History and culture of Spain and its empire from the late Middle Ages through the seventeenth century.
This course explores the history and culture of Spain and its empire during the early modern period. By the sixteenth century, Hapsburg Spain had emerged as Europe's unrivaled superpower, with an empire stretching from Madrid to Havana and allies answering from Vienna to the Philippines. Yet, following a century of meteoric economic growth and spectacular cultural production--including literary experimentation, artistic innovation, and religious reformation--Spain entered a period of perceived "decline" and stagnation. How the small Iberian kingdom of Castile rose to such prominent heights and then receded just as dramatically from the European stage will be surveyed through an examination of the political, social, and above all cultural history of Spain in its Golden Age. We will engage especially with the great literature of the Siglo de Oro and the art of the Spanish Renaissance.
Student learning goals
General method of instruction
Lecture and discussion.
No prerequisites, yet a familiarity with early modern history and culture (or with Spanish literature or art) would be helpful.
Class assignments and grading
Weekly readings and discussions; two written assignments; midterm and final.