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HI113-30 Europe in the Making 1450-1800

Undergraduate Level 1
Module leader
Peter Marshall
Credit value
Module duration
22 weeks
100% coursework
Study location
University of Warwick main campus, Coventry
Introductory description

This module looks at the different ways in which Europe and the Early Modern Period were conceived in the past and by historians, including notions of European identity and how historical concepts of ‘Europe’ and ‘Europeans’ form contemporary ideas about these concepts.

Module web page

Module aims

This module is highly recommended for Level 4 students as it provides a comprehensive overview of early modern history which is a requirement for Level 5. This module aims to provide students with:

  • Knowledge of the different ways in which Europe and the Early Modern Period more generally were conceived in the past / by historians and of key terminology / historiography of the period.
  • Encouragement to reflect upon notions of European identity in the past and present, and how historical concepts of ‘Europe’ and ‘Europeans’ form contemporary ideas about these concepts.
  • Understanding of encounters between Europeans and non-Europeans, and the relationships between them.
  • Development of skills for the identification & use of library / online resources and effective seminar contributions (preparation, listening and communicating).
  • Ability to discuss primary sources and historiographical debates.
Outline syllabus

This is an indicative module outline only to give an indication of the sort of topics that may be covered. Actual sessions held may differ.

Term 1
Week 1: Lecture 1. Introduction and rationale. Lecture 2. Historical Periodization
Week 2. Lecture 1. Christendom and Europe. Lecture 2. Pre-Modern Identities

Theme 1: The Familiar and the Unfamiliar
Week 3. Lecture 1. Families, Parents and Children. 2. Sex and Gender.
Week 4. Lecture 1. The Natural World. Lecture 2. The Supernatural World.
Workshop 1: Sources
Week 5. Lecture 1. Material Cultures of the everyday. Lecture 2. Food and Dress

Theme 2: Encounters
Week 7. Lecture 1. Africa in the C16th. Lecture 2. The Indian Ocean World and Asia.
Workshop 2: The Indian Ocean World and Asia
Week 8. Lecture 1. The Americas before Columbus. Lecture 2. European-American Encounters and Exchanges.
Week 9. Lecture 1: The Mediterranean. Lecture 2. Corsairs and Pirates.
Week 10. Lecture 1. Global Trade. Lecture 2. Global commodities

Term 2
Theme 3: Beliefs
Week 1. Lecture 1. Late Medieval Piety. Lecture 2. The Early Reformation
Week 2. Lecture 1. The Reformations. Lecture 2. Cultures of Protestantism
Week 3. Lecture 1. The Catholic Reformation in European and Global Context. 2. Encounters with non-Christians.
Week 4. Lecture 1. Popular Culture and belief Lecture 2. The Supernatural World.
Workshop 1: Sources
Week 5. Lecture 1. Unbelief, Scepticism and Atheism. Lecture 2. Religion, Science and Print
Workshop 3: Religion, Science and Print

Theme 4: Power
Week 7. Lecture 1. Power and Authority Lecture 2. Absolutism
Week 8. Lecture 1. Popular Politics. Lecture 2. Popular Rebellions and Protest
Week 9. Lecture 1: Race and Slavery. Lecture 2. The Discourse of Slavery
Workshop 4: Africans Encounter Europe and interconnections with the Atlantic World
Week 10. Lecture 1. The Ottomans Lecture 2. Russia and the Mughals/Marrathas

Term 3
Lecture 1. How was Europe shaped by the Enlightenment? Lecture 2. The later C18th revolutions
Lecture 2. Are Early Modernity and Europe useful concepts? Lecture 2. Conclusions.

Learning outcomes

By the end of the module, students should be able to:

  • Gain a broad understanding of the different ways in which Europe and the Early Modern Period were conceived in the past and by historians as well as the encounters between Europeans and non-Europeans.
  • Gain a broad understanding of related historical terminologies and historiographical debates.
  • Identify relevant primary / secondary sources and draw on appropriate criteria to discuss them.
  • Devise a well-defined focus for enquiry, demonstrate an ability to collect relevant data from library as well as online resources and communicate results in an effective fashion.
  • Operate in university-level seminar environments, using appropriate interpersonal and communication skills.
Indicative reading list
  • E. Cameron (ed.), Early Modern Europe: an Oxford History (1999)
  • M. Greengrass, Christendom Destroyed: Europe 1517-1648 (2014)
  • M. Konnert, Early Modern Europe (2006)
  • B. Kümin (ed.), The European World, 1500-1800: An Introduction to Early Modern History (2nd edn, 2014) [companion book to this module written by Warwick historians]
  • J. Merriman, A History of Modern Europe, Vol. 1: from the Renaissance to the Age of Napoleon (2nd edn, 2004) SLC
  • D. Nicholas, The Transformation of Europe, 1300-1600 (1999)
  • J.B. Collins & K. Taylor (eds.), Early modern Europe: issues and interpretations (2004)
  • M. Wiesner-Hanks, Early modern Europe 1450-1789 (2nd edn, 2014)
  • Miranda Kauffman, Black Tudors (2018)
  • David Northup, Africa’s Discovery of Europe 1450-1850 (2009)
  • Paula Findlen, Empires of Knowledge: Scientific Knowledge in the Early Modern World (2017)
  • Anna Suranyi, The Atlantic Connection: A History of the Atlantic World, 1450-1900 (2015)
  • John K. Thornton, A Cultural History of the Atlantic World, 1250-1820 (2012)

View reading list on Talis Aspire

Subject specific skills

See learning outcomes.

Transferable skills

See learning outcomes.

Study time

Type Required
Lectures 40 sessions of 1 hour (13%)
Seminars 16 sessions of 1 hour (5%)
Tutorials 2 sessions of 1 hour (1%)
Practical classes 4 sessions of 1 hour (1%)
Private study 238 hours (79%)
Total 300 hours
Private study description

History modules require students to undertake extensive independent research and reading to prepare for seminars and assessments. As a rough guide, students will be expected to read and prepare to comment on three substantial texts (articles or book chapters) for each seminar taking approximately 3 hours. Each assessment requires independent research, reading around 6-10 texts and writing and presenting the outcomes of this preparation in an essay, review, presentation or other related task.


No further costs have been identified for this module.

You do not need to pass all assessment components to pass the module.

Assessment group A2
Weighting Study time
1000 word historiographical review 20%
2000 word essay 30%
3000 word project 40%
Seminar contribution 10%
Feedback on assessment

Written comments and oral feedback will be provided for all assignments.


This module is Core for:

  • Year 1 of UHIA-V100 Undergraduate History

This module is Core optional for:

  • Year 1 of UHIA-V1V5 Undergraduate History and Philosophy
  • Year 1 of UHIA-VM11 Undergraduate History and Politics

This module is Optional for:

  • Year 1 of UENA-VQ32 Undergraduate English and History
  • Year 1 of UHIA-VM11 Undergraduate History and Politics
  • Year 1 of UHIA-VL13 Undergraduate History and Sociology

This module is Option list G for:

  • Year 1 of UPHA-V7ML Undergraduate Philosophy, Politics and Economics