Modern European History

Learning outcomes

The main aim of this course is to familiarise students with the key features in the history of modern Europe, and to prepare them for further study in modern and contemporary history. Lessons will also develop some basic skills for reading primary sources.


No prerequisites are required for this course.

Teaching methods

Textbook accounts will be accompanied by the analysis of documentary and visual sources, as well as by references to historiographical debate.


This course offers an overview of modern European history, from the
French Revolution to the collapse of the Soviet bloc (1789−1989). Along with the examination of major events and figures, attention will be paid to the cultural and political dynamics, which characterised the construction of ‘European modernity’ in contrast to the ‘Old Regime’, such as the revolutionary phenomena concerning the quest for human rights, rule of law, social equality and democratic system.
The lessons will cover a two-century trajectory, which was not at all smooth. The rise of the national states in the 19th century combined with the emergence of liberalism, capitalism, market society and individual autonomy, but also with the Social Question, authoritarian power, gender discrimination, national hatred and imperial rivalries.The 20th−century european trend of democratisation and mass politics coincided with the World Wars, totalitarianisms, political violence and unprecedented mass killing. The tensions between the liberty and order, individualisation and collective ideologies, secularisation and ‘political religions’, social change and conservation, progress and reaction will also be emphasised.


Mandatory reading:

  • David S. Mason, A Concise History of Modern Europe. Liberty, Equality, Solidarity (Lanham et al.: Rowman & Littlefield, 2015, 3rd edition).
  • Further materials (e.g. primary sources) will be provided during the lectures.

Assessment methods

In addition to regular attendance, it is reccomended that the students read the texts that accompany each lecture, before every lecture.
Oral presentation of a primary source. In the last class, students will be required to comment a previously analysed source of their choice.
Final written exam