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KULeuvenX: European History, Society and Culture

Learn how key historical moments shaped and are shaping contemporary Europe.

8 weeks
4–6 hours per week
Progress at your own speed
Optional upgrade available

There is one session available:

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Starts Dec 1

About this course

Skip About this course

This course explores European history, society and culture by zooming in on a series of transformative events and developments that both shaped their respective era and are crucial to understand Europe and the world in the contemporary age.

Each module explores a specific event by focusing on relevant case studies.

The course helps students understand the transformation from nations and empires to contemporary European and international institutions, the economic and social foundations of the European society, the history of representations in and outside Europe, the development of a European ideal of culture as well as problems of unity and diversity.

Upon completion of this course, the students will be able to embark on advanced studies of European history and culture at KU Leuven.

At a glance

  • Institution: KULeuvenX
  • Subject: History
  • Level: Intermediate
  • Prerequisites:

    Undergraduate-level studies in the humanities, law or social sciences

What you'll learn

Skip What you'll learn
  • Understand how the French Revolution, the Napoleonic era and the Congress of Vienna transformed Europe and the world
  • Learn about European colonialism as well as their contemporary legacy
  • Explore a variety of ideas, movements and ideologies that influenced European arts, society and politics
  • Understand the emergence of different types of European and international organisations
  • Gain the critical skills to understand historical transformations

Module 1: Reason, Rights and Revolutions

This first module is meant for you to start getting familiar with the way this MOOC works as well as with the typology of content and exercises that this course offers. You will start your journey at the end of the 18th century by discovering the idea of torture, its logic, and the dynamics that brought it to its abolition. Next, we will focus on human rights, on their development in Europe and beyond as well as on their impact in the context in the context of enlightenment and revolutions. Finally, the last three parts of this module are dedicated to revolutions: the circulation of revolutionary ideas, their end, and their legacy.

Module 2: Ambition for European Unity

In this module, you will get familiar with the ideas of empire and nation and understand how they contributed to the reshaping of the European political landscape from the French Revolution until today. Here, we will zoom in on the consequence of important historical moments such as the rise and fall of Napoleon and the new assets that arose from the Congress of Vienna. Also, you will learn about the political, social and cultural changes that the major European empires experienced over the 19th century.

Module 3: Technocratic Unity

In the third module, you will learn about the connection between emerging technologies, industrialisation and their impact on their landscape environment and agriculture. You will get familiar with the concept of technocracy and reflect on how the rise of industrialisation led to the development of European networks for transportation, energy and telecommunications.

Module 4: Colonisation and Decolonization

Colonialism greatly impacted different parts of the globe, leading to the emergence of multiple colonial realities. For this reason, the concept of “colonialism” is not always easy to define. In this module, we provide conceptual clarity, we get familiar with colonial realities in the past as well as the present, and we provide different historical perspectives to approach colonial histories.

Module 5: A New Europe Through Art: The Avant-Garde's "New Man"

In the fifth module, you will learn about the Avant-garde movement. What were its main characteristics? How does it insert itself into the 20th-century political and cultural landscape? Here, you will get familiar with the cultural geopolitics, (inter)nationalism and alter-rationalism of the avant-garde's project and be guided to the discovery and analysis of meaningful avant-gardes works.

Module 6: Social Europe

In the seventh module, by focusing on topics such as human rights and social security, you will explore different dimensions of social Europe. We will recapitulate the whole history of Europe since the Age of Revolutions, adopting a critical and decentering perspective. Also, you will see that Europe is not quite the fairy tale that it is often imagined to be: in contrast, it is a history of advances and set-backs, of roads taken and not taken, of inclusion as well as exclusions, of great ideas and principles as well as of ambiguities, ambivalences and outright hypocrisy – in the sum of the history of human beings, struggling to make their world a better place.

Module 7: Borders, Migration and Diversity

This module is built around the questions of what happens when we cross a border and how that experience varies for different individuals and groups. You will explore what borders are and do, and what it means to live within European boundaries for people with a migration background. You will learn about the First World War and look at it as a moment of exchange, zooming in on Muslim soldiers in a European war. Also, we will provide you with the right tools to investigate how diversity expanded quickly in Europe after the Second World War and which effect this had on European imaginaries and (self-)perception. Lastly, we look at the figure of the refugee in the postwar world, focusing on the special case of the Ugandan Asians in the 1970s.

This course is part of European Studies: History & Culture, Law and EU Governance Professional Certificate Program

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Expert instruction
3 skill-building courses
Progress at your own speed
7 months
5 - 7 hours per week

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