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JOHN CABOT UNIVERSITY

COURSE CODE: "HS 233"
COURSE NAME: "The Italian Renaissance"
SEMESTER & YEAR: Spring 2021
SYLLABUS

INSTRUCTOR: Fabrizio Conti
EMAIL: [email protected]
HOURS: MW 3:00 PM 4:15 PM
TOTAL NO. OF CONTACT HOURS: 45
CREDITS: 3
PREREQUISITES:
OFFICE HOURS:

COURSE DESCRIPTION:
This course explores the history and culture of the Italian Renaissance (c.1300-c.1600 CE) through the critical examination of primary sources – ranging from formal treatises to iconography and art – as well as current scholarly debates. Among other things, the course will examine the development and significance of Renaissance humanism, including the roles that its revival and transformation of Greek and Roman ideals played in distinguishing Renaissance culture from what came before. Other dimensions may include “civic humanism” and the Florentine Republic, the rise of
princely courts and associated cultural movements, the ideal of the “universal man” and its embodiment in figures like Leonardo da Vinci, and the Renaissance’s social and economic contexts (including the experiences, activities, and perceptions of marginalized groups, like women, minorities, and people of lower social standing), as well as other key religious, artistic, literary, and intellectual developments of the period.

Satisfies "Medieval" or "Early Modern History" core course requirements for History majors.
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. Bartlett University of Toronto Press, 2013 9781442600140   
The Civilization of the Italian Renaissance: A Sourcebook Kenneth R. Bartlett University of Toronto Press, 2011 9781442604858  E-book Version available via the Frohring Library Catalogue
REQUIRED RESERVED READING:
NONE

RECOMMENDED RESERVED READING:
NONE
GRADING POLICY
-ASSESSMENT METHODS:
AssignmentGuidelinesWeight
2 Short Papers These are 2 essays of 1200 words each and based on primary sources and/or scholarly articles. The list of topics, along with the relevant sources and the questions which serve as guidelines will be posted on Moodle. All written assignments should be uploaded to Moodle by the deadline.30% (15% each)
Mid-Term ExamThe exams will be in-class written exams composed of short answers and essay questions. Your grade on these exams 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. 30%
Final Exam The exams will be in-class written exams composed of short answers and essay questions. Your grade on these exams 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. 30%
Attendance and Participation This means that you: a) are in class; b) have done the readings and thought about them; c) express your views and questions orally in class and are able to make connections with the topics that have been already covered.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

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

ü  All readings are available either on Moodle or as e-books via the Frohring Library Online Catalogue

 

January

Week 1

18 M Historical Thinking and the Renaissance

-        Marc Bloch,The Historian's Craft, pp. 17-24 

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

 

20 W The Renaissance and Humanism

-         Kristeller, Renaissance Thought, Ch. 5: "Humanism and Scholasticism in the Italian Renaissance", pp. 92-119

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

 

Week 2

25 M   Dante’s Inferno, and Boccaccio’s Decameron

-          Bartlett, A Short History of the Italian Renaissance, pp. 17-32

-          Bartelett, The Civilization of the Italian Renaissance, pp. 13 (Dante and Medieval Italy); 17-20 (Dante's Inferno, Canto XV excluded); 46-52   

           (Boccaccio: A Description of the Plague) 

 

27 W   Francis Petrarch: the First Humanist

-          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)

 

Week 3

February

1 M     The Humanist School Curriculum

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

-          Bartelett, The Civilization of the Italian Renaissance, pp. 65-66 (Humanism: Introduction)

 

3 W    Civic Pride and Cultural Glory

-          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)

 

Week 4

8 M    Women and Humanism

-         Christine de Pizan, Defending Women, selected pp.

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

 

10 W  Florence: The Cradle of the Renaissance

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

-          Bartelett, The Civilization of the Italian Renaissance, pp. 39-52 (Florence in the Renaissance: Intro; Giovanni Villani;

           Giovanni Boccaccio: A Description of the Plague); 61-62 (Benedetto Dei: Letter to a Venetian)    

-          Richard Trexler, Public Life in Renaissance Florence,pp. 9-43

 

12 F    Make-Up Day for Monday, April 5

           The Renaissance Critical Thinking

-          Bartlett, A Short History of the Italian Renaissance, pp. 117-134

-          Bartelett, The Civilization of the Italian Renaissance, pp. 199-206 (The Church and the Papacy: Intro; Pius II: The Election); pp. 206-210  

           (Lorenzo Valla: The Principal Arguments from the Forged Donation of Constantine

 

Week 5

15 M   Venice 

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

-          Edwad Muir, Civic Ritual in Renaissance Venice (Princeton, N.J: Princeton University Press, 1981), pp. 13-61 ("Myth and Ritual")

 

17 W   Life in the Italian Courts

-           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)

 

 Week 6

22 M   Family and Women in the Renaissance

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

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

 

24 W Take-Home Mid-Term Exam

          The Age of Explorations

-         Barry Ife, Introduction to Cristopher Columbus: http://www.ems.kcl.ac.uk/content/pub/b001.html

-        Journal of the First Voyage: https://www.americanjourneys.org/pdf/AJ-062.pdf  (pp.: 87-111; 134-137; 149; 156-157 [27 Nov. excluded];

         163-165 [3 Dec]  

          

Week 7

March

1 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)

 

3 W  The "Universal Man" of the Renaissance

-       Bartelett, The Civilization of the Italian Renaissance, pp. 104-108 (Giovanni Pico della Mirandola); 176-181 (Leonardo da Vinci)

 

8-12 March: Spring Break 

 

Week 8

15 M   First Paper Due

           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, selected pp.

 

17 W   An Age of Competition and Wars

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

 

Week 9

22 M   Learning and Power

-          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")

 

24 W   The Italian Dynasties of the Renaissance: Myths and Realities

-          Film Screening and discussion

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

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

 

Week 10

29 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);

             258-263 (Guicciardini: The French Artillery); 266-273 (Guicciardini: Maxims and Reflections)

 

31 W   Political Thought: Niccolò Machiavelli

-          Niccolò Machiavelli, The Prince, in Bondanella and Musa (eds.), The Italian Renaissance Reader, pp. 258-264; 273-274; 291-293

 

Week 11

April

5 M  Holiday (make-up day Friday, February 12)

 

 7 W  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)

 

Week 12

12 M   The Late Italian Renaissance and Mannerism

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

-          The Index of Forbidden Books:  https://sourcebooks.fordham.edu/mod/indexlibrorum.asp

 

14 W    The “Ugly” Renaissance

-           Alexander Lee, The Ugly Renaissance: Sex, Disease and Excess in an Age of Beauty (2013)selected pp.

 

Week 13

19 M   The Humanist and the Witches: A Renaissance Contradiction?

-          Gianfrancesco Pico della Mirandola, Strix, in Witchcraft in Europe, ed. by Alan Charles Kors and Edward Peters, selected pp.



21 W  Second Paper Due

           Philosophy and Science Confronting Authority

-          Giordano Bruno, On the Infinite, the Universe, and the Worlds, selected pp.

-          Galileo Galilei's Indictment and Abjuration (1633)

       

Week 14

26 M    Humanism between Past, Present, and Future in Education, Culture, and Society

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

 

28 W   Final Discussion and Exam Preparation

 

            Final Exam