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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of History, Classics and Archaeology : History

Undergraduate Course: Dreams and nightmares: the culture and politics of postwar Europe, 1945-1975 (HIST10385)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of History, Classics and Archaeology CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 10 (Year 4 Undergraduate) AvailabilityNot available to visiting students
SCQF Credits40 ECTS Credits20
SummaryThis course is intended as an in-depth analysis of the 'postwar moment' in Europe, from the dying embers of the Second World War to the global economic transformation of the 1970s. The aim will be to examine the ways in which Europeans came to terms with the traumas of war and sought to rebuild a shattered continent. Students will explore the period through close-grained historical reading in seminars and a series of source workshops, in which they will discuss literary, film, artistic and documentary sources.
Course description The main focus will be on four countries - France, Germany, Italy and Czechoslovakia - and the range of primary sources will be deliberately eclectic. In addition to oral sources and other archival documents, students can expect to read texts by writers such as Milan Kundera, Wolfgang Koeppen, Frantz Fanon, Simone de Beauvoir, Milan Kundera, Herbet Marcuse, Primo Levi and Albert Camus, and watch films by directors such as Gillo Pontecorvo and Federico Fellini. The secondary reading will be equally varied and students will be encouraged to work with historical, sociological, literary and anthropological writings. These should allow students to think imaginatively about the origins and meaning of social change in twentieth-century Europe.

Content note: The study of history inevitably involves the study of difficult topics that we encourage students to approach in a respectful, scholarly, and sensitive manner. Nevertheless, we remain conscious that some students may wish to prepare themselves for the discussion of difficult topics. In particular, the course organiser has outlined that the following topics may be discussed in this course, whether in class or through required or recommended primary and secondary sources: racism, colonial violence, anti-semitism, sexual violence, genocide, dehumanisation in wartime, traumatic memories of war, and representations of nuclear war. While this list indicates sensitive topics students are likely to encounter, it is not exhaustive because course organisers cannot entirely predict the directions discussions may take in tutorials or seminars, or through the wider reading that students may conduct for the course.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements A pass in 40 credits of third level historical courses or equivalent.

Students should only be enrolled on this course with approval from the History Honours Programme Administrator.
Additional Costs Students can access all the source material in the library. However, they may wish to purchase the key primary texts, available cheaply online.
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2024/25, Not available to visiting students (SS1) Quota:  0
Course Start Full Year
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 400 ( Seminar/Tutorial Hours 44, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 8, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 348 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 80 %, Practical Exam 20 %
Additional Information (Assessment) Semester 1:
1 x 3,000-word essay on one or more of the prescribed sources, with questions given around 10 days before submission (15%);
1 x 3,000 word essay on broader historiographical questions (20%)

Semester 2: 1 x 3,000-word essay on one or more prescribed sources, with questions given around 10 days before submission (20%);
1 x 3,000 word research essay, for which the students will have to devise their own question and/or topic (25%)
2 x assessed presentations (10%). Students will do two presentations during the course - one on historiography and one on source material. The best of the two presentation marks will go towards the final grade.
1 x participation or online discussion forum (10%)
Feedback Students will receive written feedback on their coursework, and will have the opportunity to discuss that feedback further with the Course Organiser during their published office hours or by appointment.
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Demonstrate a coherent grasp of key political, economic, social, cultural developments in postwar Europe from 1945 to 1975
  2. Demonstrate a better understanding of major themes in postwar European cultural and intellectual life
  3. Demonstrate a familiarity with the key historiographical innovations in the study of postwar Europe; this will include knowledge and engagement with secondary literature from sociology, literature, political science and anthropology
  4. Engage with written and audiovisual primary sources (where appropriate in foreign languages)
  5. Critically analyse the work of others; a capacity to engage critically with the relevant textual and non-textual primary and secondary sources; an ability to gather and organise relevant material for presenting their findings; and an ability to work under established deadlines
Reading List
These introductory texts can be used to get a sense of the major course themes.

Eric Hobsbawm, Age of Extremes, 1914-1991 (1994)
Mark Mazower, Dark Continent, Europe's Twentieth Century (1998)
Tony Judt, Postwar. A History of Europe since 1945 (2005)
David Reynolds, From World War to Cold War (2006)
Richard Vinen, A History in Fragments:. Europe in the Twentieth Century (2000)
Alexis Korner 'Culture' in M. Fulbrook (ed.), Europe since 1945 (2001)
Tim Buchanan, Europe's Troubled Peace (1945-2000) (2005)
Geoff Eley, Forging Democracy. The History of the Left in Europe, 1850-2000 (2002)
Dominik Geppert (ed.), The Postwar Challenge. Cultural, Social, and Political Change in Western Europe, 1945-58 (2003)
David Crowley and Jane Pavitt (eds.), Cold War Modern: Design 1945-1970 (2008)
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Not entered
Additional Class Delivery Information Seminar: 1 x 2-hour session every other week, plus 1 introductory and 1 concluding seminar (24 hours)

Source workshop: 1 x 2-hour session every other week (20 hours)
KeywordsDreams & nightmares
Course organiserDr Stephen Rainbird
Course secretaryMrs Ksenia Gorlatova
Tel: (0131 6)50 8349
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