Admission & Financial Aid

Admission & Financial Aid


Regulations & Requirements

Regulations & Requirements


Amherst College Courses

Amherst College Courses


European Studies

Advisory Committee: Professors Barbezat, Brandes†, Caplan†, Ciepiela, Courtright (Chair), de la Carrera, Doran, Epstein*, Frank‡, Griffiths, Kallick, Machala*, Moricz, Rabinowitz, Raskin†, Rockwell, Rogowski, Rosbottom, Schneider, R. Sinos, Staller*, and Stavans; Associate Professors Engelhardt*, Gilpin, Katsaros, Lopez and Wolfson*; Assistant Professors Boucher†, Brenneis†, Christoff, Infante,  and Nelson; Visiting Assistant Professor Cho; Five College Assistant Professor Gordon.

*On leave 2015-16.

†On leave fall semester 2015-16.

‡On leave spring semester 2015-16.

European Studies is a major program that provides opportunity for independent and interdisciplinary study of European culture. Through integrated work in the humanities and social sciences, the student major examines a significant portion of the European experience and seeks to define those elements that have given European culture its unity and distinctiveness.

Major Program. The core of the major consists of eight courses that will examine a significant portion of European civilization through a variety of disciplines. Two of these courses will be EUST 121 and 122 (or the equivalent; see below), and two will be independent work during the senior year.  In the second semester of the senior year, the student major writing a thesis may designate the research course as a double course (EUST 499D), in which case the total number of courses required to complete the major becomes nine. Comparative literary studies, interdisciplinary work in history, sociology, philosophy, political science, economics, performance studies, visual arts, architecture or music involving one or more European countries are possible approaches for the student's required senior project.

Application to the major will be considered only after a student has taken at least one of EUST 121, 122, or an approved, similarly broad course in European history or culture. A second such required course will be taken during the sophomore year or as soon as the student elects a European Studies major. The student major will select four core courses in consultation with the Chair or major advisor. All majors shall complete a substantial course-based research project on some aspect of European culture by the end of their junior year. Prior arrangement for supervision must be made if a student intends to do this project while abroad.

Honors Program.  All European Studies honors majors must complete a thesis. Should, during the senior year, the Program faculty decide that a declared major is not qualified to proceed to work on a thesis, the student may elect to do a substantial research project instead. Students may be recommended for Program honors only if they complete a thesis. Save in exceptional circumstances, a major will spend at least one semester of the junior year pursuing an approved course of study in Europe. All majors must give evidence of proficiency in one European language besides English, ideally one that is appropriate to their senior project. Upon return from study abroad, the student will ordinarily elect, in consultation with the Program Chair or major advisor, at least one course that helps integrate the European experience into the European Studies major.

101 Discovering Music: Listening Through History

(See MUSI 101)

117 Arthurian Literature

(See ENGL 117)

121 Readings in the European Tradition I

Topics in the past have included readings and discussion of a series of related texts from Homer and Genesis to Dante: Homer’s Iliad, selected Greek tragedies, Virgil’s Aeneid, selections from the Bible, and from medieval texts. Three class hours per week.  Required of European Studies majors. 

Open to European Studies majors and to any student interested in the intellectual and literary development of the West, from antiquity through the Middle Ages.  Fall semester. Professor Doran.

Other years: Offered in Fall 2011, Fall 2012, Fall 2013, Fall 2014, Fall 2015, Fall 2016, Fall 2017, Fall 2018, Fall 2023, Fall 2024

122 Readings in the European Tradition II

In this course, we will discuss writings and art that have contributed in important ways to the sense of what “European” means. The course covers the intellectual and artistic development of Europe from the Renaissance to the 21st century. The course will use a chronological and/or thematic template that focuses on dominant and persistent preoccupations of the European imagination. We will study poetry, drama, the novel, the essay, painting, photography, and film. In the past, we have studied works by Cervantes, Shakespeare, Montaigne, Molière, Mann, Swift, Voltaire, Wordsworth, Austen, Marx, Flaubert and Tolstoy. We have looked at art ranging from Velásquez to Picasso, filmmakers from Chaplin to Godard. This course welcomes all students who enjoy studying literature and essays in depth, as well as those interested in the visual arts.  Required of European Studies majors.

Omitted 2015-16. Professor Rosbottom.

