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Michael Stoff, Director 305 East 23rd St, CLA 2.102, (G3600) Austin, TX 78712-1250 • 512-471-1442

Fall 2003

T C HIS • HIS 309L: Western Civilization in Modern Times

Unique Days Time Location Instructor
36235 MWF
1:00 PM-2:00 PM
GAR 109

Course Description

This course deals with the part of our legacy that comes from the "West," and largely from Europe. It provides an overview of the period from 1492 to the present, covering topics like the Reformation and religious conflict, the rise of kingship, the Enlightenment and Scientific Revolution, World Wars I and II, and colonialism. Thematically, it concentrates on how historical and cultural change happens, the relationship between discovery and self-discovery, "civilization" and its critics, the origins of violence, and changes in political and social thought.

About the Professor Judy Coffin is Associate Professor of History. She got her Ph.D. from Yale and taught at Harvard and U. C. Riverside before coming here. She teaches Western Civ, the French Revolution, and European history generally.

Grading Policy

The course is divided into 5 sections. Each section will have a written assignment, either an in-class essay exam, or a (4-5 page) paper. Students must do 4 of the 5 assignments. I will drop the lowest grade. There is a lot of writing, in other words, but students will be encouraged to rewrite papers if they want to work on those skills.


The following will be required reading: Mark Kishlansky et. al. Civilization in the West, vol. II J. Elliot, The Old World and the New J-J. Rousseau, Discourse on the Origins of Inequality J.S. Mill, On the Subjection of Women J. Conrad, Heart of Darkness (Norton critical edition) S. Freud, Civilization and its Discontents A. Koestler, Darkness at Noon We will also watch and discuss several films: "The Return of Martin Guerre," "Danton," "Lawrence of Arabia (part I), part of the PBS special "The World at War," and (if we are not exhausted) "Judgement at Nuremberg" or "Schindler's List."


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