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CODE 57036
SEMESTER 1° Semester


The course aims to provide critical tools and skills for a thorough knowledge of contemporary world history of the 19th and 20th centuries, bringing the student closer to the use of documentary sources and the complexity of historiographic interpretations.

During the course, thematic seminars will be organized on contemporary Europe.

Individual and group papers and participation in simulations and role-playing games are planned. In the academic year 2022-2023 a monographic part will be dedicated to the prospects for peace in a Ukraine in a historical perspective.



Al termine del corso lo studente è in grado di: - padroneggiare i principali nodi tematici della storia contemporanea dal 1815 ai giorni nostri in Italia, in Europa, nel mondo; - conoscere gli strumenti metodologici di base per l'analisi storica; - sviluppare capacità di giudizio critico; - elaborare studi su temi e periodi storici specifici; - esporre e argomentare con lessico appropriato ricerche di carattere storico. At the end of the course the student is able to: - master the main thematic nodes of contemporary history from 1815 to the present day in Italy, in Europe, in the world; - know the basic methodological tools for historical analysis; - develop critical judgment skills; - elaborate studies on specific themes and historical periods; - expose and argue with appropriate vocabulary researches of a historical nature.


The course aims to provide the student with:

* Basics of events, cultures and transformations in Italy, Europe and the world in contemporary age

* Specific insights into the most important historiographic developments that characterized the 19th and 20th centuries

* Direct knowledge of historical sources

The course also aims to teach students:

* An approach to the interpretative and critical dimension of historiographic research

* Methodological knowledge and skills adequate to prepare and present individual papers on specific themes of contemporary history.

The simulation intends to provide additional disciplinary and transversal skills, such as problem solving, critical thinking and analysis, time management, active learning and collaborative competition.

Based above all on role-playing strategies, the simulation aims to develop the following skills:

  • refinement of communication skills and strategies;
  • strengthening skills in the use of multimedia tools;
  • awareness of the role within the group through role playing activities;
  • progressive acquisition of problem solving and time management skills in team work;
  • raising awareness of the diplomatic aspects of the complex international reality, both in history and in current even


No prerequisites.


The course will take place in presence, with frontal lessons.
Attending students will be involved in group research and in presenting short reports on a current topic.
During the course will be organized and recommended thematic seminars.

The simulation is role-playing based and requires both homework and regular active class participation.

During the diplomatic simulation, students are invited to cover the position of a delegate of a member country of the international organization identified by the lecturer. The work required will take place in three phases. In the first phase, having identified the diplomatic seat (conference of the Big Three, European Council, European Parliament or other organization), an agenda, which contains the topics for discussion, is proposed. In the same phase the students are divided by countries, on which it will be necessary to understand their history and international position. In a second phase, each delegation will prepare one or more resolutions relating to one or more points on the agenda. Finally, the resolutions will be presented in the Assembly and the delegations will work diplomatically to get their resolutions approved, subject to modifications dictated by the negotiations.



