Lambert, Erin

Distinguished Majors Program-Special Colloquium

HIST
4890
Undergraduate
Fall
2017

This course is open only to third-year students who have been admitted to the Distinguished Majors Program in History (see http://history.virginia.edu/undergraduate/dmp). Through intensive reading, writing, and discussion, students will become familiar with the theoretical and methodological approaches that historians use to study the past. They will also develop their analytical and writing skills. Reading is typically one book per week, with a two-page response to readings due before class. To begin the process of developing an original research project, each student will also write a historiographic essay and prepare a draft of a proposal for research funding.

Course Instructor: 
Maximum Enrollment: 
15
Course Type: 

Reformation Europe

HIEU
3231
Undergraduate
Fall
2017

This course explores the history of Christianity in Europe from c. 1450 to c. 1650.  At the beginning of this period, the overwhelming majority of Europeans were bound together by a commonly-held Christian culture.  In the sixteenth century, these bonds were shattered as Europeans debated what “Christianity” meant.  In order to defend their answers, children disowned their parents, princes waged wars, and martyrs faced violent deaths.  By the seventeenth century, Europeans lived in a world divided by religion.  How did these divisions take shape?  And how did they shape the lives of early modern European individuals, families, and communities?  Throughout the semester, we will explore these questions through a combination of lectures and discussions. Most importantly, we will read primary sources from the sixteenth century.  Central themes include the formation of divergent Lutheran, Reformed, Anabaptist, and Catholic communities; persecution and toleration; the effects of religious reform on art and culture; and the interplay between Reformations in Europe and the exploration of the wider world. For 2017, recognize as the 500th anniversary of the Reformation, we will also explore its legacy in the modern world.

Course Instructor: 
Maximum Enrollment: 
30
Course Type: 

Seminar in Pre-1700 European History

Utopias
HIEU
4501
Undergraduate
Spring
2017

As the popularity of The Hunger Games and The Walking Dead suggests, contemporary American readers and viewers are fascinated by the imagination of other worlds. While these recent bestsellers feature dystopian narratives of worlds falling apart, readers five centuries ago were similarly captivated by the idea of utopia, a non-existent perfect world. In this seminar, we will explore the worlds they imagined—worlds that, while unreal, reflected and often critiqued the society in which readers and writers actually lived. We begin by reading Thomas More’s Utopia (1516), the text that introduced the utopian ideal to early modern European readers. In the wake of the initial European voyages to the New World, More’s rendering of a perfect island society that was yet to be discovered captured the imaginations of his readers and provided a model for other writers’ own utopian imaginings. Against the background of More’s text, we will discuss other early modern examples of utopian literature, and through them, we will consider how these texts reflected questions and problems in society at the time.

 

Throughout the semester, we will focus on developing the skills of the historian, especially the analysis of primary sources. Students will have a choice of two options for the final project, in which these skills will be put into practice: a traditional research paper based on primary sources, or a critical edition of a fictional utopian narrative that reflects or critiques a real aspect of early modern society.

Course Instructor: 
Maximum Enrollment: 
12
Course Type: 

Supernatural Europe, 1500-1800

HIEU
2721
Undergraduate
Spring
2017

Today, witchcraft and vampires are the stuff of hit movies and bestselling novels.  Five centuries ago, however, few Europeans questioned that magic was real.  This course reconstructs that enchanted world.  Throughout the semester, we will explore the reasons why early modern Europeans believed in the forces of witches, demons, comets, and more, and what caused these beliefs to change and ultimately recede over time. For example, how did beliefs about demonic activity frame the interpretation of natural disasters? What do rituals surrounding birth and death reveal about the daily lives of ordinary people? And why did Europeans begin to hunt witches in this period, and why did they stop? As we pursue these questions, we will also gain a broader understanding of European society, culture, religion, and science between 1500 and 1800. In order to understand the reasons behind the witch-hunt, for example, we will examine their judicial systems and their views on women. At the same time, this course introduces students to the skills through which historians analyze sources and draw conclusions about the past. In assignments and class discussions based on primary sources, such as first-hand accounts of possession and the records generated by witchcraft trials, we will learn how to practice those skills ourselves. Written work will include short papers (in response to assigned prompts) and two exams (midterm and final). 

