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HIS2005 Europe: History of an Idea

Semester 1, 2014 On-campus Toowoomba
Units : 1
Faculty or Section : Faculty of Business, Education, Law and Arts
School or Department : School of Arts and Communication

Contents on this page


Examiner: Catherine Dewhirst
Moderator: Robert Mason


Pre-requisite: Any First Year History Course

Other requisites

Students will require access to e-mail and have internet access to UConnect for this course.


The ‘idea’ of Europe was slow to emerge in early modern and modern European history. It is, however, a useful concept for exploring the rapid change facing the peoples of Europe and the way they responded to such change politically, socially and culturally. This course is punctuated by four major themes that interconnect in order to allow students to engage with the collective unifying and fragmenting natures of the history of Europe and Europeans


This course engages with questions about the `idea' of Europe and Europeans. It introduces students to modern European history by examining some of the forces and trends that influenced developments between the Black Death (1348) and the rise of nationalism after the French Revolution of 1789. By focussing on significant turning-points and some of the colourful players in this historic age, students analyse features of political, social and cultural change. In particular, the course allows students to engage with critical issues to do with Europe's hegemonic transformations and responses to the ideas emerging over the period with an emphasis on primary source analysis. Content and assessment items in this course lead to an appreciation not only of the relevance of the rise of nation states, but also the significance of Enlightenment ideas for our current times.


On completion of this course students will be able to:

  1. identify and develop a critical awareness of the major events, forces and figures influencing political, social and cultural change in European history between the fourteeth and nineteenth centuries;
  2. engage critically with the significance of power, gender, class and/or racial paradigms as exemplified in specific European countries or regions throughout the period;
  3. participate in and contribute to group discussion in meaningful ways in tutorials and/or online;
  4. analyse critically and interpret both primary and secondary sources within the context of providing a coherent argument;
  5. demonstrate competency in written expression and scholarly research relevant to the discipline of History on selected topics.


Description Weighting(%)
1. Europe in Transformation: Introduction: The 'Idea' of Europe; Backdrop to the Modern Age and Interpreting the Black Death; Europe in Renaissance and the Medici of Florence; Niccolo Machiavelli. 25.00
2. Europe Divided: The Holy Roman Empire and Martin Luther’s Reformation; Witchcraft Persecution; the French Wars of Religion and the Thirty Years War. 25.00
3. Foundations of the Modern State: Absolutism and the Sun King, Louis XIV, the French Enlightenment, Russia's Emergence and Catherine the Great. 25.00
4. Revolution and Nationalism: The French Revolution; Napoleon Bonaparte and his European Empire; the Concert of Europe and Prince von Metternich; Italy and the Idea of Europe; Course Overview and exam review. 25.00

Text and materials required to be purchased or accessed

ALL textbooks and materials available to be purchased can be sourced from USQ's Online Bookshop (unless otherwise stated). (

Please contact us for alternative purchase options from USQ Bookshop. (

  • Machiavelli, Niccolo 2003, The Prince, George Bull (trans), Penguin Books, London.
  • Merriman, J 2010, A History of Modern Europe: From the Renaissance to the Present, 3rd edn, W W Norton & company, New York & London.

Reference materials

Reference materials are materials that, if accessed by students, may improve their knowledge and understanding of the material in the course and enrich their learning experience.
  • Anderson, B 1991, Imagined Communities: Reflections on the Origin, Verso, London & New York.
  • Barry, J, Hester, M & Roberts, G (eds) 1998, Witchcraft in Early Modern Europe: Studies in Culture and Belief, Cambridge University Press, New York.
  • Delanty, G 1998, Inventing Europe: Idea, Identity, Reality, Macmillan Press, Basingstoke, Hampshire.
  • Kates, G (ed) 2006, The French Revolution: Recent Debates and New Controversies, 2nd edn, Routledge, New York & London.
  • Rosner, L & Theibault, J 2000, A Short History of Europe, 1600-1815: Search for a Reasonable World, M E Sharpe, New York.

Student workload requirements

Activity Hours
Examinations 2.00
Lectures 28.00
Private Study 120.00
Tutorials 12.00

Assessment details

Description Marks out of Wtg (%) Due Date Notes
DOCUMENT ANALYSIS 1000 WORDS 100 15 03 Apr 2014
CONTEXT ANALYSIS 1000 WORDS 100 15 24 Apr 2014
MAJOR ESSAY - 2000 WORDS 100 40 23 May 2014
EXAMINATION - 2 HOURS 100 30 End S1 (see note 1)

  1. Students will be advised of the official examination date after the timetable has been finalised.

Important assessment information

  1. Attendance requirements:
    It is the students' responsibility to attend and participate appropriately in all activities (such as lectures, tutorials, laboratories and practical work) scheduled for them, and to study all material provided to them or required to be accessed by them to maximise their chance of meeting the objectives of the course and to be informed of course-related activities and administration. Students must attend and complete the requirements of the Workplace Health and Safety training program for this course where required.

