Universitat Internacional de Catalunya

World Contemporary History

World Contemporary History
Second semester
Global Trends
Main language of instruction: Spanish


The main aim of the subject of history is the development of critical, analytical skills and knowledge of our recent past. In the subject there will be a constant tension between the unknown historical data and the reflections and analysis of those facts most relevant to help understand the present. The key concern of Contemporary World History focuses on the analysis of the different political models, social organisation and economic and human rights. A first part looks at the French Revolution and the fall of the ancient regime to follow after with the industrial revolution and the labour movement, placing special emphasis on the Marxist, anarchist and socialist movements. The second part discussess in more detail the recent history of nationalism and World War I, economic change, the twenties and the 1929 crash, new models and state rights (democracy, fascism, communism), World War II, the creation of the UN, the Cold War and the new countries and emerging socio-political realities and all this bearing in mind the degree of journalism. For this reason, activities are related to the history of written press and the skills of journalists.



Pre-course requirements

No pre-course requirements are needed to enrol in this subject.


  • Develop critical thinking and the ability to analyse complex historical and current realities.
  • Know the main historical data to help understand the present.
  • Analyse and understand the different political models, in its temporal development and its viability.
  • Understand and critically assess developments in human rights.
  • Understand and analyse the social changes that have occurred in the forms of life.


  • 02 CG - The ability to learn and act an autonomously and responsibly
  • 04 CG - The ability to organise time and workspace
  • 05 CG - The ability to develop an ethical attitude
  • 08 CG - The ability to reflect and memorize.
  • 10 CG - Knowledge and mastery of bibliographic repertoires
  • 11 CG - Knowledge and mastery of different research resources
  • 12 CG - The ability to listen
  • 16 CE - The ability to make judgments and well-argued critical assessments
  • 18 CE - Ability to detect newsworthy events
  • 21 CE - The ability to contextualize historical facts and critically analyze the current situation
  • 38 CE - Knowledge and mastery of concepts, data, statistics and economic graphs
  • 42 CE - The ability to integrate the contributions of the environment

Learning outcomes

  • Know of any major developments that have marked and help understand the present.
  • Understand the evolutionary processes of different state models, as well as the strengths and weaknesses of each.
  • Understand and analyse key socio-economic dynamics of western society.
  • Analyse the changes in those elements that are considered human rights.
  • Develop a critical assessment of reality.




  1. Will learn basic knowledge of economics, law geography and history in order to be able to understand some of the major problems of modern society.
  2. They will internalize a complex vision of contemporary societies.
  3. They will understand how to spot trends.
  4. They will be able to analyze society and forge a critical and independent spirit.
  5. They will develop abilities to perform better during teamwork and create positive synergies.
  6. They will get detailed knowledge about the origins of mankind and its organization, culture, religion and privacy.


0. Introduction

Topic 1. Political change. From the Old Regime to the bourgeois state
1.1. The Old Regime
1.2. The English revolution and the American Independence
1.3. The French Revolution and human rights
1.4. The internationalisation of the Revolution: the spring of nations (1830-1848)

Topic 2. Economic change. Liberalism and the industrial revolution
2.1. The first Industrial Revolution and its diffusion through Europe
2.2. The second industrial revolution: the era of high capitalism

Topic 3. Social Change. The workers movement and the social doctrines
3.1. The utopian socialism
3.2. The first organisations
3.3. Socialism, Marxism and Anarchism
3.4. International Development and the new doctrines
3.5. The social doctrine of the Catholic Church

Topic 4. Towards the World War I
4.0. Introduction
4.1. The world between 1870-1914
4.2. Direct causes
4.3. World War I
4.4. Consequences
4.5. The treaties of peace
4.6. Conclusions
4.7. The Society of Nations

Topic 5. Democracy
5.0. Introduction
5.1. Europe in the 20´s
5.2. The prosperity of the 20´s
5.3. The Great Depression
5.4. Solutions to the crisis
5.5. Conclusions

Topic 6 War and Dictatorship
6.1. The Communist Revolution
1. Introduction
2. Russia before 1905
3. The revolutionary process
4. Communist Russia
6.2. Nazism and World War II
6.2.1. Europe in the 30´s
6.2.2. Totalitarian systems
6.2.3. Nazism
6.2.4. Towards World War II
6.2.5. World War II
6.2.6. After World War II
6.2.7. The creation of the UN

Topic 7. Towards a New World Order: Globalisation
7.1. The Cold War policy
7.2. Political Change: decolonisation and fall of the Berlin Wall
7.3. Emerging Powers: The European Union and China
7.4. Globalisation and international conflictivity: Fight of civilisations?

