First cycle
degree courses
Second cycle
degree courses
Single cycle
degree courses
School of Human and Social Sciences and Cultural Heritage
Course unit
LE02122758, A.A. 2019/20

Information concerning the students who enrolled in A.Y. 2015/16

Information on the course unit
Degree course 5 years single cycle degree in
IA1870, Degree course structure A.Y. 2011/12, A.Y. 2019/20
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Degree course track Common track
Number of ECTS credits allocated 9.0
Type of assessment Mark
Course unit English denomination HISTORY OF MODERN EUROPE
Department of reference Department of Philosophy, Sociology, Education and Applied Psychology
E-Learning website
Mandatory attendance No
Language of instruction Italian
Single Course unit The Course unit CANNOT be attended under the option Single Course unit attendance
Optional Course unit The Course unit is available ONLY for students enrolled in PRIMARY TEACHER EDUCATION (Ord. 2011)

Teacher in charge VITTORIA FEOLA M-STO/02
Other lecturers PAOLA MOLINO M-STO/02

Course unit code Course unit name Teacher in charge Degree course code

ECTS: details
Type Scientific-Disciplinary Sector Credits allocated
Other M-STO/02 Modern History 9.0

Course unit organization
Period First semester
Year 5th Year
Teaching method frontal

Type of hours Credits Teaching
Hours of
Individual study
Lecture 9.0 63 162.0 No turn

Start of activities 30/09/2019
End of activities 18/01/2020
Show course schedule 2019/20 Reg.2017 course timetable

Examination board
Board From To Members of the board
7 Commissione 2019/20 01/12/2019 30/11/2020 FEOLA VITTORIA (Presidente)
MOLINO PAOLA (Membro Effettivo)
6 Commissione 2018/19 01/12/2018 30/11/2019 FEOLA VITTORIA (Presidente)
MOLINO PAOLA (Membro Effettivo)
5 Commissione 2016/17 01/12/2016 30/11/2019 VIGGIANO ALFREDO (Presidente)
CARACAUSI ANDREA (Membro Effettivo)

Prerequisites: Familiarity with early modern history topics. Working knowledge of English is required for a number of readings.
Target skills and knowledge: The course aims to:
1. familiarise students with early modern European history from both local as well as global, interconnected perspectives;
2. focus on the main early modern forms of State and government, with especial attention to the differences between States and Empires;
3. consider first, inter-cultural commerce, secondly, the circulation of knowledge, and, lastly, religion-driven political violence in relation to State-Empire dynamics;
4. push students to reflect critically about such themes, as, first, trade and knowledge globalisation, secondly, religious toleration, and, thirdly, religious-driven resistance theories and acts against the sovereign powers.
Examination methods: A written paper of max 15 pages about a topic from within those covered in class, and an oral exam on the texts discussed during the course. Students who do not attend classes should contact the lecturers to fix an ad hoc arrangement.
Assessment criteria: Students will be tested for:
1. their knowledge of the themes covered in class and analysed in the textbooks;
2. knowledge and comprehension of concepts and methods relating to Renaissance studies;
3. the ability to apply newly-acquired knowledge in an autonomous way;
4. the ability to reason in a logical way, to build a critical argument, to answer questions in a critically constructive and pertinent way.
Course unit contents: Europe witnessed the rise of the so-called 'modern national State' on the one hand, stemming from and antagonising the old Medieval dualism Pope-Empire. On the other hand, older, composite state and imperial entities re-organised themselves in the wake of America's discovery. New colonial empires emerged, letting Europe spill out over the whole world. At the same time, the Reformation broke up Western Christendom's unity, thereby presenting faith as a defining element of individual and institutional identities. The rise of the confessional State meant wars of religion, civil wars, revolutions. At the same time, the discovery of the Americas across the Atlantic, and the new sea route to the Indies in Asia brought about a movement of people, goods, and knowledge which was unprecedented in nature and scale as far as European and global history was concerned.
In the first part (Prof. Molino, 21 hours) we will provide some basic knowledge on the difference between States, "old and new" Empires in early modernity, and then focus specifically on the production and mobility of knowledge in the "Catholic" Empires of the sixteenth and the seventeenth centuries. The concepts of "knowing", "knowledge" and "science" will be the subjects of common reflection during the first lessons. Our analysis will take into consideration the actors (agents, merchants, missionaries, archivists, experts), the spaces (courts, archives, libraries, squares) and the devices of this circulation, such as correspondences, books, maps. We will start from the end of the sixteenth century, and in particular from the Iberian Empires (Spanish and Portuguese) to reconstruct the different organization and management of power at a distance, the ways of collecting and circulating information from the Americas and Asia. A fundamental role, in both contexts, was played by the evangelizing mission, supported by Rome, when the enlargement of the geographical boundaries of the world corresponded to the re-launch of a project of the Universal Church after the break-up of the European "Christianitas". The question we will try to answer together is to what extent the imperial framework influenced the "evangelizing mission". The second part (Prof. Feola, 42 hours) will deal with the relationship between political violence for causes of religion in Europe and the contradictory responses of the Pope's State. On the one hand the political, official and intelligence debates and actions will be analyzed with reference to a set of case studies. They saw in the field Catholics, Reformed, heretics and mercenaries "for reasons of faith" in Europe. On the other hand, the actions of (re) evangelization will be analyzed, with particular attention to English, French and Chinese cases. In order to understand the two centuries of Catholic religious, scientific, commercial and political action in China, ample space will be devoted to the political structure and religious organization of the Celestial Empire. In particular, we will study the States-Empire dynamics within it, the structure of the Confucian elite and its relations with the Shendao, Buddhism and Daoism. Instead of considering European presences in China from a Eurocentric point of view, we will try to understand them with the eyes of Chinese sources and studies, crossed with European ones.
Planned learning activities and teaching methods: Each module will refer to a core of readings which students and lecturer will be discussing together. All modules share the same historiographical orientation, as well as an emphasis on seminar-based teaching with some lecturing, too.
Students are warmly encouraged to take a critical approach to texts and ideas, as lecturers insist students should feel free to think and share their points of view. Lecturers believe that both students and teachers form one and only community of teachers and learners.
Additional notes about suggested reading: Students who do not attend classes should contact the lecturers to fix an ad hoc arrangement.
Textbooks (and optional supplementary readings)
  • Nadine Amsler, Jesuits and matriarchs: domestic worship in early modern China.. Seattle: University of Washington Press, 2018. Cerca nel catalogo
  • James D. Tracy, Marguerite Ragnow (a cura di), Religion and the early modern State. Views from China, Russia, and the West. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2004. Cerca nel catalogo
  • Glenn J. Ames, L’età delle scoperte geografiche : 1500-1700. Bologna: Il Mulino, 2011. Cerca nel catalogo
  • Ângela Barreto Xavier, Ines G. Županov, Catholic Orientalism: Portuguese Empire, Indian knowledge (16th-18th centuries). New Dehli: Oxford University Press, 2015. Cerca nel catalogo
  • Antonella Romano, Impressions de Chine : l’Europe et l’englobement du monde, 16.-17. Siècle. Parigi: Fayard, 2016. in uscita in edizione italiano per Viella, prima dell’inizio del corso Cerca nel catalogo

Innovative teaching methods: Teaching and learning strategies
  • Lecturing
  • Problem based learning
  • Case study
  • Interactive lecturing
  • Working in group
  • Story telling
  • Concept maps
  • Peer feedback
  • Use of online videos
  • Loading of files and pages (web pages, Moodle, ...)
  • Students peer review

Innovative teaching methods: Software or applications used
  • Moodle (files, quizzes, workshops, ...)