History 4413 Fall 2000

Renaissance and Reformation in Europe, 1300-1650

The Archangel Michael Trampling the Serpent

Room: 3006
Section 2585: MWF, 10:00-10:50 a.m.

Instructor: Doug Catterall

Office: West Hall, 217 N
Office Hours: MWF, 11 a.m.-12 p.m. & 1-2 p.m.; TTh, 1-3 p.m. and by appointment

work telephone: 581-2949
home telephone: 536-7950
e-mail: dougc@cameron.edu

Goals and Approach:

The purpose of this course is to introduce you to a series of events and changes bearing on the religious, social and cultural complexion of Europe that unfolded between the 14th and 17th centuries. Collectively historians refer to these events using the terms Renaissance and Reformation. Because the processes to which each of these terms refers were regionally specific and unique, we will not deal with the Renaissance or the Reformation. Rather we will look at many different versions of processes that were both related to yet different from one another. In our case this will mean a focus on the following regions/societies: Germany, Switzerland, France, The Netherlands and Italy. In this course we will also deal with phenomena across a range of groups, each of which experienced events in particular ways. The Reformation for common folk, for example, was not necessarily the Reformation of kings and princes. The Renaissance of Dante, a member of Florence's upper middle class, was far from the experiences of either the noble magnates of his native city or the emeperors and popes whose decisions ultimately sealed Dante's and his beloved Florence's fate. Finally, this is a course in which we will also think about historians’ interpretations of these events. For just as those who actually participated in the events we will study had varied notions of what was happening, so too do those who comment on it. Chronologically, the course will take us from the mid-13th century into the 17th century, a span of about four centuries.

In this course you should strive to develop your own understanding of Europe’s Renaissances and Reformations both as contemporaries saw them and as historians and others know them now. As I place a particular emphasis both on written and oral expression, it is also my hope that you will each improve your abilities in these areas. Finally, it is my intention that each student leave this class with an understanding of the place of the Reformation in contemporary perceptions of European and North American culture.

Ideal Environment:

The heart of the class-room environment (for me) rests in respect, enthusiasm, and openness. This may sound general,so I will elaborate. Enthusiasm means a persistent willingness to tackle the problems that come up in the readings and assignments for each week. It does not mean that everyone always has to show up happy and cheerful, but readiness tomake a contribution to class is a must. Respect in the classroom means valuing each person's participation, not because their ideas are the best (although you might think so), but because he or she is trying to make a contribution to the group. Openness lies in the freedom for people to express their thoughts and opinions, which includes scope for debate and disagreement with me or anyone else. The closer we approach this ideal environment, the more the classroom will be an effective space for clarifying, making manageable and even experimenting with the issues confronted in the course. This ideal may not always be achievable, but in my view we should always strive for it.

The Bible


Course work consists of four elements: participation in discussion, informal writings, formal writings, and an essay-based examination.


a. Preparation: In order to understand the lectures and participate in class discussions and other activities you will need to do the assigned readings. Please budget time to complete readings for the date in which they appear in the assignment and reading schedule. The readings are in two forms, which are listed below.

Major Secondary Works:
Thomas Brady, The Politics of the Reformation in Germany : Jacob Sturm
(1489-1553) of Strasbourg (New York: Prometheus Books, 1997)

James Tracy, Europe's Reformations 1450-1650 (New York: Rowman &
Littlefield, 1999)

Primary Sources:
Dante Alighieri, The Inferno, translated by John Ciardi (New York:
Mentor, 1982)

Major Problems in the History of the Italian Renaissance, edited by Bejamin G.
Kohl and Alison Andrews Smith (Lexington, MA: D.C. Heath and Company, 1995)

Gargantua & Pantagruel Selections, edited by Floyd F. Gray (Wheeling, IL: Harlan
Davidson Incorporated, 1966)

Cecilia Ferrazzi, Autobiography of an Aspiring Saint edited and translated by
Anne Jacobson Schutte (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1996)

Additional source hand-outs and readings as needed

On-line Reference Aids:

The Catholic Encyclopedia Online: http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/

All of the above readings will be required for the course and are available at the CU bookstore. Major Problems in the History of the Italian Renaissance and James Tracy's Europe's Reformations provide broad overviews of the main issues in the course. The other works, one of which is a secondary work, are intended to give you snapshots of particular contexts and will allow us to become familiar with historical processes at first hand. When necessary I will supplement these readings with short source readings, usually taken from online resources.

