For anyone living in the Western world, Europe is so much more than just a varied mix of travel destinations, an inspiring example of different cultures living side by side, and a set of historical events that forever altered the history of Western civilization. Europe is, in fact, as much an idea as it is a place.
Understanding how Europe evolved is essential for anyone seeking an in-depth grasp of both the history of Western civilization—and its future—for a variety of reasons:
In short, and in almost every way that matters, historical Europe was the laboratory in which the world you now live in was conceived and tested. And you'll be living with the consequences of those experiments for the rest of your life.
The Development of European Civilization leads you through the doors of that laboratory and guides you through the development of Europe from the late Middle Ages through the eve of World War II. In these 48 lectures delivered by University of Toronto Professor Kenneth R. Bartlett, whose award-winning teaching skills have been evident in the classroom, in books, and through video lectures for more than 30 years—you'll finally grasp the amazing results of that European laboratory over more than 600 years of history.
As you follow Professor Bartlett through the dramatic story of European history, you'll learn
With The Development of European Civilization, one important idea will become crystal clear to you: Although history may well be made up of events taking place over time, the true meaning of history can never be discerned through a linear recitation of those events. That's because history, as every lecture of this remarkable course proves, is a mosaic—and to grasp that mosaic's meaning is to learn to see history in its entirety; to understand the ways in which ideas, institutions, and social forces have interacted to paint each tile, set it among the others, and, when necessary, shatter them into fragments to replace them with others.
To learn to see history in this way requires a course designed to teach it this way, and Professor Bartlett's lectures take an unusual and profoundly thoughtful approach that make The Development of European Civilization an ideal complement to more traditional presentations of European history.
Rather than offering you a laundry list of dates, events, and famous individuals, Professor Bartlett leaves you instead with an understanding of historical and social causality and a stronger appreciation of just why events took place. You'll learn why and how institutions evolved as they did, and what the ideas, culture, and institutions born in Europe have meant—and will continue to mean—to the rest of the Western world. More important: You'll experience Europe's development from a European perspective, further enhancing your existing understanding of both modern Europe and Western nations outside Europe, whose own traditions and institutions have drawn so much from the European experiment.
Although key events and individuals are included in these lectures, they take their importance in this course from their impact on the ideas of their time and the roles that they played in bringing about the key ideas and forces of the events that were yet to come. You'll learn how to see names like Diderot, Calvin, Darwin, Marx, Luther, Mill, Newton, Robespierre, Hitler, Mussolini, Wilson, and so many others in startling new ways. These and other figures, you'll discover, are not only participants in history's great pageant but characters created by forces beyond themselves—forces whose resonances would echo well into our own time.
Each lecture focuses on a particular moment in time and analyzes the circumstances that would drive the evolution of the ideas, forces, and institutions that created European history.
One of Professor Bartlett's greatest accomplishments in crafting The Development of European Civilization lies in his ability to sustain his focus on ideas, institutions, social forces, and other abstract concepts without ever being dry, and without losing sight of the human beings around whom those abstractions swirled.
A terrific storyteller, he teaches with great enthusiasm and flow, making his lectures a pleasure to watch or listen to and making it plainly evident why his teaching skills have won him numerous awards and accolades, including the 3M National Teaching Fellowship from the Canadian Society for Teaching and Learning in Higher Education and the President's Teaching Award from the University of Toronto. Moreover, as he effortlessly leads you through general historical trends and specific defining events, Professor Bartlett never leaves you stretching for understanding.
Simply put, Professor Bartlett is an accomplished teacher and a masterful historian. With The Development of European Civilization, this popular Great Courses professor has crafted an extraordinarily integrated learning experience that is sure to be one of the most pleasurable and informative experiences of historical learning you'll ever have.