The Political Development of Western Europe from UCSD


Map of Europe. Image credit*

(Note: this version of the course is no longer available, but Prof. Magagna teaches new versions from time to time.  Check the UCSD website for current availability.)

Political science Professor Victor Magagna (rhymes with lasagna) is back for UCSD’s winter ’09 quarter, bringing his gifts for storytelling and explaining complex ideas and historical phenomena to a new subject, The Political Development of Western Europe.

Magagna explores the creation of the modern nation-state and asks how monarchs won their power struggles with competing centers of power, such as the Church and the nobility. His main thesis is that the growth of a complex commercial society created a demand for centralized standardized institutions like courts of justice. This is just the kind of public good that the monarchs were uniquely positioned to provide.

Magagna almost always provides new food for thought and interesting new frameworks for understanding how political institutions work. But he never leaves the discussion completely on a theoretical level. He always provides historical examples, and here his exceptional gifts as a storyteller have a chance to shine.

The reading list is here.

For more courses from Victor Magagna, see these earlier posts:

*Image credit: Wikimedia Commons. GNU Free Documentation License.
This entry was posted in Academic podcasts, Courses, Five-star professors, History, Political Science and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to The Political Development of Western Europe from UCSD

  1. Adam says:

    Indeed, the battery died on the microphone during lecture 4.

    His main theory in regards to Kings and Institutions is that Kings were able to centralize power by making lots of bargains.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s