  2. Requirements for students to complete each assessment item satisfactorily:
    To satisfactorily complete an individual assessment item a student must achieve at least 50% of the marks.

  3. Penalties for late submission of required work:
    Students should refer to the Assessment Procedure (point 4.2.4)

  4. Requirements for student to be awarded a passing grade in the course:
    To be assured of receiving a passing grade a student must achieve at least 50% of the total weighted marks available for the course.

  5. Method used to combine assessment results to attain final grade:
    The final grades for students will be assigned on the basis of the aggregate of the weighted marks obtained for each of the summative assessment items in the course.

  6. Examination information:
    Candidates are allowed to bring only writing and drawing instruments into the Closed examination.

  7. Examination period when Deferred/Supplementary examinations will be held:
    Any Deferred or Supplementary examinations for this course will be held during the next examination period.

  8. University Student Policies:
    Students should read the USQ policies: Definitions, Assessment and Student Academic Misconduct to avoid actions which might contravene University policies and practices. These policies can be found at

Assessment notes

  1. The due date for an assignment is the date by which a student must despatch the assignment to the USQ. The onus is on the student to provide proof of the despatch date, if requested by the Examiner.

  2. Students must retain a copy of each item submitted for assessment. This must be despatched to USQ within 24 hours if required by the Examiner.

  3. In accordance with University Policy, the Examiner may grant an extension of the due date of an assignment in extenuating circumstances.

  4. If electronic submission of assessments is specified for the course, students will be notified of this in the course Introductory Book and on the USQ Study Desk. All required electronic submission must be made through the Assignment Drop Box located on the USQ Study Desk for the course, unless directed otherwise by the examiner of the course. The due date for an electronically submitted assessment is the date by which a student must electronically submit the assignment. The assignment files must be submitted by 11.55pm on the due date using USQ time (as displayed on the clock on the course home page; that is, Australian Eastern Standard Time).

  5. If the method of assessment submission is by written, typed or printed paper-based media students should (i) submit to the Faculty Office for students enrolled in the course in the on-campus mode, or (ii) mail to the USQ for students enrolled in the course in the external mode. The due date for the assessment is the date by which a student must (i) submit the assessment for students enrolled in the on-campus mode, or (ii) mail the assessment for students enrolled in the external mode.

  6. The Faculty will NOT normally accept submission of assessments by facsimile or email.

  7. Students who do not have regular access to postal services for the submission of paper-based assessments, or regular access to Internet services for electronic submission, or are otherwise disadvantaged by these regulations may be given special consideration. They should contact the examiner of the course to negotiate such special arrangements prior to the submission date.

  8. Students who have undertaken all of the required assessments in a course but who have failed to meet some of the specified objectives of a course within the normally prescribed time may be awarded one of the temporary grades: IM (Incomplete - Make up), IS (Incomplete - Supplementary Examination) or ISM (Incomplete -Supplementary Examination and Make up). A temporary grade will only be awarded when, in the opinion of the examiner, a student will be able to achieve the remaining objectives of the course after a period of non directed personal study.

  9. Students who, for medical, family/personal, or employment-related reasons, are unable to complete an assignment or to sit for an examination at the scheduled time may apply to defer an assessment in a course. Such a request must be accompanied by appropriate supporting documentation. One of the following temporary grades may be awarded IDS (Incomplete - Deferred Examination; IDM (Incomplete Deferred Make-up); IDB (Incomplete - Both Deferred Examination and Deferred Make-up).

  10. Students may be assigned an "Incomplete" grade to signify that all the requirements of the course have not yet been met. Students who are graded "I" can pass the course by successfully completing such additional work as prescribed by the examiner by a given date. Students who have been awarded an IM, ISM, IDM or IDB grade must access information regarding further work to be completed, in the Student Centre of U Connect. The Grades Page in the Student Centre contains information about further work to be completed. Students who have not completed the additional work to the satisfaction of the examiner by the given date will receive the appropriate Failing grade.

Other requirements

  1. Students can expect that questions in assessment items in this course may draw upon knowledge and skills that they can reasonably be expected to have acquired before enrolling in the course. This includes knowledge contained in pre-requisite courses and appropriate communication, information literacy, analytical, critical thinking, problem solving or numeracy skills. Students who do not possess such knowledge and skills should not expect to achieve the same grades as those students who do possess them.