Professor John Munro passed away on December 23, 2013. This site is maintained and kept online as an archive. For more infomation please visit the Centre for Medieval Studies
Professor (Emeritus) John H. Munro passed away December 23, 2013
Department of Economics
University of Toronto
Toronto, Ontario M5S 3G7
The Economic History of Later Medieval and Early Modern Europe, 1250 - 1750
For the academic year 2013 - 2014
Updated: 23 August 2013
Note: this is the only course that I am offering in the coming academic year 2013 - 2014.
This course alternates with ECO 303Y (Economic History of Modern Europe, to 1914), which was offered last year (2012-13), but not this year, but I hope to offer ECO 303y again in the following
This course is offered on Wednesday afternoons, from 3:00 to 5:00 pm (sometimes to 5:30 pm) : in University College: UC 328
All blue highlighted items in the following are URL web links to other web pages or to specific supporting documents.
The Purpose and Fundamental Contents of ECO 301Y:
The Economic History of Later Medieval and Early Modern Europe, ca. 1250 - 1750: to the eve of the modern Industrial Revolution.
- Chief purpose and goal of this course: to explain the origins of the modern Industrial Revolution (the subject of ECO 303Y). That involves the following questions: (1) why did that Industrial Revolution
first took place in Great Britain (England, Scotland, and Wales), and not elsewhere; (2) why did it take place only from the mid-18th century (when this course ends), and not earlier; and (3) why the Industrial Revolution
first took place in the textile (cottons) and metallurgical (iron) industries.
- In essence, the course is designed to reveal and explore the evolutionary foundations of the modern Industrial
Revolution, and why that 'Revolution' can be understood only in the light of developments in the preceding five centuries (from the 13th century). We are, in essence, examining the historical origins of
our modern urban industrial economies and societies, as we know them today (for good and for ill) -- not just in Europe and North America, but across the developed world.
- At a more profound level, we seek to acquire a better knowledge of economic and social changes, by studying the interaction of evolving economic institutions with related social, political, cultural,
and religious institutions: to see that economic phenomena never exist and never change in isolation from
so many other human factors. We understand ourselves the best by examining how we all came to be: by studying our historical evolution (i.e., of all human beings, of our one unique species homo sapens,
now on this planet -- unique from about 30,000 years ago, when the last rival humanoid species (Neanderthals and Denisovians) finally died out (or were eliminated by our human ancestors).
- Why Study Economic History: as a general topic? My Views. A PDF file that is also available
in an MS-Word file.
- Why Study European Economic History in Particular -- without being 'Eurocentric'? The Major Themes Offered in My European Economic History Courses. Also available as
a PDF file.
Web documents are posted in PDF [portable document file] and (occasionally) HTML formats.
The Course Outline and other important web documents for Eco. 301Y1:
- The One-Page Course Outline for Eco. 301Y in the 2013 - 2014 academic year.
- Course Outline for 2013 - 2014: the detailed course outline.
- Time-Line Chart of European Economic History,
1300 - 1750. Also available in HTML format .
- Brief Outline of the Major Lecture Topics in the Course
- Schedule of Lecture Topics for 2013 - 2014.
- Detailed Outline of Lecture Topics for 2013 - 2014 .
- Online Lecture Notes for ECO 301Y: in the academic year 2013 - 2014
- Lecture Summaries in Power Point slides: online (also in PDF format)
- Bibliographic Guide to Some Readings in Medieval and Early-Modern Economic History. This is NOT a course reading list, but a survey of major books in the field to be used chiefly for term essays. Also available in
MS - Word format
- Master List of Topics for Essays and General Reading in ECO 301Y.
- Essay Topics: First Term, Sept. - Dec. 2013.
- The Course Reader 1: Package of Readings for Eco. 301Y1 in the First Term , Sept. - Dec. 2013: Table of Contents.
The first-term course reader will be available from Scholar House Productions (100 Harbord Street),
from early September 2013. The table of contents is now posted online (via this URL). This document is also available in MS - Word .
- Essay Topics: Second Term, Jan. - Apr. 2014.
- The Course Reader 2: Package of Readings for Eco. 301Y1 in the Second Term , Jan. - Apr. 2014: Table of Contents.
The second-term course reader will available, by mid-January 2014, from Scholar House Productions (100 Harbord Street).
The table of contents will be posted online (via this URL) in early January 2014. This document will also be available then in MS - Word .
- Instructions on Writing Term Essays: a general set of instructions for writing all essays (but especially in economic history). This web document is included in the preceding
web guide on term essays.
- Guides to Essays in Late Medieval and Early Modern European Economic History, 1250 - 1750: A Compendium of Web Guides for Writing Term Essays in ECO 301Y (including the previous one): with
instructions, regulations, topics, course readers, and bibliographies.
- A Guide to Writing Better English: in pdf
- Other Aids for Writing Essays and Exams: Other
Auxliary web documents on my Home Page.
- Research Tools and other Aids for Studying European Economic History.
- Former Examinations and Review Questions.
