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Program in Contemporary European Politics and Society


Harold James

Executive Committee

Sandra L. Bermann, Comparative Literature 

John W. Borneman, Anthropology 

Jan T. Gross, History 

Marie-Hélène Huet, French and Italian 

Harold James, History, Woodrow Wilson School 

Andrew Moravcsik, Politics, Woodrow Wilson School 

Jan-Werner Müller, Politics 

Philip G. Nord, History 

Ezra N. Suleiman, Politics 

Maurizio Viroli, Politics 

The Program in Contemporary European Politics and Society, an affiliate of the Princeton Institute for International and Regional Studies, encourages the interdisciplinary study of modern Europe, with a particular focus on politics, economics, and society in western and central Europe since World War I. The program sponsors a core course and a noncredit thesis writers' colloquium for seniors. In addition, it sponsors lectures, seminars, and other programs for the entire University community. The program offers a certificate in contemporary European politics and society.

Admission to the Program

Successful completion of EPS 300, 301, or 302, typically by the end of sophomore year.

Program of Study

Students who will receive a certificate in contemporary European politics and society must meet the following requirements:

1. Take one of the following courses: EPS 300, 301, or 302.

2. Take at least four other courses from the list of core courses that have an emphasis on European politics and society. Other courses may be approved by the director.

3. Of the four courses, at least one must be chosen from among offerings in history and at least one must be chosen from among offerings in the other social sciences.

4. Fulfill a language requirement by doing one of the following.

a) Take a 200- or 300-level course in a European language.

b) Demonstrate fluency in a European language by taking a test administered by the program. Any national language spoken in a European country may be used to satisfy the requirement. The expectation is that students will have sufficient linguistic competence to use research materials in the foreign language for their senior thesis research.

5. Participate in a senior thesis colloquium sponsored by the program.

6. Write a senior thesis on a subject related to contemporary European politics and society. Students majoring in departments where a senior thesis on modern Europe is not possible may petition the director to have another piece of independent research meet this requirement.

Study Abroad

Studying abroad at a European university is very strongly encouraged by the program. Living overseas is a critical part of gaining a perspective on a foreign society and in developing language fluency. Princeton participates in the Berlin Consortium, has linkages with the Fondation Nationale des Sciences Politiques-Institut d'Études (Sciences Po) and the University of Oxford, and also allows students to study at many other European universities. The program allows students to count up to two of the courses they take at a European university toward their course requirement, if those courses pertain to modern European politics, economics, sociology, or 20th-century history.

Certificate of Proficiency

A student who has met the requirements of the program and of the home department and has maintained satisfactory standing will receive a certificate of proficiency in contemporary European politics and society upon graduation.

NOTE: An asterisk indicates a one-time-only course or topic.

1. Courses satisfying the history requirement

French and Italian

FRE 222 The Making of Modern France: French Literature, Culture, and Society from 1789 to the Present
FRE 330 Landmarks of French Culture and History
FRE 357 Literature, Culture, and Politics
FRE 367 Topics in 19th- and 20th-Century French Literature and Culture
ITA 309 Topics in Contemporary Italian Civilization


207 Studies in German Language and Style: Society, Politics, and Culture in Germany, 1890-1945
208 Studies in German Language and Style: Contemporary Society, Politics, and Culture
307 Topics in Modern German Culture and Society
309 Literature, Philosophy, and Politics in the Weimar Republic


212 Europe in the World: Monarchies, Nations, and Empires from 1776 to the Present
281 Approaches to European History
341 Between Resistance and Collaboration: The Second World War in Europe
351 France, 1815 to the Present
354 Intellectual History of Europe since 1880
357 Eastern Europe since 1815
362 The Soviet Empire
363 Mediterranean Europe: 16th to 20th Century
364 International Economic History in the 20th Century
365 Europe in the 20th Century
366 Germany since 1806
370 Britain 1815-1945: Dominance, Democracy, and Decline
*452 Communism and Dissent in Eastern Europe

2. Courses satisfying the social science requirement


371 Democracy in Europe
372 Political Economy of Western Europe
373 Central and East European Politics
375 Politics after Communism
389 Theory and Practice of International Diplomacy


EPS 300 European Politics and Society in the 20th Century (also POL 384)   Spring SA

The critical developments of 20th-century Europe and the consolidation of democracy in European countries, including the legacy of the two world wars, Nazism, Stalinism, the Cold War, colonialism and decolonization, the birth and development of the European Community, the development of the welfare state, the problems confronting the European Union (immigration, enlargement, political institutions, military role), and the varieties of democratic institutions in Europe. Two lectures, one preceptorial. J. Müller, P. Nord

EPS 301 Turning Points in European Culture (see ECS 301)

EPS 302 Landmarks of European Identity (also ECS 302)   Fall HA

This course gives a broad and interdisciplinary perspective on some of the very diverse cultural and historical roots of European identity. It examines contemporary debates over contested identity in the light of long historical trajectories in which identities were continually defined and reshaped. It is conceived as an introduction to many of the courses in Princeton dealing with European issues. The landmarks include, but are not restricted to, written texts. They include Machiavelli, Montesquieu, Marx, and J.S. Mill, but also Fra Angelico, Beethoven and Thomas Mann. One three-hour seminar. H. James

EPS 342 Topics in Country and Regional Economics (see ECO 372)