HIST 101 - Western Civilization, Modern (GT-HI1)

  • 3 credits

This course is based on the assumption that there is a place called “the West,” and that studying the history of “the West” is helpful in attempting to come to terms with the contemporary world. To this end, we will survey topics in Western society, culture, environment, and politics from the Protestant Reformation to recent events. We will pay attention to large, comparative themes. If you are interested in the environment, philosophy, in comparative religions, in women and gender history, in science, politics, art, empires and great battles of the past then this course if for you. If you are not sure, but think you might be interested in some of these things, this is especially the course for you! The course will focus on Europe but we will also consider Europe’s relationships with other parts of the world.

The course will be divided into three parts, punctuated by examinations. The first part will begin roughly with the Renaissance during the fifteenth century and carry forward to the “Age of Enlightenment,” while noting the impact of the Little Ice Age. The second part will begin with the French Revolution and industrialization, and will proceed to the eve of the First World War. The final part will examine the Russian Revolution, the rise of fascism and Stalinism, two world wars, and postwar themes such as the onset of global warming, decolonization, European unification, youth culture, the end of Communism, and the “new immigration.”

This course meets the All-University Core Curriculum (AUCC) requirements for Historical Perspectives (Category 3D) and is approved under gtPathways in the content area of History (GT-HI1).

This course can be applied toward:

Textbooks and Materials

Textbooks and materials can be purchased at the CSU Bookstore unless otherwise indicated.


  • Candide (Penguin Modern Classics) (2005)
    ISBN: 978-0812972016
  • Cultures of the West: A History, Volume 2: Since 1350, 2nd Ed. (2016)
    Clifford R. Backman
    ISBN: 978-0190240479
  • Not So Quiet . . . (1989)
    Helena Zenna Smith
    ISBN: 978-0935312829


Dan Stephen

(970) 988-8057 | dan.stephen@colostate.edu

My full name is Dr. Daniel Stephen, and I’ve taught similar courses at Colorado State University beginning in 2008 as well as at other area campuses. I grew up in an American family living in Britain and later West Germany; my family spent a grand total of 35 years living overseas before retiring back to Ohio. As a civilian offshoot with roots in the Midwest living among army brats, Europeans, and new arrivals to Europe coming from outside the continent, I have many memories of the Cold War, the post-war years in Germany, the sixties youth rebellions, and the sparks and excitement that can fly when different peoples and cultures collide and interact. I feel very passionately about history as a vehicle for understanding who we are and the contexts in which we live today.

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