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BA History and French / Course details
Year of entry: 2023
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Course unit details:
From Greed to Grandezza: A History of Capitalism from the Renaissance to Modernity (1250s-1900s)
|Unit level||Level 3|
|Teaching period(s)||Semester 1|
|Available as a free choice unit?||No|
Historically, capitalism developed in a variety of ways and took various forms. This course traces some of its most characteristic examples, combining practical economic histories of capitalism with their underlying histories of capitalist ideology and ideas.
This course will
- introduce students to a broad range of relevant themes and historiographical debates associated with the economic and social history of capitalist development in historical perspective.
- engage students with critical concepts relating to the study of economic and social history
- encourage students to adopt a critical perspective to their own understanding of capitalism and the rise of the modern economy.
- facilitate independent study by developing key skills in terms of locating, analyzing and evaluating both primary and secondary source material related to important themes introduced in the course.
Knowledge and understanding
By the end of this course students will be able to:
- Possess an awareness of the ways in which historians have examined and understood the history of European capitalism 1250-1850.
- Articulate key themes related to the emergence of capitalist institutions in Europe.
- Explore the historical origin of modern capitalist societies.
- Possess familiarity with key historiography and texts on the dynamics of modern capitalism.
- Confront how ideas of social justice and inequality shaped past societies.
- Articulate the relationship between people and institutions in their social and economic contexts.
- Develop awareness of how historians use primary sources in historical research to examine these relationships.
- Possess awareness of how economic and social history methods can be applied to specific historical periods and issues.
- Locate, retrieve, assimilate and interpret relevant information and key concepts from primary and secondary sources.
- Develop and present informed historical argumentation in written and oral form.
- Extend and apply oral and group skills by participating in and leading seminars.
Transferable skills and personal qualities
- Acquire a solid understanding of the boundaries of social, cultural and economic history, as well as the opportunity to develop a wider perspective by an integration of those fields in the fruitful study of capitalism;
- Develop a critical understanding of the nature and limitations of primary sources available to historians, and to learn how to apply historical methods in appropriate contexts in relation to the study of capitalism;
- Explore how the study of history, especially capitalism, has benefited from dialogue with other academic disciplines;
- Undertake in-depth investigation of case-studies of capitalism in Europe and beyond.
- Understand basic principles and concepts employed by historians, and intellectual developments that have informed recent ‘mainstream’, neoliberal and heterodox approaches to capitalism and modernity.
- Oral communication
- · The oral work, and the feedback on it, will enable students to improve their reading and speaking skills.
- Written communication
- · The written coursework will help students develop their abilities to undertake independent research using a wide variety of sources of information, and enable them to develop their analytical abilities and their writing skills.
- · The intellectual and knowledge skills will prepare students for a range of careers requiring knowledge of historical changes to economic, social and political institutions, businesses and firms, markets and organisations, commodities and products, etc. Such careers could include law, business and management, advertising and communications, politics and administration, charities and voluntary organisations, private sector enterprises, self-employment and entrepreneurship, etc.
|Extended source analysis||50%|
Formative or Summative
Oral Feedback in seminars
Written feedback on coursework
Formative and Summative
Written Feedback on exams
Additional one-to-one feedback with CUD, lecturers or tutors during consultation hours
Joyce O. Appleby, The relentless revolution: a history of capitalism (New York: W. W. Norton, 2010)
Sven Beckert, Empire of Cotton: A Global History (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2014)
Mark Bevir / Frank Trentmann, Markets in historical contexts: ideas and politics in the modern world (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2004)
Francesco Boldizzoni, Means and ends: the idea of capital in the West, 1500-1970 (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2008)
Francesco Boldizzoni Foretelling the End of Capitalism: Intellectual Misadventures since Karl Marx (Princeton, NJ, 2020)
Fernand Braudel, Civilization and capitalism, 15th-18th century 3 vols. (New York: Harper & Row, Publishers, 1982-1984)
Rondo Cameron & Larry Neal, A Concise Economic History of the World: From Paleolithic Times to the Present (2002)
Carlo M. Cipolla, Between two cultures: an introduction to economic history (New York: Norton, 1991)
Robert S. DuPlessis, Transitions to capitalism in early modern Europe (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997)
Bernard Harcourt, The illusion of free markets: punishment and the myth of natural order (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2011)
Martha C. Howell, Commerce before capitalism in Europe, 1300-1600 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2010)
Edwin S. Hunt & James M. Murray, A history of business in medieval Europe 1200-1550 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1999)
Jürgen Kocka, Capitalism. A short history (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2016)
Eric Mielants, The origins of capitalism and the rise of the west, 2nd ed. (Temple University Press, 2008)
Sidney Mintz, Sweetness and power: The place of sugar in modern history (London & New York: Penguin, 1986)
Jerry Z. Muller, The mind and the market: capitalism in modern European thought (New York: Anchor, 2003)
Karl Polanyi, The great transformation (Boston, 1944) eBook: http://www.humanitiesebook.org/
Frank Trentmann, Empire of things: how we became a world of consumers, from the fifteenth century to the twenty-first (London: Allen Lane, 2016)
|Scheduled activity hours|
|Independent study hours|
|Philipp Roessner||Unit coordinator|