2015-16 Courses


VIC240Y1Y
The Civilization of Renaissance Europe
Professor Ken Bartlett
T 11-1

This course is a course in the history of culture and ideas developed in the European Renaissance.. We will begin in Italy to investigate the rise of a mercantile economy within the various city states of the peninsula, leading to social mobility, a new sense of civic responsibility and the desire to develop new ideas to inform these changes. The role of Petrarch and the structure of the republic of Florence will be used as models of how this new value structure produced humanism, the central cultural expression of the Renaissance, dependent on the examples of classical antiquity which provided a model for a new personal and collective ideology. The desire to define the community in secular terms and the creation of the autonomous individual drove Italians to define new forms of literature, art and architecture, all in a desire to know themselves and their fellows. Linear perspective, correct anatomy and portraiture all reflected the imperative to share experience and reproduce what the individual eye sees. Subsequently, we will illustrate how they developed north of the Alps, where a Christian perspective remained strong and monarchical governments predominated. Humanism was reinterpreted as Christian Humanism and the texts to be studied were not just the works of pagan authors but the fathers of the Church and even the Bible. The result was a transformation of the European mentality, known as the Renaissance.

VIC240Y1Y Syllabus [PDF]

Distribution Requirement Status: This is a Humanities course
Breadth Requirement: Creative and Cultural Representations (1) + Society and its Institutions (3)

 


VIC342H1F
Women and Writing in the Renaissance
Professor Manuela Scarci
W 10-12

Focusing on writers from various geographical areas, the course examines a variety of texts by early modern women (for example, treatises, letters, and poetry) so as to explore the female experience in a literate society, with particular attention to how women constructed a gendered identity for themselves against the backdrop of the cultural debates of the time.

Distribution Requirement Status: This is a Humanities course
Breadth Requirement: Creative and Cultural Representations (1)

 


VIC343Y1Y
Sex and Gender
Professor Konrad Eisenbichler
M 2-4

An interdisciplinary approach to questions of gender and sexuality in early modern Europe, with special focus on the representations of the sexual drive, the gender roles of men and women, and varieties of sexual experience in the literature and art of the period.

Exclusion: VIC343H1
Distribution Requirement Status: This is a Humanities course
Breadth Requirement: Thought, Belief and Behaviour (2) + Society and its Institutions (3)

 


VIC345H1S
Media and Communications in the Early Modern Era
Professor Konrad Eisenbichler
Lecture: T 10-12
Tutorial: W 4-5

This course examines the various media (printing press, representational art, music, preaching) and social and political forces (family and political networks, censorship, education, etc.) that conditioned the communication of ideas in early modern society.

Distribution Requirement Status: This is a Humanities course
Breadth Requirement: Creative and Cultural Representations (1)

 


VIC346H1S
The Idea of the Renaissance
Professor Matt Kavaler
R 10-12

This course examines the changing views of the Renaissance, from the earliest definitions by poets and painters to the different understandings of contemporary historians. We will pay attention to the interests and biases that have informed the idea of the Renaissance as an aesthetic, social, political, gendered, and euro-centric phenomenon.

Prerequisite: Completion of 6.0 FCEs
Recommended Preparation: At least one half course in the art, literature, history, or philosophy of fifteenth or sixteenth century Europe
Distribution Requirement Status: This is a Humanities course
Breadth Requirement: Creative and Cultural Representations (1)

 


VIC348Y1Y
The Renaissance in the Cities
Professor Ken Bartlett
W 12-2

This interdisciplinary course will investigate in detail the development and manifestation of Renaissance culture in the city of Rome. As the capital of a great empire in ancient times and subsequently the centre of Christian Europe and the papacy, Rome played a unique role in the development of Renaissance culture, creating its own vocabulary in art, architecture and urban planning. We will begin with the ancient city to see how the memory of the republican and imperial capital was sustained. Then, we will move to early Christian and medieval Rome to understand how the greatest city in the world, with a population of over one million in ancient times, shrank to a small town in a malarial swamp, despite the maintenance of the huge Aurelian walls and the evidence of the ruins of the ancient city to serve as indicators of past greatness. The period of the Babylonian Captivity and Schism will give way to the return of a united papacy in 1420, characterized by popes intent on restoring the glory and authority of Rome. The main lectures of the course will then focus on the building of the Renaissance city, with specific lectures on subjects such as churches, palaces, villas, piazzas and fountains, all in the context of that Renaissance vocabulary of humanism and antiquity. The course will end with an evaluation of the effect on Rome of the Reformation, the Council of Trent and the imperial papacy, leading to the baroque and eventually the development of the modern city.

VIC348Y1Y Syllabus [PDF]

Recommended Preparation: VIC240Y1, or another course in Renaissance Studies.
Distribution Requirement Status: This is a Humanities course
Breadth Requirement: Creative and Cultural Representations (1) + Society and its Institutions (3)

 


VIC440Y1Y
Florence and the Renaissance
Professor Ken Bartlett; Professor Konrad Eisenbichler
T 2-4

First Term - (Prof. Bartlett):
This senior seminar studies the relationship between Humanism and republican freedom in Florence during the15th century, the last century of the republic. Using weekly readings from primary sources and student presentations we will investigate in depth how the mature ideology of civic humanism developed in Florence in a unique way, linked to its republican form of government and challenging experience during the fifteenth century. We will see how Leonardo Bruni defined the ideological, propagandistic model of republican humanism and the conception of Florence as the new Rome. We will see how the social, family and economic foundations of the guild republic disadvantaged women but encouraged social mobility. And we will follow the rise of the Medici and their manipulation of the republican constitution after 1434. Finally, we will end the term with a discussion of Savonarola in an attempt to explain this moment of apocalyptic theocracy at the end of the century, following so many years of humanist culture and Medici rule.

VIC440Y1Y Syllabus (Fall) [PDF]

Prerequisite: VIC240Y1 or permission of the instructor
Distribution Requirement Status: This is a Humanities course
Breadth Requirement: Creative and Cultural Representations (1) + Society and its Institutions (3)

 

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