Renaissance and Early Modern Studies

The Program in Renaissance and Early Modern Studies (REMS) encourages students to pursue interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary approaches to the study of Europe and its relation with the Americas and Asia in the early modern period. The late fourteenth through the late eighteenth centuries saw the development of new cultural and political forms through the imitation and reworking of those of classical antiquity, while later witnessing the restructuring of patriarchal society and the emergence of the sovereign nation state. These four hundred years were marked by scientific and agricultural revolutions, the Reformation, the development of capitalism, and their attendant social philosophies, and the rise of cultural forms such as the novel, opera, Grub Street journalism, and the art market. Europe's "encounter" with the Americas (North and South), as well as its ongoing shifting relationship with Asia and Africa, also produced new and complex forms of society, culture, and political organization.

Courses relevant to the Renaissance and Early Modern Period are offered through a variety of academic units within the University. Sponsoring departments include: Africana Studies, Archaeology and the Ancient World, Classics, Comparative Literature, English, French Studies, Hispanic Studies, History, History of Art and Architecture, History of Mathematics, Italian Studies, Judaic Studies, Music, Philosophy, Portuguese and Brazilian Studies, Slavic Languages, and Theatre Arts and Performance Studies. Students are invited to take advantage of this breadth of offerings in order to enhance their understanding of the period, as well as to gain a sense of the uses, limitations, and interrelationships of particular disciplinary approaches.


Concentrators are required to take a minimum of 8 courses. These include the following:

1. Three courses on Renaissance and/or early modern topics in one field in which the student has primary interest or training, (for example, literature, history of art and architecture, or history).

2. Three courses related to the Renaissance and/or early modern period chosen from two other fields.

3. A senior project. (Credit will be granted through registration for Independent Study in the department in which the topic of research lies.)

4. Another relevant course of the student's choosing.

In addition, the student must be able to demonstrate a reading knowledge of a relevant modern or ancient language other than English. This language requirement does not count as one of the 8 courses.

Students should contact the director of the program to discuss courses which are approved for the concentration in Renaissance and Early Modern Studies.

Page last updated in February, 2011.

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