Western Civilization Modules
 
     
     
Ancient World

Origins of Western Civilization: Mesopotamia and Egypt, 3000 - 1200 B.C.E.



This module compares the Bronze Age societies of Mesopotamia and Egypt. It examines the geography, agriculture, economy, social structure, religion, and cultural achievements of each society, taking particular note of the similarities and differences between the two societies.




Ancient Greek and Roman Art and Architecture, ca 550 .C.E. - 330 C.E.



This module provides an overview of some of the major styles and media of ancient art via select works. Through the accompanying analytical essays, students are exposed to how historians and art historians use works of art as a historical source. All images are placed in their historical context via a timeline of events and developments.




Middle Ages

Medieval Art and Architecture, ca. 476 C.E. - 1453 C.E.



This module provides an overview of some of the major styles and media of medieval art via a select sampling of works. Through the accompanying analytical essays, students are exposed to the ways that historians and art historians use artwork as a historical source. All images are placed in their historical context via a timeline of events and developments.




PREVIEW! A Year in the Life of a Medieval Peasant Family



This module gives the student the opportunity to explore a year in the life of a medieval peasant family. In addition to the seasonal tasks, the module presents some of the limitations of, and innovations in, medieval agricultural production.




Medieval Constantinople: The God-Guarded City, 330 - 1453



This module allows the student to explore, by means of interactive maps and timeline, the city of Constantinople from its founding by the Emperor Constantine in 330 C.E. to its subjugation by the Ottoman Turks in 1453. In particular, students learn how monuments built by earlier regimes continued to shape the city, even as the rulers of the city changed. The exploration of each monument includes a description of its historical significance, while the timeline identifies seminal events in the history of the Byzantine Empire.




Early Modern Period

God, Gold and Glory: Columbus and the Age of Exploration, 1413 - 1776



This module explores the period 1415-1776, in which European exploration of the world began in earnest. The module covers Europe's initial overseas forays, the beginnings of commercial and military expansionism, and the historical implications of expansion both for Europe and the wider world. Employing interactive maps, images, documents, and exercises, the module reviews this history from multiple perspectives, charting the intersections of the technological, the economic, the cultural, and the religious factors that both led to and ultimately shaped European exploration and expansion at this time.




Exploring a Renaissance Painting



This interactive module is designed to offer students a dynamic, enriching learning experience. The centerpiece module, Raphael's School of Athens, is brought to life using innovative pedagogy and today's technology, allowing students to click on figures in the painting to learn about their significance in history. The module also explains the content in which Raphael's School of Athens was painted and illustrates how religion, philosophy, and music influence Renaissance art.


The Scientific Revolution, 1500 - 1750



This module explores the historical transformation of understanding known as the Scientific Revolution. In order to both explain and problematize the complex historical narrative, this module reviews not only the canon of important thinkers and discoveries associated with the period, but also examines a number of their broader social, political, and economic applications.




9Warfare in Early Modern Europe: 1494 - 1648



This module investigates the nature of warfare in early modern Europe. By exploring the changing nature of military technology and tactics, as well as illustrating the historical context of important wars from this period, the module presents the student with a solid introduction to both the military history of the time and the ways that the changing methods of warfare transformed politics and economics.




Empires of Art: Comparing the Dutch Republic and Spanish Empire, 1500-1700



This module compares two very different early modern societies Imperial Spain and the Dutch Republic by examining their respective cultural production, particularly painting. Organized around important themes (war, religion, politics, culture, gender, and economy) during a period that witnessed the Dutch transform themselves from a Spanish province to one of the world's greatest commercial powers and Spain tumble from the ranks of greatest military power in Europe to second rate status, this module introduces artwork as a form of historical evidence.




Comparing Early Modern Art



This module allows students to compare examples of early modern art across styles. Students can choose any two (of 18) paintings to compare, one next to the other, in order to discern how art styles changed from the Renaissance, through Mannerism, the Baroque, and, finally, Rococo.


Comparing Early Modern Architecture



This module allows students to compare examples of early modern architecture across styles. Students can choose any two (of 18) buildings to compare, one next to the other, in order to discern how architectural styles changed from the Renaissance, through Mannerism, the Baroque, and, finally, Rococo.


Modern Period: The French Revolution and Its Aftermath

The French Revolution: The Summer of 1789 and the Origins of the French Revolution



This module examines the conditions in France that helped precipitate revolution in the late 1780s. It also reviews the major events during the first year of the French Revolution, providing a sound introduction to this vital period of modern history.




PREVIEW! The Order of the Day - Terror in the French Revolution, 1792 - 1794



This module explores the development of the Terror in the French Revolution. It illustrates the various phases of the Terror, from the urban violence of the summer of 1792 through the backlash in the wake of Thermidor in 1794, and reviews the factors behind the radicalization of the Revolution and the genesis of the Terror.




The Wars of the French Revolution, 1792 - 1799



This module explores the fabric of the wars of the French Revolution in two ways. First, it presents a series of four interactive maps detailing the military campaigns from 1792 to 1799, covering the rise and fall of the First Coalition, the beginning of the Second Coalition, and Napoleon's ill-fated invasion of Egypt. Second, it provides a series of essays on topics related to the conduct of the war. As a whole, the module offers an introductory survey of the contours of revolutionary warfare in Europe, from the rise of the Revolution through its ultimate demise at the hands of Napoleon.




