Course code:



I - Introductory

This class is an introductory exploration of the transformations in Europe from roughly 1400 to the sixteenth century wrought by the changing religious, political, and social thought.

Taking as its point of departure the transformation of European society provoked by the “new” ideas of the Renaissance, the course will focus on the phenomena of humanism and the challenges to religious orthodoxy and political hierarchies it represented.

The course will use a wide range of secondary and primary sources to examine the social, spiritual and political implications of the challenges to the Catholic Church’s preeminence in the Christian west. We will examine the idea of the Renaissance and its various expressions in the world of ideas, art, and the emergent practice of “science.” Students will develop an understanding of Catholic theology and the various Protestant challenges to it as well as developing a sense of the political reworking of Europe provoked by the theological debates.

We will read social histories of the period, use films to provide context, and read primary texts by thinkers such as Erasmus of Rotterdam, Jean Calvin, Martin Luther, Teresa of Avila, Galileo, and Bartolome de las Casas. Students will be evaluated on mastery of readings, class discussions, short essays, and a final project.




Always visit the Registrar's Office for the official course catalog and schedules.