History 113
Learning Outcomes
Learning Outcome #1: In this course students will learn to thoughtfully examine the
European society that emerged after the collapse of the fourteenth century outbreak of the
Black Death and the culture of that society that reached its peak in the sixteenth century
and was transformed in many ways in the early seventeenth century. Primacy is given to
Italy as the birthplace and model for the new culture of the Renaissance. Transalpine
Renaissance history will be considered in comparison to Italy. The examination will be
historical with an interdisciplinary inclusion of political, economic, urban, artistic,
musical, literary, legal, religious, and cultural history. The examination will be historical
with an interdisciplinary inclusion of artistic, musical, literary, legal, religious, and
cultural remains. There is an emphasis on an examination of historical remains
(documents, images, et al.) by presenting at least one per class and inviting the students to
respond in conversation about their significance and occasionally individually through
the use of questions of understanding, interpretation and evaluation polled with iclickers.
Students will also become familiar with the political and physical geography of the areas
studied and will be asked to demonstrate that familiarity with occasional political and
natural geography in-class identifications. Mastery of the narrative history will be
demonstrated in conversation at the individual oral midterm and final examinations. One
quarter of the midterm and final exams is devoted to mastery of the narrative of the
history of the era.
Learning Outcome #2: In this course students will understand the history of the
Renaissance era in Europe through the perspective of seminal works of interpretation,
including the foundational text for the study of the Renaissance, Jacob Burckhardt's The
Civilization of the Renaissance in Italy, Peter Burke's essay on the Renaissance, and Gene
Brucker's study of Renaissance Florence. Burckhardt's is a cultural history; Burke's
more of an intellectual history; and Brucker's is political and social. Students will also be
familiar with various theories of causation of the changes that constituted the end of the
Middle Ages and the rise of the Renaissance and subsequently the decline of Renaissance.
Monographs by the historians mentioned above are assigned as reading. Students take a
daily open book, 5-minute, one-question reading check on their understanding of the
reading. Student-led conversation is part of every class. Students write essays on the
monographs in which they are asked to interpret the authors' theses, their use of evidence,
and their arguments, and to evaluate the authors' theses in light of what they know from
the rest of the course material. Students are asked also to demonstrate understanding in
the oral midterms and finals. One quarter of the midterm and final is devoted to
understanding the historians' theses and another quarter to the differences between the
interpretations presented by each.
Learning Outcome #3: In this course, students will learn how to research, analyze, and
present questions in Renaissance history. Research work will be practiced in the daily
preparation of discussion leadership and in the preparation of a major lesson for the
second half of the course. Primary documentary evidence, in translations, art, artifacts,
and music, will be offered as part of the lecture of each class. The students' research
work will be mainly, but not solely for a major lecture—of twenty minutes—that every
student will give on a topic of their choice. The work of research for the lecture will
involve guidance in the search for primary and secondary sources, reporting of sources,
and creating a bibliography. Students at the beginning of the course are given a guide
sheet for the research with avenues of research in the library, through interlibrary loan
(Link+ and Illiad), and online. Students are also presented with a lecture on the cautions
of using Wikipedia and the ways of evaluating online resources. Students then submit a
preliminary bibliography on the way to completing their research. Every bibliography
must include a predominance of print sources. When students make their presentation
they must distribute their bibliography to the class and in Q&A they are responsible for
commenting on the uses of their sources. The same skills of research and gathering of
data emphasized for the preparation of a major lesson are enjoined on the students as they
prepare and take part in the daily leading of discussion of the readings. A student leader
is asked to state three major points from the assigned reading, supply background
information that he help the class understand the reading, and then pose a question or
series of questions to help initiate the conversation.
Learning Outcome #4: In this course, students will understand the meaning of
humanism in its Renaissance context. Students will also understand the major
developments in the visual arts and architecture and be able to relate those developments
to the themes of Renaissance humanism. They will do this through daily writing on and
discussion of the readings with a focus on critical analysis of the authors' work of
selection and interpretation of evidence; interpretive essays, preparation and delivery of
twenty-minute lesson, and oral one-on-one midterm and final examinations that revolve
around the students' abilities to bring all of the coursework together into an interpretive
whole. The five-minute, open-book daily reading checks establish a regular
communication between the professor and the individual student whereby I can track
their understanding. The work on the lesson that students present enables the student to
demonstrate the depth and sophistication of understanding. The essays are a primary
means of showing the ability to interpret the material. Students must analyze an assigned
author's thesis and methodology, major school of interpretation (whether cultural,
intellectual, or economic), and the success of the thesis. They are also asked in the
second and subsequent essays to compare and contrast historians. The oral exams
complement the work of the essay writing in allowing the student to demonstrate the
same learnings in conversation. In all these ways, students will learn how to interpret
evidence about the social, political, intellectual, and cultural history of the Renaissance.
Syllabus, with parenthetical applications of goals. [See the annotated syllabus for this
and the subsequent material.]
Course Requirements
Grade Evaluation
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