Select topics in early modern European history. Topics vary from quarter to quarter. Prerequisite: permission of instructor.
This course is an intensive reading seminar designed to introduce graduate students and advanced undergraduates to the major topics, debates, and methodologies of early modern history. The themes and texts for this course vary from year to year, based both on developments within the field and mutual interests of the students and instructor. The Autumn 2012 seminar will focus on "The Global Renaissance: Early Modern Europe and the World." It will explore an earlier, vital moment of European engagement with world, paying particular attention to the development of what might be considered the opening chapter of modern globalism. Topics that will be considered include: Renaissance interactions with the Ottoman empire; Europe's encounter with the so-called New World; the expansion of European commerce and cultural exchange with the Far East; the production and consumption of exotic goods; the development of new forms of geography; print media and the consumption of books; early modern habits of collecting; exotic natural history and the development of science; artistic trends that blend global forms and techniques.
Please note that students who intend to prepare for an exam field (M.A. or Ph.D.) in early modern European history are strongly encouraged to take this course, which is offered every other year.
Student learning goals
General method of instruction
Reading, writing, discussion.
Seminar participants are expected to have some familiarity with the early modern period and especially early modern cultural history (art, literature, philosophy, and so forth). Those who may need to (re)acquaint themselves with the period are encouraged to read a textbook -- such as E. Rice and A. Grafton, Foundations of Early Modern Europe; John Hale, The Civilization of Europe in the Renaissance, or something comparable.
Class assignments and grading
Weekly readings and discussion; oral presentations; brief written exercises (3-5 pp); and a final synthetic essay (10-15 pp).