Modernity and Its Discontents
Modernity and Its Discontents are themes that encourage a transnational perspective and tend to break the barriers of time that normally divide and define us as historians.
The study of industrialization calls into being what came before, and what will come after. Feudalism and post-industrial systems are both part of the theme, as industrialization is not a static process but has occurred in a combined and uneven way in almost all parts of the globe. Industrialization involves the study of class in all times and periods, but also for the study of management, capitalism, and competing economic systems. Industrialization calls into being not only the history of the (man, woman, and child) worker, but also of the family and the larger society - their attitudes and beliefs as well as their modes of living. Industrialization is more than just the tale of the factory worker. The Peruvian artisan and the Southern slave, the Chinese peasant, the South African gold miner, the Market Revolution religious evangelist, the eighteenth-century pirate, the American housewife and the Brazilian slum dweller are all encompassed by the theme of industrialization.
Related to industrialization is the study of modernity, which, again, involves a very long time span. The study of modernity crosses not only time periods and countries but also disciplines. Students may study the rise of the modern nation state, the evolution of modern science, the history of the philosophical consideration of "the modern," the modern military machine or the aesthetics of modern art, architecture, and film. One may also study the many times and events in which people attempted to escape the implications of modernity, as a theme always invites its opposite.