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Birth of the Modern World




Admission Requirements

Note: this is the former Transnational History course; students who have successfully completed Transnational History cannot enroll in this course.


This course offers students a foundation in historical thinking and study, and as such introduces them to the Global History track of the Human Diversity major. History as a professional academic discipline developed in tandem with the rise of the modern nation-state, and traditionally has served as one of its most significant ideological supports. This course, by contrast, explores aspects of the human past that transcend any single nation-state, empire, or politically-bounded territory. We will study a range of important social formations: from the international circulation of commodities and ideas, to diasporas and the development of migratory networks, to the challenges of environmental change, to the proliferation of transnational social movements and NGOs. Studying these interrelated phenomena will yield a richer understanding of the interconnectedness of human history, and of the long-standing (yet by no means linear) processes of globalization. Unlike traditional historical study focusing on the state, this course emphasises the role played by a variety of non-state actors and institutions. In doing so, it does not deny the significance of nations and empires; rather, it places a special emphasis on the transnational influences on nations and regions themselves, allowing us to contextualise events within these historical and geographical containers.

Course Objectives

By successfully completing this course, you will:

  • understand key themes and methods in modern global history.

  • develop a critical perspective on the meanings of the term “transnational,” and a richer awareness of the long history of globalization.

  • learn what it means to “think historically,” and how to compare and evaluate a range of techniques for studying the human past.

  • improve your ability to read scholarly material carefully, critically, and with greater dispatch.

  • devise and execute a well-argued historical essay.

  • improve your oral presentation skills.


All readings will be made available via Blackboard.

Contact Information

Dr. Karwan Fatah-Black