Search | Directories | Reference Tools
UW Home > Discover UW > Student Guide > Course Catalog 

Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Nicole Calian
JSIS A 302
Seattle Campus

The Politics and Cultures of Europe

Builds upon themes and topics introduced in JSIS A 301. Provides rigorous and specialized investigation of European political institutions, societies, and cultures in the modern era. Prerequisite: JSIS A 301.

Class description

Course description This course offers an introduction to the literature, culture and philosophy the period of European Enlightenment. Some have called the Enlightenment the Age of Reason. Others have described it as the age of scientific and technological revolution—a pre-cursor to our modern-day digital revolution. The advancements in geographical exploration and discovery during that time created maps, which have come to dominate geo-economic power relations of today. The political and philosophical approaches to established forms of government culminated in the French Revolution and influenced the American Revolution profoundly. Thus, the effects of the age of the Enlightenment have ramifications for our present day culture and politics. In this course we will study the phenomenon of the Enlightenment as an expression of progressive yet contradictory ideas: its thinkers at once questioned the singular rule of religious and governmental authority; at the same time, new forms of oppression were created while pronouncements of faith and revelation abounded. The freedom of human beings by the powers of their reason was thought to extend to all of humankind. However, slavery and systems of bondage increased. The emancipation of women found new expressions, yet societies remained profoundly patriarchic in structure. The human being became the object of scientific study, as a look inside the human “machine” promised a better understanding and cure of diseases. At the same time, these technological advancements produced human self-alienation. In short, the age of the Enlightenment was ultimately not a unitary phenomenon, but rather an entity that gave rise to diverse expressions and debates. We will thus study the Enlightenment according to its many diverse expressions in order to gain a differentiated picture of it and its lingering effects on our world today.

We will research and recreate the Enlightenment inside and outside of class in a variety of interactive formats including lecture, class discussion, team analysis, and team projects. Classroom activities will be oriented around the four macro units of Personnel and Locals of the Enlightenment (where did they live and work?); Explorations and Conquests (where did their travels take them?), Scientific advancements (how did humans’ see themselves and their surroundings?), and Places of social exchange (in what formats did they communicate their ideas and experiences?).

Student learning goals

* explain key concepts of Enlightenment

• apply the questions in each unit to a variety of cultural productions

* increase ability for working in a team and apply knowledge to presentations

• identify a range of approaches to the study of European culture • read and analyze texts closely and work in teams on applications • apply the questions in each unit to a variety of cultural productions

* hone presentation skills

* explain key concepts of Enlightenment

• apply the questions in each unit to a variety of cultural productions

* increase ability for working in a team and apply knowledge to presentations

• identify a range of approaches to the study of European culture • read and analyze texts closely and work in teams on applications • apply the questions in each unit to a variety of cultural productions

* hone presentation skills

General method of instruction

Team Learning This class adopts the approach of team-based learning. Students will join groups of six members that work together as a cohesive learning team throughout the quarter (teams will be formed at the beginning of the quarter and will assure maximum balance of assets and liabilities). Students are expected to attend each class period with all assignments completed by the beginning of class and ready to engage in discussing the topic of the day with their learning team, with the instructors, and with other teams. At the beginning of each macro unit we will undergo a thorough readiness assurance process. To insure that students are accountable for individually preparing for group work and study the basic concepts before class each student will take an individual Readiness Assessment Test (IRAT) that consists of short-answer questions over a set of pre-assigned readings. Next, the same test will be re-taken by the learning team as group Readiness Assessment Test (TRAT). Students will have the opportunity to discuss each question with their team members and deepen their learning in a consensus building process that creates cohesiveness of the learning team. Studies have shown that in 98% of all cases cohesive learning teams will outperform even the highest individual scorer. IRAT tests will be scored by the instructor as soon as possible to assure maximum transparency and immediate feedback. TRATs will be scored by each team and scores are recorded in a team folder. Class time will be devoted to the same sequence of activities for each macro unit: 1) testing followed by 2) analysis of the material tested in teams and in class and 3) application of the concepts developed in analysis, i.e., students complete team assignments and work with the concepts introduced in the pre-assigned readings.

Recommended preparation

None.

Class assignments and grading

There are no papers in this course. Students present a total of four projects together with their teams. Short questionnaires will ask questions about the reading material. They are taken on an individual basis and a team basis.

20% IRAT (max. 50 points per IRAT) 10% TRAT (max. 25 point per TRAT) 30% oral participation grade based on peer evaluation (max. 300 points) 40% team portfolio (max. 100 points for each project)

20% IRAT (max. 50 points per IRAT) 10% TRAT (max. 25 point per TRAT) 30% oral participation grade based on peer evaluation (max. 300 points) 40% team portfolio (max. 100 points for each project)


The information above is intended to be helpful in choosing courses. Because the instructor may further develop his/her plans for this course, its characteristics are subject to change without notice. In most cases, the official course syllabus will be distributed on the first day of class.
Last Update by James W Donnen
Date: 11/08/2012