» Home  

Essays for Students

» On Curriculum  
» On Higher education  
» For the Edit Page  

Letters to News Papers

» Maps and Charts  
» Question Bank  
» Research Papers  
» Book Reviews  
» Poems, Stories and a Soul Churner  
» Some Pictures From Fieldwork  
» Resume  
» Contacts  
» Feedback  

On Curriculum

  To the History Dept

Draft Proposal for

B.A. (Program) History Paper IV

(Cultural Transformation in Early Modern Europe: circa 1500-1800


Unit I


1) Key Concepts and Historical Background

a) Notions of ‘Culture’ and ‘Modernity’

b) Europe’s topography and climate

c) An overview of the classical legacy and the feudal order

d) Emerging capitalist relations


2) The Renaissance

a) Society and politics in the Italian city states

b) Humanism in art and literature

c) Developments in science and philosophy

d) Renaissance beyond Italy


3) Upheaval in Religion

a) Papacy and its critics

b) Factors behind the spread of Protestant sects in Northern Europe

c) The Counter Reformation and religious strife

d) The economic and cultural impact of the Reformation.


Unit II


5) Scientific Revolution and the Enlightenment

a) A New View of Universe and Matter

b) Reflections on the scientific method

c) Hobbes, Locke and the Philosophes

d) Despotism and the limits of ‘Enlightenment’.


6) Literary and artistic developments

a) Literary Trends from Dante to Shakespeare

b) Art from Baroque to Roccoco and Neoclassicism.

c) Novel as an art form

d) Women and the new public sphere


7) Transitions in popular culture and everyday life c. 1550-1750

a) Family, marriage and love

b) Leisure, food and festivals

b) The ‘decline of magic’ and ‘witch’ trials

c) Popular protests: jaqueries and food riots

d) Absolutism and the peasantry in Eastern Europe


8) Looking Back: The Problem of Modernity

a) Sources of European dynamism

b) Critical perspectives on modernity

c) Consequences for the rest of the world


Study Materials:-


Basic Readings (for students):-


1) Illustrated Histories of Europe and/ or theWorld such as Margaret King, Western

    Civilisation: A Social and Cultural History, Prentice Hall, 2003; Ralph and Lerner   

    (W.W. Norton & Co., New York/ London); Zaller and Greaves (Harper & Row

    Publcations, New York); W. Burns, History of Civilizations, (Indian Reprint); Marvin

    Perry, (Houghton Miffin Co., Boston) etc.

2) A new illustrated book on the period in Hindustani and some transalations of chapters/ 

    articles through teamwork before July 2006 (when the paper would come up for    

    teaching, hopefully).

3) Relevant chapters on religion, education, literature and the arts in H.G. Koenigsberger

    and G.L. Mosse, Europe in the Sixteenth Century, Pennington, Europe in the

    Seventeenth Century and M.S. Anderson, Europe in the Eighteenth Century. (All

    published by Longman)

4) Peter Burke, Popular Culture in Early Modern Europe, OUP, 1978.



Besides Texts:-


1) Critical appreciation of some contemporary novels like Pride and Prejudice and  

    Gulliver’s Travels and of the famous musical productions of the era.

2) Documentary films from the BBC, The Learning Channel and The History Channel  

    etc. on Europeon artists, monarchs, museums and developments like the Renaissance.

3) Trips to museums in Delhi and possibly abroad under a possible exchange program

    (for toppers in the paper each year ?)


Additional Readings for Teachers:-


Jacob Burckhardt, The Civilisation of the Renaissance in Italy, 1860/1958.

Alan Macfarlane, The Culture of Capitalism, Basic Blackwell, 1987.

Christpher Hill, The World Turned Upside Down: Radical Ideas during the English

     Revolution, 1972 and Change and Continuity in Seventeenth Century England, 1974.

Keith Thomas, Religion and the Decline of Magic, 1974.

Leroy Ladurie, The Peasants of Languedoc, 1974.

Carlo Ginsberg, Cheese and the Worms, John Hopkins University Press (JHUP), 1983.

Donald R. Kelley, Renaissance Humanism (1991). . .

Steven Ozment, The Reformation in the Cities, 1975.

Hugh Kearney, Science and Social Change1500-1700, 1971.

Peter Gay, The Party of Humanity, 1978.

D. Outram, The Enlightenment, Cambridge, 1995. 

Isser Wollock, Eighteenth Century Europe: Tradition and Progress, 1982.

Lauro Martines, Power and Imagination: City States in Renaissance Italy, JHUP,


Relevant chapters from volumes in the Fontanna History of Europe by George Holmes,

     J.R. Hale, G.R. Elton and David Ogg.

Extracts from the writings of Machiavelli, Luther, the Levellers and travelers such as Arthur Young.