Teaching and learning activities

In person

Coaching. Monitoring how students learn the content of the subject, either individually or in groups. In the coaching sessions, mistakes will be corrected, queries answered, and exercises and activities to achieve the established objectives will be suggested.
Focused Praxis. Handing in occasional exercises to learn theory through practice.
Seminar. This activity will consist of taking an in-depth look at specific up-to-date topics in a monographic manner-in some cases these topics will have been debated socially-, via active work in small groups.
Practical workshop. A highly practical working activity, where students can acquire skills that are practical or also theoretical (intellectual skills, logical skills, critical skills, intellectual learning skills, study skills, quoting skills, etc).
Lectures. In lectures, lecturers/professors not only transmit content or knowledge, but also, and above all else, attitudes, motivation, skills and values, etc. They also ensure that participants can express their opinions and arguments to the other students.
Peer learning. The aim of this activity is to ensure that students gain the ability to analyse and be critical. One way of achieving this is by correcting their peers' exercises and results, etc. Each student will be evaluated twice: as both a recipient and a transmitter of critical knowledge.

Evaluation systems and criteria

In person

For more details about evaluation system see below, in teaching material.

The evaluation systems for sencond, third and fourth call will be the same as first call

Bibliography and resources

Recomended bibliography

Briggs, Asa, Historia contemporánea de Europa, 1789-1989, Barcelona. Crítica, 2000

Brower, D.R., Historia del mundo contemporáneo, 1900-2001. Madrid, Pearson, Educación, 2002, 5ª edición.

Fuentes, J. F., La Parra, López, E. Historia universal del siglo XX. De la Primera Guerra Mundial al ataque de las Torres Gemelas. Madrid, Síntesis, 2001.

Kinder, Hermann, Atlas histórico mundial, Madrid Istmo 1999-2000

Martínez Carreras, José U., Introducción a la Historia Contemporánea, Madrid Istmo 1996-1999

Palmer, R., y Colton, P, Historia contemporánea, Madrid Akal D.L.1981

Paredes Alonso, Francisco Javier, Historia universal contemporánea, Barcelona Ariel 1999 (imp.2004)

Procacci, Giulano, Historia General del siglo XX, Crítica, 2001

V.V.A.A, Historia Universal, vols. IX-XIII, EUNSA, Pamplona, 1990.

Adicional bibliography

Avilés Farré, Juan, Historia política y social moderna y contemporánea, Madrid Universidad Nacional de Educación a Distancia 2001

Baldó Lacomba, Marc, La revolución industrial, Madrid Síntesis D.L. 1993

Carr, Edward Hallett, La revolución rusa: de Lenin a Stalin, 1917-1929, Alianza editorial, S.A.

Castells Oliván, Irene, La Revolución Francesa (1789-1799), Madrid Síntesis 1997

Deane, Phyllis, La primera revolución industrial, Barcelona Península 1998

Egido Leon, Angeles, La historia contemporánea en la práctica (Textos escritos y orales, mapas, imágenes y gráficos comentados), Madrid Centro de Estudios Ramon Areces D.L.1996

González Pacheco, Antonio, La Revolución Francesa (1789-1799), Barcelona Ariel 1998

Kemp, Tom, La revolución industrial en la Europa del siglo XIX, Barcelona Editorial Fontanella 1979

Rubio Lara, Mª Josefa, La formación del Estado social, Madrid Ministerio de Trabajo y Seguridad Social D.L. 1991

Sirugo, Francesco, La segunda revolución industrial, Barcelona Oikos-Tau 1989

Smith, Adam 1723-1790, La riqueza de las naciones (Libros I-II-III y selección de los librosIV y V, Madrid Alianza Editorial 2001

Soboul, Albert, Compendio de la historia de la Revolución Francesa, Madrid Tecnos 1979

Tocqueville, Alexis de, El antiguo régimen y la revolución, Madrid Istmo, 2004