North Island College Fall 2019

Meeting Times and Places: T-Th, ITV from CVC 11:30 am-12:50 pm (CVT1 -- Discovery 205; CRT1 -- D Wing, 205; PAT1 -- Central Wing, 210); T-Th, CVS1, Tyee 202 -- 4:00-5:20 pm

Instructor: Dan Hinman-Smith

Office:  Village G6

Office Hours:  W, 11:40 am-1:45 pm; Th, 1:10-3:00 pm (or by appointment)

Office Phone: 250-334-5000, Extension 4024

Web-Site: http://www.misterdann.com/

E-Mail: dan.hinmansmith@nic.bc.ca


Ian Goldin and Chris Kutarna, Age of Discovery: Navigating The Storms Of Our Second Renaissance (New York: Bloomsbury, 2017).

Dava Sobel, Galileo's Daughter: A Historical Memoir Of Science, Faith, And Love (New York: Walker, 2011).

Neil MacGregor, Germany: Memories Of A Nation (London: Penguin, 2016).

Optional Textbook:  I have decided not to have a required textbook in HIS 215.  If you would like such a text for your own reference, possibilities include the following (each is also available in a combined volume that stretches to the contemporary era and thus could be used for both HIS 215 and HIS 216):

For HIS 215

Mark Kishlansky, Patrick Geary and Patricia O'Brien, Civilization In The West, Volume B, From 1350 To 1850 (New York: Pearson, 2007).  Check also at Abebooks.

Donald Kagan, Steven Ozment and Frank M. Turner, Western Heritage, Volume B, 1300-1815 (New York: Pearson, 2009).  Check also at Abebooks.

For Both HIS 215 and HIS 216

Donald Kagan, Steven Ozment and Frank M. Turner, Western Heritage, Combined Volume (New York: Pearson, 2009).  Check also at Abebooks.

Course Description

History 215 is offered as an introduction to the most significant trends in European history from the late Medieval era to the French Revolution.  It is not meant to be a comprehensive survey in which you are taught "all you need to know" but is designed to highlight several important issues loosely organized within a chronological framework.  We will be dealing with broad themes: the growth of commercial capitalism; the rise of the nation state; the impact of such intellectual movements as the Renaissance, the Reformation, the Scientific Revolution, and the Enlightenment; and the expansion of European power, commerce, and culture to the Americas, Asia, and Africa.  But we will also try to bring history back down to the personal level.  How did people create meaning in their own lives?  How did they shape their world, and how, in turn, were they shaped by events, by social structure, and by other people?  We will approach such questions through a mixture of lecture presentation, class discussion, reading, student research, slide shows, and video.

Learning Outcomes

1.  Explain the emergence of the early modern state system.

2.  Assess the changing role of religion in early modern society.

3.  Describe the positions of men and women in early modern society.

4.  Analyze the structure of society in the early modern period.

5.  Analyze the strength of the principal status groups at various times during the early modern period.

6.  Explain the impact of intellectual developments (for example the scientific revolution and the enlightenment) on early modern society.

7.  Trace the economic history of early modern Europe.

8.  Describe the differences (where they exist) between eastern and western Europe between 1450 and 1800.

9.  Account for the French Revolution.

Tentative Class Schedule

Week 1

Thursday, September 5

a)  Course Introduction

Week 2

Tuesday, September 10

a)  Lecture: Europe 1492

Outline: Europe 1492

Viewing Assignment:

  "Reconquest," Episode 2, Blood And Gold: The Making Of Spain, BBC, 2015 (52 mins.).

***Letter Of Introduction Due

Thursday, September 12

a)  Video: Episode from Michael Wood's Conquistadors Series, PBS (2000) [60 mins.]

Reading Assignment:

Roger Crowley, "The First Global Empire," History Today, 65 (October 2015): 10-17.

Week 3

Tuesday, September 17

a)  Discussion: Leonardo At 500

b)  Lecture:  The Italian Renaissance (1)

Reading Assignment:

Browse extensively in Leonardo At 500 Discussion Topic

Optional Viewing Assignment:

  "Travels With Vasari, Part 1," BBC, 2008:  Andrew Graham-Dixon's marvelous encounter with the Lives of the Artists.

"Travels With Vasari, Part 2," BBC, 2008.

Thursday, September 19 

a)  Discussion:  Machiavelli

b)  Video: "Medici: Godfathers Of The Renaissance" (PBS, 2003) [220 mins.]


Complete the How Machiavellian Are You Quiz

Viewing Assignment:

  "Who's Afraid Of Machiavelli?," Imagine, BBC, 2013.

