HIS 2342: EUROPE IN THE 20 TH CENTURY
Monday 13h00-14h30, Wednesday 11h30-13h00
Professor Naomi Davidson
Office Hours: Monday 15h-16h30, Wednesday 13h00-13h30, or by appt.
T.A. : Eric Stewart, [email protected]
This course provides an introduction to European History since World War I. We will
explore the century’s many conflicts (the First and Second World Wars, the wars of
decolonization, the Cold War, and the conflict in Yugoslavia); its socio-economic
transformations (the Depression, the creation of welfare states, changing gender roles,
post-colonial immigration); and its political movements (the interwar Left and Right, the
rise of fascisms, the protest movements of the 1960s). We will conclude with the
challenges to national and regional political, social, and religious identities posed by
immigration, membership in the EU and globalization.
There is no basic textbook assigned for this class. Should you want to read more about
any given topic or make up for a missed lecture, copies of Robin Winks’ Europe 1890-
1945 and Europe 1945-the Present have been placed on reserve at Morisset Library for
your use. Instead, you willthe asked to read selected chapters from Eric Hobsbawm’s
non-textbook narrative of 20 century history, The Age of Extremes: A History of the
World, 1914-1991. Hobsbawm’s text is thematic rather than strictly chronological.
In addition, there is a course packet available at Rytec. Certain assigned articles have not
been included in the course pack because they are available online through the library
catalogue. These articles are indicated by an asterisk. The Age of Extremes is available
for purchase at Agora, and has also been put on reserve at Morisset.
Source Analysis (rolling deadline) 15%
WWI Paper (January 28) 20%
Mid-term exam (February 27) 30%
Take-home final exam (April 11) 35%
*Please note: your final grade will be primarily based on your written work as listed
above. However, I will also take into account factors which may raise or lower your final
note, like improvement over the course of the semester or repeated disruptions in class.* 2
1. You are responsible for ONE 3-page source analysis of a primary source class
reading. It is up to you to choose which week to turn in your analysis, but I will only
accept source analyses turned in at the beginning of class on the day the source is
discussed. Primary sources are indicated by the # symbol. In other words, you may not
turn in an analysis of The Young People of Today (January 11) any time other than at the
beginning of class on January 11. In your paper, you must do a close reading and
analysis of the text you have chosen in order to bring to light its significance as a
document for understanding the topic under discussion that week. Be sure to pay
attention to the source as a text, not merely to its historical context. You will want to
attend to the identity/ies of the author(s), their intended audience, their aims, their
rhetorical strategies, and their references to internal and external debates (and to other
thinkers). Why does the author use the words she does? Why does he structure his
arguments the way he does? What is left unsaid in her words? These are some of the
questions you might think about as you analyze your chosen source. You are not
required to consult any secondary sources for your close reading. This particular
assignment may not be turned in late for any reason; it is designed to demonstrate
your original analysis of the document before we discuss it together.
2. The WWI paper must be between 4-5 pages. Your assignment is to choose a piece of
cultural production (a painting, sculpture, novel, poem, play, song or other piece of
music, dance, philosophic or scientific treatise) by an artist, writer, poet, philosopher,
theorist, or musician from any of the European countries engulfed by the trauma of the
First World War. You may also use a source produced by a European colonial subject
affected by the war with the exception of those from Canada. You will use that source to
construct an argument about one of the ways the war shaped Europeans’ lives. Your
source, textual or visual, can be one produced during the war itself, or in its immediate
aftermath. You can rely on class readings to contextualize your analysis of the source,
but must use at least THREE additional secondary sources (historical monographs or
peer-reviewed journal articles, not websites or encyclopedia entries).
Some artists you might consider: Käthe Kollwitz, Max Beckmann, Alfred Kubin,
Guillaume Apollinaire, Pablo Picasso, Otto Dix, Egon Schiele, George Grosz, Wyndham
Lewis, John Nash, Erich Maria Remarque, Wilfred Owen, Virginia Woolf…and many
more. Please come see me to discuss potential sources and arguments.
3. The midterm exam will consist of a choice of short essay questions to be taken in
class. The final will be one long essay question to be completed at home. Please note
that the final is a take-home exam. You must turn it in to me in my office between
9am and 12pm on Wednesday, April 11. THIS IS A FINAL EXAM AND MUST BE
TURNED IN ON TIME. NO LATE EXAMS WILL BE ACCEPTED.
Your grades for written assignments will depend not only on the originality, clarity, and
depth of your historical reasoning but also on your written expression. If you are still
working on how to structure an essay (organization, transitions between paragraphs,
integrating citations) or express yourself in writing (clarity, problems with grammar or 3
spelling, etc), I strongly advise you to seek advice before turning in papers. You may
consult the T.A., the Academic Writing Help Centre
(http://www.sass.uottawa.ca/writing/), or me.
Some tips for effective writing:
1. Remember that you are being asked to analyze historical problems, not describe or
narrate them. In other words, make sure your work asks and answers a historical
question and does not simply describe a series of events.
2. Show rather than tell. Use examples to demonstrate your arguments rather than
simply stating your case.
3. Integrate citations into your work by introducing the author and her argument(s), do
not insert them into your own text without a transition.
4. Transitions are also important to mark the movement between the different sections of
your paper: make sure your reader can follow you as you move from one topic to another.
5. Strive for clarity. Show your work to someone else and see if your reader understands
your meaning. If all else fails, try reading your work aloud: you will quickly realize if it
is not clear!
6. Avoid vagueness, generalities, and (usually) thethassive voice. Rather than beginning
your essay with “[t]he history of Europe in the 20 century has been very dramatic,” start
with a strong, relevant, opening. Similarly, avoid vague and passive constructions such
as “many peoples’ lives were changed.” Rather, demonstrate what changed peoples’
lives and how.
7. Last but not least, pay close attention to verb tens