History 365 (101) Europe during the Renaissance




Course Level





This course will explore European society and culture from the fifteenth to the early seventeenth century, an exciting and turbulent time often referred to as the ‘Renaissance.’ The term means ‘rebirth’ and brings to mind bursts of creativity, advances in art and knowledge. We will examine new models and innovations in literature, education, the arts, and sciences, within the contexts of social, economic and political transformations. We will study the works and worlds of famous princes, philosophers and artists, and examine the lives of ordinary individuals and marginalized groups, such as the working-poor, the sick, prostitutes and Jews. In this course, we will see that the Renaissance was a dynamic and fascinating time but that it was also one of great contradictions and suffering: endlessly beautiful art and inspiring philosophy stand side by side with terrible struggles and inequalities. While we learn about the societies and cultures of the Renaissance we will also critically reflect on the use of the term ‘Renaissance’ to give this period of time meaning: how does the term shape our assumptions of the history of this period? Also, how has that history been used and represented in our own popular culture?