HIST 1012 Empire, Revolution and Global War: European History Since 1600

HIST 1012-581: Empire, Revolution, and Global War: European History Since 1600


Daniel Stephen, PhD

Email:  Daniel.Stephen@Colorado.edu

Course Description:

Contrary to what the course title might lead one to suspect, this is not a blood-and-guts class, but a course that will give attention to ideas and values, and how these have changed over the course of five hundred years of wars, revolutions, empires and other big-ticket events. We will cover an awful lot of material, but will find some consistency by focusing on what historians grandly call intellectual history, which includes the ideas of ordinary people as well as science, philosophy, and the arts. A leading objective of this course is to suggest relationships between cultures and ideas and historical events including global wars, revolutions, and imperialism.

The course focuses on Europe but relies on an expanded view that very much includes the Islamic world, Judaism, and Western colonialism. This reflects my personal belief that we can best understand history as a process of interaction and exchanges between various peoples. Students sometimes assume that the United States is somehow separated from the rest of the world; this is obviously not true. While much (though not all) of our own culture originated in a European context, much of what we regard as “European” came about through past interactions between Europeans and Muslims, Jews, Africans, Asians, and other groups.

Course Objectives:

Students often want to know why they should study history, especially since so few students will go on to graduate programs in history or become professional historians. Nevertheless, universities typically require undergraduates to complete an assigned history course. That is because this course will help you to build foundational knowledge and skills that can assist you in your future life, regardless of career choice. If successful, this course will:

  • Provide you with knowledge necessary for understanding the long-term origins of contemporary events.
  • Build skills of analytical thinking (through essay writing) and critical reading.  These are key life skills that can help you in many situations.
  • Introduce you to basic issues concerning history writing (representation, gendering, deconstruction, reconstruction, and historicity).  This will give you background essential to becoming a critical consumer of historical writing.
  • Provide practice in writing a successful persuasive essay.  This is a crucial skill that can transfer to many areas of life.
  • Provide you with a basic understanding of Western peoples and cultures, including the interactions between the West and areas outside of the West.  This knowledge is useful for succeeding in a multi-cultural workplace.

Required Text:

  • Clifford Backman, The Cultures of the West, Volume II: Since 1350, A History (Oxford University Press, 2013) ISBN:978-0195388916.
  • Trevor Getz and Liz Clarke, Abina and the Important Men: A Graphic History (Second Edition) (New York: Oxford University Press, 2016) ISBN: 9780190238742.


First midterm examination 15%
Second midterm examination 15%
One final examination 15%
Multiple choice quizzes 10%
Discussions 10%
Weekly writing assignments 15%
One analytical paper 20% (5% step one, 15% final draft)


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Monday – Friday
8:00am to 5:00pm


We are located at the corner of University Avenue and 15th Street in a white brick building.


1505 University Avenue
University of Colorado Boulder
178 UCB
Boulder, Colorado