Optional Reading Assignment:

Read at least part of Machiavelli's The Prince and/or learn some more about Machiavelli.

Week 4 

Tuesday, September 24

a)  Discussion: Invisible Women

b)  Lecture:  The Italian Renaissance (2)

Viewing Assignment:

  "Invisible Women: Forgotten Artists Of Florence," PBS, 2012 (27 mins.).

Optional Reading:

Browse extensively in Venice Ghetto At 500 Discussion Topic

Stephen Bowd, "Jews And The Renaissance," History Today, 63 (August 2013): 31-38.

Thursday, September 26

a)  Discussion:  Age Of Discovery

b)  [If Time] Continue "Medici: Godfathers Of The Renaissance"

Reading Assignment:

Ian Goldin and Chris Kutarna, Age Of Discovery: Navigating The Storms Of Our Second Renaissance

Optional Listening Assignment:

  "What The Renaissance Can Teach Us About Trump And Our Disruptive Age," Current, CBC, September 6, 2016.

"What The Renaissance Can Teach Us About Our Disruptive Age, Part 2," Current, CBC, September 7, 2016.

Week 5

Tuesday, October 1

a)  Video: "Martin Luther" (PBS, 2002) [110 mins.]

Thursday, October 3

a)  Discussion: Reformation At 500

b)  Lecture:  "The Egg That Luther Hatched": The Reformation (1)

Reading Assignment:

Browse extensively in Reformation At 500 Discussion Topic

***Age Of Discovery Seminar Note Due

Week 6

Tuesday, October8

a)  Finish Video: "Martin Luther" (PBS, 2002) [110 mins.]

Viewing Assignment:

"An Introduction To The Protestant Reformation," Khan Academy, 2013:

Setting The Stage, Part 1 (8 minutes)

Martin Luther, Part 2 (11 minutes)

Varieties Of Protestantism, Part 3 (8 minutes)

The Counter-Reformation, Part 4 (10 minutes)

Thursday, October 10

a)  Lecture:  "The Egg That Luther Hatched": The Reformation (2)

Outline: The Reformation

Optional Listening:

  "The Jesuits," In Our Time, BBC Radio 4, January 18, 2007 (45 minutes).

Week 7

Tuesday, October 15

**Class Cancelled

Thursday, October 17

a)  Luther, Ignatius, Or Calvin?

b)  Lecture: The Wars Of Religions In Europe, 1555-1648

Reading Assignment:

Browse extensively in Early Modern Spain In The News

Optional Listening:

"The Golden Age," The Invention Of The Netherlands, BBC Radio 4, November 27, 2003 (28 minutes).

Week 8

Tuesday, October 22


***First Half Notes Due At The Time Of The Exam (Hard Copies Please)

Thursday, October 24

a)  Introduce Faces Assignment

b)  Video: "Mirror, Mirror: Northern Ireland," Blood And Belonging

Week 9 

Tuesday, October 29

a)  Lecture: The World Turned Upside Down -- The English Civil War (1)

Outline:  The World Turned Upside Down

Thursday, October 31

a)  Video: "The French Revolution," History Channel (2005) [100 mins.]

Week 10

Tuesday, November 5

a)  Discussion: Galileo's Daughter

Reading Assignment:

Dava Sobel, Galileo's Daughter: A Historical Memoir Of Science, Faith, And Love

Thursday, November 7



Week 11

Tuesday, November 12

a)  Lecture: The World Turned Upside Down -- The English Civil War (2)

b)  Lecture: The Measure Of All Things -- The Scientific Revolution (1)

***Faces Assignment Due

Thursday, November 14

a)  Lecture: The Measure Of All Things -- The Scientific Revolution (2)

Outline:  Scientific Revolution

Week 12

Tuesday, November 19

a)  Video: "Galileo's Battle For The Heavens" (NOVA, PBS, 2002, 120 minutes)

Thursday, November 21

a)  Discussion: The Great Cat Massacre

b)  Lecture: Of Sun Kings And The Enlightenment

Reading Assignment:

Robert Darnton, "Workers Revolt: The Great Cat Massacre Of The Rue Saint-Severin" (1984).

Optional Viewing Assignment: [Watch at least one of the following]

  "Power Of Knowledge," Episode 1, Heroes Of The Enlightenment, BBC Worldwide, 2011 (52 minutes).

"Changing Society," Episode 2, Heroes Of The Enlightenment, BBC Worldwide, 2011 (52 minutes).

