War and Society (HIST*2040) | College of Arts

War and Society (HIST*2040)

Code and section: HIST*2040*01

Term: Fall 2023


Course Synopsis:

This course is an introduction to the relationship between war and society in western civilization. It will provide a broad survey of the history of war and warfare from the ancient world to the post-Cold War era at the end of the 20th century. The course will emphasize historical developments associated with the advent of gunpowder, the “Military Revolution” of the 16th and 17th centuries, the beginnings of western sea power, the stabilization of war in the 18th century and the upheaval brought by the French Revolution and Napoleonic Wars, the industrialization of war in the 19th century, and the coming of Total War in the 20th century.  Throughout this survey, the course will address the following themes: how has warfare changed as technology changed?  Why and how has war influenced the creation and development of states?  How has war reflected the nature of societies, both in terms of who fought and why they fought?  How has war affected society beyond the battlefield, and how has society attempted to prevent or to limit war through international law and international institutions? 

Assignments & Means of Evaluation:

  • Mid-term exam - 25%
  • Assignment - 35%
  • Final exam - 40%

Required Textbooks:

Michael Howard, War in European History.  (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009)

John Keegan, The Face of Battle.  (London: Bodley Head, 2014)

William S. Cormack, ed., HIST*2040 War & Society: Course Readings, 2nd Ed. (Penguin Custom Editions / Pearson Custom Publishing, 2007)

*Please note: This is a preliminary web course description only. The History Department reserves the right to change without notice any information in this description. The final, binding course outline will be distributed in the first class of the semester.