HIS 383C • 2-Lit Eur Hist: Early Mod Per
3:00 PM-6:00 PM
The course will be taught in graduate seminar format (intensive reading, student presentations, and student-generated discussion) and will concentrate on three themes intended to introduce you to the subfield. Assignments in the course (still to be determined) will focus on the development of practical skills in the profession, such as preparing a lecture or a syllabus on an early modern topic, writing book reviews, or preparing a reading list for comprehensive exams. Each class meeting will include some aspect of each of the three themes. First, the course will deal with the question of the increasingly problematic definition of early modernity: how is it different both from the medieval period and modernity, and what is the current historiographical status of matters we typically associate with early modernity when we teach it in the classroom (such as the Renaissance, the printing revolution, the emergence of secularism, the scientific revolution, emergence of capitalism, European expansion, absolutism & democracy, etc.).? Is early modernity a legitimate epoch in its own right, or is it always contingent on the medieval/modern split? Is early modernity relevant to areas outside of Europe? Second, the course is designed to introduce you to the most important historical and methodological approaches to and themes in the field of early modern history (this includes matters such as Annales historiography, microhistory, history of mentalities, linguistic theory and postmodernism, gender history, sociology of scientific knowledge, the discussion of early modern revolutions, the seventeenth-century crisis, confessionalization, etc.). Finally, students in the course will work together to construct a basic knowledge of the kinds of sources available for the study of early modern history (autobiographies, tax records, court documents, books and manuscripts, critical editions, etc.). This basic knowledge of sources (in German, Quellenkunde) is intended to provide either a step into the matter of primary research for future specialists or a basis for critique of secondary research in the field for future modernists or medievalists.
A non-exhaustive list of some probable readings (proceeding at the pace of appromixately 1 monograph per week plus some supplements): Garthine Walker, ed., Approaching Early Modern Europe, Philip Gorski, The Disciplinary Revolution, Stuart Clark, Thinking with Demons, Ulrike Strasser, States of Virginity, J.G.A. Pocock, The Machiavellian Moment, Le Roy Ladurie, Peasants of Languedoc; Sheilagh Ogilvie, A Bitter Living, Beik, Absolutism and Society in Seventeenth Century France; Ginzburg, The Cheese and the Worms; Fernand Braudel, The Mediterrean World; Lee Wandel, Voracious Idols and violent hands, Steven Shapin, Social History of Truth, Jacob Burkhardt, Civilization of the Renaissance in Italy. If you will definitely enroll in the class, please contact me asap with suggestions of secondary literature or topics in which you would be especially interested; perhaps they can be accommodated.