Other years: Offered in Spring 2012, Spring 2013, Spring 2014, Spring 2015, Spring 2017, Spring 2018, Spring 2019, Spring 2020, Spring 2021, Spring 2025

123 Europe in the Middle Ages

(See HIST 123)

124 Europe in Transition, 1350-1750

(See HIST 124)

130 World War I

(See HIST 130)

135 Art and Architecture of Europe from 1400 to 1800

(See ARHA 135)

146 Art From the Realm of Dreams

(See ARHA 146)

201 Napoleon's Legends

Napoleon Bonaparte’s legacy in French domestic and international politics and military strategy profoundly influenced nineteenth-century Europe. But so did the legends surrounding him, created before his great defeat and exile, and nurtured after his death in 1821. In painting, caricature, and sculpture, literature, music, and film, the legends--positive and negative--of Napoleon have served many ends. The cultural complexity of nineteenth- and twentieth-century Europe becomes clearer when one understands the motives behind and results of these representations of Napoleon.

In this course, we will study painting (e.g., David and Goya), narrative fiction (e.g., Balzac, Stendhal, and Tolstoy), poetry (e.g., Wordsworth and Hugo), music (e.g., Beethoven), urban history and architecture (e.g., of Paris), and the silent and sound films of our century (e.g., Gance). We will examine how different generations and a variety of cultures appropriated the real and imagined images of Napoleon for social, political, and artistic ends, and thereby influenced the creation of modern Europe. Three class hours per week.

Limited to 25 Students. Omitted 2015-16. Professor Rosbottom.

2023-24: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2009, Fall 2012, Spring 2015

202 World War II in European Literature and Film

This course is designed to introduce students to the impact that World War II (1939-1945) had and continues to have on the society and culture of several European nations. As the last of the generation that lived during the war passes on, their grandchildren persist in raising questions about the reasons and effects of this political cataclysm. During the war, and afterwards with more or less intensity, writers and filmmakers made and have made attempts to analyze and represent the memories, the guilt, and the false histories that the war left behind in every involved nation.

The course will examine the ethics of historical memory, the sincerity of representation, the clever use of history for political purposes. It will also probe and analyze persistent myths of the war as well as discover stories and facts that have been ignored or forgotten. Finally, the course will look at alternative scenarios, that is, “what if” narratives.

Readings might include works by Erich Remarque, Albert Camus, Irène Némirovsky, W. G. Sebald, Primo Levi, and Tony Judt. Films might include selections from Rossellini’s Roma città aperta, Holland’s Europa, Europa, Reed’s The Third Man, and Malle’s Au revoir les enfants.      

The class will study how nations too have attempted to make sense of this hecatomb, seeking explanation, expiation, and often excuses. We will also study how the Second World War’s legacy still affects contemporary European culture and politics.

Students will be expected to participate in discussion, give oral reports, and write a research paper.

Limited to 25 students. Spring semester. Professor Rosbottom

2023-24: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2011, Fall 2020, January 2022, Spring 2022

203 Cityscapes: Imagining the European City

(Offered as EUST 203 and ARCH 203.)  Cities, the largest human artifact, have been at the center of Europeans’ relationships with nature, gods, and their own kind since their first appearance. With the advent of capitalist energy, the European city went through radical change. The resultant invention, re-invention and growth of major metropolises will be the subject of this course.

We will discuss histories and theories of the city and of the urban imagination in Europe since the eighteenth century. We will consider Paris, London, Berlin, Rome, and St. Petersburg, among others, and the counter-example of New York City. We will study examples of city planning and mapping, urban architecture, film and photography, painting, poetry, fiction, and urban theory. And, we may study Atget, Baudelaire, Benjamin, Calvino, Dickens, Joyce, Rilke, Truffaut, Zola, and others.

Questions addressed will include: To what extent do those who would “improve” a city take into account the intangible qualities of that city? How do the economics of capital compromise with the economics of living? How does the body-healthy and unhealthy-interact with the built environment? How and why does the imagination create an “invisible city” that rivals the “real” geo-political site? Two classes per week.

Limited to 25 students.  Fall semester.  Professor Rosbottom.

