Historical Studies Program



HST 3319  501                                                               Fall  2004                                                           W  7:00-9:45

       Call  13873                                                                                                                                                  Jo 3.908


Professor Gerald Soliday                                                                                                     Office:  Jonsson  5.406

       Hours:  M  3-3:30, T and  W  6-7:00, and by appointment:                                                             972-883-2760

       E-mail:  [email protected]                                                            Internet:

               Please note that all e-mail correspondence related to the course must now occur through a UTD e-mail address.


Teaching Assistant:   Ms. Pia Jakobsson                                                                            Office:  Jonsson  5.206

       Hours:   W  6:00-7:00 and by appointment                                                                                      972-883-2095

       E-mail:  [email protected]






HIST 3319:                                                       EARLY  MODERN  EUROPE



Historical Studies 3319 is an introduction to general themes and issues in early modern European history, roughly from the Italian renaissance of the fifteenth century to the enlightenment of the eighteenth.  Its major theme is the gradual infusion of so-called "modern" elements into traditional European societies already before the industrial revolution.  Topics for special consideration include:  the structure of preindustrial economies and societies; kingship and aristocratic politics; the European renaissance; the Protestant and Catholic reformations as well as the nature of popular religion; the notion of a seventeenth-century "crisis"; the English revolution and limited monarchy; continental absolutism and the rise of centralized states; as well as the scientific revolution and the early enlightenment.


The course has two general aims.  First, as stated above, it acquaints students with major issues of historical interpretation in the early modern period.  This survey is not a narrative of the events themselves but an exploration of the structure or makeup of a society.  The goal is an understanding of the interrelationships among its economy, social structure, political organization, and culture.  The second aim is to introduce students to several of the methods and approaches being used today to study early modern Europe.  The questions historians ask and the evidence they use to gain plausible answers are stressed in lectures and, even more, in discussions of readings that exemplify recent developments in historical scholarship.



Each week, then, there will usually be a lecture and a discussion of assigned readings.  Course requirements include participation in the discussions (25%) as well as three short, five- to seven-page essays (each 25%) on a selection of topics covered in the lectures and readings.



Please note that I can not accept writing assignments late, unless very unusual         circumstances arise or my        permission is sought and granted in advance of the due date.       Note also that you must submit all assignments in        order to pass the course.


All written work and class discussions for this course are in gender-neutral, nonsexist language and rhetorical constructions.  Such practice is part of a classroom situation according full respect and opportunity to all participants by all others.


Written work is submitted in paper copy, without cover pages or special folders.  Simply put your name and course identification at the top of the first page and staple the upper left corner.  Papers are always paginated (at the bottom and center of each page after the first), double-spaced, and presented in clear 10- to 12-point type.


Parenthetical annotation is now strongly recommended, though any form of annotation (foot- or endnotes) and bibliography is acceptable for this course, provided that you use it correctly and consistently.  Probably most appropriate for your work in the arts and humanities are standard guides like Joseph Gibaldi’s MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers (6th ed.; NY, 2003) or Kate L. Turabian’s Manual for Writers of Term Papers, Theses, and Dissertations (6th ed.; Chicago, 1996).


At the same time, Diana Hacker's Rules for Writers (5th ed.; Boston and NY, 2004) summarizes MLA stylistic conventions, outlines current grammatical practices and mechanical presentation, and offers helpful guidelines for researching and writing papers.  You may find it and/or Hacker's Web site ( especially useful for your work in the course this semester.  Any student who has not already read William Strunk Jr. and E. B. White, The Elements of Style (4th ed.; Boston, 2000), should do so immediately.


I should also mention that the eleventh edition of Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary (Springfield, MA, 2003) is now the standard for everyday university work.



Most required readings as well as some recommended items for the course are on reserve in the McDermott Library.  Paperback books used extensively are also for sale, if you wish to purchase them, both in the University Bookstore and at Off-Campus Books.  Rather than being on the library’s reserve shelf, however, shorter readings marked with an asterisk (*) are available online through the copy of this syllabus on my Internet Web site.  Please note that those materials are under copyright, you must always cite them properly, and you must have a password to gain access to them.  I will give you the password in class.



Please also note that, although I do not anticipate them, there may be some changes in the following schedule.  If they occur, I will announce them in class and post them on the syllabus at my Web site on the Internet.




IMPORTANT NOTICES:  all course correspondence by e-mail must now occur through the student’s UTD e-mail address.  UT-Dallas provides each student with a free e-mail account that is to be used in all communication with university personnel. This allows the university to maintain a high degree of confidence in the identity of all individuals corresponding and the security of the transmitted information.  The Department of Information Resources at UTD provides a method for students to forward email from other accounts to their UTD address and have their UTD mail sent on to other accounts. Students may go to the following URL to establish or maintain their official UTD computer account:


Every effort is made to accommodate students with disabilities.  The full range of resources available through and procedures concerning Disability Services can be found at


Scholastic dishonesty includes, but is not limited to: cheating, plagiarism. collusion, and falsifying academic records.  Please familiarize yourself with the university's policies concerning scholastic dishonesty at













