2019-2020 Courses

The Civilization of Renaissance Europe
Professor Ken Bartlett and Professor Shaun Ross
T 11-1

An interdisciplinary introduction to the civilization of the Renaissance illustrated by a study of the institutions, thought, politics, society and culture of both Italy and Northern Europe. Italian city states such as Florence, Urbino and Venice, Papal Rome and despotic Milan are compared with the northern dynastic monarchies of France and England.

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

Scientific Worldviews of the Renaissance
Professor Hakob Barseghyan

R 11-1

An in-depth study of late medieval and early modern scientific worldviews, with a focus on interconnections between natural philosophy, cosmology, theology, astronomy, optics, medicine, natural history, and ethics. Through a consideration of early modern ideas including free will and determinism, the finite and infinite universe, teleology and mechanism, theism and deism, and deduction and intuition, this course investigates some of the period’s key metaphysical and methodological assumptions, and reveals how an evolving scientific understanding informed the Renaissance worldview.

Exclusion: HPS309H1 
Recommended Preparation: 4.0 FCE  
Distribution Requirements: Social Science 
Breadth Requirements: Society and its Institutions (3)

Women and Writing in the Renaissance
Professor Manuela Scarci
T 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)


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 lives, 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)

Media and Communications in the Early Modern Era
Professor Konrad Eisenbichler
R 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)

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 eurocentric phenomenon.

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

Shakespeare's European Influences 
Professor Misha Teramura

M 10-12

This course explores Shakespeare’s connections to the broader world of Renaissance Europe by tracking the ways this London-based writer engaged with texts, ideas, and debates from Italy, France, and beyond. We will read Shakespearean plays and poems alongside their wide-ranging literary sources and intertexts, focusing on topics such as the humanist rediscovery of Greco-Roman antiquity; narrative adaptation, poetic genres, and theatrical practices; political theory, religious conflicts, philosophical trends, and early colonialism.

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


Florence and the Renaissance
Professor Ken BartlettProfessor Konrad Eisenbichler
T 2-4

An interdisciplinary seminar on Florence in the 15th and 16th centuries. The first term will investigate Florence in the 15th century, using mostly primary sources. Topics discussed will be: humanism, culture and society in the republican period, the rise of the Medici, Savonarola, and Florentine Neoplatonism. 

In the second half of the course we will examine the history, religion, culture, and art of Florence in the sixteenth century as the Republic of Florence changed dramatically to become the Duchy of Florence and then the Grand Duchy of Tuscany.

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)

Professor Paul Cohen
W 10-12

A study of Montaigne as a multifaceted historical and cultural figure, as a mirror to sixteenth-century history, as product and observer of the religious divisions, political transformations, and cultural evolutions in an age marked by religious war, the growth of the state, the advent of the printed book, and the dissemination of the humanist project across Western Europe. The course examines Montaigne’s essays, travel journals, and important scholarly works on Montaigne, in the context of contemporary gender relations, colonial empire, religious belief, and early modern Europe’s complex relationship with Greco-Roman Antiquity. 

Prerequisite: VIC240Y1/​ HIS243H1 or permission of the instructor
Breadth Requirement: Thought, Belief and Behaviour (2)

The Renaissance Book
Professor Shaun Ross
R 2-4

This course explores the intellectual and historical contexts of the Renaissance book and applies a digital humanities approach to its study, focusing on books printed in Western Europe between 1500 and 1700. Through a close examination of early and rare books, students explore three major areas in Renaissance intellectual history: 1) humanist rhetoric, politics, and literature, 2) Reformation studies, and 3) natural history, science, and medicine. Regular guest lectures sponsored by the Centre for Reformation and Renaissance Studies will introduce students to scholars from beyond the UofT; the course also involves experiential learning with digital exhibitions and rare books.

Prerequisite: 10.0 FCE’s
Exclusion: VIC449H1 (Advanced Seminar in the Renaissance: Exhibiting the Renaissance Book), offered in Winter 2018 and Winter 2019
Recommended Preparation: VIC240Y1, or another course in Renaissance Studies
Breadth Requirement: Thought, Belief and Behaviour (2)

Current Students