b. Discussion: This may seem like a small thing and something unrelated to the real stuff (passing the exams and hammering out the papers). As this is an upper division course, however, I want to stress that participation in discussion will count in your grade and that active participation often improves performance in the pressure situations. In general, I will gauge participation on a daily basis with a check, check-plus, check-minus system. The only exception to this will be the day on which you are responsible for helping to lead class discussion. For this see below

c. Informal Writings: Occasionally I may assign short writing exercises to help focus our discussions. The emphasis will vary from paper to paper. Informal writings will also be graded with a check, check-plus, check-minus system and include comments.

d. Running Class Discussion: In this course I will call on each of you to take a turn at running the show for a portion of one of our meetings. On the meeting for which you sign up to do this, you and your co-facilitators will each be responsible for writing up a critical analysis of some aspect of the secondary reading assigned for that day. This must be handed in two days before our meeting so that your classmates can have a chance to look it over. In class you will be responsible for setting up the class discussion and also for discussing your analysis of the reading for the day, including responding to any questions your fellow students might have. I will weigh in with background and context information where necessary, but otherwise this portion of each class will be your show. I encourage you to discuss your presentation with me before you present if you need guidance, but a consultation with me is not required. Keep in mind, though, that your performance on this day will weigh very heavily in your participation grade. If you want to know what group you are and when that group is to lead class discussion, click on the hypertext in this sentence.

e. Credit for Participation: Informal writing(s), class discussion and running class for one day will be worth 20% of the final grade. The single most important element in this grade will be your presentation, but daily participation on other days will also be very important.

Reaction Papers:

You will have to write three focused essays/reaction papers. Each paper will account for about 20% of your total grade, but with particular attention paid to the degree to which people improve over course of the term. Due dates for the papers are listed below. General and specific guidelines for the papers will be provided.


There will be one examination worth 20% of the total grade. This will be an end of term examination and will be a mixture of essays and matching questions. Guidlines for the grading standards that apply to written work done for this class may be found by clicking on the hypertext in this sentence.

Guidelines for Academic Work:

Late Papers: Late work will lose a grade per day after the set due date. Barring a serious illness or other extenuating circumstance which can be documented, there will be no exceptions to this rule.

Missed Examinations and Presentations: As noted above, there is a final examination for this course as well a requirement that you make a presentation in class. I want everyone to have the same chance to succeed on these, so I absolutely require that everyone not miss these without a good excuse, such as a medical emergency. I will require documentation and barring documentation you will not be allowed to make up the work.

Plagiarism: Plagiarism is the representation of the work of another as your own. In all of the writing you do for this course you must make clear to me which ideas in a paper are your own and which come from someone else. This is especially important for any formal essays you write. In these such essays you must cite all primary and secondary sources you use in accordance with the proper conventions. I will provide a sheet explaining the basics of citation before any formal essays come due. If for some reason you do not receive a copy of this hand-out, do not assume you will be exempt from following its guidelines as it will be available on the online syllabus. In cases of plagiarism, the Department of History and Government at CU follows the plagiarism policy in the 2000-2001 "Student Handbook," pp. 207-211. Please heed this warning.

Funky Renaissance Knight-Dude

Schedule of Readings, Lecture Topics, Assignments and Activities

Introducing the Suspects

Week 1

(8/21) Introduction: Why Study Renaissance and Reformation in Today’s Society?

(8/23) The Medieval Roots of the Reformation.

Read: Europe's Reformations, 13-46.

(8/25) What was the Italian Renaissance?

Read: Major Problems, 1-31.

Paganism and the Lesser Sins in Dante's World

Week 2

(8/28) Dante Enters Hell.

Read: The Inferno, 27-48.
n.b. read not just the main text but the notes as well!

(8/30) The Pagans and Those Lacking Self-Control

Read: The Inferno, 48-86.

(9/1) Petrarch's Attitude to the Classical World

Read: Major Problems, 215-252.

Politics, Religion and Sin in the Early Renaissance

Week 3

(9/4) Labor Day

(9/6) Politics and Government in Early Renaissance Italy

Read: Major Problems, 119-168.