***Due Date for Extra Credit Possibility:  Students who are considering completing 3 seminar notes, or who know they will choose to write about Galileo's Daughter and want to finish off this responsibility early, should hand in their second seminar note today.

Week 13

Tuesday, November 26

a)  Final Exam Preview

b)  Lecture: "It Was The Best Of Times, It Was The Worst Of Times": The French Revolution (1)

Thursday, November 28

a)  Discussion:  What Was Revolutionary About The French Revolution?

b)  Video: "David," Simon Schama's Power Of Art, BBC (2006) [60 mins.]

Reading Assignment:

Robert Darnton, "What Was Revolutionary About The French Revolution?," New York Review Of Books (January 19, 1989).

Optional Viewing:

  "The French Revolution: Tearing Up History," BBC Four, 2014 (59 minutes).

Week 14 

Tuesday, December 3

a)  Discussion: Germany -- Memories Of A Nation

b)  Final Exam Review

Reading Assignment:

Neil MacGregor, Germany -- Memories Of A Nation

Thursday, December 5

a)  Discussion: The Curse Of Russian Geography and Russian Statues

b)  Lecture: "It Was The Best Of Times, It Was The Worst Of Times": The French Revolution (2)

Reading Assignment:

Tim Marshall, "Russia And The Curse Of Geography," Atlantic (October 31, 2015).

Browse extensively in Russian Statues Discussion Topic

Final Exam:  Date for CVS1 Section -- December 10th (6 pm, Tyee 202); For CVT1 and CRT1 ITV Section -- December 12th (1 pm, Tyee 202) (***The second seminar note is due at the time of the final exam)


Letter Of Introduction 


Age Of Discovery Seminar Note


Midterm Exam/Portfolio (Includes in-class exam (10%) and first-half notes (20%) 


Faces Assignment 20%

Final Exam


a)  Letter Of Introduction (1%)

Who are you? Where are you from? What are your interests?  Can you provide some background about yourself as a person and as a student that might be helpful to me as an instructor? Why are you taking this course? Do you have any questions, concerns, or suggestions as we start the course? Write two or three paragraphs for the second class of the semester to introduce yourself to me.  Although this is not a graded assignment, I would appreciate it if you took several minutes writing a thoughtful introduction.

b)  Age Of Discovery Seminar Note (15%)

You will be responsible for completing two seminar notes in this course.  These should take the form of commentaries of approximately two-to-three double-spaced pages apiece about the books.  These responses must be based your reading of the book rather than upon book reviews. 

The purpose of the seminar notes is to provide you with the opportunity to organize your thoughts about the major course readings.  The seminar notes should be analytical in nature and should highlight key themes from the reading.  Your own interpretations must be at the centre of each seminar note.  I want to see you engaging directly with the text.

The Age of Discovery Seminar Note will ask you to respond to the argument put forth by Ian Goldin and Chris Kutarna that the study of the Age of the European Renaissance can help us to put our own fast-changing era into perspective.

The Age of Discovery Seminar Note is due on Thursday, October 3, a week after our in-class discussion about the book.

c)  Midterm Exam/Portfolio  (30%) [includes in-class exam (10%) and first-half notes (20%)

The Midterm Exam/Portfolio will consist of both a small in-class short-essay exam and a larger project that will extend from the beginning of the semester through to the midterm.  This is the Note-Taking Assignment.  I want you to take notes on the weekly Reading, Writing, and Listening Assignments that are listed in the class schedule on this syllabus.  You are encouraged, though not required, to take notes on some of the Optional Reading and Viewing as well, and on some in-class materials, though this is not required.

This is one time when you do not need to put everything into your own words, though the assignment still calls upon you to engage with the material as you highlight the main points from the material.  You should clearly demonstrate to me that you are spending extensive time outside of class learning about Early Modern Europe and absorbing new knowledge.

There may be times when you take some wording directly from a source.  I am asking you to take notes rather than to push into your own analysis.  But significant cutting-and-pasting is inappropriate, as is relying upon summaries of documentaries.  I expect you to watch and listen to the documentaries yourself.  If you do want to offer some of your own written commentary upon particular items, that's great.  Do this by dividing that particular source review into two categories -- one labeled "Notes" at the top of the page and then one labeled "Commentary" at the bottom.  Identify the date and the source material you are taking notes on at the very top of every individual note-taking installment.