2023-24: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2008, Spring 2010, Fall 2013, Fall 2014, Fall 2015, Fall 2017

215 Modernism and Revolution

(See RUSS 215)

220 Art, Politics, and Propaganda in Modern Europe

(See HIST 220)

221 Music and Culture I

(See MUSI 221)

222 Music and Culture II

(See MUSI 222)

223 Music and Culture III

(See MUSI 223)

224 The Century of Sex: Gender and Sexual Politics in Modern Europe

(See HIST 224)

225 The Age of Chivalry, 1000-1500

(See HIST 225)

226 Women and War in European History, 1558-1918

(See HIST 226)

227 Early Modern England, 1558-1702: Renaissance, Reformation, and Revolution

(See HIST 227)

228 Seventeenth-Century European Theater

(See SPAN 228)

230 The French Revolution

(See HIST 230)

231 Race and Empire: The British Experience from 1760

(See HIST 231)

234 Nazi Germany

(See HIST 234)

235 Impostors

(Offered as EUST 235 and SPAN 380.) An interdisciplinary exploration of the causes behind the social, racial, artistic, and political act—and art—of posing, passing, or pretending to be someone else. Blacks passing for whites, Jews passing for gentiles, and women passing for men, and vice versa, are a central motif. Attention is given to biological and scientific patterns such as memory loss, mental illness, and plastic surgery, and to literary strategies like irony. As a supernatural occurrence, the discussion includes mystical experiences, ghost stories, and séance sessions. The course also covers instances pertaining to institutional religion, from prophesy from the Hebrew and Christian Bibles to the Koran and Mormonism. In technology and communications, analysis concentrates on the invention of the telegraph, the telephone, and the Internet. Entertainment, ventriloquism, puppet shows, voice-overs, children’s cartoon shows, subtitles, and dubbing in movies and TV are topics of analysis. Posers in Greek mythology, the Arabian Nights, Cervantes, Shakespeare, Lewis Carroll, Mark Twain, Sigmund Freud, Jorge Luis Borges, Philip Roth, Oliver Sacks, and Nella Larsen are examined. Conducted in English.

Limited to 20 students. Omitted 2015-16. Professor Stavans.

2023-24: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2012, Fall 2014, Spring 2018, Fall 2021, Spring 2025

238 Soviet Union During the Cold War

(See HIST 236)

242 European Intellectual History in the Twentieth Century

(See HIST 232)

243 Childhood and Child Welfare in Modern Europe

(See HIST 233)

245 Stalin and Stalinism

(See HIST 235)

256 Visual Art of the Cold War

(See RUSS 246)

259 Shakespeare in Prison

(Offered as EUST 259 and SPAN 365.) Taught at the Hampshire County Jail, the course is devoted to close readings and staging of parts of Shakespeare’s plays while exploring in depth his historical context, dramatic and stylistic style, and world view. The topics of bondage, revenge, injustice, and forgiveness will serve as leitmotifs. On this iteration, four plays will be the focus: As You Like It, Macbeth, Hamlet, and The Tempest. Conducted in English.

Spring semester. Professor Stavans.


2023-24: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2016, Spring 2018, Spring 2020

265 Forbidden

(Offered as EUST 265 and SPAN 382.) An exploration of forbidden behavior in diverse cultures from ancient times to the present. The course delves into the moral dilemma of the accepted and the rejected by analyzing concentric circles of power. Interdisciplinary in nature, the material will come from theology to government, from jurisprudence to medicine, from pedagogy to finances, from pornography to literature, from activism to computer hacking. It includes the Inquisitorial trails in fourteenth-century Spain, the orchestration of anti-Semitic propaganda under Nazism, the gulag in the Soviet Union, the public crimes during the Chinese Cultural Revolution, McCarthyism and the N.S.A. Contemporary books and movies discussed include Lawrence’s Women in Love, Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451, and the Harry Potter saga, as well as Last Tango in Paris and Deep Throat. Conducted in English.

Omitted 2015-16. Professor Stavans.

2023-24: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2015

284 Women and Art in Early Modern Europe

(See ARHA 284)

294 Black Europe

(See BLST 294)

303 Poetic Translation

This is a workshop in translating poetry into English, preferably from a Germanic, Slavic, or Romance language (including Latin, of course), whose aim is to produce good poems in English. Students will present first and subsequent drafts to the entire class for regular analysis, which will be fed by reference to readings in translation theory and contemporary translations from European languages. Advanced knowledge of the source language is required and experience with creative writing is welcome.

Limited to 12 students. Omitted 2015-16.  Professor Ciepiela.

2023-24: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2011, Fall 2012, Spring 2013, Fall 2013, Spring 2015, Fall 2016, Fall 2017, Fall 2019, Fall 2021, Spring 2023

311 Birth of the Avant-Garde: Modern Poetry and Culture in France and Russia, 1870-1930

(Offered as EUST 311, FREN 364, and RUSS 311.) Between the mid-nineteenth century and the mid-twentieth century, poetry was revolutionized both in France and in Russia; nowhere else did the avant-garde proliferate more extravagantly. This class will focus on the key period in the emergence of literary modernity that began with Symbolism and culminated with Surrealism and Constructivism.

