skip to primary navigationskip to content
 

Modern European History

Subject Group

Convenor : Professor Chris Clark

Web Officer : 


British historians have long been more outward-looking and cosmopolitan than their counterparts in most other countries, and amongst other areas of the world they have traditionally covered, the Continent of Europe has always featured prominently. From Edward Gibbon's Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire to Thomas Carlyle's The French Revolution and on through the work of many other celebrated scholars, the history of France, Germany, Italy, Russia, Spain, the Habsburg Monarchy and other European states, and of the relations between them and the United Kingdom, has produced many famous and influential works that have had an impact not only on the way the British have regarded their European neighbours, but on the way in which Europeans have seen themselves.

History at Cambridge has been a major contributor to this distinguished tradition for over a century. Lord Acton, Regius Professor of Modern History just over a hundred years ago, was famously well versed in the history of France, Germany and Italy, while the first major work published by G. M. Trevelyan, probably the best-known English historian of the first half of the twentieth century, was a three-volume study of Garibaldi and the unification of Italy. In more recent times, E. H. Carr made a major contribution to the history of Soviet Russia, while H. Temperley and F. H. Hinsley were leading figures in the study of European diplomatic relations.

In the early twenty-first century, the Modern European Subject Group in the History Faculty includes scholars whose expertise runs from the mid-eighteenth century to the late twentieth. The undergraduate papers on Europe 1715-1890 and 1890-present are amongst the most popular in Part I of the Historical Tripos. Both have CamTools sites for quick and efficient delivery of lecture notes and other types of electronic resources. There is a wide range of more advanced undergraduate papers in Modern European history in Part II of the Tripos, including the Specified options 'Total War' and European Societies, 1792-1815, The French and the British Problem, since 1688, and The long-road to modernisation: Spain, 1800-2000, in addition to the Special Subject paper on Fin de Siècle Russia, 1891-1917.

The recently established M.Phil. in Modern European History has attracted outstanding graduate students from leading universities in Britain, Denmark, Germany, Ireland, Sweden, Switzerland and especially the United States. Doctoral research in 18th-. 19th- and 20th-century European history is thriving, and a large number of staff teaching and researching at British universities in this field were trained in Cambridge. Publications by faculty members of the Group have won numerous prizes and many have attracted a wide readership. 


People specializing in this area