Early Modern History and Methodology of Historical Research - PARTE I (2017/2018)

Course code
Name of lecturer
Marco Bellabarba
Number of ECTS credits allocated
Academic sector
Language of instruction
I semestre - sede Trento dal Sep 18, 2017 al Dec 22, 2017.

To show the organization of the course that includes this module, follow this link * Course organization

Lesson timetable

Go to lesson schedule

Learning outcomes

The objective of the course is to provide the students with the essential knowledge of the controversial relationships between nationalism and racism during the long Nineteenth century.

General learning outcomes:

a) to sketch the intellectual, political, social origins of the concept of race.
b) to place the evolution of racial theories in a broad chronological spectrum, from the Early modern age to the Nineteenth century;
c) Understand the links between the nationalistic doctrines and racial theories.
d) to examine in a comparative perspective the consequences of racial theories within national states and the great European empires.
e) to evaluate the possible effects of racial ideas in the outbreak of the First World War.



Broad knowledge of early modern history (19th.-20th. centuries). Students will be expected to raise some questions about the reading, to stimulate discussion, and to sustain the discussion throughout the class period.
Work critically with a broad range of sources and relate them to the historiographical debates; assess the primary sources and the literature in relation to an historical problem.
Present work orally and prepare questions to ask other attending students.


a) The origins of the race concept.
b) The idea of the "white man".
c) Colonialism, imperialism, European and extra-European civilizations.
d) Nationalism and racism in the early Nineteenth century.
e) Social darwinism and race psychology.
f) Ethnicity, racism and democracy: the advent of mass politics.
g) Scientific knowledge, university teaching, racial doctrines.
h) Ethnicity, racism, nationalism in Central and Eastern Europe.
i) A view from abroad: race and nation in British and French intellectuals.

Teaching Methods

Lectures, seminars.


Attending students:

F. Bethencourt, Razzismi. Dalle crociate al XX secolo, il Mulino, Bologna 2017.

Further readings will be given during the course to the attending-students.
Non-attending students are expected to contact the professor in order to choose the texts of the exam.

Assessment methods and criteria

The exam will consist of: 1) a written essay of about 15-20 pages on a topic agreed upon with the professor. Papers must be submitted to the professor at least two weeks in advance of the oral exam, and in a form agreed upon with the professor during office hours. 2) an oral section - based on knowledge of assigned readings.