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JOHN CABOT UNIVERSITY

COURSE CODE: "HS/PH 223"
COURSE NAME: "Historical and Philosophical Aspects of the Italian Renaissance"
SEMESTER & YEAR: Spring 2019
SYLLABUS

INSTRUCTOR: Fabrizio Conti
EMAIL: [email protected]
HOURS: MW 6:00-7:15 PM
TOTAL NO. OF CONTACT HOURS: 45
CREDITS: 3
PREREQUISITES:
OFFICE HOURS: By appointment

COURSE DESCRIPTION:
This course provides an introduction to the history and philosophy of the Italian Renaissance (c. 1300-c. 1550 CE). While multiple dimensions of the era’s history will be investigated, as will a wide range of its philosophical currents, the course's primary focus will be on understanding the Renaissance and Renaissance humanism in their contexts. A particular emphasis will be placed on reconstructing the ways in which those who participated in the Renaissance, as well as those who were excluded from it, lived and understood their experiences.
SUMMARY OF COURSE CONTENT:
Topics include the development of new ideas and ideals of the individual in the Renaissance, Humanism as ‘a program for ruling classes’, Platonism and Aristotelianism, theological and cosmological models, Copernicus’s heliocentric theory, Marsilio Ficino, Pico della Mirandola, Giordano Bruno, Niccolò Machiavelli and Baldassarre Castiglione.  Students will also discover and analyze the several apparent contradictions emerging in the Renaissance, such as, first of all, the outbreak of witch hunts. The intellectual debate concerning witches and their persecutions with the related developments in magic, demonology, inquisition, will be studied as constitutive aspects of renaissance culture.
LEARNING OUTCOMES:
The aim of this course is to guide students through the discovery of the Italian Renaissance and its many, distinctive acquisitions in different fields, such as civic life, education, social organization, artistic and literary cultures, geography, ethics and politics. Students will acquire basic skills in methodologies involved in historical research, writing, and communication, and will learn how to grasp and decipher the multifaceted and contradictory messages embedded in historical realities by constantly applying critical thinking.
TEXTBOOK:
Book TitleAuthorPublisherISBN numberLibrary Call NumberComments
A Short History of the Italian RenaissanceKenneth R. BartlettUniversity of Toronto Press, 20139781442600140   
The Civilization of the Italian Renaissance: A Sourcebook Kenneth R. Bartlett University of Toronto Press, 2011 9781442604858   
REQUIRED RESERVED READING:
NONE

RECOMMENDED RESERVED READING:
NONE
GRADING POLICY
-ASSESSMENT METHODS:
AssignmentGuidelinesWeight
PaperThis is an essay/analysis based on primary sources and/or scholarly articles. You will be given a list of topics, among which you will pick the one you prefer and develop it in about 2000 words. You can also propose a different topic of your choice worthy of investigation. The relevant sources and the questions which serve as guidelines for the analysis will be posted on MyJCU. The written assignment should be submitted to me electronically by 3pm of the due date at the latest. No late papers will be accepted.20%
ProjectIt will be a project on a topic of your choice. You will create your own outline for a possible research, which is an issue (an idea) you think is worth investigating. A list of available sources and articles will be provided. You can give your project the shape you prefer: it can be a power point presentation, a presentation without a powerpoint, or a written paper with an outline, in this last case of no less than 1000/1200 words.20%
Midterm Exam This will be an in-class written exam composed of short answer and essay questions. Your grade on this exam will depend upon the analytical strength and persuasiveness of your arguments as well as the factual accuracy of your answers. More information about these exams will be provided as their dates near.25%
Final Exam This will be an in-class written exam composed of short answer and essay questions. Your grade on this exam will depend upon the analytical strength and persuasiveness of your arguments as well as the factual accuracy of your answers. More information about these exams will be provided as their dates near.25%
Attendance and Participation It is mandatory that: 1. you are in class, 2. have done the readings, 3. express your views and questions orally in class and are able to make connections with the topics that have been already covered. You will get points for participation for being active in class, rather than for being (always) right. Persistent absence or having failed to do the readings will affect your final grade.10%

-ASSESSMENT CRITERIA:
AWork of this quality directly addresses the question or problem raised and provides a coherent argument displaying an extensive knowledge of relevant information or content. This type of work demonstrates the ability to critically evaluate concepts and theory and has an element of novelty and originality. There is clear evidence of a significant amount of reading beyond that required for the course.
BThis is highly competent level of performance and directly addresses the question or problem raised.There is a demonstration of some ability to critically evaluatetheory and concepts and relate them to practice. Discussions reflect the student’s own arguments and are not simply a repetition of standard lecture andreference material. The work does not suffer from any major errors or omissions and provides evidence of reading beyond the required assignments.
CThis is an acceptable level of performance and provides answers that are clear but limited, reflecting the information offered in the lectures and reference readings.
DThis level of performances demonstrates that the student lacks a coherent grasp of the material.Important information is omitted and irrelevant points included.In effect, the student has barely done enough to persuade the instructor that s/he should not fail.
FThis work fails to show any knowledge or understanding of the issues raised in the question. Most of the material in the answer is irrelevant.

