HIST 1020 Western Civilization 2: 16th Century to the Present

About the Course

History 1020 deals with the birth and history of modern western civilization. The objective of the course is to provide an understanding of the events and values of the modern world, and also to develop a historical perspective in order to better understand and address contemporary issues. Emphasis will be on culture and the history of ideas, as well as on the West’s encounters and engagement with the non-West. The course opens in 1550 toward the end of the transition from the medieval to the modern world. It concludes with the major changes that mark the contemporary world and which may signal a transition of equal proportion – from the modern world to a historical period still in process.


The second half of western civilization provides a broad overview of a large span of time, and a civilization increasingly in contact with the outside world. Students will be encouraged to gain a sense of the broad sweep of historical events, both in terms of large chunks of time and in terms European-wide movements and intellectual orientations. Within this broad context we will examine specific moments of historical import in greater detail (i.e. case studies). Every attempt has been made to address all aspects of civilization – social, economic, political and intellectual – as well as the major regions of Europe – English, French, German/Austrian, and Russian – in these more detailed examinations. Students will also have the opportunity to become more proficient in the tools and methodologies of the historical discipline.

Required Text

Levack, Muir, Maas. Veldman, The West: Encounters and Transformations Volume II Since 1550. Pearson/Longman. Newest edition preferable.

The following supplemental books are also required reading. They are listed in the order in which they will be assigned.

Mary Shelley: Frankenstein (you will also be provided with optional web link)
Ivan Turgenev: Fathers and Sons
Frederic Morton: A Nervous Splendor
Aime Césaire: A Tempest

Instructor Contact

Email: daniel.stephen@colorado.edu

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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