Spring 2018 - HIST 402 E100

Renaissance Italy (4)

Class Number: 10455

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Mo 5:30 PM – 9:20 PM
    HCC 2235, Vancouver

  • Prerequisites:

    45 units including nine units of lower division history and one of HIST 220, 223, HUM 219, 305, 311, 312W or permission of the department.



An exploration of the history and historiography of the Renaissance Italy. Emphasis will be given to politics, religion, culture and the economy, and to a balanced study of the Italian peninsula, including Florence, Venice, Rome, Naples, the countryside and smaller urban centres.


This HIST 402 will provide an overview of the early modern period in the Italian peninsula. Students will have the opportunity to assess and amend their views on this defining moment in Western history through class discussion based on relevant surviving primary sources as well as scholarly contributions, presentations, and original research paper writing.

The material and class discussions will be ordered thematically, and, as much as possible, chronologically, opening with a discussion of the socio-political, economic, and cultural conditions that favoured the emergence of Humanism in the late fourteenth century Florentine Commune. Given its substantial cultural cache as the marquee-level Renaissance society, Florence will be posited as an exemplary paradigm—Florentine Humanism in the Quattrocento is the sole focus of ITAL 391 (offered concurrently)—to be discussed during the opening weeks of the term. From there, the course will turn to Venice, Ferrara, Urbino, Genoa, Milan, Naples, and Rome. While Florence might claim cultural preeminence, these Renaissance centers competed for primacy—military and political, economic and cultural—within the peninsula. Class discussion will alternately zero in on one or more of these centres as it addresses topics such as court life, trade and engagement with the wider world, war and diplomacy, sexuality and gender relations, the role of women, art, and art patronage.


  • Quizzes on the day’s readings 15%
  • Bibliographical review 15%
  • Presentation 15%
  • Final Essay 35%
  • Attendance and participation 20%



Kenneth Bartlett. The Civilization of the Italian Renaissance. A Sourcebook. University of Toronto Press, 2011

Paula Findlen (ed.). The Italian Renaissance: The Essential Readings. Wiley, 2002

Additional materials to be provided through Canvas, online and/or on reserve library holdings, and photocopy.

Registrar Notes:

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