Fall Semester Sophomore Requirement

This course will explore the intellectual, social, and political movements that helped to shape modern history.  From 16th century Florence to 18th century Paris to 19th century Tokyo and beyond, we seek to answer the question, what is modernity? In addition to reading the works of major thinkers and researching the seminal events that define the modern era, students will also consider the meaning of history itself. What is history? Rather than simply asking, “what happened?” the historian should always ask the more involved question, “why did this happen at this time?”  Through the posing of this latter question, modern historical inquiry becomes an attempt to come to a deeper understanding of what it means to be human throughout various times, places, and cultures. Ultimately, history allows us to experience the immensity and grandeur of the world as well as locate ourselves in it, while helping us to understand and critique our own culture by contemplating the experiences of those who preceded us.