European Civilization in its World Context, 1715 to

History 40: European Civilization in its World Context, 1715 to the Present
Fall 2003 / Funger 108 / MW 9:30-10:45
Professor Andrew Zimmerman
e-mail: [email protected]
Office: Phillips Hall 304
Phone: 994-0257
Office hours: M 1:00-3:00 and by appointment
Teaching Assistants
Sharon Chamberlain ([email protected])
Yvette Chin ([email protected])
Andrew Hartman ([email protected])
GTA Office: Phillips 334
Course Description
This course covers an enormous time and space: the last three centuries of European history and the
global processes that both shaped and were shaped by that history. We will approach this general topic
with a specific question. History is, after all, not just what happened in the past but also the questions and
interpretive activities that allow us to understand what happened in the past. Our guiding question will be:
What are the relations between politics and universal principles? We will be especially interested in the
development of a universal idea of humanity and in the idea of a global political and economic system.
Concepts of humanity (especially human rights) and globalism have been at the top of recent political
agendas. To understand the most recent versions of these ideas we must explore their development and
influences over the past three centuries.
Grading and Class Requirements:
All examinations, papers, and other work should be completed in conformance with the George Washington
University Code of Academic Integrity (
Discussion Section Attendance and Participation................................................................................................ 15%
1-2 pp. reaction report on the Holocaust Museum (Due November 18)............................................................... 5%
Midterm Examination (October 15)..................................................................................................................... 20%
5-7 Page Paper, topic TBA (Due by 5:00 PM, Wednesday, November 19)......................................................... 30%
Final Examination (Time and Location t.b.a.)....................... ................................. ................................. ........... 30%
This new system replaces the prometheus course website at GW. If you are enrolled in this course, you should have
automatic access to the history 40 blackboard site. Just go to and login. Your NetID
and password are the same ones you use for GW mail. From this site you will be able to download all the paper
handouts from class (syllabus, assignments, etc.), as well as copies of the powerpoint slides I show in class (see
below). I will also post a number of readings on blackboard, which you should download and print for yourself. I
may also use blackboard to broadcast messages to the entire class. If you do not know how to use blackboard or email, ask one of your classmates.
In lectures I will discuss what I consider to be the most important topics and themes of the course, including the
reading. You should take notes on the lectures. If you miss a lecture you should get notes from a classmate. Be sure
to note key terms I give you at the beginning of each lecture; they are the building blocks for historical discussion
and will also be an important part of the midterm and final examinations. Because I lecture on what I consider to be
truly important to me and to you, it is essential that you attend to my lectures as you would any conversation. I
truly want each of you to know about the things I present each day. This means you should never read newspapers,
fall asleep, or chat with your neighbor during lecture. This also means you should raise your hand and ask questions
or make comments at any time. I want us all to be actively engaged in interpreting history.
Discussion Sections
The discussion sections, run by the teaching assistants (TAs), are an essential part of this course. Sections are where
you do your most active learning: making, defending, and debating historical arguments. Your TA may also have
short assignments specific to the section. You should go to section caught up on the reading and prepared to
participate in a lively discussion. You may have only one unexcused absence from discussion section without
lowering your grade. To earn an A or B for your section grade you must also be an active participant in discussions.
My lectures include powerpoint presentations consisting of outlines, key terms (which may reappear on the midterm
and the final), questions to guide your reading for the next session, and images. I post two versions of the
presentations on blackboard in the outline section (look on the sidebar on the left): the version I show and one with
just the text (a smaller file for slower connections). If you do not have powerpoint, you can download a free
powerpoint viewer by following this link:
Readings are an important part of this class. You should always bring the assigned primary sources to class (feel
free to leave the textbook at home). The readings will always go beyond the lectures and discussion sections, and the
lectures and discussion sections will always go beyond the readings. No single element can substitute for the other
two. When you read, talk back to the text. Take notes on themes, questions, and curious oddities in the margins as
you go along. Pens and pencils work much better than highlighters for this purpose.
Note: All books have been ordered through the GW bookstore. You should not wait until the last minute to get
books. If you cannot get a book at the bookstore three weeks before it is due to be read, you should order it
from an online book store.
Judith G. Coffin, et al., Western Civilizations, vol. 2 (W.W. Norton, 2002)
This is a very good textbook that will give you an inclusive narrative of the entire period covered by the course.