Napoleonic Europe



This module examines the character and implications of the regime of Napoleon Bonaparte upon both France and Europe. Incorporating investigations of the military and administrative facets of Napoleon's career and legacy, the module reviews for the student Napoleon's rise to power, his actions while in control of France, and his lasting efforts to restructure the very fabric of Europe's political and social identity.


Modern Period: The Industrial Revolution: Technology, Society, Ideology

An Industrial Life: Isambard Kingdom Brunel, 1806 1859



This module explores the major events in the life of the British engineer, Isambard Kingdom Brunel, using both his achievements and failures as a means to better understand the broader themes of the Industrial Revolution in Europe. By studying the life of this important figure in industrial history, the student receives both an engaging biographical narrative and a review of industrial life in Britain during the 19th century.




Journey in Darkest England: Jack the Ripper and Victorian London



This module explores the historical events and context surrounding the series of murders in late Victorian London attributed to the figure of Jack the Ripper. By situating these crimes in their proper historical setting, the module provides an introduction to the features of London in 1888, illustrating important aspects of urbanization, industrialization, the changing face of journalism, social reform efforts, and municipal engineering.




Modern Period: Nation and Empire

Nation Building, 1848 - 1870: Italy, Germany and Comparative Examples



This module explores nation building in mid-19th century Europe. Beginning with the Revolutions of 1848, it addresses the historical forces shaping and the events leading to the unification of Italy and Germany in the mid-19th century, as well as the limitations of the resulting states. Comparative examples are provided in the form of the Austrian Empire, battered by nationalist pressures from its sundry minority groups, and the United States, rent by war over two divergent social systems.




The Revolutions of 1848



This module addresses the Revolutions of 1848 in Europe by i) examining the contending ideologies on the important social issues of the day, around which the conflict revolved; by ii) detailing the events that unfolded over a period of nearly two years; and by iii) providing both a contemporary and scholarly analysis of the revolutions.




Unification of Italy



This module addresses the unification process of the Italian peninsula in the mid-19th century. It surveys Italy since 1815, while examining different proposals advanced for the form of a new Italian state; the contrasts between North and South; and the role of the Church in Italian political life. Students are then taken through the important aspects of the Risorgimento, including the wars fought with Austria, and the critical involvement of France. Finally, the module takes up the limitations to state building in Italy: the compromises in the South; the characteristics of the new state; and resulting sense of disappointment that beset the peninsula after its creation.




Unification of Germany



This module covers the process of German Unification; assesses the unique characteristics of German nationalism; examines the social structure of Prussia, under whose auspices Germany was united; looks at the role of Bismarck, together with the notion of "Revolution from Above;" and investigates the illiberal character of the new German Empire.




European Imperialism 1880 - 1900: Theory, Practice, Discourse



This module addresses the phenomenon of European imperialism in the late 19th century by first summarizing contending explanations for European imperialism; then by identifying six important interest groups and exploring their relationship to one another, which determined imperialist policies; and finally by examining the operative ideology common to these interest groups, which conditioned the particular form colonization assumed.




The Origins of World War I



This module addresses the origins of World War I by examining various historical explanations for the conflict, including both its short-term and long-term causes. By posing a series of questions with accompanying historical evidence, the module puts the student in the role of decision-maker in order to more readily grasp the complexities involved in the run-up to war. An interactive timeline and dynamic map round out the student's understanding of the history and political geography that conditioned decision-making at the time of crisis.




Modern Period: Culture at the Turn of the 20th Century


Comparing Modern Art: Realism and the Beginnings of Modernism



This module allows students to compare examples of modern art before Picasso across styles. Students can choose any two (of 18) paintings to compare, one next to the other in order to discern how art styles changed from the Realism, through Impressionism, Post-Impressionism, and, finally, Expressionism and Symbolism.


Identifying Modern Art Styles



This module elucidates six major modern art styles Realism, Impressionism, Post-Impressionism, Expressionism, Abstraction, and Surrealism — by exhibiting an everyday object, a chair, in each respective style. In this way, students can more clearly discern the differences between them and the unique characteristics of each.


Aspects of Modernism: The Visual Arts, 1863 - 1939



This module introduces the concept of Modernism and places it in its historical context by tethering it to political, social and technological developments of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The module features a timeline that displays important works in the visual arts painting, sculpture and architecture and discusses their significance.




Europe between the Wars

"A New World Arisen": Russia's Revolutions, 1900 - 1924



This module explores the period of revolutionary turmoil in Russia from the beginning of the 20th century through the early years of the Soviet Union. The module surveys not only the intense moment of upheaval in 1905 and 1917, but also investigates the background conditions and contingencies that helped shape this quarter century of Russian history. Employing an interactive timeline, maps, images, and primary materials, the module examines not only the patterns of revolution and reaction inside Russia, but also their implications for Europe and the wider world. The module also uses an interactive exercise dealing with Soviet political posters to explore the character of political culture in the new communist regime.




Europe Since World War II

Reconstructing Capitalist Europe, 1945-1960: The Marshall Plan



This module explores the formation, composition, and execution of the European Recovery Program (the "Marshall Plan") launched by the United States following the end of the Second World War. To achieve this , the module employs in-depth document analysis, interactive maps, and exercises to evaluate the conditions of post -war Europe, American planning designed to foster European economic recovery, and European reactions and appropriations in response to the aid program.