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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of History, Classics and Archaeology : Postgraduate (History, Classics and Archaeology)

Postgraduate Course: The Global Renaissance (PGHC11418)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of History, Classics and Archaeology CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryWas the Italian Renaissance a unique event in human history? To what extent was it a 'global' phenomenon, affected by the movement of ideas and people in and out of Italy and Europe? Did comparable 'renascences' take place outside of Europe and how do these affect European narratives of modernity? In this challenging course you will be encouraged to question traditional histories of the Italian Renaissance by means of a thorough engagement with new critical perspectives, the reading of a well focused range of secondary material, and sustained reflection on original sources, representations and objects. Emphasis shall be placed on debate and reflection in seminars and in weekly online forum posts which will be continually assessed and form 30% of the final mark.
Course description The origins and nature of the Italian Renaissance have been regularly debated since the highly influential statement made by Jacob Burckhardt in The Civilization of the Renaissance in Italy: An Essay (1860). For example, medieval historians have questioned the supposedly exceptional nature of the Renaissance by asserting that cultural renaissances also took place in parts of Europe during the eighth or twelfth centuries. However, some of the most interesting contributions to this debate have recently been stimulated by the 'global turn' in Renaissance studies. Historians and social scientists have challenged the universalising view that the Renaissance helped to foster global 'modernity' and they have also attacked the Eurocentric model of the Renaissance, which has been applied to other civilisations, including China and India. This course provides an introduction to these important debates in the field of Renaissance history. Students shall move from a broad conceptual grounding in the first part (Weeks 1-3) to a consideration of primarily Italian evidence for, and textual or artistic representations of contact with the world in the second part (Weeks 4-6), before considering how contacts with the world impacted on Italian economic, intellectual, and cultural histories (Weeks 7-9). In this part greater emphasis will be placed on the view of Italy from the rest of the world culminating (Weeks 10-11) in a discussion about the validity of the Italian Renaissance model for Italy or for the rest of the world.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Information for Visiting Students
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Not being delivered
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Demonstrate a detailed and critical command of the body of knowledge concerning the Italian Renaissance in its global context, including global explorations, encounters, and exchanges
  2. Analyse and reflect critically upon relevant scholarship concerning the global nature of the Italian Renaissance and its place in histories of European expansion and 'modernity', primary source materials concerning Italian accounts of overseas travel and foreign accounts of Italy, and conceptual discussions about microhistory
  3. Understand and apply specialised research or professional skills, techniques and practices considered in the course
  4. Develop and sustain original scholarly arguments in oral and written form by independently formulating appropriate questions and utilising relevant evidence considered in the course
  5. Demonstrate originality and independence of mind and initiative; intellectual integrity and maturity; an ability to evaluate the work of others, including peers; and a considerable degree of autonomy
Reading List
Indicative Reading List

Lisa Jardine and Jerry Brotton, Global Interests: Renaissance Art between East and West (London, 2000)

Deborah Howard, Venice and the East: The Impact of the Islamic World on Venetian Architecture, 1100-1500 (New Haven, 2000)

Kathleen Christian and Leah R. Clark (eds.), European Art and the Wider World, 1350-1550 (Manchester, 2017)

Anthony Grafton, with April Shelford and Nancy Siraisi, New Worlds, Ancient Texts: The Power of Tradition and the Shock of Discovery (Cambridge, MA, 1992)

Sebastian Conrad, What is Global History? (Princeton University Press, 2016)

William Caferro, Contesting the Renaissance (Malden, 2011)

Jack Goody, Renaissances: The One or the Many? (Cambridge, 2010)

Peter Burke, Hybrid Renaissance (Budapest, 2016)

Stuart B. Schwartz (ed.), Implicit Understandings: Observing, Reporting, and Reflecting on the Encounters between Europeans and Other Peoples in the Early Modern Era (Cambridge, 1994)

Lynn Hunt, Writing History in the Global Era (New York, 2014)
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Not entered
Course organiserProf Stephen Bowd
Tel: (0131 6)50 3758
Course secretary
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