- Advice on and Tips for Writing the Final Examination in ECO 301Y
for essays in undergraduate economic history courses
The bibliography lists and the individual bibliographies, in both short and long versions,
are accessible in both html and pdf formats; but in order to retrieve the individual bibliographies
you must click on the highlighted "List" in the html format only. Only the bibliographies in the
long-format contain statistical and other appendices; and they are best read in the pdf format. Bibliographies in
the short-format, usually in two pages, contain the key readings and a few questions to guide you in formulating
your essays. The second-term bibliographies will updated and revised in December 2013.
Formats and Other General Observations.
Also in pdf format.
Recommended Readings for A and B List Essays in ECO 301Y.
The Economic History of Later Medieval and Early Modern Europe, to 1750.
Bibliographies for ECO 301Y1:
The Economic History of Later Medieval and Early Modern Europe, 1250-1750.
MORE RELEVANT INFORMATION ABOUT THIS COURSE: and why you should take it:
The major purpose and goal of this course, to elaborate on the introduction, is to analyse and explain five inter-related economic phenomena, so important
for global economic history: in elaboration of the goals stated above.
- - (1) How the medieval Western European economy evolved from an essentially rural, agrarian feudal economy to a much more urbanized and modernized ‘capitalist’ economy,
one that was initially based on commercial-financial capitalism, but then later, ultimately evolved into full-scale industrial capitalism, primarily urban-based: with the
modern Industrial Revolution, from the mid-18th century, when this course ends.
- - (2) How western Europe, from about the 13th-century, caught up with and then surpassed other previously more advanced
regions (more advanced in both economic and military power) in the world:
namely, the Byzantine Empire (in southeastern Europe and western Asia), the Islamic world (in Africa and Asia, from the Atlantic to the Pacific), India, and China.
- - (3) How, by the 17th century, Europe's economic centre of gravity shifted from the Mediterranean basin to north-west Europe (at the expense of eastern Europe).
- - (4) How, during this era, western Europe, beginning with 15th-century Portugal), engaged in overseas (maritime) expansion, colonialism, and imperialism: i.e., in Europe's economic and military
relations with Africa, Asia, and the Americas -- in effect, establishing its economic hegemony over them.
- - (5) How Great Britain (England, Wales, and Scotland) became the homeland of the modern Industrial Revolution from the mid-18th century: why there, and not elsewhere; and why then, from the 1760s
This course is largely theme-based and regional in scope (rather than
national): and it involves the following major themes:
- - (1) Macro-economic trends: involving demography (population changes), money, and prices;
- - (2) An analysis of European economic development by following major sectors: agriculture, commerce, banking & finance, industry. Indeed, the course will end with the industrial origins of the
modern Industrial Revolution in Great Britain.
- - (3) Socio-political economic structures: feudalism, manorialism, and serfdom; the Church; town governments and urban guilds: chiefly in the first term
- - (4) Economic philosophies: e.g., the Church, especially the usury doctrine; bullionism and other monetary policies; the state and Mercantilism; colonialism and imperialism.
- - (5) The most important and overriding general theme of both of my courses concerns, in a specifically European context, the struggle for both freedom -- personal, political, social,
and economic freedoms -- and the struggle for control over personal property rights. A major question: does the acquisition of such freedoms and control over property rights lead to a competitive 'rent-seeking' struggle
(to capture economic rents), at the expense of the freedoms and property rights of other people. That is especially relevant in the study of European overseas expansion and Imperialism,
from the fifteenth to twentieth centuries. Surely these are not trivial and 'boring' considerations!
Geographic coverage of this course
- Although the major focus is therefore on medieval western Europe, nevertheless eastern
Europe (Prussia, the eastern Baltic, Poland, Ukraine, Russia) will also be considered, in the first term. The major European regional focus in the first term
is Italy; in the second term, on England and the Low Countries.
- This course is not, however, Eurocentric and is not totally restricted to Europe. I also inlcude most of the Islamic world, especially in the Mediterranean basin and western and southern Asia, and the
non-Islamic portions of southern and eastern Asia. Indeed one major aim is to demonstrate that the economic development of Europe from the 8th, but especially from the 12th century, took place only because its
growing trade and other economic relations with the Islamic world. In the second term, for the early modern era (1500 -1750) we will see how even more economically dependent Europe became in its relations
with the now vast Ottoman Empire (Asia and Africa), with India, China, and the East Indies (modern day Indonesia) – and then the Americas, North and South.
IMPORTANT WEB LINKS FOR THIS COURSE:
These themes are elaborated in two related web documents, designed to convince students of the real utility of economic history:
This course is closely related to my own research and
publications. There are significant costs as well as benefits in basing the course so much on my own research --
and having it differ so much from a traditonal textbook course. Economics is all about costs and benefits -- and thus about trade-offs. I hope that the tradeoffs will prove to be profitable to students.
See also Time Chart of European Economic History,
1300-1750, for a one-page summary of the course, relating topics with 50-year time periods. This is also available
as a pdf file: i.e., portable document file. You
may find it easier to download and print the file in this format.
