|Literally meaning “to make a full circle,” political and social revolutions nonetheless never simply return to their starting points. Instead, for more than two hundred years, “revolution” was one of the most frightening and the most hopeful words in any European language. Promising change and threatening violence, the possibility of political and social revolution appealed to nationalists and communists alike (while simultaneously terrifying an equally wide population). Persuaded the world was changing in front of their eyes, contemporaries began to describe artistic and cultural developments as themselves “revolutionary”; convinced they can see patterns missed at the time, later historians have identified yet more revolutions (industrial, military, demographic). Revolution, in other words, has ironically enough become part of the tradition for describing modern Europe. In this course, we focus on the fifty or so years when revolution was new. From France in 1789 to the continent-wide uprisings of 1848, revolutions played both a destructive and a constructive part in shaping modern Europe. Students are expected both to develop an understanding of revolutionary historiography (in other words, how historians have written about revolutions) and to engage in their own, extended analysis of source materials from the era. All required readings will be in English and most discussions will focus on western Europe but students with relevant linguistic skills may write their final paper on eastern Europe in this era.
Goals and Objectives:
* basic familiarity with European politics, culture, ideas, and society, 1789-1848;
* basic understanding of what historiography is and why it matters;
* deeper understanding of how historians research and write;
* in-depth familiarity with the sources and issues related to your final paper;
* ability to formulate an argument and sustain it with primary sources.