HHIB05601U HIS 60. The History of the European Union, 1945-2015

Volume 2015/2016

Bachelorproject (Subject element HHIB00601E) [BA Programme, 2013-Curriculum]


The History of the European Union, 1945-2015
Disillusionment with the European Union is the order of the day. To be sure the history of European integration has always been fraught with tensions between the promise of guaranteeing lasting peace in Western Europe, on the one hand, and worries about giving up powers “to Europe”, on the other. But it appears that in the wake of the financial crisis, the disadvantages of membership rather than its benefits prevail in the public debate. The EU’s unpersuasive performance in dealing with the financial crisis and the problem of Greece in the Euro-zone; the EU’s poor democratic credentials; the notorious Brussels bureaucrats; and too much “red tape” are only some examples of this current debate. Having said all this, the EU shows no signs of disappearing any time soon.

But how did we get here? Why have sovereign states decided to pool resources while transferring powers to European institutions (and why do they continue to do so)? Which forces have shaped the process of European integration from its beginnings in coal and steel in post-World War II Europe to the current EU? Which role have the Cold War, transatlantic cooperation and Franco-German relations played over time? Who has been in the driver’s seat – the European Commission, the big member states or perhaps corporate Europe? How have the competences of the community developed in specific policy areas including agriculture, trade, competition, monetary and foreign policy, to name only a few? How have Europe’s economies and legal systems fared as a result of European integration? These are just some of the basic questions providing a possible point of departure for identifying and developing a feasible historical Bachelorprojekt, which will be the focus and the objective of this course.

This course will be taught in two consecutive blocs, the first of which intends to sketch the field of European Union integration over time including historical research literature and relevant theory and methodology. The focus of in-class teaching will be on introducing students to practical tools helping them to identify and formulate a feasible question for their Bachelorprojekt.

The second bloc (starting after the autumn break) focuses on the individual student projects. Depending on the topics students chose, it is therefore more likely we will meet regularly in small groups or even for individual supervision than in class.

The Bachelorprojekt course will provide a format for students to develop their ideas and interests and transform them into topics for their projects. This involves completing a number of set tasks throughout the semester, which students will upload on Absalon. Please ensure you check Absalon in August for more detailed information, also on how best to prepare for the beginning of the course in September.

Finally, teaching for this course is delivered in English and students are also expected to write in English. Some students might not have experience in writing in English, which is why the set tasks for this course also take into consideration that it is important for students to develop their English (academic) writing skills.

Course objectives (clarification of some of the objectives stipulated in the curriculum):
After the course students will be able to:
• (at basic level) analyze and describe the forces, processes and themes associated with European Union integration from 1945 to today
• critically evaluate the historical literature in the field of European integration history
• identify and explain issues of contestation in the literature
• identify and analyze additional research literature on their chosen topic
• communicate and discuss their chosen topic clearly and effectively, orally and in writing

- Desmond Dinan: Europe Recast: A History of European Union. Basingstoke, Palgrave Macmillan, 2014 (2nd edition).
- Mark Gilbert: European Integration: A Concise History. London: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 2011.
Wolfram Kaiser and Antonio Varsori: European Union History: Themes and Debates. Basingstoke, Palgrave Macmillan, 2010.

Group instruction / Seminar
  • Category
  • Hours
  • Class Instruction
  • 42
  • Total
  • 42
Type of assessment
Criteria for exam assesment