The information here will help prepare you for reading and interpreting the primary sources, the real focus of
this course. Use this secondary source as a reference while remembering that it is not the focus of the course. I
have recommended sections of Coffin as background for most lectures.
James M. Brophy, et al., eds., Perspectives from the Past, vol. 2, 2nd edition (Norton, 2002).
This is a collection of excerpts from primary sources. Primary sources are the documents that historians use to
interpret the past. When you read these documents try to understand the authors better than they understood
themselves. Ask: What obvious and hidden interests and biases do the documents contain? What kind of
distinctions does the author want you to draw? Who or what does the author consider positive and negative?
Are these distinctions valid? How does the author maintain them? Only then can you understand what the
document tells us about the past.
Mary Shelley, Frankenstein, or, The Modern Prometheus (1818; Dover, 1996).
This 1818 novel is one of the first works of science fiction. The novel itself deals with the central issues that
have faced humanity since the French Revolution: can science and reason, which have done so much for the
benefit of humankind, also create dangerous monstrosities? How do we balance reason and progress with
human affection and sentiment? Can we incorporate desire into the social order even if this desire does not
correspond to mechanical economic demands? In an increasingly medicalized, technologized, and scientized
world, are our bodies and ourselves still really our own?
Carl Schmitt, The Concept of the Political, trans. George Schwab (1932; University of Chicago
Press, 1996).
Carl Schmitt was probably the most important critic of attempts after the First World War to create an
international political order safe from war and conflict. As a firm believer in a strong state and an enemy of
liberalism and internationalism, Schmitt joined the Nazi party in Germany. Despite this troubling past,
Schmitt’s incisive critiques of international political orders have become essential touchstones in contemporary
debates around globalization, and he is widely recognized across the political spectrum as one of the great
political theorists of the twentieth century. In the 1920s and 30s Schmitt warned that international bodies like
the League of Nations would either simply legitimate the acts of their strongest member states or create a
depoliticized, bureaucratic world. Do his criticisms still apply today, or do they simply reflect the extreme
nationalism of a thinker who would soon join the Nazi party?
Useful Websites
There are a lot of useless and misleading websites and a few very useful ones. Here are two very useful ones, both of
which can be accessed through aladin on the libraries section of the GW website.
Encyclopaedia Britannica Online
Use this resource to learn more about any events, individuals, historical periods, concepts, etc. that intrigue you
or seem important. Try looking up: Bismarck, anarchism, punk, and machine gun. These will all be useful
terms for this course. Look for links and follow the interesting ones.
Oxford English Dictionary (OED)
This is the best dictionary of the English language available and the only one useful for the study of history. It
does not simply give a potted definition of the word, but also its etymology, the history of its meanings, and
examples of its uses over time. No one really knows the meaning of any word without studying the entry in the
OED, as this dictionary is commonly known. Look up the following words to get a sense of how the history of
a concept can tell us an enormous amount about its meaning: state, economy, European.
Course Outline and Readings
Those readings marked with an asterisk (*) can be downloaded from blackboard. Choose electronic
reserves from the sidebar.
1. (9/3) Introduction
2. (9/8) Enlightened Absolutism: Immanuel Kant and Frederick the Great in Prussia
Background Reading: Coffin, pp. 615-627.
Friedrich II, the Great, from Antimachiavell in Brophy, 262-265
Immanuel Kant, “What is Enlightenment?” in Brophy, 330-334
3. (9/10 Absolute Enlightenment and its Limits: Hume, Sade and Bentham
Background Reading: Coffin, ch. 19.
David Hume, from A Treatise on Human Nature (1739-40), in Brophy, 334-337
*Jeremy Bentham, from Panopticon; or, the Inspection House (1791)
*Recommended: Bentham, “Auto-Icon; or, Farther Uses of the Dead to the Living” (written in the 1820s)
Recommended: Beccaria, from An Essay on Crimes and Punishments (1764), in Brophy, 370-375
4. (9/15) The French Revolution
Background Reading: Coffin, ch. 20
Rousseau, The Social Contract (1762), in Brophy, 350-359
Abbé Emmanuel Sieyes, “What is the Third Estate?” (1789) in Brophy, 384-386
The Third Estate of Dourdan, from Grievance Petitions (1789), in Brophy, 387-390
National Assembly, Declaration of the Rights of Man and Citizen (1789), in Brophy, 391-393
National Convention, The Law of Suspects (1793), in Brophy, 395-397
Olympe de Gouges, “Declaration of the Rights of Woman” (1791), in Brophy, 397-399
Dissolution of Clubs and Popular Societies of Women (1793), in Brophy, 400-403
Optional: G.W.F. Hegel, “Absolute Freedom and Terror,” in Phenomenology of Spirit (1807), §582-595.
