Patricia Lopes Don
Office: DMH 316
Renaissance and Reformation
“In Italy for thirty years under the Borgias, they had warfare, terror, murder and
bloodshed – they produced Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci and the Renaissance.
Switzerland, they had brotherly love, five hundred years of democracy and peace and
what did that produce?
The cuckoo clock.” Orson Welles, The Third Man (1949)
This course will cover the chronological period of 1400 to 1600 in western
Europe, with a bit before and after.
The dominant theme of the course is two intellectual
movements that have influenced the course of western European history immeasurably--
Renaissance and Reformation.
Our own times would not be recognizable without their
The critical historical interpretations of the Renaissance and
Reformation have engaged the question of modern western identity.
Europeans were keenly attuned to a sense of identity in others and themselves in the
modern sense of individuality, even when their claims of self-actualization were clearly a
The religious reformers deeply engaged the questions of each man’s and
woman’s relationship to God.
Therefore, “Ren-Ref,” as it is popularly called, is intellectual history.
Ren-Ref is impossible without reading, thinking, discussing, and seeing.
This class is
both a modified colloquium, requiring your participation, and a visual experience.
intend to use a number of visuals as well as numerous film clips from the series “The
Renaissance,” with the renowned Renaissance scholar Theodore Rabb.
There are five major topics in this course: Classicism, the Urban Environment and
Politics, Religion and Reformation, Art and Humanism, Politics and Science and
Each one of these topics will contain three modes of knowledge interaction:
film, lecture, and discussion of assigned readings.
The amount of reading in this class is
not substantial but the close reading of the sources, the discussion of the sources, and the
level of historical thinking in the writing assignments is high and extensive.
participation and regular attendance are essential.
Please do not be late and please turn