From modern history to contemporary history

Notes on the American Revolution. From confederation to federation

Notes on the French Revolution. State and nation

Industrial Revolution and Communications

Europe in 1815 - The Vienna Congress - Territorial modifications

The European Balance System

Country and nationality

 1820-21, 1830-31, 1848 Revolutions in Europe

Independence of Spanish colonies in Latin America

Doctrine of Monroe

France from Charles X to Louis Philippe d'Orléans

 Independence of Belgium - The independence of Greece 

The Eastern Question

The French conquest of Algeria

Egypt of Mehemet Alì and the occupation of Syria

Palmerston's policy

The issue of the Straits - The London Convention of 1841

Notes on social and economic transformations in the mid-eighties

Free exchange and protectionism - Cobden, List

Abolition of Corn legislation

Opium War in China and Nanjing Treaty

The German unification process 

Bismarck, Cavour, Napoleon III

Prussia's wars against Denmark, Austria

Franco-Prussian War - Creation of the German Empire

The process of Italian unification

Moderate and revolutionary

Mazzini, Garibaldi, Cattaneo

The First War of Independence

Second War of Independence - Creation of the Kingdom of Italy


Europe in the 1950s - The Crimean War - The Paris Conference of 1856

Napoleon III's Mediterranean Policy

Third War of Independence

Italian colonial policy

US territorial expansion in the first half of the nineteenth century

Texas question

US-Mexico War

Secession War in the United States

Japan's opening in the Fifties - The Meij Revolution

The modernization and the process of expansion of Japan

Chinese-Japanese and Russian-Japanese wars

Europe between 1870 and 1890 - From liberty to protectionism


Bismarck's policy

The Balkan war in the mid 1970s

The Congress of St. Stephen and the Congress of Berlin

The "Triplice" Alliance

Europe at the turn of the 20th century: social, economic and political situation

Colonialism and imperialism. The division of the world and the contrasts of imperialism in Asia and Africa

Opposite alliances and militarization

Russia 1905 - End of absolutism

Revolution of Young Turks

Balkan wars 1912-1913 - Moroccan crises

Towards the First World War. Storiographic Interpretations

World War I

The Society of Nations

Russian Revolution

The period between the two wars

Stalinian period

Fascist Italy

Locarno Conference

The 29th Crisis

Stresa Conference

Nazi Germany

The Ethiopian War

The advent to Franco's power in Spain

Anschluss's attempts

Munich Conference

Pact Molotov-Ribbentrop

US neutrality law: from Johnson's Act to Lend Lease

World War II

Conferences of the Three Great: Tehran, Yalta, Potsdam

Question of Germany

Question of Poland

Italy after World War II: party system, institutional referendum, 1948 elections, centrist governments, Trieste issue

Stalin's "two camps" policy

The creation of the Cominform. The outbreak of Yugoslavia in 1948
Doctrine of containment, roll-back and massive retaliation, "flexible response"

Truman's Doctrine, Marshall Plan, Berlin Block, NATO

The Atomic: From the Baruch Plan to the Arms Race. The first agreements on the limitation of nuclear weapons. Salt I and Salt II

The launch of the European integration process

Brussels, OECE, Council of Europe

The birth of the European Communities

The center-left in Italy

1968 in Italy and in the world

The period of terrorism

The end of the first Republic

Decolonization notes

The Indian case

The Algerian case

Indochina and the Vietnam War

Cuba: from Batista to Fidel Castro

Cuba's Missile Crisis

De Gaulle Europe. The contrast with Kennedy

Berlin Crisis. The construction of the Wall

European integration: from the Treaties of Rome to our day

The Hague Conference, The 1970s crisis, the European Parliament elections, the draft Treaty of 1984, the Maastricht Treaty

Enlargement and attempts at institutional reform

Stalin's death and start-up

The 20th Congress of the PCUS and the Kruscev era

Insurrections in Poland, Hungary and Czechoslovakia

The fall of the Berlin Wall

China from the proclamation of the Republic to this day. Period between the two wars: Mao, Ciang-Kai-Schek, civil war, long march, Japanese invasion.
The birth of the People's Republic, the two Cine
The progressive detachment from the USSR
The cultural revolution
Deng Xiao Ping

Afghanistan: from the postwar period to the Soviet invasion

Sudan between 800 and 900

The Rwanda crisis

Sykes-Picot, Hussein-MacMahon, the Balfour statement.

 The period between the two wars in Palestine

 The birth of the State of Israel

Nasser and the crisis of the Suez Canal

Arab-Israeli wars


For the institutional part, the students must prepare the following manual:

Alfredo Canavero, Storia contemporanea, Pearson, 2019

For the monographic part ad hoc texts will be included on aulaweb

The non-attending student will have to report on one of the following volumes:


