Hochgeladen von Nutzer2897

3326-Lecture 1-intro

History of Modern
History 3326
Some opening notes…
• Yes, I know about the strikes going on
• I will do what I can to be flexible
• If you need to miss class, it’s best if you can
let me know
• You don’t need to tell me *why* you’re missing
• NOTE: your grade won’t *directly* suffer from missing class, though
missing class will make it harder to know what’s going on
• You do need to do the work
The most important thing I will tell you
• If you need help, go get it.
• There are people who can help you.
• First step, if you don’t know others: CU
counselling centre:
• https://www2.osa.cuhk.edu.hk/wacc/en-GB/our-services/seekingcounselling#c
• If you know people who need help, walk with
them to the counselling centre and wait with
• You do not need to carry the weight
of the world on your shoulders
[transition to actual class content]
“Modern Europe” – some basic
• This class will cover the period from ~1800
until 1991
• Which, is probably still too much for one
semester, but here goes…
• And it is worthwhile to look at both of these
centuries together
Traditional divisions of European history
• Ancient/Medieval/Modern/Contemporary
• Modern: Early Modern v Late Modern
• But, I’m skipping the “early modern” part b/c otherwise I’d mostly just be
redoing 1002
• I’m also skipping the content covered by my
French Revolution class
• It’s still a lot to cover, so: try not to lose
the forest for the trees
Phrase of the day/ 英文詞語
• Lose the forest for the trees, can’t see the
forest for the trees, etc.
• To become so caught up in the details that you miss the big picture
What I’ll talk about today
• Quick overview of the period
• The themes of the course
• The requirements of the course
• The logistics: readings, assignments, etc.
The Long, but in our case
Less Long, Nineteenth Century
• Historians of Europe/Atlantic World talk about
a “Long Nineteenth Century” that starts in 1789
and ends in 1914.
• In general, it makes sense to talk about that
period as one unit
• The impacts of the “dual revolution” and the
reshaping of a Europe which emerged a very
different place than the one which existed in
the 1780s
• We’ll be starting closer to the year 1800, or
even 1815
Less Long
Century, cont.
• The start: the aftermath of the French
Revolution and the spread of industrialization
• An awareness of the newness of European society
at the time
• The weakness of monarchies; the rise of mass
• A society where life was different than it had
been for earlier generations
• Previous: an expectation of continuity, or at least relative continuity
• C19: an expectation of change, and perhaps of progress
Modernity knew it was modern
• This is one of the key aspects of “modernity,”
which I think was more true of the 19th century
than it was of the early modern periods
• People at the time were convinced that they
were living in a time of new possibilities
• People were also convinced that they were
living in a time which no longer had the old
• Excitement but also loss
The question of optimism
in the nineteenth century
• If things were not as they were before, that
led to the basic question: were they now
better, or worse?
• And if they were worse, could they be made to
be better?
• Could ideas and political movements make the world better?
• Could technology and industry make the world better?
The Time of the “isms”
• Hence a variety of movements during the
nineteenth century all aimed, in one way or
another, at making the world a better place
• Liberalism
• Utilitarianism, its quirky offshoot
• Chartism
• Artistic movements like romanticism and impressionism
• Socialism, and especially Marxism
• All were attempts to reshape the world, and to
open up the world of possibilities
• Some were more successful than others
The rise of nationalism and imperialism
• This was a time when Europe remade not only its
own map, but the maps of much of Asia and
Africa as well
• This was when Hong Kong became a British colony
• Also when Britain and France became major
• Germany and Italy became nations
• Russia began its slow emergence
The end of the optimism
• 1914-1918: more slaughter than ever before
• A real turning point in European history. Very little emerged unchanged.
• This is why we talk about the two uneven
The Short Twentieth Century
• Some version of 1914-1991
• World Wars I,II and the Cold War
• Post-Cold War Europe: “Contemporary Europe,” as
opposed to “Modern”
• So, these two “centuries” will be the focus of
the class this semester
Special note on 1914-1945
• This might be the worst period in European
• 1348-1451, the time of the Black Death, is the other possibility here
• A period of unprecedented slaughter, cruelty
and hardship
• Also a period which saw the rise of
totalitarian states in much (and eventually
most) of Europe
• So, that portion of the course can be depressing.
