Spring 2024 - HIST 223 D100

Early Modern Europe, 1500-1789 (3)

Class Number: 4662

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Jan 8 – Apr 12, 2024: Thu, 2:30–5:20 p.m.



A survey of early modern European history which will examine, among other topics, the wars of religion, the 17th century revolutions, 16th and 17th century economic development, the scientific revolution, the enlightenment and the political and social character of the old regime. Breadth-Humanities.


Transitions are exciting and disturbing. From the eve of the Protestant Reformation to the eve of the French Revolution, Europeans experienced many transformative changes. They participated in or endured religious and cultural innovations, political and social conflict, and economic opportunity and crisis. The early modern period in European history was a time of crucial transitions.  

We shall begin by asking if the term “early modern” is appropriate for this period. Does it point to a shift to modern Europe? Next, we shall discover how religious and social rituals structured and sometimes disrupted the lives of Europeans.  Finally, we shall consider if evidence from the eighteenth century points to the demise of the prevailing social system and to the beginnings of modern Europe. 


The course requirements of History 223 will help you achieve the educational goals of undergraduate courses in the Department of History.  By the end of the course, you will be able

  • to identify the principal historical developments of early modern Europe
  • to apply a knowledge of these developments in assessing historical interpretations of early modern Europe.


  • Participation (oral and / or written) 15%
  • Five quizzes (25 Jan., 8 Feb., 29 Feb., 14 Mar., 4 Apr.) (5 x 7%) 35%
  • First Essay (800-1000 words, due 10 Feb.) 20%
  • Second Essay (1000-1500 words, due 8 Apr.) 30%


*Grading - dates as above are tentative

Hist. 223 will prepare you for Hist. 320 (European Reformation) and Hist. 336 (Ideas and Society in Early Modern Europe).  You may take Hist. 223 and Hist. 320 concurrently in Spring 2024.



  • Euan Cameron, ed., Early Modern Europe (online at the SFU library) or for your purchase at ca.
  • Journal articles available electronically from the SFU library through the course syllabus.
  • Robert Darnton, The Great Cat Massacre. Purchase e-book or paperback at ca. Other options for purchase are available here.

We will use Canvas in several ways.  You can download a Canvas app for your devices.


Your personalized Course Material list, including digital and physical textbooks, are available through the SFU Bookstore website by simply entering your Computing ID at: shop.sfu.ca/course-materials/my-personalized-course-materials.

Registrar Notes:


SFU’s Academic Integrity website http://www.sfu.ca/students/academicintegrity.html is filled with information on what is meant by academic dishonesty, where you can find resources to help with your studies and the consequences of cheating. Check out the site for more information and videos that help explain the issues in plain English.

Each student is responsible for his or her conduct as it affects the university community. Academic dishonesty, in whatever form, is ultimately destructive of the values of the university. Furthermore, it is unfair and discouraging to the majority of students who pursue their studies honestly. Scholarly integrity is required of all members of the university. http://www.sfu.ca/policies/gazette/student/s10-01.html


Students with a faith background who may need accommodations during the term are encouraged to assess their needs as soon as possible and review the Multifaith religious accommodations website. The page outlines ways they begin working toward an accommodation and ensure solutions can be reached in a timely fashion.