This minor is intended for students from both techno-scientific and social scientific majors. While the history of science and technology form a part of the course, they are handled in a qualitative and lively way – no need to fear that you won’t be able to follow discussions or that you will find them boring!
There are no prerequisites for this minor; all we ask is an open and inquisitive mind. A small overlap with WTM courses is possible, but in-class discussions promise to present new insights and opportunities for worthwhile and additional reflection. However, if individual portions of the programme are too well known to a student, release can be arranged.
You are strongly advised to follow the entire programme, though with special permission (requested in a timely manner), exceptions can be arranged.
The minor cannot be pursued as a self-study; see Minor+ for the possibility to do independent historical study.
We begin with a series of introductory sessions where students and the teaching staff get acquainted with each other and begin exploring the themes of the minor. Together we start developing a framework in which to examine the meaning of modernity and modernization and we begin considering the ways in which speaking of European history directs our attention both to its internal dynamics and its relations with the rest of the world. At the end of this period, you sign a study contract (see below) and begin your journey through the minor.
Following a combined chronological-thematic route you make your way through the history of the modern world (with a central focus on Europe), from its birth to its current challenges. Along the way you exercise and develop your analytical and expressive skills.
The Rise of Modernity (173109)
Our journey begins with the rise of and interaction between the ideas and institutions that characterize modernity: the basics of modern science and technology, but also the rise of the modern nation-state and the market economy as well as trends in art and philosophy.
The Revolutionary Period (174101)
The second phase focuses on a series of revolutions (political, industrial, scientific and cultural) that gave the nineteenth century its dynamic form. We examine the processes of industrialization and modernization that led to material progress and democratization in the West, but which came at great cost to particular segments of European society and the rest of the globe. These tensions reveal themselves in the history of imperialism, but also in other fields such as art, literature and bureaucratization.
The Harvest of Modernity (174102)
Finally we turn to the twentieth century and examine the consequences– both the bitter and the sweet – of modernity: liberal democracy and totalitarianism, progressive science and destructive warfare, material wealth and cultural bankruptcy, mass production and mass consumption. We finish by asking whether we’ve reached the end of history.
History Minor Final Assignment (174103)
You end the minor with a final research project. Together with the teaching staff, you design a research question that allows you to investigate a topic of your choice in relation to the major themes of modernity and modernization discussed during the minor. Have you always wanted to learn more about the Cold War, the international drug trade or the history of pop music? Here is your chance to find out!
The minor concludes with a mini-symposium where students present the findings of their research and discuss the work of their fellow students.
For further information see the overview which outlines how work is spread out during the minor.
The work form of each section of the minor, other than the final assignment, is comparable. Every session will be based on assigned texts and a small assignment or questions to help orient students’ reading and which are discussed during class. Active participation is expected from students both in terms of preparation for each week and during the class itself. Students record their journey through the minor (comments and questions drawn from reading, class attendance and reflection on the greater significance of course material) in a journal which, along with weekly assignments, go into their course portfolio. All reading assignments can be found on the minor Teletop site. There is no need to purchase other books.