What we learn from 1914-1945
• We learn how brutal human beings can be
• We learn that there are times when people have
to fight back
• We learn that totalitarian systems can inflict
an enormous amount of pain, suffering, and
death, but that in the end, they are not what
people want, or who people want to live
• Though part of that story would be continued in
cold war Europe, which would stay under
totalitarian rule for another 4+ decades
The Cold War World
• Post-1945: Harder and harder to talk about
“Europe,” since it’s so much more linked to the
rest of the world
• Many of the most interesting developments for
European powers – especially France and England
– was the disintegration of their overseas
The Cold War as Lived History
• By this point, a huge change between me, and
all of you: I grew up during the Cold War
• A world divided into two
• A Europe divided into two
• The end of the cold war had a larger effect on
the people who had been living “behind the Iron
Curtain,” but don’t underestimate the impact it
had on Western Europe (and the US)
Throughout all of this time…
• Stories of inequality and the fight for a more
equal world
• Stories of repression and the fight for freedom
• Stories of injustice and the fight for justice
• And at a time when Hong Kong is going through
its own struggles for freedom and its own
struggles against authoritarianism, these are
the stories I’m going to be highlighting
Now, some of the key parts of the course
• (sorry to be so late finalizing all of this there’s been a lot of uncertainty. Also, I’m
*hoping* my own schedule is more open after a few
• We’ll be covering this period as much as we can,
even if each century kind of deserves its own
• We’ll be mixing primary and secondary texts,
• But: there is no one textbook for the course
• All reading assignments will be available on-line,
either as links or via blackboard
• 3 short quizzes @ 10 points each
• At least one will include a map
• You will not need to know every post-1991 state in Eastern Europe
• Tutorial: 20 points
• Research paper (~2000-2500 words): 30 points
• Take-home final: 20 points
1Intro; theme of the course: repression, revolution, resistance
2industrialization, urbanization, and mass culture
3romanticism and early labor movements
41848 and the rise of marxism
7russian rev
8the rise of totalitarianism: stalin, mussolini, franco, hitler
9holocaust and post-war settlement
111968: Paris and Prague
Readings: general approach
• Most weeks, there will be at least two readings
• One will be a secondary source (and often, a
fairly basic one)
• Many of these will be from either Blanning’s The Oxford History of Europe, or
the Blackwell Online European Companion
• Available via the library’s website, though they may just be up
on the web someplace
• The other will be a primary source, or a
collection of primary sources
• These will also be on-line, often just as links to outside sources, though there
might be occasional scans uploaded to blackboard
Why read the secondary texts?
• In this course, *most* of the secondary texts
are so that you can know what happened.
• In other words, these are so that you can know
the history of the events, but not necessarily
the historiography of those events.
• Example: next week’s assignment is The
Industrialization of Modern Europe, 1750–1914
by Clive Trebilcock
• I want you to learn about the history of
industrialization; but beyond that, I don’t
care about Trebilcock, or his interpretation
Why read the primary texts?
• We’re reading the primary texts, because reading
primary texts is what historians do
• (Yes, I repeat this often)
• The ability to interpret primary texts, and to put
those texts into their historical context, is one
of the most important skills for any historian,
and the most important skill that is specific to
• So we’ll be reading selections from a classic text
on industrialization, by Engels, and I *do* want
you to know what Engels has to say about
Quick note on possible other secondary
• There are some I’d like to assign that are
focused on interpretation, and there are some
interpretations which I’d like you to be aware
• But, they won’t be the focus of this class most
• There is a basic question: how, as historians,
do we figure out what happened, and why?
• This is a matter of finding what evidence we
can, and figuring out what that evidence is
trying to tell us
Final story for the day: technology and the
industrial revolution
• I’ll end today’s class with a quick recount of
one of the classic intepretations of
industrialization: E. P. Thompson’s essay,
“Time, Work, and Industrial Capitalism.”
• EPT: an historian of the English Working Class
during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries
• So: how do you study this? What evidence do we
Studying industrialization
• Basics: accounts at the time; growth of
factories; growth of cities; building train
lines; inventions, like the mechanical loom and
the steam engine.
• Thompson asked: what about the spread of clocks
and watches?
Changes in time
• Thompson’s argument: before industrialization,
people didn’t care what “number” time it was.
• Time was “concrete”
• Linked to events, usually natural ones like sunrise/sunset, or the tides,
and seasonal changes
• There were clocks, and some watches, but they
didn’t change much
“Abstract time”
• With the rise of the factory, schedules became
important, as did “clock time,” or “abstract
• Factory owners invested heavily in building the
factories and wanted to maximize the profits
they got from it, so they made workers work
long hours
• Easier to do that if you can number the hours, time lunch breaks, etc.
Technology = oppression?
• So for this first generation, the rise of “clock
time” or “abstract time” meant longer working
hours, less control over how they used their own
• But the story didn’t end there.
• EPT never lets the working class just be a passive victim
• In the next generation of factory workers, a
movement for the 10-hour workday.
• They used the same technology – the clock – to
fight for their own interests. And eventually they
People bend the arc of history…
• A quote from Martin Luther King, which Barack
Obama often quoted: “the arc of the moral
universe is long, but it bends toward justice.”
• But it’s not the arc that bends; it’s people,
who bend toward, or away from, justice.
• We’ll see people bending it both ways over the
course of the semester
• And we’ll ask, for today’s world: who is
bending the arc, and which way are they bending
Reminder: take care of yourselves, take care of
each other
• If you need help from me, please ask.