Online at: (
5. (9/17) New Political Orders in Europe: Imperialism, radicalism, conservatism
Background Reading: Coffin, pp. 775-778
National Convention, from Levée en Masse Edict (1793) in Brophy, 394-95
Al-Jabarti, from Chronicle of the French Occupation (1798), in Brophy, 410-414.
Selections from Edmund Burke, Reflections on the Revolution in France (1791) and Thomas Paine, Rights
of Man (1792) in Brophy, 403-408.
Mary Wollstonecraft, from The Vindication of the Rights of Women (1792), in Brophy, 365-370
Condorcet, from Sketch for a Historical Picture of the Progress of the Human Mind (1795), in Brophy,
6. (9/22) New Global Economic Orders: The end of slavery and the rise of ‘free’ labor
Abbé Raynal, from A Philosophical and Political History of the Settlements and Trade of the Europeans in
the East and West Indies (1770), in Brophy, 214-217
A Jamaica Proprietor, Letter to the Duke of Wellington on the Subject of West India Slavery (1829), in
Brophy, 432-437
William Wilberforce, from An Appeal…in Behalf of the Negro Slaves in the West Indies (1823), in Brophy,
Rules of a Factory in Berlin (1840s), in Brophy 442-443
Richard Oastler, “Yorkshire Slavery” (1830), in Brophy 463-465
Alexander II of Russia, from Manifesto Emancipating the Serfs (1861), in Brophy, 520-523
7. (9/24) The Industrial Revolution
Background Reading: Coffin, ch. 21
Adam Smith, from The Wealth of Nations (1776), in Brophy, 420-25
Andrew Ure, from The Philosophy of Manufactures (1835), in Brophy, 425-429
Thomas Malthus, from Essay on the Principle of Population (1798), in Brophy, 429-431.
Friedrich List, National System of Political Economy (1840), in Brophy, 438-441
8. (9/29) Science and the End of Nature: Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein
Background Reading: Coffin, pp. 779-783
Mary Shelley, Frankenstein, or, The Modern Prometheus (1818).
9. (10/1) Liberalism: The politics and culture of the bourgeoisie
Background Reading: Coffin, ch. 22-23.
Benjamin Constant, from The Principles of Politics (1815), in Brophy, 499-501
John Stuart Mill, from On Liberty (1859), in Brophy, 516-520
Isabella Beeton, The Book of Household Management (1859-61), in Brophy, 489-491
Elizabeth Poole Sanford, Woman in her Social and Domestic Character (1833), in Brophy, 492-493.
Sam Smiles, Thrift (1875), in Brophy, 487-489.
W.J. Fox, from Speech on Corn Laws (1844), in Brophy, 513-515.
Francis Place, from The People’s Charter and National Petition, in Brophy
Jules Ferry, The State Must be Secular and Letter to Teachers (1882), in Brophy, 523-525.
10. (10/6) Socialism: From technocratic fantasy to working class politics and beyond
Background Reading: Coffin, pp. 885-888
Saint-Simon, from “The Incoherence and Disorder of Industry” (1829) in Brophy, 444-446.
Robert Owen, from A New View of Society (1813), in Brophy, 447-49
Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, from Manifesto of the Communist Party (1847), in Brophy, 481-5
Eduard Bernstein, from Evolutionary Socialism (1899), in Brophy, 615-17
Zetkin, in Brophy
Georges Sorel, from Reflections on Violence (1908), in Brophy, 624-627
Pope Leo XIII, from Rerum Novarum (1896), in Brophy, 525-530
11. (10/8) Nationalism: Progressive opposition or tool of the state?
Background Reading: Coffin, ch. 24, pp. 891-898
Johann Gottlieb Fichte, Speeches to the German Nation, in Brophy, 333-335
Giuseppe Mazzini, from Duties of Man (1840), in Brophy, 550-554
Otto von Bismarck from The Memoirs (1898), in Brophy, 554-56
Ernest Renan, from “What is a Nation” (1882), in Brophy, 566-561 [check page #]
Édouard Drumont, from Jewish France (1885), in Brophy, 561-64.
