Early Modern History
Early Modern history at Minnesota draws its faculty from the diverse geographical areas and the varieties of methodological and theoretical approaches represented in the department. Many of the participants teach and write in more than one field, such as medieval and early modern, or early modern and modern. Research and collaboration for early modernists is facilitated by the Center for Early Modern History and the Consortium for the Study of the Premodern World, as well as the presence on campus of the James Ford Bell Library.
Comparative Early Modern History
The University of Minnesota has long taken a comparative approach to the Early Modern world, reflecting broad faculty strength for this period, and a common interest in relating the histories of different parts of the globe. These crucial centuries are understood to be the scene of the emergence of problems and processes that include the interaction of cultures and civilizations across the globe; the rise of scientific and technological ways of knowing; and the creation of global capitalist economic processes, to name just a handful of areas.
Early Modern European History
The study of Modern European history since the era of the French Revolution addresses concerns that reverberate throughout the modern world. Europe’s development of industrial capitalism restructured the global economy through markets and imperialism. The emergence of the nuclear family system and the reconstruction of gender relations that typified nineteenth-century middle-class ideals have also had far-reaching consequences.
Modern European political development has been marked by the construction of "public spheres" and civil societies with their concomitant notions of limitations on government, but also by the institution of the nation-state with its potential for totalitarianism and racism. Indeed, at the center of much scholarship in modern European history, including that of our own faculty, are the tensions between the impulse to question and remake human institutions that has been characteristic of European culture and politics since the Enlightenment, and the equally prevalent impulse toward domination and control.