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The Rise and Fall of Europe from 1789 to the Present

Dr Mark B. Smith

This course offers an overview of European history since the French Revolution. Students will learn about, and interpret, the great events of the modern period - the revolutions, national unifications, and wars - as well as the processes that have shaped our time, such as industrialisation, democratisation, imperialism, and changing gender roles.

Ranging across political, socio-economic and cultural themes, and visiting all parts of Europe, from Britain to Russia, from Sweden to Italy, it will allow students to debate the great historiographical controversies of modern Europe, and ultimately to reflect on the ways that history informs the crises of the present day.

Intended Audience

This course is for all students who would like to learn how European history has unfolded over the last two centuries, and who are curious about the relationship between contemporary events and the longer-term development of modern Europe.

Previous Knowledge

The course is designed to be accessible to students from all disciplines and therefore does not assume existing knowledge.

Transferable Knowledge and Skills

Students will develop their ability to understand, critique and synthesize different texts, to present a convincing point of view in verbal discussion, and to write a clearly formulated argument.


Dr Mark B. Smith

Dr Mark B. Smith teaches modern European history at the University of Cambridge and is a specialist in the history of the Soviet Union.

His new book, The Russia Anxiety, will be published in 2019. He is a Fellow of King's College and of the Royal Historical Society.