politics (cleavages and political responses). 7. Colonization and the Expansion of Nation States: A View from the Outside New empires; trade development; religion and social background as motives of colonization; colonial wars and responses in Europe; changes in the structures of societies; developments in colonies as a vehicle of societal feedback. 8. Nationalism as a Facet in Creation of Modern States. Roots of nationalism; its geographical and societal aspects; nations invented or evolved; relationship nation-state; natural nationalism or artificial construct? 9. First World War and the Emergence of the Versailles system Origins of First World War - theories and explanations, Diplomacy during the war and struggle of small European nations for independence, economy of warcraft - notion of state-socialism, Wilsonian idealism and notion of liberal peace, peace conference in Versailles - actors and their goals, Versailles arrangement and its problems 10. Europe between Wars. Economic consequences of the Versailles peace; rise of authoritarian and totalitarian regimes; Great Depression; appeasement as a form of ideology; disenchantment of post-1918 optimism and the social impact etc.
  • DAVIES, Norman. Europe :a history. Repr. with corr. London: Pimlico, 1997. xix, 1365. ISBN 0-7126-6633-8.
  • WILKINSON, James and Stuart H. HUGHES. Contemporary Europe : a history. 10th ed. New Jersey: Pearson Prentice Hall, 2004. xx, 616. ISBN 0131841769. info
Teaching methods
The course consists of lectures mixed together with semminars including class discussion.
Assessment methods
General requirements: Almost all sessions are composed of a lecture and a seminar. Therefore, 70 per cent attendance record at lectures and seminars is required for students to qualify for sitting the final examination. Without complying with this prerequisite students are not entitled to take part in the exam. Students are asked to read assigned readings in advance, so that they can get the necessary background for lectures and discuss important issues in the respective seminars. Examinations: There are two written tests students are expected to sit during the course – midterm exam and final exam. In both exams students will answer four questions focused on the problems presented in the assigned readings and/or discussed in the lectures and seminars. Grading The final grade will be calculated as a composite evaluation consisting of: 50 % midterm exam, 50 % final exam. At least 60 % of the highest possible evaluation is to be reached if a student shall qualify himself/herself for completing the course. Workload: 510 pages of the assigned reading (app. 43 pages per week)
Language of instruction
Further Comments
Study Materials
The course is taught annually.
The course is also listed under the following terms Spring 2014, Spring 2015, Spring 2016.
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