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Thompson Rivers University
Thompson Rivers University

HIST 1161: Modern European History 1: 1450-1800

This course surveys the world of early modern Europe from the flowering of the Renaissance in Italy and northern Europe, through the age of the religious wars in the seventeenth century, the eighteenth-century Age of Enlightenment, and developments in Eastern Europe and Russia, culminating in the great watershed of the French Revolution. In addition to covering military and political developments, the course also describes the changes wrought in the social and economic lives of the people of the emerging nation states of Europe.

Learning outcomes

  • Explain the emergence of the early modern state system.
  • Assess the changing role of religion in early modern society.
  • Describe the positions of men and women in early modern society.
  • Analyse the structure of society in the early modern period.
  • Analyse the strength of the principal status groups at various times during the early modern period.
  • Explain the impact intellectual developments (for example, the scientific revolution and the Enlightenment) had on early modern society.
  • Trace the economic history of early modern Europe.
  • Describe differences (where they exist) between eastern and western Europe between 1450 and 1800.
  • Account for the French Revolution.

Course topics

Unit 1: Early Modern Europe

Unit 2: The Emergence of the Renaissance

Unit 3: The Early Modern State

Unit 4: Religious Revolution and Catholic Reformation

Unit 5: The Age of Religious Wars 1560-1648

Unit 6: The Structure of Early Modern Society

Unit 7: Movement and Communication

Unit 8: The Mid-Century Crisis in Politics and Ideas

Unit 9: State Building and Serfdom

Unit 10: Foundations of the Eighteenth-Century State System and Society

Unit 11: Economic Change, Public Order, and Culture in the Eighteenth Century

Unit 12: The Enlightenment

Unit 13: Europe and the French Revolution

Required text and materials

Students require the following e-textbook, which can be purchased directly from the link at:

  1. Kaiser, Thomas E. and Kley, Dale K. Editors. (2011) Deficit to deluge: The origins of the French Revolution. Stanford: Stanford University Press.
    Type: E-Textbook. ISBN-13: 80804777193 / 978-0-8047-7281-5

Students will need to source the following textbook on their own:

  1. Rice, Eugene F., and Anthony Grafton. (1994) The foundations of early modern Europe, 1460-1559. (2nd ed.) New York: W. W. Norton.
    Type: Textbook. ISBN: 0-393-96304-7
  2. Kamen, Henry. (2000) Early modern European society. New York: Routledge
    Type: Textbook. ISBN: 0415158656
  3. Woloch, Isser, and Gregory S. Brown. (2012) Eighteenth-century Europe: tradition and progress, 1715-1789. (2nd ed.) New York: W. W. Norton & Co. 
    Type: Textbook. ISBN: 978-0-393-9287-4


Please be aware that should your course have a final exam, you are responsible for the fee to the online proctoring service, ProctorU, or to the in-person approved Testing Centre. Please contact with any questions about this.

To successfully complete this course, students must achieve a passing grade of 50% or higher on the overall course, and 50% or higher on the final mandatory exam.

Assignment 1: Units 1, 2, and 3 15%
Assignment 2: Units 4, 5, and 6 15%
Assignment 3: Units 7, 8, 9, and 10 15%
Assignment 4: Units 10, 11, and 12 15%
Final exam (mandatory) 40%
Total 100%

Open Learning Faculty Member Information

An Open Learning Faculty Member is available to assist students. Students will receive the necessary contact information at the start of the course.

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