The Historical Background of
If the events on 11 September 2001 indeed
“changed the world”, as many commentators believe, we just experienced the
end of a rather brief period of recent history: the period between the end of
the Cold War and the day when passenger planes became attack missiles.
It is the objective of this course to provide overviews on major
developments during that period in an inter-disciplinary perspective. The
emphasis given to particular developments will depend upon their relevancy for
our understanding of current events. As far as necessary, we will trace back
some of those developments to the decades before 1989. This will certainly be
the case for developments in the Islamic world. Our goal is to understand the
recent – and not so recent – past in order to understand the present.
class will be divided into two parts.
First hour: A lecture providing historical
Second hour: Discussion of current events
against the background of the information provided by the lectures.
part will be an exercise in practical news analysis. Students are
encouraged to focus on particular issues, to follow those issues as they are
unfolding from week to week, and to trace the respective historical backgrounds.
This can be done either individually or in small groups.
a general orientation on the history of the 20th century you may
have a look at:
Age of Extremes (London, 1994)
Dark Continent. Europe’s Twentieth Century (London, 1998)
Robbins, The World Since 1945 (London, 1998)
books to think about as far as economic issues are concerned:
John Gray, False
Dawn (London, 1999)
as Freedom (Oxford, 1999)
updated reading list will be provided at the beginning of the course.
presentation, mid-term exam, final exam. Each 33.3%