This course looks at how over the course of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries Europeans gave up one set of “others,” that is, social outsiders (witches, Jews and the poor) and during the Enlightenment replaced these with a new set of “others” (women, Africans and Asians). History 300 is a historical methods course, so this subject matter will be discussed with a view toward also giving students some basic introduction to how historians develop and debate historical theses.
Introduction to the Birth of the Modern
Background on the Central Middle Ages Part I
Background on the Central Middle Ages Part II
The 12th Century Renaissance
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The Birth of the Modern: Europe and Its Others
I downloaded this series of lectures because I was interested in the subject and I really wanted to learn what the course has to offer. I think the professor has a lot of interesting knowledge to impart, but his frequent "ahs" and changing what he is saying in the middle of a sentence makes for a painful listening experience. (I have been guilty of such speech patterns myself in casual talk, but would like to think I would do better in a formal public presentation.)
I do not know if I will listen to the whole series because of poor lecture style. I would encourage the professor listen to the lectures of Keith E. Wrightson and Paul Kagan to get an idea on how to present his materials in a manner that makes the listener what to listen. If there is a later edition of this course in which the lecture style has improved, I would be happy to get it.
Very biased, very tangential and mostly irrelevant
I listened to a few classes on the developed of culture in the middle ages and was appalled by this professor’s lack of concrete facts and by his extremely biased view of the subjects he was covering. The classes seemed to be little more than a proliferation of the popular misconceptions about the middle ages invented by 14th century renaissance humanists such as Petrarch who sought to contrast their appreciation for classical culture with a supposed ignorance and barbarism in generations today. Most modern historians dismiss these 14th century opinions.
To give an example of this, in the class on the 12th century renaissance, the professor spend most of the class talking about the persecution of heretics than talking about any cultural innovations. He appears ignorant of the fact the first universities (Bologna, Oxford) had already been founded, that there an intense cultural exchange with the Muslim world, that there was an emerging merchant middle class with a high level of literacy, or that during this time the Liberal arts flourished (rather important considering the professor belongs to the college of liberal arts!). These are some of the import developments that historian normally highlight when talking about the 12th century renaissance. The professor skips over these to talk about how heretic were the child molesters of their age. In short, this class is not worth your time.
Great material often overlooked
I loved this professor. The way he used the concept of otherness brought in a bunch of material on sections of the population often overlooked in traditional western civilization courses. Also, within the first few lectures, he used Star Wars, Star Trek, and the Matrix to make analogies - my kind of teacher! Some reviewers complained about his speaking style, but I got used to it very quickly and indeed began to appreciate his tangents. This class will give you a lot of (sometimes scary) insights into why westerners think the way we do even today. You'll be thinking about these lectures long after they are finished.