25 Aug    Early Modern European History:  Themes & Organization of the Course

               [ See Handout 1]


               The Setting:  Regions & Regionalism in European History



Traditional European Societies



  1 Sep    Population & Economic Developments: The Cycles in Preindustrial Europe

               [See Handouts 2 and 3]


               Malthusian Cycles & Demographic Crises


                      Discussion of *E.A. Wrigley, Population and History, 62-106; and Keith Wrightson, English

                      Society 1580-1680, 121-148


                      Recommended:  Pierre Goubert, "The French Peasantry of the Seventeenth Century," Crisis in Europe,

                             ed. T. Aston (N.Y., 1963): 141-165



  8 Sep    Agrarian Regimes & the Village Community   [See Handout 4]


               Social Relations:  The Community & the Family


                      Discussion of Wrightson, English Society, 39-118


                             Recommended:  Susan Amussen, An Ordered Society:  Gender and Class in Early Modern Europe

                             Raffaella Sarti, Europe at Home: Family and Material Culture 1500-1800



15 Sep    Labor in Preindustrial Societies


               Traditional Social Hierarchies & Social Order   [See Handout 5]


                      Discussion of Wrightson, 17-38, 149-182, and *J.H. Hexter, "The Myth of the Middle Class in

                      Tudor England," European Social Class, ed. B. & E. Barber (N.Y.,1965), 34-52



22 Sep    First Essay Due


               An Aristocratic World:  The Elites  (Clergy, Nobility, Bourgeoisie)



The Formation of Early Modern Europe



               "New Monarchies"?   Kingship & Aristocratic Politics


                      Reading:  *J.R. Major, "The Crown and the Aristocracy in Renaissance France," American

                      Historical Review  69 (1963-64): 631-645



29 Sep    The Notion of a European "Renaissance"


               Renaissance Thought & Art:  The Italian Center


                      Discussion of Charles Nauert, Humanism and the Culture of RenaissanceEurope, 1-94



  6 Oct     Diffusion of the Renaissance Movement to the North


                      Continued discussion of Nauert, 95-215


                             Recommended:  Peter Burke, The Renaissance   (2nd ed.)

                      Joan Kelley, “Did Women Have a Renaissance?” Women, History, and Theory, 19-50


               The Politics of Reformation



13 Oct     The Politics of Reformation  (cont.)


               Religious Reformations   [See Handout 6]


                      Discussion of *Steven Ozment, The Age of Reform 1250-1550, 223-244, and Robert Scribner,

                      The German Reformation (2nd ed.)



20 Oct     Religion and the People


                      Discussion of *Keith Thomas, Religion and the Decline of Magic, 3-112, 151-166, 253-279,

                      283-292, 332-357     [1-Environment]  [2-Magic]  [3-Religion]  [4-Religion]  [5-Astrology]


                             Recommended:  Geoffrey Parker, “Success and Failure During the First Century of the Reformation,” 

                             Past & Present 136 (1992): 43-82


               Religious Conflict  &  the Changing Temper of Politics   [See Handouts Hnd7, Hnd8, and Hnd9]


                      Recommended:  J.H.M. Salmon, French Society and Government in the Religious Wars

                             P. K. Monod, The Power of Kings: Monarchy and Religion in Europe 1589-1715



27 Oct     Second Essay Due  



"Crisis"  &  the  Quest for Stability


The Notion of a European “Crisis” in the Seventeenth Century


                      Reading: *Theodore K. Rabb, The Struggle for Stability in Early Modern Europe

                                    [Rabb 1]   [Rabb 2]

                      Recommended:  Jeremy Black, A Military Revolution?  Military Change and

                               European Society 1550-1800


The Classic Response on the Continent:  From Henri IV to Louis XIV



  3 Nov            From Henri IV to Louis XIV  (cont.)



  3 Nov     French Absolutism under the Sun King


                      Discussion of William Beik, Louis XIV and Absolutism


                             Recommended:  Marc Raeff, “The Well Ordered Police State and the Development of Modernity

                             in Seventeenth- and Eighteenth-Century Europe,” American Historical Review 80 (1975): 1221-1243



10 Nov     Crisis in England


                      Brief discussion of the instructor’s *outline of Lawrence Stone, The Causes of the English

                      Revolution, 47-147


Its Resolution:  Civil Wars & Limited Monarchy   [See Handout 10]


               Cultural Crisis:  The Witchcraft Phenomenon


                      Discussion of *Thomas, Religion and the Decline of Magic, 435-468, 493-583, 631-668



17 Nov     Intellectual Crisis  &  A New Kind of Knowledge


                      Discussion of Peter Dear, Revolutionizing the Sciences: European Knowledgeand Its

                      Ambitions, 1500-1700, 1-79



24 Nov            Continued discussion of Dear, 80-170


               The Enlightenment


                      Discussion of Roy Porter, The Enlightenment (2nd ed.)




  1 Dec    Third Essay Due[Topics].    Please attach a stamped self-addressed envelope,

               if you wish me to return this third essay with comments and to indicate your marks

               for the course.


               Course Evaluation