Originated as HIST-UA 265
Conducted in English
Taught by Daniel Juette
This course explores the history of Northern Europe between 1400 and 1700. These three centuries were marked by massive transformations on a religious, political, and intellectual-artistic level. At the same time (and as a result of these transformations), the period saw wars and bloodshed on an unprecedented scale.
The geographic focus of this course lies on the Holy Roman Empire (i.e. the German lands and the Low Countries), France, and England. Within this framework we will explore three major thematic areas.
First, the “Northern Renaissance”: this includes the flourishing of the arts and crafts in the prosperous commercial cities of Northern Europe; the formation of Humanism as an influential intellectual movement; and the technological revolution brought about by the discovery of printing with movable type.
The second major topic is the Protestant Reformation. How did the reformers’ grievances reflect the state of the Catholic Church at the time? And to what extent did late-medieval theology inform Protestant thought? We will closely explore Martin Luther’s key role in the Reformation as well as the diversification of Protestant thought in the course of the sixteenth century (Zwingli, Calvin, etc.).
The third thematic section hones in on the religious conflicts that raged across Europe in the aftermath of the Reformation, including the devastating Wars of Religions but also the new geopolitical developments brought about by more than a century of warfare: for instance, the rise of the Dutch Republic, the ascent of Brandenburg-Prussia, and the new political order enshrined in the Peace of Westphalia.