Seminar on selected topics in general history, with special emphasis on preparation for field examinations. Topics vary according to interests of students and instructor.
This seminar explores the forms and functions of exoticism in Europe during a period stretching from the late Middle Ages to the flourishing of modern colonialism--the late fifteenth through the early nineteenth century. It seeks to account for the nature of exoticism in this pivotal episode of European expansion: its multiple forms, remarkable appeal, and indisputable success among a notably wide range of Europeans. The course concentrates mostly on the phenomenon of exoticism within Europe--the production, consumption, dissemination, and influence of various exotica in various locales. Yet it grapples also with the way in which Europe's mimetic engagement with the non-European world shaped not merely European culture, but also its colonial policy and, by extension, the social, cultural, and political lives of those who came under the rule of Europe in the age of empire.
Student learning goals
General method of instruction
There are no specific prerequisites. Since much of the course focuses on the early modern period, however, a general familiarity with European history 1500-1800 will be expected, and a broader sense of the major artistic and literary trends of the period will be useful.
Class assignments and grading
Anticipated assignments (subject to change): long essay (15-20 pp), one or two shorter essays (5 pp), participation in seminar discussion.