Europa e mondo

  • Gianni Silei, I fantasmi della golden age. Paura e incertezza nell’immaginario collettivo dell’Europa occidentale (1945-1975), FrancoAngeli 2019
  • Aleksandr Solženitsyn e D. Silvestri, Nel primo cerchio, Voland 2018
  • Le sfide della pace. L’ONU e l’Italia per una World Community (1945-2015), Padova, Cedam, 2017
  • Lara Piccardo, Ai confini dell’Europa. Piccola storia della Crimea contesa, Bari, Cacucci, 2017
  • Simona Merlo, Georgia. Una storia fra Europa e Asia, Beit 2017
  • John Harper, La guerra fredda. Storia di un mondo in bilico, Bologna, Il Mulino, 2017
  • Sara Lorenzini, Una strana guerra fredda. Lo sviluppo e le relazioni Nord-Sud, Bologna, Il Mulino, 2017
  • Marcello Flores, Il genocidio degli armeni, Bologna, Il Mulino, 2017
  • Angelo D’Orsi, 1917. L'anno della rivoluzione, Laterza 2016
  • Forcellese, Franchi, Macchia, La fine del Comunismo in Europa. Regimi e dissidenze, 1946-1989, Rubbettino, Soveria Mannelli, 2016
  • Vittorio Criscuolo, Il Congresso di Vienna, Bologna, Il Mulino, 2015
  • Leonardo Campus, I sei giorni che sconvolsero il mondo. La crisi dei missili di Cuba e le sue percezioni internazionali, Mondadori 2015
  • Marco Clementi, Il diritto al dissenso. Il progetto costituzionale di Andrej Sacharov, Roma, Odradek ed., 2002


  • La svolta del 1938. Fascismo, cattolicesimo e antisemitismo, a cura di Andrea Riccardi e Gabriele Rigano, Guerini e Associati, Milano 2020
  •  Christian Goeschel, Mussolini e Hitler. Storia di una relazione pericolosa, Bari, Laterza, 2019
  • Daniela Preda, Alcide De Gasperi: European Founding Father, Brussels, Peter Lang, 2017
  • Nicola Pedrazzi, L’Italia che sognava Enver. Partigiani, comunisti, marxisti-leninisti: gli amici italiani dell’Albania popolare (1943-1976), Bestaeditrice, 2017
  • Piero Craveri, L’arte del non governo. L’inarrestabile declino della Repubblica, Venezia, Marsilio, 2016
  • Agostino Giovagnoli, Il caso Moro. Una tragedia repubblicana, Bologna, Il Mulino, 2009
  • Luca Micheletta, La resa dei conti: il Kosovo, l’Italia e la dissoluzione della Jugoslavia (1939-1941), Roma, Edizioni Nuova cultura, 2008


Exam Board


GUIDO LEVI (President Substitute)

LUCA BARBAINI (Substitute)


LARA PICCARDO (Substitute)



 Lessons start: 19 September 2023

Class schedule




The exam is in part written (the nineteenth) and partly oral (the twentieth century) and involves questions both on the institutional part and on the texts of in-depth. The oral part, on average, lasts around 15-20 minutes.
Attending students can attend a written exam in itinere in the nineteenth century.
For attending students, the oral report presented during the course is evaluated. For non-attending students, an in-depth study will be chosen among the proposals published du aulaweb.


The Commission is designated by the Department Council and chaired by the course professor. The evaluation is based mainly on the knowledge of the subject, but also on the quality of the exposure, the correct use of the specialized lexicon and the critical reasoning ability on the study carried out.


During the role playing, the following aspects will be evaluated: adherence of the resolution to the foreign policy of the assigned country; compliance with deadlines and methods; clarity and fairness of presentation.

Exam schedule

Data Ora Luogo Degree type Note
21/12/2023 09:00 GENOVA Orale
16/01/2024 09:00 GENOVA Orale
06/02/2024 09:00 GENOVA Orale
21/05/2024 09:00 GENOVA Orale
11/06/2024 09:00 GENOVA Orale
16/07/2024 09:00 GENOVA Orale
10/09/2024 09:00 GENOVA Orale


Students with certification of ASD, disability or other special educational needs are advised to contact both the contact person Prof. Aristide Canepa (, and the teacher, at the beginning of the course, to agree on teaching and examination methods that, in compliance with the objectives of the teaching, take into account the individual learning methods and provide suitable compensatory instruments.


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