PORTAL'S BLACKBOARD AND MY HOME PAGE: important other links
- The University of Toronto's
on-line inter-active web pages for this and my other course: on Portal's Blackboard:
- To gain access to the Blackboard site, you must first log-in: with your UTORid and password.
- See also Current Notices, for any new or recent
announcements concerning this course or my other course in European economic history. This page is updated frequently.
These announcements will also be found on both the Portal Blackboard site and my Home Page.
- Please read carefully, via the indicated web-links, my policies concerning: e-mails;
letters of recommendation; and office hours.
The lectures for this course: are given on Wednesday afternoons (from Wednesday, 11 September 2013): from 3:00 to 5:00 pm, or sometimes to 5:30 pm
- Note: our classroom has been booked for three hours, from 3:00 to 6:00 p.m, but
- The actual lecture is normally only two hours. For four of the 12 weeks each semester, however, the lecture will be two and a half hours: i.e., to 5:30 pm.
- In the past (in the past 45 years (since 1968), in fact, here at the University of Toronto), I had lectured each time, each week, for only two hours; and the extra hour was reserved for any make-up lectures on the
rare occasions that I had to go to Europe for conferences.
- Now, however, the Faculty of Arts and Science has unwisely decided to reduce each semester by one week: i.e., with 12 rather than the traditional 13 weeks of lectures. I am not prepared to cut yet another four
hours from my teaching schedule -- especially not when we differ so radically from the world-wide university norm: in offering lectures to only two rather than three hours a week.
- Therefore (and despite university advice to the contrary) I will make up those four missing lecture hours by lecturing for an extra half hour each week, at least eight times in the course of the year.
I could of course, take the easy route, and cut out four one-hour lectures, and save myself the effort. But my goal in teaching is to give you a proper, full, and legitimate course of lectures. I am not willing
to compromise my academic standards; and I think that it is morally very wrong to cheat students in this fashion. On the other hand, students are not compelled to stay for the extra half hour -- or even to come
to class (though they risk failing the final exam by not coming to class).
The On-Line Lecture Notes and Power Point Presentationsfor Eco 301Y1 : Important Considerations
- the Schedule of ECO 301 Lecture Notes, in 2013-14. From this web link, to an html document, the online lectures can be downloaded in both PDF and MS-Word format. In the
left hand column, under the date for each lecture, click on either PDF, or MS-Word, as highlighted in blue, for that format, for the lecture notes.
The complete lectures (with footnotes, tables, appendices, etc. are posted online, in
both pdf format and in MS Word. But the pdf version is always preferable, if only because the Word files have
been converted from Word Perfect, which is my preferred word-processor; and such conversions into Word are often imperfect).
- Posted online separately (underneath the links for the lecture notes themselves) are graphs, maps, and illustrations (when relevant to the lectures): as noted in both or either PDF and MS
Word files. The web links for these files are similarly highlighted in blue.
- The weekly Power Point presentations (summaries of the full lectures) are given in
both MS - Power Point and in PDF (converted from PP) >. If you do not have MS Power Point
on your computer, you can access the same material in the PDF version. Though I have MS Office 2007, many do not. Therefore I have saved all Power Point files in the 2003 version (.ppt, rather than .pptx).
If you have
MS-Office 2007, you can convert the Power Point files into the .pptx version yourself. It you find, on the screen a Micro Soft Security Notice, about file links, ignore it, and click on CANCEL.
- Some comments about power-point presentations and student attendance
- There are also significant costs and benefits from posting both the full lectures and the Power Point presentations online: Many of my colleagues are opposed to posting either -- especially the
Power Points. Given the quantative nature of economic history and of this course, I think that the net benefit for all students will be positive -- you have to SEE and measure the evidence, in graphs, charts,
tables, etc. (You may be amazed by how much pre-Industrial economic data we possess -- some, to repeat, from my own archival research).
Teaching Assistant and Office Hours: for both the TA and the Professor
(1) The Teaching Assistant for this course, ECO 301Y1: Ms. Jessie LaMontagne: PhD Student in the Department of Economics (who has served as my TA for the past two years -- this will be her third year).
- e-mail: email@example.com
- The TA grades the term essays; I grade (mark) everything else in the course.
- Office and office hours: GE 076 (basement floor, South House), Fridays: 11:00 - 12:00 noon.
(2) John Munro's Office hours: on Thursday afternoons:
- in the Max Gluskin House, Department of Economics, 150 St. George Street: third floor, in the Centre Block
- Thursday afternoons, from 2:30 to 4:00 pm (from 12 September 2013).
- Or, by appointment: on Mondays (10:00 am to 5:30 pm) and Thursday mornings (10:00 am to 12:oo noon), or Fridays (10:00 am to 5:30 pm) only
- I will not meet anybody on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, when my time is
reserved exclusively for my lecture course (especially the Power Point presentations).
- There are no office hours from the second week in May to the first week in September (every year).
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