Seminar Tutor: Ben Redding


Office: H3.06

Office hours: Monday 11-12; Tuesday 3-4

Seminar time and location: Friday 1-2, S0.28

Students: James Bye Bye, Olivia Coster, Hattie Elkington, Lois Elliot, Jess Hackett, Rebecca Higson, Madison Hoyles, Scarlett Murphy, Zoe Nobileau, Emily O'Brien, Isabella Pelech, Yiannis Sanozidis, Matthew Thomas, Zak Wagman, Michael Wain, Mary White.

European World
 Term 3 Schedule

 Week 1 (22-28 April)

22-23 April – bank holidays

Wednesday 24 April - Deadline for EW summative essay

Lecture – Thursday 25 April – Europe and the World

Seminar: Friday 26 April (groups 13-16) – Conclusions

Week 2 (29 April-5 May)

Lectures: Tuesday 30 April – Exams Dos & Don’ts; Thursday 2 May – Panel session

Week 3: (6-12 May)

6 May – bank holiday

Seminar: Friday 10 May (groups 13-16) – Revision seminar.

Week 4-10

Potential opportunity for a voluntary drop-in session for further revision (date tbc)

Term 2

Week 1 - The Political Landscape

Welcome back! This week we begin to look at politics in early modern Europe by considering the political landscape of early modern states. For this week, you have two assigned tasks. First, everyone is to read:

  1. Steve Hindle and Beat Kumin, 'Centre and Periphery' in the European World handbook.
  2. Stéphane van Damme and Janet Dickinson, 'Courts and Centres', ibid.

Following this, we will discuss and compare the differences in state political constructs. Please research your assigned state (below), and try to uncover to the best of your abilities how the state’s political framework operated. I have recommended sources for your use, but feel free to use the wider reading list if you prefer:

1) Valois France: James Bye Bye, Olivia Coster, Hattie Elkington, Lois Elliot, Jess Hackett

2) The Habsburg Empire: Rebecca Higson, Madison Hoyles, Scarlett Murphy, Zoe Nobileau, Emily O'Brien

3) The Dutch Republic: Isabella Pelech, Yiannis Sanozidis, Matthew Thomas, Zak Wagman, Michael Wain, Mary White.

For those of you interested in early modern British history, you may be interested in comparing these styles of governance with Britain at the time. For example, see the following debate:

When preparing for the seminar, please consider:

Term 2 Week 2 - The People and Politics

This week we will be considering whether ordinary people were able to play any role in politics. Please read:

  1. Bernard Capp, 'Riot and Rebellion', in The European World coursebook.
  2. 'Breaking and Entering' in Wayne Te Brake's Shaping History: Ordinary People in European Politics (1998).

Finally, research your assigned rebellion, and come prepared to discuss the causes, events and consequences of your rebellion:

Lois and Rebecca will provide short (five minute) article summaries of a reading of their choice from the wider reading list.

For those of you who have been assigned an English rebellion, I strongly recommend looking at Fletcher & MacCulloch's Tudor Rebellions.

With your readings, consider:

Week 3 - Early Modern Empires

In this new addition to the module, this week will explore the characteristics of early modern empires both within Europe, and globally. We will consider the extent to which aspiring early modern European states were influenced by non-European empires. In preparation for this seminar, please read:

  1. S. Subrahmanyam, ‘A Tale of Three Empires: Mughals, Ottomans, and Habsburgs in a Comparative Context’, Common Knowledge 12.1 (2006): 66-92.
  2. C.K. Woodworth, ‘Ocean and Steppe: Early Modern World Empires’, Journal of Early Modern History 11.6 (2007): 501-518

Then listen to BBC Radio 4 'In Our Time' podcast: 'The Siege of Vienna'

Also Michael and Mary will each prepare a short (five minute) talk on a reading of their choice relating to this theme.

With your readings, consider:

Week 4 - Race and Slavery

This week we explore the evolution of racial attitudes in early modern Europe. We will also address the development of slavery across this period, especially in its connections to empire. In preparation, please read:

Also Madison and Scarlett will prepare a short (five minute) talk on a reading of their choice relating to this theme.

During your reading consider:

Term 2 Week 5 - Absolutism and Warfare

We conclude our survey of early modern politics by considering state centralization, absolutism and the impact of war. Our main focus will be on absolutism, its limitations, and its relationship with military developments. As a slight change from the traditional western European focus, I have included readings on Denmark and Russia.

In preparation for the seminar please read the following:

  1. First, either N. Henshall, The Myth of Absolutism (1992), scan of ch 2. 'Louis XIV Reassessed' or Nicholas Henshall, ‘The Myth of Absolutism’, History Today, 42 (1992).
  2. Second, read Gunner Lind, ‘Revolutionary Absolutism and the Elites of the Danish Monarchy in the Long Seventeenth Century’ in Friedeburg & Morrill (eds.), Monarchy Transformed: Princes and their Elites in Early Modern Western Europe (2017).
  3. Finally, if you have the time, I would like you to read Michael C. Paul, ‘The Military Revolution in Russia, 1550-1682’ The Journal of Military History, 68 (2004).

If you would like to find out more about Peter the Great and the creation of St. Petersburg, then listen to:

Furthermore, a broader exploration of the military revolution debate is available here:

Also Matthew will prepare a short (five minute) talk on a reading of his choice relating to this theme.

Consider when doing your reading:

Term Two Week Seven – Communication and Popular Culture

We begin our thinking on early modern culture by considering communication and its importance to understanding popular cultures. In particular we're going to discuss the print 'revolution'.

There are two debates that I would like you to look at in preparation for this week (the 'print revolution' debate and ‘the Dilemma of Popular History’).

Please read:

  1. First, Elizabeth Eisenstein, 'An unacknowledged revolution revisited', The American Historical Review, 107 (2002), pp. 87-105.

And the subsequent discussion of this article:

2. Second, the debate between Gerald Strauss and William Beik: 'The Dilemma of Popular History', P&P , 132 (1991), Beik debate and Strauss reply in P&P, 141 (1993).

  1. Finally, take a look at either the English Broadside Ballad Archive or Early English Books Online for some examples of early modern popular print.

Also Olivia will prepare a short (five minute) talk on a reading of her choice relating to this theme.

When preparing for the seminar please consider:


This week we continue our theme of cultural history by considering the Renaissance.

1. As an introduction to the topic, some of you may be interested in:

2. Please read one, or more, of the following:

3. Next, I would like you all to find a source from the Renaissance that you believe could have influenced cultural developments. This could be a piece of artwork, a Renaissance text, architecture, scientific work or even music! Come prepared to discuss your source in class (if it is an image, it would be helpful for you to have a copy of it):

Also Hattie will prepare a short (five minute) talk on a reading of her choice relating to this theme.

Come prepared to discuss the following:

Term 2 Week 9 - Intellectual and Technological Change

This week we will be thinking about the Scientific Revolution and technical developments. Please read:

  1. Claudia Stein, 'The Scientific Revolution', in The European World handbook.

Then read what you can of one (or more) of the following:

Finally, take a look at some of the fascinating illustrations in Vesalius's De Humanis Corpori Fabrica(1543).

Emily and Zoe will present short 5 minute talks on an article connected to this week's theme.

During your reading consider the following:

Week 10 - The Early Enlightenment

In our final week of the term, we will be discussing the early Enlightenment and ideas of ‘modernity’ at the end of this period. In preparation:

Yiannis will provide a short 5 minute talk on a reading of his choice connected to the Enlightenment theme.

Questions to consider:

Term one readings available here.