Houston Stewart Chamberlain, from Foundations of the Nineteenth Century (1890), in Brophy, 589-91
12. (10/13) Urban Modernities: Mass production, mass consumption, and the crisis of identities
Background Reading: Coffin, pp. 877-885, 888-891
Frederick W. Taylor, from The Principles of Scientific Management (1912), in Brophy, 607-610.
Émile Zola, from The Ladies’ Paradise (1883), in Brophy, 604-607
Michael Ryan, from Prostitution in London, with a Comparative View of that of Paris and New York
(1839), in Brophy, 465-470
Henrik Ibsen, from A Doll’s House (1879), in Brophy, 632-635
Emmeline Pankhurst, From the Why We are Militant Speech, in Brophy, 629-632
13. (10/15) Midterm
14. (10/20) Imperialism: Civilizing? Modernizing? Brutalizing?
Background Reading: Coffin, ch. 25
David Livingstone, from his Cambridge Speech of 1857, in Brophy, 572-74
Lord Curzon, Speech at the Indian Art Exhibition at Delhi (1902), in Brophy, 580-83
Friedrich Fabri, from Does Germany Need Colonies? (1879) in Brophy, 587-88
Rudyard Kipling, “The White Man’s Burden” (1899), in Brophy, 591-93
Edward D. Morel, from The Black Man’s Burden (1920), in Brophy, 593-97
15. (10/22) Unmasking Reality: Marx, Darwin, Nietzsche, Freud
Background Reading: Coffin, pp. 905-918.
Marx, from “Estranged Labour” (in the Economic and Philosophic Manuscripts of 1844), in Brophy, 449-53.
Reread: Marx and Engels, from Manifesto of the Communist Party (1847), in Brophy, 481-5
Charles Darwin, The Origin of Species (1859), in Brophy, 637-640
Friedrich Nietzsche, The Genealogy of Morals (1887), in Brophy, 641-44
Sigmund Freud, Five Lectures on Psychoanalysis (1912), in Brophy, 644-48
Sigmund Freud, Civilization and its Discontents (1930), in Brophy, 708-711
16. (10/27) The First World War
Background Reading: Coffin, ch. 27
The Trench Poets of WWI, in Brophy, 650-52
Henri Barbusse, from Under Fire: The Story of a Squad (1916), in Brophy, 654-57
Ernst Jünger, from The Storm of Steel (1920), in Brophy, 657-661
R. Scotland Liddel, from On the Russian Front (1916), in Brophy, 661-63
Vera Brittain, from Testament of Youth (1933), in Brophy, 667-71
17. (10/29) The League of Nations: From empires to world government?
Background Reading: Coffin, 902-905
From the Versailles Treaty (1919), in Brophy, 671-79
Kellogg-Briand Pact (1928)
John Maynard Keynes, from The Economic Consequences of Peace (1919), in Brophy, 679-83
Carl Schmitt, The Concept of the Political (1932). Focus especially on pp. 19-37, 45-58, and 69-79
18. (11/3) Lenin’s Communist Internationalism
Background Reading: Coffin, pp. 899-902
Vladimir Lenin, from Our Program (1899), in Brophy, 618-20
Lenin, from Imperialism, the Highest Stage of Capitalism (1917), in Brophy, 598-601
John Reed, from Ten Days that Shook the World (1919), in Brophy, 685-88
Alexandra Kollontai, The Autobiography of a Sexually Emancipated Communist Woman (1926), in Brophy,
19. (11/5) The Revolution Betrayed? From Lenin to Stalin
Background Reading: Coffin, 955-965
Nadezhda Mandelstam, Hope against Hope (1970), in Brophy, 693-96
20. (11/10) Fascism in Europe: Italy, Spain, Germany
Background Reading: Coffin, pp. 965-987
Benito Mussolini, “Born of a Need for Action” (1932), in Brophy, 696-99
Adolf Hitler, Mein Kampf (1925-1927), in Brophy, 700-704
Constancia de la Mora, In Place of Splendor: The Autobiography of a Spanish Woman (1939), in Brophy,
21. (11/12) The Second World War
Background Reading: Coffin, ch. 29
Marc Bloch, from Strange Defeat (1940), in Brophy, 726-730
Winston Churchill, from Wars are not Won by Evacuation (1940), in Brophy, 730-33
Hilde Marchant, Women and Children Last: A Woman Reporter’s Account of the Battle of Britain(1941), in
Brophy, 733-37
Vassily Grossman, In the Line of the Main Attack (1942), in Brophy, 737-741
Anny Latour, The Jewish Resistance in France, 1940-1944 (1970), in Brophy, 741-44
Tadataka Kuribayashi, from A Child’s Experience: My Experience of the Atomic Bomb (circa 1945), in
Brophy, 752-756
22. (11/17) The Holocaust
Tadeusz Borowski, from This Way for the Gas, Ladies and Gentlemen (written 1946-48), in Brophy, 744-48.
