European Studies


Early Modern (1450-1789)

Spring Quarter (S18)

Dept/Description Course No., Title  Instructor
Emphasis/Category: Early Modern (1450-1789)

The Italian Renaissance was one of the most intense and exciting periods of artistic invention and production in the history of Western Europe. In this course we will examine the careers and works of a broad range of famous artists (Brunelleschi, Donatello, Botticelli, Michelangelo, Leonardo, Giorgione and Titian, etc) who contributed to this era of cultural revitalization. In addition, we will explore how the arts contributed to and interacted with the political, social and cultural life of the important urban centers of Italy (Florence, Rome, Venice). Throughout the course we will move between lectures and group activities/discussions: among other things, we'll try to recreate Brunelleschi's famous experiments with linear perspective (the geometrical technique used by artists to create the illusion of 3-D space on the flat picture plane); we'll discuss "contracts" between patrons and painters; come up with solutions to erecting the Duomo in Florence; we'll look at issues of gender and sexuality in Renaissance painting and sculpture; and discuss the newly emergent concept of genius in the Renaissance and how it was applied to artists such as Leonardo and Michelangelo. Course requirements: two midterms, one final paper, and participation in discussions.
Days: MO WE  03:00-04:20 PM

Emphasis/Category: Early Modern (1450-1789)

In 1566, the Netherlands saw widespread iconoclastic events. Churches were purged of images, altars stripped, and walls whitewashed. Two years later the Dutch Revolt against the ruling Spanish Monarchy commenced. In this course, we will begin by asking what iconoclasm is and why it happened in the Netherlands. We then turn to the lasting impact iconoclasm had on sixteenth and seventeenth-century art production. We will consider its effects on patronage and art markets, and we will look at the more and less obvious marks it left on the work of key artists: from the motif of blindness in Rembrandt’s work to the painting of purified church interiors by Pieter Saenredam to the “domestication” of painting in the works of Vermeer. Finally, we will consider the secular genres that flourished in the wake of iconoclasm.
Days: TU TH  11:00-12:20 PM

Emphasis/Category: British Studies, Early Modern (1450-1789)

This course explores English Renaissance literature with a particular focus on the cultural, political, and religious transformations of the 16th and 17th centuries.  We will cover a range of genres – drama, prose, and poetry – and a variety of authors, including Shakespeare, Marlowe, More, Cavendish, Spenser, and Milton.  Course requirements include a midterm and final, as well reading quizzes.
Days: TU TH  02:00-03:20 PM

Emphasis/Category: British Studies, Early Modern (1450-1789)

In the seventeenth century, libertinism emerged as a philosophical stance, a lifestyle, and a mode of literature that emphasized pleasure to the point of license: drinking to excess and all manner of voluptuous indulgence. The movement also produced some of the best poetry in the English language and at times surprisingly progressive views of gender and sexuality. In this course, we will look at the roots of libertine writing and thought in ancient and Renaissance satire, examine the heyday of courtly libertine poetry in the works of Rochester, consider the figure of the libertine on the Restoration stage, study the transfer and translation of French libertine works into English, and track the development of the English libertine novel in the eighteenth century.

Note: The material covered in this class will contain graphic descriptions of sexual behavior, some of which may be triggering.
Days:   12:00-12:00 AM

Emphasis/Category: French Studies, Early Modern (1450-1789)

This course will offer an overview of Early Modern French Literature, from the Renaissance of the 16th to the Enlightenment of the 18th century. We will read and discuss key passages from the works of classics such as Rabelais, Labé, Du Bellay, Montaigne, Molière, Racine, Rousseau, Montesquieu and Voltaire.

Reading, writing and discussions will be in French. The course material will be made available on Canvas at the beginning of the quarter.

Grading: short presentation and class participation (1/3 of the final grade), 2 short (about 2 pages each) papers (1/3 of the final grade each)

Days: TU TH  11:00-12:20 PM

Emphasis/Category: Italian Studies, Early Modern (1450-1789)

An overview of the development of epic in the West, its themes, topoi and motifs. Understanding the role, nature and identity of the hero; the role of women and the figuration of gender; the development of the person; the nature and possibility of civic life; virtue, vice and their consequences; the relationship between city and countryside, private satisfaction and civic concern. Familiarity with the development of such themes and topoi as the Earthly Paradise; the locus amoenus; vows; rigidity versus flexibility; the meaning of Christian epic; control and containment; disguise; unity and multiplicity; illusion and reality; prudence and recklessness - and their interpenetration and redefinition.
Days: MO WE  02:00-02:50 PM

Emphasis/Category: Early Modern (1450-1789)

Questions that first arose in early modern philosophy continue to shape present-day thought on a variety of topics, including: What is the nature of knowledge?  What does sensory experience contribute to knowledge?  Is the knowledge of which human beings are capable different in kind from the knowledge of which animals are capable?  What is the nature of the relation between mind and body?  What is human freedom, and is it even possible for humans to be free?  What is the relation between science and human experience?  These questions and answers to them originate in the early modern period, and they continue to be discussed to this day.  We will examine the questions and answers to them--as well as other questions and answers--advanced in three classic works of philosophy written in the early modern period: Descartes's Meditations on First Philosophy; Hume's An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding; and Kant's Critique of Pure Reason.

Days: MO WE  09:30-10:50 AM

Emphasis/Category: Early Modern (1450-1789)

In 1095, Pope Urban II called upon the military elite of Western Europe to undertake an arduous journey to rescue their fellow Christians and the holy city of Jerusalem from Muslim rule. His words marked the beginning of a crusade movement of warriors fighting under the sign of the cross, which resulted in the establishment of European colonies in Syria and Palestine. This movement had a profound effect upon the development of European society and inspired other wars of expansion and colonization. Although the prolonged and violent contact among European crusaders, Byzantine Christians and Muslims in the eastern Mediterranean profoundly changed all three cultures, this course will primarily focus on medieval Europe for the purpose of answering two questions. First we will ask what caused the Europeans to engage in what they understood to be a holy war against eastern Mediterranean Muslims in 1095. Second, we will ask how did the active engagement in a prolonged crusade movement change European culture, institutions, and attitudes towards those they perceived to be religious others.
Days: TU TH  12:30-01:50 PM