KC Johnson

Pathways: Shaping of the Modern World (Fall 2014)

A history of modernity since 1500. Topics include the emergence of the Atlantic World; early modern society, culture, and the state; trade, colonialism, and slavery; Enlightenment; key political, scientific, industrial and technological revolutions; nineteenth-century nation states and mass society; twentieth-century war, revolution, and resistance; nationalism, internationalism, and totalitarianism; demography, migration, and the environment; work, gender, and daily life.

The course covers seven time periods: Early Modern World; Age of Revolutions; Industrial Societies; Nations and Ideologies; Western Imperialism; World Wars and Totalitarianism; and the Post-1945 World.



  • Exams: 60%
  • Quizzes (based on reading, each class; either multiple choice or map-based, bottom four dropped): 30%
  • Participation: 10%
  • Office hours, Tuesday, 12.30-1.30, Boylan 1127a

Lecture Handouts & PowerPoints


August 28.  Introduction

September 2. Initial Expansion: The Columbian Exchange, Colonialism, and Slavery

September 4. New Political Patterns

  • King, Western Civilization, chapter 17
  • plus documents on website
  • documents & maps on the website

September 9. The Constitution

  • documents & maps on website

September 11. International Revolutions

September 16. The World in 1850

September 18. Nationalism and State Formation

September 23, 25: No class (college schedule)

September 30. The Creation of Modern Europe

  • L.S. Stavrianos, The Balkans since 1493excerpt
  • plus maps on website

October 2 . Imperialism, I

October 7. Imperialism, II

  • documents & maps on website

October 9. World War I

  • King, Western Civilization, chapter 25
  • plus documents & maps on website

October 14. Versailles, Leninism, and the World of the 1920s

  • King, Western Civilization, chapter 26
  • Lenin on self-determination (1917)
  • Wilson, Fourteen Points (1918)
  • plus documents and maps on website

October 16: No class

October 21. Review

October 23. Midterm

October 28: Imperialism, III

articles and documents at website.

October 30. Responses to the Depression: Fascism and Stalinism, and the New Deal

  • King, Western Civilization, chapter 28 (first half).
    Mussolini, “What Is Fascism?” (1932)
  • plus maps on website

November 4: Responses to the Depression: The New Deal

  • documents and short readings on website

November 6. Road to War

  • documents & maps on website

November 11. World War II

  • Western Civilization, chapter 28 (second half)
  • plus documents and maps on website

November 13. Coming of the Cold War

  • documents & maps on website

November 18. The Cold War Intensifies

  • documents and maps on website

November 20 . Decolonization & Civil Rights

  • King, Western Civilization, chap. 29
  • plus documents & maps on website

November 25. 1968 & the Global Environment

  • documents & maps on website

December 2: The Collapse of European Communism

  • documents, essays, & maps on website

December 4. Globalization & the Post-Cold War World

  • King, Western Civilization, epilogue; plus documents and maps on website

December 9. The Contemporary World

  • documents & maps on website

December 11. Review

December 23, 1.00-3.00pm: Final Exam

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