Friday, December 12, 2008

The Admiration of Europe - History 5 review

Berkeley's History 5, that covers European History from the Renaissance until today, has a different professor each semester. Though the material covered is the same each time, naturally, each professor brings her own emphasis to the course. Now that the latest course has ended, especially by the end, we can compare the perspectives on Europe and most notably the differences.

The previous course, if I recall correctly, by Professor Anderson ended with a bit of a downturn. Or at least, it ended with the feeling of true end. Europe's glory started with the Renaissance and right now we witness its secession of power, of influence, of importance. Anderson noted in addition to the reduced military power of Europe, its receding population and sort of hinted that this might well be the end of Europe, at least the Europe as we know it.

This semester History 5 by Professor Carla Hesse ended completely differently. Hesse ended with an admiration of Europe I have seldom experienced, not even among Europeans themselves. Hesse's take on the EU is that of an impressive upturn. She painted the picture of a continent that has retrieved its unity it had in the Middle Ages and thus has overcome all the adverse circumstances that have followed us during the course. Europe, it suddenly seems, stands on the threshold of a whole new era, a whole new flourishing with renewed vitality. It is all in the eye of the beholder. A very fascinating conclusion though.

More on History 5:
Industrialization (Carla Hesse),
History 5 by Carla Hesse,
History 5 by Margaret Anderson,
History 5 by Thomas Laqueur.

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