-ATTENDANCE REQUIREMENTS:
ATTENDANCE REQUIREMENTS AND EXAMINATION POLICY
You cannot make-up a major exam (midterm or final) without the permission of the Dean’s Office. The Dean’s Office will grant such permission only when the absence was caused by a serious impediment, such as a documented illness, hospitalization or death in the immediate family (in which you must attend the funeral) or other situations of similar gravity. Absences due to other meaningful conflicts, such as job interviews, family celebrations, travel difficulties, student misunderstandings or personal convenience, will not be excused. Students who will be absent from a major exam must notify the Dean’s Office prior to that exam. Absences from class due to the observance of a religious holiday will normally be excused. Individual students who will have to miss class to observe a religious holiday should notify the instructor by the end of the Add/Drop period to make prior arrangements for making up any work that will be missed. The final exam period runs until ____________
ACADEMIC HONESTY
As stated in the university catalog, any student who commits an act of academic dishonesty will receive a failing grade on the work in which the dishonesty occurred. In addition, acts of academic dishonesty, irrespective of the weight of the assignment, may result in the student receiving a failing grade in the course. Instances of academic dishonesty will be reported to the Dean of Academic Affairs. A student who is reported twice for academic dishonesty is subject to summary dismissal from the University. In such a case, the Academic Council will then make a recommendation to the President, who will make the final decision.
STUDENTS WITH LEARNING OR OTHER DISABILITIES
John Cabot University does not discriminate on the basis of disability or handicap. Students with approved accommodations must inform their professors at the beginning of the term. Please see the website for the complete policy.

SCHEDULE

NB:  Changes may occur. Any updates will be made to the on-line syllabus.

         The project due date is open and it must be agreed upon with the instructor.


January

Week 1

21 M Course Intro: Historical Thinking and the Renaissance

 -       Marc Bloch,The Historian's Craft, pp. 17-24 (MY JCU)

-        Bartlett, A Short History of the Italian Renaissance, pp. 1-13

23 W  Humanism and Scholasticism

-          Kristeller, Renaissance Thought, Ch. 5: "Humanism and Scholasticism in the Italian Renaissance", pp. 92-119 (on MY JCU)

-          Bartelett, The Civilization of the Italian Renaissance, pp. XIX-XX; 1-8 (Introduction; Quintilian)

 

Week 2

28 M Francis Petrarch and Trecento Italy

-       Bartlett, A Short History of the Italian Renaissance, pp. 55-66;

-       Bartelett, The Civilization of the Italian Renaissance, pp. 25-34 (Petrarch: Introduction; Letter to Posterity; The Ascent of Mount Ventoux;    
        Letter to the Shade of Cicero)

30 W  Humanist Learning and Education

-          Bartlett, A Short History of the Italian Renaissance, pp. 69-90  

February

Week 3

4 M  Fifteenth-Century Approaches to Culture

-          Bartelett, The Civilization of the Italian Renaissance, pp. 66-82 (Coluccio Salutati, Letter to Peregrino Zambeccari; Vespasiano da 
           Bisticci: Life of Poggio BraccioliniLife of Niccolò Niccoli; Lorenzo Valla, The Glory of the Latin Language)

6 W  Women as Intellectuals

-          Reading the Middle Ages, ed. by Rosenwein, document 8.20: Defending Women: Christine de 
           Pizan (on MY JCU)

-         Bartelett, The Civilization of the Italian Renaissance, pp. 90-95 (Isotta Nogarola: Of the Equal or Unequal Sin of Adam and Eve)

 

Week 4

11 M  Political Developments and Crises

-          Bartlett, A Short History of the Italian Renaissance, pp. 113-117; 

-         The Council of Constance, Decrees, selection (link on MY JCU)

13 W Rome and the Papacy

-          Bartlett, A Short History of the Italian Renaissance, pp. 117-134; 
           
-          Bartelett, The Civilization of the Italian Renaissance, pp. 199-200 (The Church and the Papacy: Intro); pp. 206-210 (Lorenzo Valla: The 
           Principal Arguments from the Forged Donation of Constantine


15 Fri  Urban Developments in Rome (Make-up day for Monday, April 22)

-          Documentary TV + discussion


Week 5

18 M Love, Erotic Literature, and a Pope as a Writer: Aeneas Sylvius Piccolomini's (Pope Pius II) Two Lovers

-        Aeneas Sylvius Piccolomini, The Tale of the Two Lovers (on MY JCU)

20 W Renaissance Cities: Pisa, Genoa, and Venice 

-         Bartlett, A Short History of the Italian Renaissance, pp. 137-165


Week 6

25 M The Renaissance as a Crossroad of Cultures: Venice and the Islamic World

-       Stefano Carboni, Venice and the Islamic World, 828–1797 (selections, MY JCU)

