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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Mary R O'Neil
HIST 498
Seattle Campus

Colloquium in History

Each seminar examines a different subject or problem. A quarterly list of the seminars and their instructors is available in the Department of History undergraduate advising office.

Class description

Course title: Popular Culture in Early Modern Europe: Magic, Religion and Folklore

Historical writing on the social and cultural history of early modern Europe has been influenced by historians application of anthropological models to traditional European society. This seminar will examine a series of works on popular culture and religion, with particular attention to these historiographical issues and to the tensions between learned and popular understandings of religion, witch beliefs, poverty.

Student learning goals

Learning about ordinary life and extraordinary beliefs in traditional European society 14-17th century.

How to read and analyze historians' writings about popular beliefs in early modern Europe

Understanding tensions between learned/educated/clerical versus and popular levels of belief.

Research and writing about interesting historical material.

Have a small group discussion course and getting to know professor and other students.

General method of instruction

Reading, in-class discussion of reading.

Assigned books: Emmanuel Le Roy Ladurie, Montaillou Peter Burke, Popular Culture in Early Modern Europe Carlo Ginzburg, The Cheese and the Worms Carlo Ginzburg, The Night Battles Keith Thomas, Religion and the Decline of Magic Natalie Z. Davis, Society and Culture in Early Modern France Anonymous, The Life of Lazzarillo de Tormes

Recommended preparation

Since this is a Senior Seminar, it would be useful to have some course background medieval, renaissance or early modern European history, but according to History Department policy, this is not required.

Class assignments and grading

Weekly response papers on assigned readings. One short paper comparing two assigned books. One longer paper on a topic that arises out of course readings.

Class participation 20% Shorter writing assignments 20% each Longer paper 40%


The information above is intended to be helpful in choosing courses. Because the instructor may further develop his/her plans for this course, its characteristics are subject to change without notice. In most cases, the official course syllabus will be distributed on the first day of class.
Last Update by Mary R O'Neil
Date: 10/12/2010