CC 2.2
Shaping of the Modern World
Fall 2006
KC Johnson

A history of modernity since 1500. Topics include the emergence of the Atlantic World; early modern society, culture, and the state; trade, colonialism, and slavery; Enlightenment; key political, scientific, industrial and technological revolutions; nineteenth-century nation states and mass society; twentieth-century war, revolution, and resistance; nationalism, internationalism, and totalitarianism; demography, migration, and the environment; work, gender, and daily life.

The course covers seven time periods: Early Modern World; Age of Revolutions; Industrial Societies; Nations and Ideologies; Western Imperialism; World Wars and Totalitarianism; and the Post-1945 World.


  • Secondary: Western Civilization: A Social and Cultural History by Margaret L. King (3rd ed.; Prentice Hall, 2004). Several copies of the 2nd and 3rd editions on library reserve; the book is also available for purchase at the BC College Bookstore.
  • Primary: documents and maps on the web, all accessible through the class website.


  • Exams (midterm on October 25, final TBA): 55%
  • Quizzes (based on reading, each class; either multiple choice or map-based, bottom four dropped): 30%
  • Participation: 15%


August 30: Introduction

September 4: No classes--Labor Day

September 6: Initial Expansion: The Columbian Exchange, Colonialism, and Slavery

September 11: Enlightenment Thinkers

September 13: No class--change of schedule

September 18: The American Revolution

September 20: The Constitution

September 25: International Revolutions

September 27: European Industrialization and Its Effects

  • King, Western Civilization, chapter 21
    Marx & Engels, Communist Manifesto, Introduction, Parts I, II, IV

October 3: The World in 1850

October 4: Diplomacy--in class

  • Rules (review before coming to class)
    Map (print out and bring to class)

October 9: No classes--Columbus Day

October 11: Nationalism and State Formation, 1848-1871

October 16: Imperialism I, Initial Surges

October 18: Imperialism II, Second Wave

October 23: Review

October 25: Midterm

October 30:  Imperialism III, Latin America

November 1: World War I

November 6: Versailles, Leninism, and the World of the 1920s

November 8: Responses to the Depression: Fascism, Stalinism, and the New Deal

November 13: Road to War

November 15: World War II

November 20:  Coming of the Cold War

November 22: No classes--Thanksgiving Break

November 27: The Cold War Hardens

November 29: Decolonization and Civil Rights

  • King, Western Civilization, chapter 29

December 4: The Collapse of the Soviet Union

December 6: Globalization and the Post-Cold War World

December 11: The Post-9/11 World

December 13: Review