*Primo Levi, “The Drowned and the Saved,” ch. 9 in Primo Levi, Survival in Auschwitz: The Nazi Assault
on Humanity (Collier, 1995), 87-100.
Himmler’s Instructions to the SS, in Coffin, p. 1010.
From Trials of War Criminals before the Nuremberg Military Tribunals (1946), in Brophy, 748-52. For
more on the Nuremberg Tribunals see
Visit to the Holocaust Museum
23. (11/19) Postwar Internationalisms: The Cold War and the United Nations
Background Reading: Coffin, ch. 30
From Charter of the United Nations (June 26, 1945), in Brophy, 756-58 (whole document at:
United Nations, Universal Declaration of Human Rights (
Constitution of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO),
November 16, 1945, preamble and article I
Winston Churchill, from The Sinews of Peace (1946), in Brophy, 760-64 (You can also download an mp3
of this speech from the blackboard site).
George C. Marshall, from the Marshall Plan Speech (1947), in Brophy, 762-64
Reinhold Wagnleitner, Coca-Colonization and the Cold War (1994), in Brophy, 793-95
24. (11/24) Decolonization around the world
Background Reading: Coffin, pp. 1058-1067, 1079-1091
Frantz Fanon, from The Wretched of the Earth (1961), in Brophy,
Mahatma Gandhi, The Doctrine of the Sword and On Non-Violence (get dates), in Brophy, 797-801
Ruhollah Khomeini, Islamic Government (1979), in Brophy, 805-808
Tomás Borge, “The New Education in the New Nicaragua” (1983) in Brophy, 808-811
Simone de Beauvoir, from The Second Sex (1949), in Brophy, 790-92
25. (11/26) The End of Fordist Capitalism and the Welfare State in Western Europe
Background Reading: Coffin, pp. 1067-1069
The Who, “Won’t Get Fooled Again” from the album Who’s Next? (1971). Mp3 available on blackboard.
The Sex Pistols, “God Save the Queen” from the album Never Mind the Bollocks, Here’s the Sex Pistols
(1977). Mp3 available on blackboard.
Margaret Thatcher, Speech to the Conservative Party Conference (10 October 1975), in Brophy, 774-78
Nigel Harris, The New Untouchables: Immigration and the New World Worker (1995), in Brophy, 818-21.
Kathryn Kopinak, from Desert Capitalism (1996), in Brophy, 821-24.
26: (12/1) The End of Communism in Eastern Europe
Background Reading: Coffin, pp. 1069-1074
Nikita Kruschev, from “On the Cult of Personality and its Consequences” (1956), in Brophy, 766-70
Mikhail Gorbahev, from “On Restructuring the Party’s Personnel Policy” (1987), in Brophy, 782-787.
Jean-Yves Potel, from The Promise of Solidarity: Inside the Polish Workers’ Struggle, 1980-82 (1982), in
Brophy, 778-82
Chai Ling, “I am Still Alive” (1989), in Brophy, 811-814
27. (12/3) Toward a Global Sovereignty? Nationalism, Globalization, the UN and the EU
Background Reading: Coffin, pp. 1075-1077, 1091-1105
Treaty on European Union (1992), in Brophy, 787-789
The United Nation’s Fourth World Conference on Women (1995), in Brophy, 824-828.
*Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri, “What the Protesters in Genoa Want,” New York Times, 20 July 2001.
*Michael Hardt, “Porto Alegre: Today’s Bandung?,” New Left Review 14 (March-April 2002): 112-118.
28. (12/8) Conclusion
Final Exam (Place and Time t.b.a.):_________________________________________________