I have previously used a Journal format that asks students to actively interpret the curricular materials in this course but have decided not to do so this semester.  This is considerably more challenging than note-taking.  However, I am open to the possibility of some individual students substituting a Journal for the First-Half Notes.  You might want to consider this if you enter HIS 215 with a strong interest in European History and if you think you could benefit from intensive writing about the course subject matter.  You should be a strong reader and have the ability to write analytically offering your own responses to and interpretations of books, videos, and audio documentaries.  Please talk to me individually if you are interested in this option.

d)  Faces Assignment (20%)

This assignment will ask you to research assorted significant figures from world history and then to portray each through in over-sized bubblegum card biographical format.

e)  Final Exam (34%) [includes in-class exam (22%) and second seminar note (12%)]

The final exam will combine an in-class exam with a out-of-class component due at the time of the exam.  That "take-home" component will be your second seminar note.  You will have an option of writing about either Galileo's Daughter or Germany: Memories of A Nation.  You will bring that seminar note with you to the exam, though there's also the possibility of finishing the seminar note early if you prefer.  As with the Age of Discovery, I will expect this second seminar note to show clear evidence of your direct engagement with the book itself.

The in-class exam will include a two or three comparison mini-essays and your response to one of two longer articles we will read near the end of the semester.

Bonus Option:  There is the possibility of writing three seminar notes, one on each of our core course books.  To do that, you will need to complete your Galileo's Daughter seminar note by Tuesday, November 19.  The stronger of the two final seminar notes will count for 12% of your final grade, while the other will add up to 5% to your course grade (depending on its quality).

Time Commitment

Although the time it takes individual students to complete course responsibilities varies individually, I have set up the course with the expectation that you devote at least an average of 5 hours a week of out-of-class study to HIS 215.  In general, one should set aside two hours of out-of-class time for each hour of university course class contact time.  You will need to not only to read the three course texts and to complete the larger assignments, but also demonstrate through your first-half notes and your in-class participation that you have devoted extensive effort to keeping up with the class-by-class reading, viewing, and listening mini-assignments.

Late Policy

Due dates are clearly indicated for each assignment.  I expect you to plan ahead and to meet those due dates.  I do, however, appreciate that at certain times of the semester you can become overwhelmed with responsibilities.  As a result, I will a two-week grace period for the Age of Discovery seminar note and the Faces Assignment.  Late assignments beyond that window will not be accepted and an F will be awarded for that particular assignment.  The first-half notes and your second seminar note definitely need to be handed in at the time of the midterm and final exam respectively.

Writing Support And Peer Tutoring

Writing Support is available to all students at no additional cost.  Go to Writing Support for any or all of your assignments.  Every visit is a step toward becoming a better writer.  Use Writing Support as many times as you like, and at any point in your writing process.  The writing support faculty can help you understand the assignment, develop your ideas, outlines, thesis, and revision -- and anything else in-between.  Book your appointment through the library website, or visit the library desk to inquire about drop-ins.  There's also WriteAway, an online tutoring platform that allows you to upload your papers and assignments for detailed written feedback.  Both services may be found at https://libguides.nic.bc.ca/WritingSupport .

Peer Tutoring is available at no additional cost for a wide range of courses offered at NIC.  Students are hired and trained to tutor in a wide variety of content areas, in addition to supporting other students with basic study skills.  These students have been successful in the courses they have taken and can help support other students become successful in their own courses.  To see the list of tutors currently available, request a tutor in a course, or apply to become a tutor, please visit the library website: https://libcal.nic.bc.ca/appointments/ .

A Note On Plagiarism

Everything that you hand in should be your original work unless otherwise indicated.  You need to respond to the course books with your own thoughts and interpretations.  The Faces Assignment is a research exercise, but one that calls upon you to condense information and offer your own distinct portraits of the individuals in question.  Any cutting-and-pasting for this assignment qualifies as plagiarism.  So too does putting passages into a programme that replaces the original text with synonyms.  Violations of this policy may result in being reported to the Academic Integrity Committee, and in failing the assignment and/or the course in its entirety.  Please talk to me if you have any uncertainty  about what is permitted here.  I want to help you to get as much out of this course as possible but, for this to happen, you need to put forth strong and honest effort. 

Related Policy

Community Code of Academic, Personal and Professional Conduct (3-06)

Sexual Violence and Misconduct Policy (3-34)

Evaluation of Student Performance Policy (3-33)

Student Complaint Resolution Policy (3-31)

Student Appeals Policy (3-30)

Instructional Accommodation and Access Services for Students with Disabilities (3-17)

Course Outline Policy (3-35)

Academic Standing and Progression (3-37)

Grading System (4-41)

Welcome To The Course



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