Fall 2022


History 207: Age of Humanism & Reform -- European Thought & Culture, 1300-1650

This course traces the development of European thought and culture from the time of Dante to the beginnings of the Scientific Revolution. We will explore not only such high cultural elements as philosophy and science but also the development of popular literature, the impact of print, and the reception of religious ideas by ordinary Europeans. Among the topics to be considered are the Italian and northern "renaissances," the development of Reformation thought, the use of vernacular languages, and the theory and practice of science. Thinkers to be studied include Christine de Pisan, Thomas More, Niccolò Machiavelli, Martin Luther, Michel de Montaigne, and René Descartes.

Prof. Cotts, 4 credits, TTh 10:00-11:20am

-Fulfills Social Science distribution.

-History major: pre-modern history; Cultures & Ideas; Before Modernity


Spring 2023


History 181: Europe Transformed, c. 300-1400


This course examines the creation of "Europe" starting with Rome's slow disintegration in the third century and ending with the formation of a new medieval synthesis by the middle of the 14th century. It explores continuing tensions between local and central interests in religion, politics, and culture, including the development of feudal social and political structures, the transformation of free peasants into serfs, the growth of church authority, and the rapid expansion of towns and trade. Medieval people reacted to these changes in many ways, including widening the scope of intellectual exploration, reassessing social status, and engaging in warfare and in the Crusades. The course requires short analytical papers, exams, and historical analysis of primary sources.

Prof. Cotts, 4 credits, MWF 11:00-11:50am

-Fulfills Social Sciences distribution.

-History major: pre-modern history; Cultures & Ideas; Before Modernity