ES/360 Course Descriptions

Brief Descriptions of our European Studies 360 Courses

The Construction of Contemporary Europe

01:360:301/790:389 (3 credits) 

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.

Politics and Social Policy: Lessons from Europe

01:360:320/790:320 (3 credits)

Welcome to citizenship in the 21st century! You’re inheriting an unaffordable health care system that leaves millions uninsured, a mounting climate crisis, failing schools, a fractured social safety net, an aging population, high unemployment, and growing deficits. What can we learn from studying the approaches to these problems taken by the economically advanced democracies of the European Union? On the left, many believe Europe offers successful models of how to balance capitalism and the pursuit of economic growth with a greater commitment to social justice and sustainable development. On the right, by contrast, many warn of the dangers of importing these ideas, arguing that European social democracies suffer under high taxes, excessive state control of the economy, and economic stagnation. What’s fact and what’s fiction? And, what are the lessons for the United States in the 21st century?

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The Idea of Europe

01:360:401/510:401 (3 credits) 

Europe. The West. The “civilized,” or “free,” or “advanced” world. Such phrases always represent something more than mere geography. They represent values and ideals--ideals often contradictory, and always in tension with lived realities. They have been used to distinguish what is “European” from what is not—and to divide as well as unite those living on the continent. But what is Europe? And what is not? This course will examine enduring and changing answers to these questions proposed in the last centuries, focusing on their relevance for today’s Europe and its place in the world.