Course Meeting Times

Lectures: 2 sessions / week, 1.5 hours / session

Syllabus Archive

The following syllabi come from a variety of different terms. They illustrate the evolution of this course over time, and are intended to provide alternate views into the instruction of this course.

Fall 2008, Jeffrey Ravel (PDF)

Spring 2007, Jeffrey Ravel (PDF)

Fall 2004, Jeffrey Ravel (PDF)

Fall 2000, Jeffrey Ravel (PDF)

Subject Description

The "Renaissance" as a phenomenon in European history is best understood as a series of social, political, and cultural responses to an intellectual trend which began in Italy in the fourteenth century. This intellectual tendency, known as humanism, or the studia humanitatis, was at the heart of developments in literature, the arts, the sciences, religion, and government for almost three hundred years. In this class, we will highlight the history of humanism, but we will also study religious reformations, high politics, the agrarian world, and European conquest and expansion abroad in the period.

Subject Requirements

Attendance and class participation is mandatory. There will be a cumulative final exam at the end of the semester. In addition, students will take a map quiz, write six two-page papers, and one eight to ten-page paper due in session 25. I will hand out instructions for these assignments later in the term. Each assignment will be weighted as follows in the calculation of the final grade, although these calculations will also take into account improved performance during the course of the semester:

Class Participation 30 points
Two-Page Papers (six papers total) 10 points each
Map Quiz 10 points
Long Paper 40 points
Final Exam 60 points
Total 200 points

Statement on Cheating and Plagiarism

The web now hosts many sites which offer college-level papers of varying quality on a variety of topics. I am well acquainted with these sites, and with others that offer detection services to professors. Buying a paper and submitting it as your own work is cheating. Copying sections from someone else's print or online work into your own without an acknowledgement is plagiarism. MIT has strict policies against both activities that I will enforce. For the appropriate MIT definitions and policies, visit the following Web sites. If you are uncertain about what constitutes cheating or plagiarism, please contact me before submitting the work in question.