An introduction to the History of western medicine, from the Ancient World to the Enlightenment, with a focus on social and cultural ideas surrounding the body, health, and disease, and the development of medical institutions. HIST 240 will introduce students to the methods of historical practice, including primary-source analysis, historical writing, library and research skills, and public history.
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 immediately brings to mind bursts of creativity and advances in knowledge, influenced by the recovery of ancient culture and wisdom, religious reform and the European discovery and colonisation of the ‘New World.’ Throughout the semester, we will examine new models and innovations in literature, education, the arts, and sciences, within the contexts of social, economic and political transformations, as well as in relation to the beginnings of European overseas empires. We will study the works and worlds of famous princes, philosophers, artists and explorers, and examine the lives of ordinary individuals and marginalised groups, such as the working-poor, the sick, prostitutes, pirates, slaves, Jews, Muslims, heretics and witches, and displaced and decimated indigenous populations. In this course, we will see that the Renaissance was a dynamic and fascinating time but that it was also one of great contradictions: endlessly beautiful art and inspiring philosophy stand side by side with terrible struggles and atrocities. While we learn about the societies and cultures of Europe during these centuries, 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 European history in this period? Also, how has that history been used and represented in our own popular culture?
This course will explore the revolutionary changes in European society and culture brought on by the religious reformations of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. We will study the lives, thoughts and initiatives of important Protestant and Catholic reformers, the creation of new ecclesiastical institutions, and examine the everyday religious experiences of ordinary people (how they contributed to and/or resisted reform). We will approach ‘Reformation’ as a religious phenomenon but one that was inseparable from broader social, cultural, political and economic transformations. How did Martin Luther or John Calvin’s theology impact state diplomacy, local communities and individuals? Why did the Spanish and Italian Inquisitions exist and what did they do, in theory and in practice? What impact did religious reform have on issues of gender, class and race? What/who was a ‘saint’, a ‘heretic’, a ‘witch’, and what did they do? What role did art, music, and material culture play in religious devotion? As we investigate these and other questions, we will take a cross-cultural and global perspective: what role did Jewish and Muslim communities play in Christian reform movements, and how were these communities affected by reform? What role did religion play in European imperialist ambitions, and how was Christianity transformed by interactions with the peoples and faiths of the Americas, Asia and Africa? Throughout the course, we will ask what did ‘Reformation’ mean in the early modern period, and critically reflect on how its histories have been written.