The Chinese University of Hong Kong Department of History Department of History
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HIST3400 Modern European Intellectual History: Ideas and Society

Semester 1 (2020-2021)

Lecture TimeWednesday 10:30am-12:15pm


Lecturer Noah SHUSTERMAN ((852) 3943 1765 /

Teaching Assistant CHIANG Keng Pu (

Course Description

This course examines the relationship between ideas and social changes in modern Europe. It will also explore the impact of modern European thoughts on contemporary culture in a cross-cultural perspective.

Teaching Plan for online and for possible in person classes

My goals for fall semester 2020 are: to create possibilities for student participation and interaction; and to put in place an approach that will smooth and transition(s) between on-line and face-to-face teaching.

In order to achieve this, I am hoping to take the following steps:

-There will be a participation element to this course, but that participation will be via an on-line discussion board. In the event that face-to-face teaching resumes, the discussion board will still be a part of the course, though students would then be able to supplement their participation grades by contributing to in-class discussions.

-I am planning on teaching all of the classes in the classroom while using zoom to make them accessible on-line. (Note that I say “planning” because I have never done this, and do not know what exactly this will entail. But, that’s the plan). By teaching in the classroom even when there are no students in attendance, and by making them available on zoom if they are face-to-face, I am hoping that this will make any transitions smoother.


Week 1: From Traditional Europe to Enlightenment Europe


Week 2: Europe and slavery

Texts: The Encylopedie entries on Slavery, the Slave Trade, and Negroes [note: do not use the term “negro” when speaking]




Week 3: Europe’s Internal Others

Texts: Wollstonecraft, A Vindication of the Rights of Women (Selections); Zalkid-Hourwitz, Vindication of the Jews

Links: – introduction, chapters 1 & 4–equality–fraternity/item/573


Week 4: Post-Revolution Europe: proletariats and liberals

Texts: Blake, London, Jerusalem; Mill, On Liberty

Links: – Intro, chapters 2 & 4


Week 5: Darwin and the British Empire

Text: Darwin, The Voyage of the Beagle

Link: – Preface, Chapters I V, XVIII, XIX


Week 6: Socialism and Communism

Text: Marx and Engels, The Communist Manifesto; Engels, The Principles of Communism


Week 7: Nationalism and Colonialism
Text: Ernest Renan, The Intellectual and Moral Reform of France


Week 8: Freud

Text: Sigmund Freud, Introductory Lectures
Link: or
Chapters 7, 11, 16-20


Week 9: Socialist Revolutions

Texts: Lenin and Luxemburg, selections ( The text for Lenin could be seen on Blackboard)


Week 10: Totalitarianism
Text: Hannah Arendt, On the Nature of Totalitarianism: An Essay in Understanding


Week 11: Feminism, Existentialism
Text: Simone de Beauvoir, The Second Sex
Link: (introduction)


Week 12: Stalinism and Post-Stalinism
Text: Havel, The Power of the Powerless


Week 13: Anticolonialism
Text: Amee Cesaire, Discourse on Colonialism

Assessment & Assignments
Tutorial 25%  
Participation 20% Participation in the class will be primarily via an on-line discussion board/forum, though should face-to-face teaching resume, students will be able to supplement their on-line contributions with in-class contributions
Response papers 3, each worth 5% = 15% These are short (1-2 page) papers with no citations, meant to be something more expanded than the on-line forum participation, yet still shorter and less formal than the midterm paper or the take-home exam
Midterm paper 15%  
Take-home final 25%  

1. Time : Wednesday 12:30 -13:30 (after each lecture / after add-drop period)

2. On each tutorial, we will read and discuss course reading materials together.

3. No need to form groups. Everything can be done individually.

4. Each student need to choose 1 material and make a 10-minute presentation on that material. After the presentation, write a review on that material no longer than 500 words. (20%)

5. No attendance will be taken. However, students are encouraged to attend as many tutorials as possible. After presentation(s), the remaining time will be discussion. Students are welcome to give comments to presenting student(s) or discuss freely about the topic of each week. (5%)

20% + 5% = 25%

Honesty in Academic Work

Attention is drawn to University policy and regulations on honesty in academic work, and to the disciplinary guidelines and procedures applicable to breaches of such policy and regulations. Details may be found at

With each assignment, students will be required to submit a signed declaration that they are aware of these policies, regulations, guidelines and procedures.

  • In the case of group projects, all members of the group should be asked to sign the declaration, each of whom is responsible and liable to disciplinary actions, irrespective of whether he/she has signed the declaration and whether he/she has contributed, directly or indirectly, to the problematic contents.
  • For assignments in the form of a computer-generated document that is principally text-based and submitted via VeriGuide, the statement, in the form of a receipt, will be issued by the system upon students’ uploading of the soft copy of the assignment.

Assignments without the properly signed declaration will not be graded by teachers.

Only the final version of the assignment should be submitted via VeriGuide.

The submission of a piece of work, or a part of a piece of work, for more than one purpose (e.g. to satisfy the requirements in two different courses) without declaration to this effect shall be regarded as having committed undeclared multiple submissions. It is common and acceptable to reuse a turn of phrase or a sentence or two from one’s own work; but wholesale reuse is problematic. In any case, agreement from the course teacher(s) concerned should be obtained prior to the submission of the piece of work.

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