Powerful Pairs: Comparing Six Sets of Great Rulers

This course compares six pairs of people who exercised supreme political power in very different countries at exactly the same time in history.  They had different ideas of how to use their power, yet each pair faced some similar challenges. They are:

  • Queen Elizabeth I of England and Catherine de Medici of France. One was brilliantly successful, the other endured eight wars of religion.
  • Mughal Emperor Akbar and King Henry IV of France. One was Muslim, one was Christian. Both overcame fierce opposition to insist on religious toleration.
  • Louis XIV of France and the Kangxi Emperor of China. One became the most powerful man in Europe, the other the most powerful man in Asia.
  • Abraham Lincoln and Tsar Alexander II. One was born in a log cabin, one in a palace.  One emancipated slaves, one emancipated serfs. Both were assassinated.
  • Queen Victoria of England and Dowager Empress Cixi of China. One inherited her throne, the other schemed her way into power.
  • Jawaharlal Nehru and Mao Zedong.  One led newly independent India, the other established communism in China.

Dr. CHRIS FRIEDRICHS, PhD, is Professor Emeritus of History at UBC, where he taught European and world history for 45 years before retiring in 2018. He’s a specialist in the history of German and European cities of the early modern era. His books include The Early Modern City, 1450-1750 (1995) and Urban Politics in Early Modern Europe (2000). Chris received the Killam Teaching Prize from UBC in 1997.

Course Format

This course is 100% online with real-time lectures. Once a week, you participate in a live online lecture of 45–60 minutes, followed by 30–45 minutes of questions and answers with your instructor. Class times are in the Pacific Time Zone. We record every lecture in case you miss one.

Please note: Recorded lectures and course materials are available for one week only after the course ends.

You can participate in the lecture with your video turned on or off, however all students are muted to minimize ambient noise. Students can ask questions using a chat feature, and your instructor answers verbally. You can use your name or an alias when you join the lecture.

This course is hosted on Canvas Catalog, a learning management system, and delivered by Zoom, a web-based video conferencing application. One business day before the course start date, we’ll email you step-by-step instructions for accessing your course

Available Sessions

Course currently not available for registration.