-       Islam and the Italian Renaissance, ed. by Charles Burnett and Anna Contadini (Selections, MY JCU)

27 W Florence and The "Universal Man" of the Renaissance

-          Bartlett, A Short History of the Italian Renaissance, pp. 93-110;

-          Bartelett, The Civilization of the Italian Renaissance, pp. 39-41 (Florence in the Renaissance: Intro); pp. 61-62 (Benedetto Dei: Letter 
           to a Venetian
); pp. 104-108 (Giovanni Pico della Mirandola); 176-181 (Leonardo da Vinci)


Week 7
 

March
 

4 M   Neo-Platonism 

-          Bartlett, A Short History of the Italian Renaissance, pp. 209-222; 

-          Bartelett, The Civilization of the Italian Renaissance, pp. 97-104 (Florentine Neoplatonism and Mysticism: Intro; Marsilio Ficino)


6 W   Midterm Exam


8 Fri  Marriage, Family, and Women in the Renaissance (Make-up day for Wednesday, May 1)

-          Bartlett, A Short History of the Italian Renaissance, pp. 35-51

-          Bartelett, The Civilization of the Italian Renaissance, pp. 111-133 (Marriage, the Family, and Women: Intro; Francesco
           Barbaro; Leon Battista Alberti)


11 - 15 March: Spring Break



Week 8

18 M  Courts and Courtiers 

-           Bartlett, A Short History of the Italian Renaissance, pp. 169-206; 

-           Bartelett, The Civilization of the Italian Renaissance, pp. 142-144 (Baldassarre Castiglione, from The Book of the Courtier)

20 W Learning and Power or the Power of Learning

-          Bartelett, The Civilization of the Italian Renaissance, pp. 183-194 (Learning and Education: Intro; Pietro Paolo Vergerio;
           Leonardo  Bruni; Battista Guarino); 

-          Lauro Martines, Power and Imagination (Ch."Humanism: A  Program for Ruling Classes") (on MY JCU)

 

Week 9

25 M The Italian Dynasties of the Renaissance: Myths and Realities 

-         Bartlett, A Short History of the Italian Renaissance, pp. 247-262; 

-         Bartelett, The Civilization of the Italian Renaissance, pp. 108-109 (Angelo Poliziano: Stanzas on Giuliano de' Medici)

27 W  An Age of Competition and Wars

-          Bartlett, A Short History of the Italian Renaissance, pp. 225-244

 

Week 10

April

1 M  Political Thought: Francesco Guicciardini

-         Bartlett, A Short History of the Italian Renaissance, pp. 265-282;

-         Bartelett, The Civilization of the Italian Renaissance, pp. 240-244 (Guicciardini: A Portrait of Lorenzo de' Medici);
          pp. 258-263 (Guicciardini: The French Artillery); pp. 266-273 (Guicciardini: Maxims and Reflections)

3 W   Political Thought: Niccolò Machiavelli

-          Niccolò Machiavelli, The Prince, in Bondanella and Musa (eds.), The Italian Renaissance Reader, pp. 258-269; 273-274; 291-
           293 (on MY JCU)


Week 11

8 M  Renaissance Art and Architecture

-          Bartlett, A Short History of the Italian Renaissance, pp. 285-317; 

-          Bartelett, The Civilization of the Italian Renaissance, pp. 157-160 (Art and Architecture: Intro; Filippo Brunelleschi; Mariano Taccola;
           Lorenzo Ghiberti); 164-176 (Isabella d'Este; Pietro Vanucci Perugino; Leon Battista Alberti)

10 W  The Late Italian Renaissance

-        Bartelett, The Civilization of the Italian Renaissance, pp. 265-266 (The Late Italian Renaissance: Intro); 273-279 (Giovanni della Casa); 

-        Late Middle Ages, Renaissance, and Reformation, ed. by T. A. Brady, H. A. Oberman, J. D. Tracy, selected pp. (on MY JCU)


Week 12

15 M  Developments of Naturalism

-          Giordano Bruno, On the Infinite, the Universe, and the Worlds, selected pp. (on MY JCU)

17 W  From Theology to Science

-           Galileo Galilei's Indictment and Abjuration (1633) (link on MY JCU)

 

Week 13

22 M   No class (Holiday)

24 W Witchcraft: A Renaissance Contradiction?

-          Brian Levack, The Witch-Hunt in Early Modern Europe, Ch. 2: "The Intellectual Foundations" (MY JCU)

-          Fabrizio Conti, Witchcraft, Superstition, and Observant Franciscan Preachers (selections, MY JCU)


Week 14

 29 M   Humanism, Post-Humanism, and Neo-Humanism: Current Debates

-          Yuval Noah Harari, Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow (selected pp., MY JCU)

-          Brunello Cucinelli and the "Dream of Solomeo", Perugia (Video and discussion)

 

May

1 May (Holiday) 

 

Final Exam