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Магистерская программа «Глобальная и региональная история / Global and Regional History»

Early Modern Empires

Учебный год
Обучение ведется на английском языке
Курс по выбору
Когда читается:
1-й курс, 3, 4 модуль


Course Syllabus


Early modern history is the history of internal and overseas expansion. In early modern time the majority of the states were composite states, including more than one country under the sovereignty of one ruler. Moreover, since the 15th century a number of European powers started their colonial expansion to Africa, Asia and the New World, starting mainly (albeit not exclusively) from the establishment of the networks of littoral trading stations, which eventually evolved in the early modern colonial empire. The course takes the definition of empire as a polity that reaches outwards and that maintains distinction and hierarchy in the process of incorporation of new peoples. It will consider different European imperial scenarios and trajectories between 1400-1700: composite states, overseas empires and land empires, and contextualize ‘early modern empire’ as a distinct form of polity. The course will be focused on the Holy Roman Empire, British composite monarchy, Muscovite Tsardom, Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, Spanish composite monarchy, Sweden, Venetian empire; Portuguese, Castilian, Dutch, French and English colonial empires, revolving around key issues such as expansion and struggle for territories; imperial discourse; governance; elite formation; identities; economies; ethnographies and religion.The aim of the course is to examine ‘early modern empires’ from the variety of perspectives and to probe advantages and limitations of the concept of the ‘empire’ as an analytical unit with regard to early modern time.
Learning Objectives

Learning Objectives

  • The course aims to familiarize the students with the historical context of early modern European expansion; governance of early modern empires; the elite formation in early modern empires; identities in early modern empires; imperial economies; imperial ethnographies
  • The course aims to familiarize the students with main lines of historiographical inquiry into early modern empires
  • The course aims to familiarize the students with primary sources connected with the history of early modern empires
Expected Learning Outcomes

Expected Learning Outcomes

  • The student consistently uses the terminology of the scholarship of the early modern empires
  • The student knows main facts of the history of the early modern empires
  • The student can comprehend primary sources effectively
  • Students can comprehend primary sources effectively
  • The student can identify main thesis and issues raised in scholarly literature
  • The student knows main facts of the history of early modern empires
  • The student can discuss scholarly issues in groups and present the results of these discussions; can solve scholarly issues in collaboration with groupmates.
  • The student can write an essay concerned with one of the issues of the early modern empires
Course Contents

Course Contents

  • Early modern theories of empire
    Definitions of the 'empire' in the middle ages and early modern time, the role of the experience of the Roman Empire
  • The age of discovery
    What is the "age of discovery", the role of cartography, political geography of European overseas expansion
  • Expansion in early modern Muscovy
    Contextualization of the late medieval and early modern expansion of Muscovy, eastward expansion, westward and southward expansion of Muscovy, description of the Muscovite expansion in the contemporary sources
  • Moral justification of Spanish conquest and its criticism.
    Aristotle's theory of natural slavery and its usage in early modern time, discourses legitimizing Spanish expansion into the New World, Salamanca school and criticism of colonial discourse
  • Early modern cartography and empires
    The role of maps in the acquisition of territories
  • Composite monarchies: Britain
    The definition of composite monarchy, the peculiarities of British composite monarchy after the Tudor and Stuart rule, constitutional relationships between England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales
  • Governance of the overseas colonies: Baltic experience in the 17th century
    Danish and Swedish colonies
  • Composite monarchies of the Baltic sea: Sweden, Polish-Lithunian commonwealth, and Muscovy
    The relationships between centre and the periphery in Sweden, Polish-Lithunian commonwealth, and Muscovy; comparative aspects of governance
  • Composite monarchies: Holy Roman Empire + Spain
    The peculiarities of the relationships between centre and the periphery in the Holy Roman Empire and Spain in the sixteenth and the seventeenth centuries; comparative aspects of governance
  • Elite formation in the early modern empires
    Formation of the elite in the Tudor and Stuart British monarchy, formation of the elite in early modern Muscovy., formation of the elite in early modern Spain and Venice, prospects of comparison of the elite formation in the early modern empires
  • British identity and forging territorial identities
    Identity formation in the early modern British Isles, variations of British identity; ethnocultural and ethnopolitical identities
  • Imperial economies in early modern time
    The Atlantic slave trade; European economic exchange
  • Early modern ethnography
    The concept of the 'barbarian' in pre-modern Europe; Biblical ethnography and pre-modern notions of ethnicity; ethnicity and civilty
  • Early modern ethnographies - primary sources
    The images of the Other in early modern ethnographies: the New World and Muscovy
  • Religion in early modern empires: comparative aspects
    The role of Christian missions in the overseas European expansion; the role of conversion in Muscovite expansion
Assessment Elements

