Course Descriptions

The Construction of Contemporary Europe

01:360:301/790:389 (3 credits) - Fall Semester
Professor Svanur Petursson, History and European Studies

The European Union is one of the most successful supranational policy experiments in modern times, having an impact on the daily lives of close to five hundred million people. This complex experiment in international cooperation - a fully functioning political system - is also a daunting analytical challenge. Making use of different assumptions and types of evidence, we will examine how major European powers pooled strategic assets to overcome age-old rivalries, by which mechanisms they sought to foster peace and prosperity, and how a sense of European togetherness eventually emerged to reshape national cultures or accelerate democratization pathways. However, at the same time the European Union is increasingly understood to be the definition of “Europe” and throughout the class we will discuss what countries are included or excluded from the European Union, and the political and historical reasons for that inclusion or exclusion. Finally, by reading about and discussing European current events, we aim to gain a deeper understanding of the underlying frameworks of the European Union, both legal and political, that shape contemporary Europe.