• Offered by School of History
  • ANU College ANU College of Arts and Social Sciences
  • Classification Transitional
  • Course subject History
  • Areas of interest Contemporary Europe, History, International Relations, European Studies, Politics
  • Academic career PGRD
  • Course convener
    • Dr Ben Mercer
  • Mode of delivery In Person
  • Co-taught Course
  • Offered in Second Semester 2020
    See Future Offerings

At the conclusion of the Second World War in 1945, Europe was reduced to rubble. This course examines the troubled history of attempts to re-establish prosperity and democracy in the postwar period. In Eastern Europe, Communist dictatorships claimed to provide a superior political and economic system. In Western Europe, the strengthening of democracy often took a back seat to the demands of the Cold War, the legacies of totalitarianism, the reluctance to decolonise and the prioritisation of economic growth. Protest and dissent - from students, feminists and terrorists – marked both East and West. This course examines the origins and contradictions of contemporary European politics and society in order better to understand the trials and tribulations of Europe in the early 21st century. 

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion, students will have the knowledge and skills to:

  1. demonstrate an in-depth knowledge of the history and historiography of Europe since 1945;
  2. critically evaluate key interpretations of late 20th century Europe's social, cultural and political history;
  3. analyse and integrate primary and secondary sources into written work at an advanced level; and
  4. demonstrate the significance of late 20th-century Europe for today's world.

Indicative Assessment

  1. Book review (1,000 words) (25) [LO 1,2,3,4]
  2. Major essay (4,500 words), on a topic designed by the student in consultation with the course convenor (50) [LO 1,2,3,4]
  3. Essay Proposal (500 words) (15) [LO 1,2,3,4]
  4. Class participation (10) [LO 1,2,3,4]

In response to COVID-19: Please note that Semester 2 Class Summary information (available under the classes tab) is as up to date as possible. Changes to Class Summaries not captured by this publication will be available to enrolled students via Wattle. 

The ANU uses Turnitin to enhance student citation and referencing techniques, and to assess assignment submissions as a component of the University's approach to managing Academic Integrity. While the use of Turnitin is not mandatory, the ANU highly recommends Turnitin is used by both teaching staff and students. For additional information regarding Turnitin please visit the ANU Online website.


130 hours of total student learning time made up from:
a) 36 hours of contact over 12 weeks: 24 hours of lectures and 12 hours of tutorial and tutorial-like activities; and
b) 94 hours of independent student research, reading and writing.

Inherent Requirements

Not applicable

Requisite and Incompatibility

You are not able to enrol in this course if you have previously completed HIST2240.

Prescribed Texts

Key readings will be supplied through Wattle.

Preliminary Reading

Victoria De Grazia, “A Model Mrs. Consumer,” in Irresistible Empire (2005), 376-458.

Emanuela Scarpellini, “Shopping American-Style: The Arrival of the Supermarket in Postwar Italy,” Enterprise & Society 5 (2004): 652-68.

Kristen Ross, “Hygiene and Modernization,” in Fast Cars, Clean Bodies: Decolonization and the Reordering of French Culture (1995), 71-122.


Tuition fees are for the academic year indicated at the top of the page.  

If you are a domestic graduate coursework or international student you will be required to pay tuition fees. Tuition fees are indexed annually. Further information for domestic and international students about tuition and other fees can be found at Fees.

Student Contribution Band:
Unit value:
6 units

If you are an undergraduate student and have been offered a Commonwealth supported place, your fees are set by the Australian Government for each course. At ANU 1 EFTSL is 48 units (normally 8 x 6-unit courses). You can find your student contribution amount for each course at Fees.  Where there is a unit range displayed for this course, not all unit options below may be available.

6.00 0.12500
Domestic fee paying students
Year Fee
2020 $3570
International fee paying students
Year Fee
2020 $5460
Note: Please note that fee information is for current year only.

Offerings, Dates and Class Summary Links

ANU utilises MyTimetable to enable students to view the timetable for their enrolled courses, browse, then self-allocate to small teaching activities / tutorials so they can better plan their time. Find out more on the Timetable webpage.

The list of offerings for future years is indicative only.
Class summaries, if available, can be accessed by clicking on the View link for the relevant class number.

Second Semester

Class number Class start date Last day to enrol Census date Class end date Mode Of Delivery Class Summary
8524 27 Jul 2020 03 Aug 2020 31 Aug 2020 30 Oct 2020 In Person N/A

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