Modern European Cultural History

 Course Description and Requirements

Professor:  Robert W. Brown

History 427 explores, through a study of the lives and works of selected thinkers, writers, and artists, the European cultural tradition from the Renaissance to the present.  Since these representative individuals, together with the works they created, not only were influenced by their times but also imparted to those times a unique character, they have been grouped, into broadly defined periods, each with its own identity, its so-called “climate of opinion” or Weltanschauung.  By the close of the semester, each student should have gained an overview of the European cultural tradition, an appreciation for the personalities and achievements of a number of important thinkers, writers, artists, and architects, and an understanding of the various stages through which the European mind has moved from the Renaissance to the present.

Class meetings will consist of lecture, class discussion, and slide presentations.  Each major period will be introduced by a lecture or lectures setting forth its general character and its most prominent features.  Then will follow two or three class in which the works of representative thinkers, writers, and artists will be read or viewed and discussed.  Historical and biographical material will be supplied when needed.  Slide-lectures will trace the history of European art and architecture from the Renaissance to the mid-Twentieth century.

Course Goals

 ***a chronological history of the development of the European cultural tradition from the Renaissance to the present;

 ***an account of the major stages in the development of the European cultural tradition and a synopsis of the distinguishing
       features of each;

 ***an appreciation of the unique individuals whose endeavors make up the European cultural tradition;

 ***a comprehension of how to study works of thought, literature, and the arts, both as unique creations and as representatives
       of particular periods and trends;

 ***an understanding of history as a field of academic inquiry;

***an apprehension of the relevance of the study of history for the modern world.

***an opportunity to improve written and oral communication skills.

 ***an introduction to materials on the World Wide Web dealing with the European cultural tradition.

Course Requirements

1. Required Text.

Roy T. Matthews and F. DeWitt Platt, The Western Humanities, Vol II: The Renaissance to the Present, 5th edition, Boston: McGraw Hill, 2004.
Readings from specific thinkers and writers will be distributed in class.
2.  Tests.  There will be three tests, each consisting of an essay, short answer, matching, and multiple-choice questions.  At the beginning of each unit of study, a list of the important names, terms, titles, and so on will be distributed; tests will be based on these study sheets.  Make-up tests will be given only if the student notifies the instructor in advance of an assigned test date; make-up tests [of the original test] must be taken before the next scheduled class meeting.  Make-up tests taken after the class meeting following the original test will consist of twenty-five identification questions.  Approximate test dates may be found on the Course Outline.

3. Three Essays:  One Analysis of an Internet Site (10%); One Image Analysis (10%); and One Primary Text Analysis (15%).

The Analysis of an Internet Site must be a review and analysis of World Wide Web Materials on a topic relevant to HST 427.  The site analyzed should be selected from those listed on the HST 427 Web Links page.  Students who wish to analyze a site not on this page must obtain advance permission from the instructor.  Specific directions for this assignment will be posted on the Internet Site for HST 427.  The analysis is due on 06 February 2004.

The Image Analysis Essay can be on a painting or a building of the student’s choice, so long as the subject chosen deals with the European Cultural Tradition since 1400.  The essay topic must be approved in advance by the instructor.  Each student will submit a brief proposal for the essay, a tentative bibliography, and a date for its submission.  The Image Analysis essay proposal is due on 05 March 2004.

The Primary Text Analysis must be a study and interpretation of a key text from the Western Cultural Tradition.  Instructions for the completion of this assignment will be posted on the HST 427 web site.  The Primary Text Analysis is due on 12 April 2004.

Documentation (footnotes and bibliography) for all papers should conform to the guidelines in Mary Lynn Rampolla, A Pocket Guide to Writing History.

4.  Grading.  Grading will be based on the three tests, the research paper, and class participation.
3 Tests = 60%; 3 Essays = 35%; Class Attendance/Partic = 05%;
Extra Credit Essay = 05%; Total = 105%
5.  Grading Scale.
A= 93-100; A-= 90-92; B+= 88-89; B= 83-87; B-= 80-82; C+= 78-79; C= 73-77; C-= 70-72; D+= 68-69; D= 63-67; D-= 60-62; F= 0-59
6.  Class Attendance. Regular class attendance is important.  Material discussed in class will be emphasized on the tests.   In addition, 05% of the final grade is based on attendance and class participation.  Students are accordingly expected to attend every class, beginning with the first session.  Absence from class, no matter what the cause, does not excuse a student from any course requirements.  Make-up work is at the discretion of the instructor.  In the case of excessive absences, the department chair and the student's advisor will be notified.  Attendance will be taken.

7.  Extra Credit.  A maximum of five (5) points (added to your final course average) may be earned by writing a fourth essay.  Students may elect to do a second Internet Analysis, a second Image Analysis, or a second Primary Text Analysis.  Your letter grade on the essay will determine the number of points earned.  The essay must be turned in before  A=5 extra credit points; A-/B+ = 4; B/B- = 3; C+/C = 2; C- = 1.

9. Late Work.  Work submitted late will be accepted without penalty if arrangements are made in advance; otherwise, late work will be accepted but penalized five points per class period.

10. Web Pages.  Selected materials for this course are posted on the HST 430 Web Page:

11. Honor Code.  Students are expected to comply with the provisions of the Academic Honor Code and
 the Code of Conduct, which are printed in the Student Handbook and are available on the web site of Office of Student Affairs.

12. Office Hours.  Weekly office hours are posted on my office door (History Trailer 1); if these hours are inconvenient, please see me after class or telephone (910.521.6438) to make an appointment.  E-mail:

13. Emergency Information Hot Line. For information about possible university closings or delays
 in opening, call 910.521.6888 or access the UNC Pembroke web page.

14. Students with Documented Disabilities. Any student with a documented disability needing academic adjustments should speak directly to Disability Support Services and the instructor during the first two weeks of class.  All discussions will remain confidential.  This syllabus is available in alternative formats upon request.  For assistance, please contact Mary Helen Walker, Office of Disability Support Services, D. F. Lowry Building, (910.521.6695) or visit the Office of Disability Support Services web site.

This Page is Maintained by Robert W. Brown

Last Update: 08.I.2004

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