Global Renaissance

This course situates the culture of the European Renaissance (1400-1750) within a wider global context. It draws on the premise of recent scholarship positing that the influx into Europe of both material commodities and scientific and artistic knowledge of manifold different cultures was as much a key element of the Renaissance as the revival of Greek and Roman antiquity. We will contextualize the European Renaissance within the wider world both to the east and to the west, to see how, during a period of aggressive European exploration, trade and colonial expansion, other parts of the world absorbed or otherwise responded to—as well as acted as a catalyst for—cultural developments in Europe. We will examine interactions between European powers such as Portugal, Spain, Italy, and the Netherlands, and the Eastern empires of Japan and China, the Ottoman, Safavid, and Mughal empires, Africa, and the Americas. Topics will include the Jesuit presence in Mughal India and sixteenth-century Japan, the mutual influences of Mughal and European art, the impact on Europe of Safavid material and scientific culture, the silver and porcelain trade with Asia and New Spain, and British and Portuguese slaving practices. Concentrating on major trading zones and cultural centers, from Venice, Lisbon, Seville, and Antwerp, to Goa and Mexico City and the bazaars of Cairo, Damascus, and Aleppo, the course will explore the transformative impact of trade and conquest upon the art, culture, and consumption of these respective communities. 3 credits. Satisfies the pre-1800 requirement or based on research paper topic, may satisfy the non-Western requirement.