Course Instructor: 
Maximum Enrollment: 
60
Course Type: 
Discussion Sections: 
3

Reformation Europe

HIEU
3231
Undergraduate
Fall
2016

This course explores the history of Christianity in Europe from c.1450 to c.1560.  At the beginning of this period, the overwhelming majority of Europeans were bound together by a commonly-held Christian culture.  In the sixteenth century, these bonds were shattered as Europeans debated what "Christianity" meant.  In order to defend their answers, children disowned their parents, princes waged wars, and martyrs faced violent deaths.  By the seventeenth century, Europeans lived in a world divided by religion.  How did these divisions take shape?  And how did they shape the lives of early modern European individuals, families, and communities?  Throughout the semester, we will explore these questions through a combination of lectures and discussions.  Most importantly, we will read primary sources from the sixteenth-century.  Central themes include the formation of divergent Lutheran, Reformed, Anabaptist, and Catholic communities; persecution and toleration; the effects on religious reform on art and culture; and the interplay between Reformations in Europe and the exploration of the wider world.

Course Instructor: 

Introductory Seminar in Pre-1700 European History

Food in the Early Modern World
HIEU
1501
Undergraduate
Fall
2016

From Thanksgiving turkeys to birthday cakes, food reveals much about our culture, heritage, and social ties.  Through the lens of food, this course explores the culture and society of early modern Europe (c. 1450-1800) as it entered a wider world.  In this period, Europeans encountered tomatoes, potatoes, and coffee for the first time.  They also lived in a world in which some ate bread made of sawdust because there was not enough food to go around.  A food as ordinary as bread was also bound up with divisive questions about religion, while the demand for sugar drove the formation of the colonies and the trade in slaves.  How does food help us understand the transformation of European society and culture in this period?  Throughout the semester, we will explore this question from the perspective of peasants and explorers, through fairy tales and medical texts, and in images of cannibalism and everyday life.  This course also provides an introduction to a few of the many ways in which historians think about the past as we explore the social, cultural, economic, and religious histories of food.  We will also focus closely on writing skills through a series of response papers and a final essay.

Course Instructor: 

The Body in Early Modern Europe

HIEU
4501
Undergraduate
Spring
2016
From saints’ relics to public executions to stories of cannibalism in the Americas, the body was constantly the subject of debate and display in early modern Europe.  In this seminar, we shall follow changing understandings of the human body in Europe from the fourteenth to the seventeenth centuries.  Historians of science, religion, gender, and culture have demonstrated that we can learn much about the past by exploring the ways in which views of the human body differed over time and from one culture to another.  Debates about whether women were defective men, for example, help us to understand some of early modern Europeans’ most basic assumptions about social order, and their horror at the prospect of dissection speaks to their deepest fears.  Throughout the semester, we explore several approaches to the historical study of the body. First, we will ask how medical practitioners understood the body, and how the conception of a body governed by four humors gave way to new theories of its structure and function.  Second, we shall also explore the significance of the body to religious culture, focusing in particular on relics, the Eucharist, and mysticism. Third, we ask how Europeans’ understanding of the body shaped their views on differences, including gender, race, and disability.  We will also pay attention to how those concepts were transformed as Europeans entered a wider world.   
 
Weekly discussions draw upon readings in primary sources and scholarly literature, as well as the analysis of images.  Throughout the semester, we will focus on developing the skills of the historian, especially the analysis of primary sources and the evaluation of scholarly arguments.  Each student will apply these skills in a major research paper based on primary sources, developed through a series of preparatory assignments over the course of the semester. Topics will be devised in consultation with the instructor and reflect each student’s interests.
Course Instructor: 

Supernatural Europe, 1500-1800

Witches, Werewolves, and the Walking Dead
HIEU
2721
Undergraduate
Spring
2016
Today, witchcraft and vampires are the stuff of hit movies and bestselling novels.  Five centuries ago, however, few Europeans questioned that magic was real.  This course reconstructs that enchanted world.  Throughout the semester, we will ask why early modern Europeans believed in the supernatural, and what caused these beliefs to change and ultimately recede over time.  For example, how did religious beliefs about demonic activity frame the occurrence of natural disasters?  What do spells and shape-shifting reveal about Europeans’ conceptions of the universe?  Each lecture will explore the ideas that undergirded a particular manifestation of the supernatural.  As we ask why Europeans hunted witches, for example, we will also examine their judicial systems and their views on women.  Through ghost stories, we will explore the ways in which people understood the relationship between the living and the dead.  Broadly, this course thus explores transformations in European society, religion, and ideas between 1500 and 1800. 
 