Assessment Elements

  • non-blocking Seminar discussion
  • non-blocking Review
    A review should critically evaluate the book, dedicated to history one of the early modern empires (15th-18th centuries), chosen by a student and approved by an instructor. The book for the review has to be chosen until February 15, 2021. The review must be submitted in LMS until May 15, 2021. The length of the review – 20000 characters with spaces. The aim of a review is to assess a student’s ability to present an argument and sustain it with evidence. The review should not merely be a summary, but present student’s own critical thinking, comments and evaluation of the text, supported by evidence (taken from scholarly literature).
  • non-blocking Exam assessment
    The preliminary assessment consists of a written assignment which includes 1 open question based on the issues discussed in the seminars and lectures, and 1 fragment from the primary source which the student has to comment on. Maximum mark for the assessment is 5 points. Preliminary assessment is held online: the written assignments are submitted in the LMS.
  • non-blocking Exam essay
    The exam essays consists of a home written essay on one of the suggested topics connected with the materials of the course. The length of the essay is 25000 characters with spaces. The essay is submitted in the LMS. Essays have to contain footnotes. All the literature/primary sources used(including internet resources) must be referenced.
Interim Assessment

Interim Assessment

  • Interim assessment (4 module)
    0.3 * Exam assessment + 0.3 * Review + 0.4 * Seminar discussion


Recommended Core Bibliography

  • Alexander Grant, & Keith Stringer. (1995). Uniting the Kingdom? : The Making of British History. Routledge.
  • Armitage, D. (2000). The Ideological Origins of the British Empire. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&site=eds-live&db=edsebk&AN=112408
  • Braddick, M. J. (2000). State Formation in Early Modern England, C.1550–1700. Cambridge [England]: Cambridge University Press. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&site=eds-live&db=edsebk&AN=77695
  • Cameron, E. (1999). Early Modern Europe : An Oxford History. Oxford: OUP Oxford. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&site=eds-live&db=edsebk&AN=364431
  • Elliott, J. H. (2009). Spain, Europe & the Wider World, 1500-1800. Yale University Press.
  • Evans, R. J. W., & Wilson, P. H. (2012). The Holy Roman Empire, 1495-1806 : A European Perspective. Brill.
  • Herberstein, S., Major, R. H., & Hakluyt Society. (2010). Notes Upon Russia : Being a Translation of the Earliest Account of That Country, Entitled Rerum Moscoviticarum Commentarii: Vol. Vol. II. Ashgate Publishing Ltd.
  • Hodgen, M. T. (1971). Early Anthropology in the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries (Vol. 1st pbk. ed). Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&site=eds-live&db=edsebk&AN=17294
  • Immanuel Wallerstein. (2011). The Modern World-System I : Capitalist Agriculture and the Origins of the European World-Economy in the Sixteenth Century. University of California Press.
  • Kappeler, A. (2014). The Russian Empire : A Multi-ethnic History. Hoboken: Routledge. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&site=eds-live&db=edsebk&AN=837915
  • Kidd, C. (1999). British Identities Before Nationalism : Ethnicity and Nationhood in the Atlantic World, 1600–1800. Cambridge [England]: Cambridge University Press. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&site=eds-live&db=edsebk&AN=54555
  • Muthu, S. (2012). Empire and Modern Political Thought. Cambridge University Press.
  • O’Connell, M. (2009). Men of Empire : Power and Negotiation in Venice’s Maritime State. Johns Hopkins University Press.
  • Van Ruymbeke, B., & Roper, L. H. (2007). Constructing Early Modern Empires : Proprietary Ventures in the Atlantic World, 1500-1750. Brill.

Recommended Additional Bibliography

  • Behn, A., Southerne, T., Hughes, D., & Neville, H. (2007). Versions of Blackness : Key Texts on Slavery From the Seventeenth Century. Cambridge University Press.
  • Bushkovitch, P. (2012). A Concise History of Russia. New York: Cambridge University Press. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&site=eds-live&db=edsebk&AN=432731
  • David Arnold. (2002). The Age of Discovery, 1400-1600: Vol. Second edition. Routledge.
  • Elliott, J. H. (1992). A Europe of Composite Monarchies. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&site=eds-live&db=edsbas&AN=edsbas.A96675F4
  • Franklin, S., & Bowers, K. (2017). Information and Empire: Mechanisms of Communication in Russia, 1600-1854. Open Book Publishers.
  • Herberstein, S., & Major, R. H. (2010). Notes Upon Russia: Being a Translation of the Earliest Account of That Country, Entitled Rerum Muscoviticarum Commentarii, by the Baron Sigismund Von Herberstein : Ambassador From the Court of Germany to the Grand Psrince Vasiley Ivanovich, in the Years 1517 and 1526: Vol. Vol. I. Hakluyt Society.
  • Hsia, R. P. (2017). A Companion to Early Modern Catholic Global Missions. Brill.
  • Kivelson, V. (2002). Muscovite “Citizenship”: Rights without Freedom*. Journal of Modern History, 74(3), 465. https://doi.org/10.1086/345109
  • MAARTEN PRAK. (2001). Early Modern Capitalism : Economic and Social Change in Europe 1400-1800. Routledge.
  • S. J. Connolly. (2007). Contested Island : Ireland 1460-1630. OUP Oxford.