Study-Unit Description

Study-Unit Description


TITLE The World's Economy 1350-1750

LEVEL 03 - Years 2, 3, 4 in Modular Undergraduate Course



DESCRIPTION This study-unit situates the economic development path of western Europe in direct comparison with other regions of the world between the fourteenth and the eighteenth centuries. Through case-studies of Europe, Asia and the Atlantic world, students will explore one of the central themes of economic history: why was Europe (and by extension, north America) first to industrialize and embark on a path of self-sustained economic growth? Topics covered will include agriculture, population, state structures, trade networks, colonial expansion, access to key natural resources,technological innovation, and modes of labor exploitation. In particular, students will be challenged to consider how access to particular resources and technologies along with different social and political institutions and relations configure in different places and in different ways (1) the economic and market behavior of social classes; (2) how goods are produced; (3) the social division of labor; (4) long-term paths to growth.

Study-unit Aims:

This study-unit will encourage students to consider some fundamental questions about the nature of pre-industrial societies and economies in pre-modern Europe, Asia and the Atlantic World (western Africa and the Americas) and on-going debates on paths to economic development and self-sustaining economic growth. In the process, the study-unit will take a thematic approach to such questions as the role of property rights, political and legal institutions, market structures, technology, population, and colonial expansion. Weekly lectures will provide a unifying core of ideas and information on which all the students can build and to which they can react. Four seminars, focusing on particular aspects of the study-unit, will offer further and deeper focus in specific areas of study. Students will be expected to prepare for these seminars in advance.

Learning Outcomes:

1. Knowledge & Understanding:

By the end of the study-unit the student will be able to:
- Identify theoretical models used to analyze economic development in pre-industrial societies;
- Apply theoretical principles to evaluate historic paths to economic development and growth in specific geographical locations between 1350 c. and 1750 c;
- Compare economic performance in different geographical regions at different times between 1350 c. and 1750 c.

2. Skills:

By the end of the study-unit the student will be able to:
- Engage in independent study and group work including participating in oral seminar discussions;
- Digest and organize a broad range of information to produce, to a deadline, a coherent and concise argument.

Main Text/s and any supplementary readings:

Main texts:

- Jones, E. L. Growth Recurring: Economic Change in World History, 2nd edition. University of Michigan Press, 2000.
- Pomeranz, K. The Great Divergence: China, Europe and the Making of the Modern World Economy. Princeton University Press 2001.
- Wallerstein, I. The Modern World-System I: Capitalist Agriculture and the Origins of the European World-Economy in the Sixteenth Century, new edition. University of California Press 2011.

Supplementary texts:

- Ashton, T. H. and C. H. E. Philpin. The Brenner Debate: Agrarian Class Structure and Economic Development in Pre-Industrial Europe. Cambridge University Press 1985.
- Bin Wong, R. China Transformed: Historical Change and the Limits of European Experience. Cornell University Press 2000.
- Blackburn, R. The Making of New World Slavery: From the Baroque to the Modern, 1492-1800, 2nd edition. Verso 2010.
- Epstein, S. R. Freedom and Growth: The Rise of States and Markets in Europe, 1300-1750. Routledge, 2000.
- De Vries, J. The Industrious Revolution: Consumer Behavior and the Household Economy, 1650 to the Present. Cambridge University Press, 2008.
- Fogel, R. W. and S. Engerman. Time on the Cross: The Economics of American Negro Slavery. W. W. Norton, 1974, 1995.
- Heilbroner, R. L. The Worldly Philosophers, 7th edition. Touchstone 1999.
- Le Roi Ladurie, E. The Peasants of Languedoc. University of Illinois Press 1977.
- North, D. C. and R. P. Thomas. The Rise of the Western World: A New Economic History. Cambridge University Press 1976.
- Kriedte, P., Medick, H., J. Schlumbohm. Industrialization Before Industrialization. Cambridge University Press, 1982.
- Polanyi, K. The Great Transformation: The Political and Economic Origins of Our Time. Beacon Press, 1957.

STUDY-UNIT TYPE Lecture and Seminar

Assessment Component/s Resit Availability Weighting
Presentation (15 Minutes) No 10%
Presentation (15 Minutes) No 10%
Presentation (15 Minutes) No 10%
Examination (2 Hours) Yes 70%

LECTURER/S Mark Aloisio

The University makes every effort to ensure that the published Courses Plans, Programmes of Study and Study-Unit information are complete and up-to-date at the time of publication. The University reserves the right to make changes in case errors are detected after publication.
The availability of optional units may be subject to timetabling constraints.
Units not attracting a sufficient number of registrations may be withdrawn without notice.
It should be noted that all the information in the description above applies to study-units available during the academic year 2020/1. It may be subject to change in subsequent years.