Most of our course readings will be primary sources: firsthand accounts of demonic possession, or the records of witchcraft trials, for example.  These will be the basis for discussion sections each week.  Written work will include short papers (in response to assigned prompts) and two exams (midterm and final). 
Course Instructor: 

Tutorial in the History of Reformation Europe

HIEU
9029
Graduate
Fall
2015

This tutorial explores the history and historiography of Christianity in Europe c. 1450-1650.  At the beginning of this period, the overwhelming majority of Europeans were bound together by a commonly-held Christian culture. In the sixteenth century, these bonds were shattered as Europeans debated what “Christianity” meant. By the seventeenth century, Europeans lived in a world divided by religion, and Christianity played a central role in Europeans’ interactions with others around the globe.  This tutorial surveys these transformations, incorporating recent work on subjects such as persecution and toleration, popular culture, and global missions.  It also provides an introduction to trends in the historiography of the Reformation, including the confessionalization thesis and recent calls for a post-confessional history.

Core Reading List:

 

  • Philip Benedict, Christ’s Churches Purely Reformed: A Social History of Calvinism (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2002).
  • Robert Bireley, The Refashioning of Catholicism, 1450-1700 (Washington, D.C.: Catholic University of America Press, 1999).
  • Peter Blickle, Communal Reformation: The Quest for Salvation in Sixteenth-Century Germany, translated by Thomas Dunlap (Atlantic Highlands, NJ: Humanities Press, 1992).
  • William J. Bouwsma, John Calvin: A Sixteenth-Century Portrait (New York: Oxford University Press, 1988).
  • Caroline Walker Bynum, Wonderful Blood: Theology and Practice in Late Medieval Northern Germany and Beyond (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2007).
  • Barbara B. Diefendorf, Beneath the Cross: Catholics and Huguenots in Sixteenth-Century Paris (New York: Oxford University Press, 1991).
  • C. Scott Dixon, ed., The German Reformation: The Essential Readings (Oxford: Blackwell, 1999).
  • Alastair Duke, Reformation and Revolt in the Low Countries (London: Hambledon and London, 2003).
  • Brad S. Gregory, Salvation at Stake: Christian Martyrdom in Early Modern Europe (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1999).
  • Benjamin J. Kaplan, Divided by Faith: Religious Conflict and the Practice of Toleration in Early Modern Europe (Cambridge, MA: Belknap Press, 2007).
  • David M. Luebke, ed., The Counter-Reformation: The Essential Readings (Oxford: Blackwell, 1999).
  • Diarmaid MacCulloch, The Reformation (New York: Penguin, 2005).
  • Heiko A. Oberman, Luther: Man between God and the Devil. Trans. Eileen Alliser-Schwarzbart (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1989).
  • John W. O’Malley, Trent and All That: Renaming Catholicism in the Early Modern Era (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2005).
  • R.W. Scribner, For the Sake of Simple Folk: Popular Propaganda for the German Reformation (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1981).
  • Ethan H. Shagan, “Can Historians End the Reformation?” Archiv für Reformationsgeschichte 97 (2006): 298-306.
  • Lee Palmer Wandel, The Eucharist in the Reformation (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2006).
  • George Huston Williams, The Radical Reformation (Philadelphia: Westminster Press, 1962).
Course Instructor: 

Tutorial in the History of Early Modern Europe

HIEU
9030
Graduate
Fall
2015

This tutorial explores the history and historiography of Europe, c. 1450-1750. It provides a broad introduction to early modern society and culture, with particular emphasis on the transformations that reshaped Europe in this period, such as the emergence of the early modern state, the division of Christendom, and global exploration. Readings will be assigned in accordance with students’ prior preparation in the field and directed to their particular research and teaching interests.

Course Instructor: 

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Corcoran Department of History
University of Virginia
Nau Hall - South Lawn
Charlottesville, VA 22904

  

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