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University of Virginia

The Modern World, Part One: Global History from 1760 to 1910

University of Virginia via Coursera


This is a survey of modern history from a global perspective. Part One begins with the political and economic revolutions of the late 1700s and tracks the transformation of the world during the 1800s. Part One concludes as these bewildering changes seem to be running beyond the capacity of older institutions to handle them. Throughout the course we try to grasp what is happening and ask: Why? And the answers often turn on very human choices.


  • From the Traditional to the Modern - Commercial and Military Revolutions (1760-1800)
  • Democratic Revolutions of the Atlantic World (1760-1800)
  • Revolutionary Wars (1800-1830)
  • The World Transformed (1830-1870)
  • The Rise of National Industrial States (1830-1871)
  • The Rise of National Industrial Empires (1871-1900)
  • The Great Acceleration (1890-1910)

Taught by

Philip Zelikow


4.8 rating, based on 25 Class Central reviews

4.8 rating at Coursera based on 2844 ratings

Start your review of The Modern World, Part One: Global History from 1760 to 1910

  • Toby A. Smith
    An absorbing, enriching, and digestible take on history during a period of global transition from an agriculture-based world to one focused on industrialization. Finally, a course that puts worldwide events in context so that you know how the French revolution was connected to what was going on in Haiti, the US and Asia at the same time. The professor is exceptional, offering insight and information through a very friendly and intimate style.
  • Helga Maria Saboia Bezerra
    One of the best courses I've ever taken! Professor Philip Zelikow is very nice and an extremely competent authority who teaches History in a way that makes you want to know more and more about World events of the last centuries. A pleasant course which I highly recommend!
  • This is a great introductory course. You don't require any previous knowledge, but even if you do have some prior history experience, the Professor gives very interesting examples. I also respect the fact that his views are very neutral regardless of the country he is explaining.
  • Eric Gehlhaar
    I completed this exceptional course twice. The professor has worked at the highest levels of government and diplomacy, inter alia, managing the 9/11 report. He is engaging and authoritative in presentation. His selection of material is superb
  • Linda Saalman
    If you are looking to bring your bits and pieces of historical knowledge together into a coherent whole, and understand the trends and interactions of this period of history, this is absolutely your course -- it's superb, and the professor is terrific. Also really helped me better understand the global world we are living in today. The course is accessible to a beginner, but may be overwhelming, and it really helps to come in with some exposure to the topic. As usual for a Coursera class, the discussion forum is hit-or-miss with weak participation, although there is an active moderator. (For a better discussion platform, try FutureLearn.) The quizzes are helpful -- there's a lot of learning here, and the quizzes help cement it.
  • Anonymous
    This course, and the follow up Part 2 course, are some of the most interesting courses I've ever taken. Prof Zelikow is a brilliant teacher with an incisive perspective on what can be overwhelmingly complex settings and situations. His ability to negotiate his way through the years from 1750 to the present day, and it make it come alive for us, assist us to see the threads running through modern human history. I've learned so much! And I am 65 years old and have followed politics and history all my adult life.
  • Among the first MOOCs I followed . And among the best .The pace at the time was easy to follow without any switch/self-pace option . This overview of global history is almost unknown in french universities where History is taught from an european point of view . I wish I could learn more from Pr Zelikow .
  • Raquel Carballo
    I loved this course being history always one of my favorite subjects . The approach of Professor Zelikow is very engaging and much more interesting that the simple account of historical facts. It focuses on the why instead of the what happened in a very easy to follow manner. I'm already in my second round.
  • Anonymous
    The class I have been waiting for : not focusing on a geographic part of the world, but showing interactions between all regions of the world. Great !
  • Profile image for Sivananda Ramnath
    Sivananda Ramnath
    Interesting course, tries to give the big picture with a focus on context. Somewhat europe-centric.

    Breadth - 4/5
    Depth - 3/5
    Quiz - 2/5
    Overall Satisfaction - 4/5

    Will I take Part 2? Defenitely.
  • Anonymous
    It is a really well organized and interesting course. I highly recommend it.
  • This is a fabulous course! It's loaded with fascinating European and New World History, expertly presented by the Professor. He brings the material to life by presenting it in an engaging and organized way. This period was loaded with huge developments and transitions, many of which provided the underpinnings of our current cultures. It is a "must-do" class if you enjoy history and are curious, and the presentation is terrific. Thank you, Anne
  • Angela
    I attended the whole course, not only the first section. All in all, I truly enjoyed the course: the lessons and the exercices are well organised and professor Zelikov gives a wide insight into the global history. So I found it very interesting and useful for my job, as I teach history in a Italian high school, and I appreciated the opportunity to meet the American point of view about some familiar topics.
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  • Alan Salsac
  • Kaia Aher
  • Francisco Javier Jiménez
  • Dingo Flunk
  • Robert L. Everett

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