(9/8) The Heretics, the Violent and the Suicides I

Read: The Inferno, 87-126.

Week 4

(9/11) The Heretics, the Violent and the Suicides II

Read: The Inferno, 127-156.
Major Problems, 392-402.

(9/13) Fraud Simple I

Read: The Inferno, 157-204.

(9/15) Fraud Simple II

Read: The Inferno, 205-265.

The Late Medieval Crisis and the Italian Renaissance

Week 5

(9/18) The Bottom of Hell.

Read: The Inferno, 266-288.

(9/20) The Black Death

Read: Major Problems, 35-81.

(9/22) Urban Culture and Family Life in the Italian Renaissance I

Read: Major Problems, 82-115.

Week 6

(9/25) Urban Culture and Family Life in the Italian Renaissance II

Read: Major Problems, 317-350, 267-274.

Politics and Elite Culture in the Italian Renaissance

(9/27) Politics, Humanism and the State

Read: Major Problems, 186-192, 197-211, 253-267, 274-283.

(9/29) Possessions and Status

Read: Major Problems, 351-391.

France and Rabelais's Renaissance

Week 7

(10/2) The Renaissance Moves North

Turn In: Dante Paper

(10/4) Rabalais I

Read: Gargantua & Pantagruel, Book I

(10/6) Rabelais II

Read: Gargantua & Pantagruel, Book II

Week 8

(10/9) Rabelais III

Read: Gargantua & Pantagruel, Book III

The Collapse of Religio-Political Consensus in Europe?

(10/11) Renaissance, Humanism and the Unraveling of Religious and Political Consensus

Read: Gargantua & Pantagruel, Book IV

(10/13) The Beginnings of the Reformation

Read: Europe's Reformations, 47-71.


Week 9

(10/16) The Consolidation of Lutheranism

Read: Europe's Reformations, 72-95.

(10/18) Calvinism and Catholicism, c. 1520-1580

Read: Europe's Reformations, 97-119.

(10/20) Fall Break

Communities, Societies and Conflict

Week 10

(10/23) The Holy Roman Empire and the Habsburgs, c. 1450-1560

Read: The Politics of the Reformation in Germany, 7-39.
Europe's Reformations, 121-143.

(10/25) The Coming of Reformation to Strasbourg

Read: The Politics of the Reformation in Germany, 40-93.

(10/27) Rooting Reformation in Strasbourg I

Read: The Politics of the Reformation in Germany, 94-123.

Week 11

(10/30) Rooting Reformation in Strasbourg II

Read: The Politics of the Reformation in Germany, 124-160.

(11/1) Smalkaldic War I

Read: The Politics of the Reformation in Germany, 161-190.

(11/3) Smalkaldic War II

Read: The Politics of the Reformation in Germany, 191-231.

Week 12

(11/6) Smalkaldic War III

Read: The Politics of the Reformation in Germany, 232-250.

(11/8) The Later Reformation Conflicts

Read: Europe's Reformations, 145-183.

Society and Community in Protestant and Catholic Europe, c. 1550-1650

(11/10) Community and Society in Europe I

Read: Europe's Reformations, 213-238.

Week 13

(11/13) Community and Society in Europe II

Read: Europe's Reformations, 239-260.

(11/15) Community and Society in Europe III

Read: Europe's Reformations, 261-285.

(11/17) Catholic Reformation in Venice

Turn In: Reformation Paper

Week 14

(11/20) The Problem of Women's Roles in 17th-Century Italy

(11/22) The Background to the Case of Cecilia Ferrazi

Read: Autobiography, 3-18 over the break.

(11/24) Thanksgiving

Week 15

(11/27) The Interrogation of Cecilia Ferrazi

Read: Autobiography, 21-38.

(11/29) The Life of Cecilia Ferrazi I

Read: Autobiography, 39-56.

(12/1) The Life of Cecilia Ferrazi II

Read: Autobiography, 56-74.

Week 16

(12/4) Discussion of the Renaissance Today

Prepare: An article or piece of your choice on some aspect of Europe's Renaissances

(12/6) Discussion of the Reformation Today

Prepare: An article or piece of your choice on some aspect of Europe's Reformations

(12/8) Review Session

Final Exam Week

(12/13) Final Examination: 10-12:00 p.m.

Turn In: Ferrazzi Paper

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