Concentration Requirements


Professor David Tompkins (History)

Requirements for the Concentration

To complete the concentration, students are required to complete the following requirements regarding coursework, language study, and off-campus study in Europe. The overall balance of courses should include a reasonable mix of disciplines and course levels (100s, 200s, 300s). While this balance will be established for each individual student in consultation with the concentration coordinator, no more than half of the required minimum of courses (6) may be in one department, and at least half of the required minimum of courses (6) must be above the 100-level.

Students considering the European Studies Concentration are encouraged to meet with the Director as soon as possible to discuss how their interest in European Studies can best be integrated with their major, language study, and off-campus study plans. These conversations do not signify a binding plan but rather a way to help students take maximum advantage of opportunities both in class and outside of class to learn about Europe.

Gateway Courses

European Studies 110: The Nation State in Europe (Paul Petzschmann, Robert A. Oden, Jr. Postdoctoral Fellow for Innovation in the Humanities in European Studies)

This course explores the role of the nation and nationalism within modern Europe and the ways in which ideas and myths about the nation have complemented and competed with conceptions of Europe as a geographic, cultural and political unity. We will explore the intellectual roots of nationalism in different countries as well as their artistic, literary and musical expressions. In addition to examining nationalism from a variety of disciplinary perspectives--sociology, anthropology, history, political science--we will explore some of the watershed, moments of European nationalism such as the French Revolution, the two world wars, and the Maastricht treaty.

European Studies 110: Europe as Idea and Union (David Tompkins, History)

The first half of this course will examine the idea of Europe and how it has been articulated and debated through history. Where does Europe begin and end, geographically and historically, and what has it meant politically and culturally? Then, we will examine the European Union as a political institution and economic entity and as it has coalesced historically. A particular focus on issues of expansion and identity in recent years will occupy us as well.

European Studies 110: The Age of Cathedrals (William North, History)

Arising over a period of two medieval centuries, the cathedrals of Europe symbolize at once faith, power, local identity, and technological and artistic achievement. Later generations commemorated them in literature and art, destroyed them in their political and religious zeal, and restored them (and continue to restore them) out of a different sort of political zeal as well as a sense of duty to preserve a national and European cultural inheritance. In this course, we seek to understand the cathedral and its enduring legacy in France and Europe more broadly from a variety of interdisciplinary perspectives and using a variety of media and sources.

Study Abroad

The Concentration requires that students participate in a structured study-abroad program of significant duration (i.e. winter break travel in Europe for 3 weeks does not meet this requirement). Students may fulfill this requirement with any Study Abroad program approved by the College's Off-Campus Studies Office. Courses taken while abroad may be used to satisfy other Concentration requirements.

Transnational Courses (4 courses or 24 credits required)

European Studies has a strong comparative dimension and students are encouraged to place knowledge and experiences into frameworks that transcend the boundaries of the nation and region. For this reason, the Concentration requires students to pursue at least 4 courses (24 credits) of coursework that is transnational in character. A course counts as transnational if it fulfills one of the following criteria:

  • It approaches a theme or issue from a pan-European perspective, e.g. Migration in Europe.
  • It compares different European countries or regions with each other, "Post-war Economic Recovery: The Experiences of France and Germany".
  • It compares Europe as a whole or a part of Europe with another part of the world, e.g. Comparative Social Movements: Northern Ireland and South Africa.

Transnational Courses will also engage in an examination of such overarching issues as the relation between individual and community, cultural and linguistic diversity, and globalization.

If there are questions as to whether a course (either at Carleton or pursued during OCS) fulfills the transnational requirement, students should consult with the concentration director. Students should also remember to pursue courses at different levels (100, 200, and 300) and in different departments so as to cultivate both breadth and depth.

For current course listings please consult the college catalog.

Country-Specific Courses (2 courses or 12 credits required)

Although comparative investigation provides important insights through clearer perceptions of similarity and difference across countries and regions, in-depth study of specific countries and cultures is also essential to European Studies. To cultivate this depth, the Concentration requires students to pursue at least 2 courses (12 credits) that are country specific. A course is considered country specific when:

  • They take as their frame a single nation/region;
  • The emphasis of the course is weighted towards developing an understanding of the internal development or dynamics of this unit, whether diachronically or synchronically, e.g., The British Industrial Economy, 1750-2000 or The Literary Aesthetic of the Bloomsbury Group.

Other regions/countries may be addressed in country-specific courses, but the course-focus should be on a singular region (however defined in its context).

For current course listings please consult the college catalog.

Capstone Seminar: European Studies 398 (3 credits)

Usually taken in the senior year, the capstone seminar provides a context for concentrators to integrate the various aspects of their encounter with Europe through seminar discussions and a culminating project on an interdisciplinary topic of their choice. Senior concentrators present their work to the campus in a European Studies symposium near the conclusion of the course.