The European City in History
Course Description

Professor: Robert W. Brown

History 410, The European City in History, explores, through the study of selected cities at unique moments of their historical importance and cultural creativity, the European urban tradition from the Roman Empire to the present. The study of cities provides a singular perspective upon European history, for within the urban environment have taken place the greatest achievements of human energy and talent as well as many of its darkest deeds. The positive range from the attainment of political democracy and individual freedom to the creation of major works of art, music, and thought; on the negative side are environmental despoliation; crowding, overpopulation, and disease; not to mention poverty and social as well as economic exploitation. Cities selected for study include Rome, Paris, Florence, Amsterdam, Vienna, Manchester, London, Berlin, Moscow, and New York. By the close of the semester, each student should have gained an overview of the European urban tradition, an appreciation for the contributions of selected cities to European culture, an understanding of the perennial problems confronting cities, and a comprehension of the stages through which urban life in Europe has moved from the Roman Empire to the present.

Class meetings will consist of lectures, class discussions, and slide presentations. Each major city will be introduced by a lecture or lectures that set forth its general nature, its most prominent features, and its political, social, economic, intellectual, and cultural characteristics. Then will follow several classes devoted to the topography of the city and its most notable architectural features. Maps and plans will be used extensively, and they will be supplemented by slide-lectures on major urban features and monuments.

Course Goals

***a chronological history of the development of the European urban tradition from the Roman Empire to the present;

***an appreciation of individual cities and the unique contributions made by each to European history and civilization;

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

***a comprehension of how to study cities as unique expressions of human inventiveness and creativity as well as representatives of trends characteristic 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 introduction to World Wide Web resources about the history of cities.

Course Requirements

1. Required Text.

  Mark Girouard, Cities and People. A Social and Architectural History (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1985).

 Additional readings, as well as maps and plans, will be distributed in class or posted on the HSTS 410 Web Site.

2. Tests.  There will be three tests, each consisting of 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 the essay and twenty-five identification questions.  Approximate test dates may be found on the Course Outline.

3. Analysis of an Internet Site.  The Analysis of an Internet Site must be a review and analysis of World Wide Web Materials on a topic relevant to the history of European cities.  The site analyzed must (unless you obtain the instructor’s permission in advance) be selected from those listed on the HSTS 410 Web Links page. Specific directions for this assignment are posted on the Internet Site for HSTS 410.  The analysis is due on 30 January 2007.

4. Research Paper.  One documented research paper of no fewer than ten typed (or the written equivalent) pages in length is required.  It will focus on one of the cities studied and must address an issue of historical or cultural importance concerning that city.  Students must submit a written proposal and a preliminary bibliography before writing their paper.  Specific directions for the proposal and the bibliography are posted on the HSTS 410 Web Site.  The proposal and bibliography are due on 22 February 2007.  The paper is due on 17 April 2007.  Optional rough drafts are due on 22 March 2007.  Documentation (footnotes and bibliography) should conform to the guidelines in Mary Lynn Rampolla, A Pocket Guide to Writing in History.

5. Questions for Class Discussion.  On a regular basis, hand-outs with questions relating to the reading assignments will be distributed.  Students will be expected to answer these questions in writing and to discuss them in class.  These answers, which will be turned in and graded, together with attendance and active participation in class discussions are worth 05% of the total course grade.

6. Grading.  Grading will be based on the three tests, the research paper, answers to discussion questions, and class participation.

    3 Tests                          60%
    Internet Analysis            15%
    1 Paper                         20%
    Disc Q’s/class partic      05%
    Extra Credit                   05%
    Total                             105%

7.  Grading Scale. A=100-93; A-=92-90; B+=89-88; B=87-83; B-=82-80; C+=79-78; C=77-73; D+=69-68; D=67-63; D-=62-60; F=59-0.

8. Class Attendance.  Regular class attendance is important.  Material discussed in class will be emphasized on the tests.   In addition, a proportion 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 student’s advisor will be notified.  Attendance will be taken.

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 or more.

10.  Extra Credit.  A maximum of five (5) points (added to your final course average) may be earned  by writing an additional documented essay on a city.  The essay should be approximately five typed pages in length.  Your letter grade on the essay will determine the number of points earned.  The essay must be turned in by 26 April 2007.  A=5 extra credit points; A-/B+ = 4; B/B- = 3; C+/C = 2; C- = 1.

11. Web Pages.  Selected materials for this course are posted on the HST 410 Web Page.

12. Office Hours.  Weekly office hours are posted on my office door (Dial 212); if these hours are inconvenient, please see me after class or telephone (910.521.6438 or 910.521.6229) to make an appointment.  E-mail:

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

14. 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.

15. 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.

This Page is Maintained by Robert W. Brown
Last Update:  09 January 2007

Return to the HST 435 Home Page