EUH 4930: Special Topics
The Industrial Revolution in Europe
and the United States in the 19th Century:
OBJECTIVES: This course is designed to
introduce the interested upper level undergraduate and
graduate student to the economic history of Europe and
the United States during the 19th century. The
approach is comparative so that we can obtain a more
general picture of the industrialization of western
nations, c.1760-1914. We shall focus on the causes
and origins of the Industrial Revolution---as a question
of historiography---as well as the patterns of economic
growth exhibited by England, the United States, France
and Germany. Other topics of discussion will
include: labor history, technological innovation and
technology transfer, capital growth, entrepreneurship and
what we shall be calling an "industrial
culture." Above all, it is my sincere hope
that the student will come to understand the Industrial
Revolution as a historical event as well as the focus of
a continuous historiographical debate.
COURSE REQUIREMENTS: This course is intentionally designed as a seminar. What this means is that you will be required to complete about 100 pages of reading per week---sometimes less, sometimes more. When you come to class you should have completed your assignments and be prepared to discuss them. Failure to complete your reading will mean an incomplete class experience. I will usually present either one or two formal lectures per evening and there will be plenty of time for discussion both during and after the lectures. My lectures, furthermore, will either pinpoint large or general trends or, will focus on smaller details of interest both to myself and the course.
Because this course is designed as a seminar, you will have to do quite a bit of reading. The four titles listed above are your general texts. Other readings will be assigned on a weekly basis and in most cases I will have the books and/or articles available each evening.
There are no examinations in this course!
You will, however, have to submit TWO research papers. These papers should be between 7-10 pages and typed. The tentative topics are as follows:
Paper 1: Choose a technological innovation and explain how that innovation revolutionized production in a particular industry. An example would be the steam engine, power loom or interchangeable parts.
Paper 2: Choose a country and explain the pattern of economic growth exhibited by that country. In other words, discuss how that country moved from a traditional economy to industrial capitalism.
I will, of course, elaborate on these topics in the next few weeks. Regardless, you should begin thinking about both topics as soon as possible.
A STATEMENT: Contrary to popular belief, economic history can be interesting. However, it is a difficult subject and at times the reading will be so dense and boring that you may have wished you never signed up for this course. Just the same, I am convinced that the Industrial Revolution as well as its companion and antecedent, the Scientific Revolution, have done more to fashion the modern world than just about any other historical event. Although the topics may seem both "heady and heavy," I do want to have some fun. With this in mind, you will find the class extremely informal and hopefully informative.
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copyright � 2000 Steven Kreis