Modern World, 1500 to Present

Course Description

Examines colonial expansion of Europe; Islamic empires of Asia; regional powers in Eurasia; revolutions in the Atlantic world; the Industrial Revolution; the new imperialism; revolutions in Eurasia and Latin America after 1900; global wars and their consequences; national liberation and decolonization; the Cold War; post-Cold War realignments.

Learning Outcomes

  • By the end of the course, students will demonstrate their ability to:
    • Delineate the successive political, economic, social and technological changes which transformed Europe from the 16th century to the 18th century.
    • Explain the rise and nature of the Atlantic economy and its impact on the peoples of Europe, Africa and the Americas.
    • Outline the unification, economic and military importance, and disintegration of major Islamic empires (Ottoman, Safavid, and Mughal).
    • Describe the major political and social changes in Eurasia: the decline of the Ming dynasty and the expansion of China under the Qing dynasty, the rise of a Russian land empire based on serfdom under the Romanovs, and the isolation of Japan in the Tokugawa era.
    • Compare and contrast the origins, courses, and outcomes of the political and social revolutions in North and South America, the Caribbean, and France 1770-1820.
    • Clarify the causes and consequences of the Industrial Revolution in Europe.
    • Identify the reasons for a new imperialism after 1850 and role of Great Britain, Germany, France, the U.S. and Japan in fostering it.
    • Compare and contrast the causes and consequences of World War I and World War II.
    • Account for the similarities and differences in the major revolutions of the 20th century: Mexican, Russian, Chinese, Algerian, and Vietnamese.
    • Explain the similarities and differences between fascism, Nazism, and Stalinism.
    • Describe the influence of the Cold War on global politics and economics.
    • Assess the success of national liberation movements in Africa and Asia and explain the process of decolonization.
    • Elucidate the problems and promises of the new global economy.
    • Critically assess primary sources for information, bias, values, and tone.


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School of Arts, Letters, and Sciences

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School of Arts, Letters, and Sciences
Jackson M., Class of 2021, Military Veteran