With the advent of modernism, the poem became a “global phenomenon” that circulated among different languages and different cultures, part of a process of cross-fertilization. An increasingly hybrid genre, avant-garde poetry went beyond its own boundaries by drawing into itself prose writing, philosophy, music, and the visual and performing arts. The relation between the artistic and the literary avant-garde will be an essential concern.

We will be reading Baudelaire, Rimbaud and the French Symbolists; the Russian Symbolists (Blok, Bely); Nietzsche; Apollinaire, Dada, and the Surrealists (Breton, Eluard, Desnos); and the Russian avant-garde poets (Mayakovsky, Khlebnikov, Tsvetaeva).

Our study of the arts will include Symbolism (Moreau, Redon); Fauvism (Matisse, Derain, Vlaminck); Cubism, Dada, and early Surrealism (Duchamp, Ernst, Dali, Artaud); the “World of Art” movement (Bakst, the Ballets Russes); Primitivism (Goncharova, Larionov); Suprematism (Malevich); and Constructivism (Tatlin, Rodchenko, El Lissitzky). The course will be taught in English. Students who read fluently in French and/or Russian will be encouraged to read the material in the original language.

Omitted 2015-16.  Professors Ciepiela and L. Katsaros.

2023-24: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2007, Spring 2010, Spring 2014

321 European Economic Take-Off in Global Perspective, 750-1750

(See HIST 321)

329 A Price for Everything: Making of a Market Society

(See HIST 339)

331 Travel

(Offered as EUST 331 and SPAN 377.) Is there a difference between a traveler and a tourist? Does travel always involve movement in time? What is the relationship between travel and technology? In what sense is the self always changing? How to describe a fake experience? And are immigrants travelers? This course explores questions of travel across history, from the Bible to the age of social media. It will contemplate literature, cinema, music, and photography. Theories articulated by Joseph Campbell on myth and Albert Einstein and Stephen Hawking on time will be discussed. Authors include Dante, Samuel Johnson, Alexis de Tocqueville, Charles Darwin, Herman Melville, Mark Twain, H.G. Wells, Isak Dinesen, Franz Kafka, Elizabeth Bishop, Ryszard Kapuściński, and Gabriel García Márquez. Conducted in English.

Fall semester. Professor Stavans.


2023-24: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2015

332 Gender, Class, and Crime: the Victorian Underworld

(See HIST 432)

334 Jorge Luis Borges

(Offered as EUST 334 and SPAN 360.) An in-depth, multifaceted analysis of the philosophical, theological, esthetic, and political trends of the Argentine hombre de letras Jorge Luis Borges (1899-1986) and how he reassessed the European and American intellectual traditions. The course starts with his early poetry in Fervor de Buenos Aires and concludes with his world fame as one of the most influential twentieth-century writers. Special attention is paid to his mid-career works, especially Otras Inquisiciones and Ficciones. Borges’ aesthetic and intellectual development is examined against the current of Argentina’s political events and in the context of Latin American history. His views on God, death, memory, nationalism, and translation are explored as are his connection to the Bible, the Arabian Nights, the Icelandic sagas, Dante, Shakespeare, Mark Twain, Nazism, and Gaucho literature. Conducted in English.

Omitted 2015-16. Professor Stavans.


2023-24: Not offered

335 European Migrations

(See HIST 335)

339 Defining the Modern: Russia Between Tsars and Communists

(See HIST 439)

342 Kafka, Brecht, and Thomas Mann

(See GERM 352)

344 Translating the Classics

(See SPAN 374)

355 Renaissance Illusions: Art, Matter, Spirit

(See ARHA 354)

356 Baroque Art in Italy, France, Spain, and the Spanish Netherlands

(See ARHA 356)

360 Performance

(See GERM 360)

363 Traumatic Events

(See GERM 363)

364 Architectures of Disappearance

(See GERM 364)

365 Making Memorials

(See GERM 365)

371 Music and Revolution: The Symphonies of Mahler and Shostakovich

(See MUSI 422)

373 Topics in European History: The Politics of Memory in Twentieth-Century Europe

(See HIST 438)

374 Medieval and Renaissance Lyric

(See ENGL 441)

384 To Sculpt a Modern Woman's Life

(See ARHA 374)

385 Witches, Vampires and Other Monsters

(See ARHA 385)

390, 490 Special Topics

Fall and spring semesters.

