Modern World

History & Literature’s Modern World field encourages students to pursue transnational projects from c. 1750 to the present. It allows students to connect the experiences of colonization to contemporary problems and possibilities of globalization. Students craft individual topics of study, which might include themes such as migration and diaspora, movements of labor and capital, the rights and representations of minorities, and the negotiation of cultural differences. The field also encourages students to pursue thematic studies that cross national and cultural boundaries. All topics of study in the Modern World field must cover more than one century.

In addition to the requirements for all concentrators (5 tutorials and 1 course that satisfies the language requirement), students in the Modern World field complete the following requirements:

  • 1 HL90 seminar on a transnational topic or an introductory course on empire, diaspora, or globalization (please see the following list of Modern World Introductory Courses);
  • 4 courses that define the student’s topic of study (of which only one can be a General Education course);
  • 3 elective courses related to the topic of study;
  • At least 1 course must focus on a period before 1900;
  • Courses taken must display a balance between history and literature.

To declare the Modern World as your field of study, complete the Modern World Field Worksheet at the end of your sophomore year.

Then, at the beginning of junior year, complete the Modern World Proposal and attach an explanation of your topic of study. The topic of study is the organizing principle of your proposal and should be a topic you cannot study in other fields. Strong proposals have straightforward topics, descriptions with specific details (places, texts, dates, etc.), cover more than one century, list pertinent courses (including courses you have already taken), and demonstrate coherence across the three parts of the proposal (topic, description, and course list). Joint concentrators should also explain what History & Literature's Modern World field adds to your studies. 

Unlike other fields of study in History & Literature, there is no pre-existing list of Courses That Count for concentration credit in the Modern World. Instead, students assemble their own unique list of courses that will enable them to pursue their individual topic of study and to meet field requirements. That unique list of courses that count is approved as part of the Modern World proposal. 

Students can continue to adapt their list of courses as new offerings become available. Any changes to an apporved Modern World proposal should be made using the Modern World Field Update Form. Please complete and return to the Hist & Lit office by the course registration deadline of the semester in which the new course is offered. 

Questions about the Modern World field should be directed to Assistant Director of Studies Briana Smith or Associate Director of Studies Duncan White.