2023-24: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2011, Spring 2012, Fall 2012, Spring 2013, Fall 2013, Spring 2014, Fall 2014, Spring 2015, Fall 2015, Spring 2016, Fall 2016, Spring 2017, Fall 2017, Spring 2018, Fall 2018, Spring 2019, Fall 2019, Spring 2020, Fall 2020, Spring 2021, Fall 2021, Spring 2022, Fall 2022, Spring 2023, Fall 2024

412 Medieval Manuscripts

(See ENGL 412)

498, 498D, 499, 499D Senior Departmental Honors

A double course. Spring semester.

Other years: Offered in Spring 2012, Spring 2013, Spring 2014, Spring 2015, Spring 2016, Spring 2017, Spring 2018, Spring 2019, Spring 2020, Spring 2021, Spring 2022, Spring 2023, Spring 2025

Non-Language Russian Courses

255 Art and Politics in Russia, 1860 to the Present

(See RUSS 245)

Non-Language Courses


(See GERM 368)

Nation-Specific Studies

317 Women in Early Modern Spain

(See SPAN 317)

340 Violence, Art, and Memory of the Spanish Civil War

(See SPAN 340)

Course Specialized by Auther & Text

264 Don Quixote [RC]

(See SPAN 364)

Thematic Analysis

233 Love

(See SPAN 384)

270 Hispanic Humor [RC]

(See SPAN 375)

Twentieth- and Twenty-First Century Literature and Culture

354 War and Memory

(See FREN 354)

Related Courses

- (Course not offered this year.)CLAS-124 Roman Civilization (Course not offered this year.)ENGL-338 Shakespeare (Course not offered this year.)FREN-320 Literary Masks of the Late French Middle Ages (Course not offered this year.)FREN-330 The Doing and Undoing of Genres in the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries (Course not offered this year.)FREN-342 Women of Ill Repute (Course not offered this year.)FREN-361 European Film (Course not offered this year.)GERM-315 German Cultural History to 1800 (Course not offered this year.)GERM-316 German Cultural History from 1800 to the Present (Course not offered this year.)GERM-331 Berlin, Metropolis (Course not offered this year.)GERM-350 Rilke (Course not offered this year.)GREE-212 Greek Prose: Plato's Apology (Course not offered this year.)GREE-215 An Introduction to Greek Tragedy (Course not offered this year.)GREE-217 Reading the New Testament (Course not offered this year.)GREE-318 An Introduction to Greek Epic (Course not offered this year.)GREE-441 Advanced Readings in Greek Literature I (Course not offered this year.)HIST-101 World War II in Global Perspective (Course not offered this year.)HIST-208 Spain and the Pacific World, 1571-1898 (Course not offered this year.)HIST-212 Disease and Doctors: An Introduction to the History of Western Medicine (Course not offered this year.)LATI-215 Latin Literature: Catullus and the Lyric Spirit (Course not offered this year.)LATI-316 Latin Literature in the Augustan Age (Course not offered this year.)LATI-441 Advanced Readings in Latin Literature I (Course not offered this year.)LJST-356 Representing and Judging the Holocaust (Research Seminar) (Course not offered this year.)PHIL-111 Philosophical Questions (Course not offered this year.)PHIL-217 Ancient Greek Philosophy (Course not offered this year.)PHIL-218 Early Modern Philosophy (Course not offered this year.)PHIL-310 Ethics (Course not offered this year.)PHIL-360 Origins of Analytic Philosophy: Frege, Russell, and the Early Wittgenstein (Course not offered this year.)PHIL-364 Kant (Course not offered this year.)POSC-415 Taking Marx Seriously (Course not offered this year.)POSC-480 Contemporary Political Theory (Course not offered this year.)PSYC-234 Memory (Course not offered this year.)PSYC-338 Personality and Political Leadership (Course not offered this year.)PSYC-368 Autobiographical Memory (Course not offered this year.)RELI-111 Introduction to Religion (Course not offered this year.)RELI-362 Folklore and the Bible (Course not offered this year.)RUSS-213 Century of Catastrophe:  Soviet and Contemporary Russia in Literature and Film (Course not offered this year.)RUSS-217 Strange Russian Writers: Gogol, Dostoevsky, Bulgakov, Nabokov, et al (Course not offered this year.)RUSS-225 Seminar on One Writer: Vladimir Nabokov (Course not offered this year.)RUSS-227 Fyodor Dostoevsky (Course not offered this year.)SOCI-315 Foundations of Sociological Theory (Course not offered this year.)THDA-112 Materials of Theater (Course not offered this year.)