Effective: Late Fall 8-Week, 2019/2020

HIST 332: The European Renaissance

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  Course Description

During the age of the Renaissance, scholars, artists, ecclesiastics, princes and courtiers consciously turned from medieval tradition and cultivated a renewal of classical Greek and Roman cultures. This course explores the cultural, intellectual, religious, political and eco¬nomic lives of the men and women of Renaissance Europe from its inception in mid-fourteenth-century Italy to its culmination in Early-Modern Northern Europe.

Prerequisite: HIST 101 or 111. Occasional offering.

Proctored Exams: Final


As part of TruitionSM, students will receive their course materials automatically as described below.


  •  Nauert, Charles G. (2006). Humanism and the Culture of Renaissance Europe (2nd ed). Cambridge University Press.  eText
  •  Zophy, Jonathan W. (2009). A Short History of Renaissance and Reformation Europe (4th ed). Pearson.  Physical Book


  •  Rampolla, Mary Lynn. (2017). A Pocket Guide to Writing in History (9th ed). Boston, MA: Bedford/St. Martin's.  eText

Bookstore Information

Visit https://www.ccis.edu/bookstore.aspx for details.

eText Information

If a course uses an eText, (see Textbook information above) the book will be available directly in Desire2Learn (D2L) and through the VitalSource eText reader the Friday before the session begins, if registered for courses prior to that date.  Students will have a VitalSource account created for them using their CougarMail email address. Upon first login to VitalSource, students may need to verify their account and update their VitalSource password.  More information about how to use the VitalSource platform, including offline access to eTexts, can be found in D2L.  Students that would like to order an optional print-on-demand copy of eligible eTexts can do so through the VitalSource bookshelf at an additional cost.  Once orders are placed, it can take approximately five to seven business days for students to receive their print-on-demand books.

Physical Course Materials Information

Students enrolled in courses that require physical materials will receive these materials automatically at the address on file with Columbia College.  Delivery date of physical materials is dependent on registration date and shipping location.  Please refer to confirmation emails sent from Ed Map for more details on shipping status.

Note: Students who opt-out of having their books provided as part of TruitionSM are responsible for purchasing their own course materials.

  Course Overview

“The European Renaissance” covers the cultural revival in Europe from approximately 1350 to 1650. The course will examine the events leading up to the rebirth of classical culture and will trace developments during this period in politics and economics; popular and court culture; the arts and humanities; intellectual life; religion; and technology and exploration. The class will also include an examination of the historiography of the “Renaissance” concept as it applies to this period in European history.

  Technology Requirements

Participation in this course will require the basic technology for all online classes at Columbia College:
  • A computer with reliable Internet access
  • A web browser
  • Acrobat Reader
  • Microsoft Office or another word processor such as Open Office

You can find more details about standard technical requirements for our courses on our site.

  Course Objectives

  • The challenges that the people of fourteenth century Italy faced and the methods they developed to overcome these challenges.
  • The intellectual, artistic, and literary contributions of men and women living during the Renaissance
  • The place of Renaissance economic and political ideologies in the development of Western civilization
  • Major trends in the historical evaluation of the Renaissance.

  Measurable Learning Outcomes

  • Describe the major trends in historical scholarship on the Renaissance.
  • Trace the geographical progression of the Renaissance from Italy northward and identify the main characteristics of the Renaissance in different parts of Europe.
  • Identify the political systems used during the Renaissance era and explain their central features.
  • Identify the major contributions of Renaissance artists and their patrons, including the styles of art and architecture that developed during this period.
  • Discuss the intellectual contributions of Renaissance thinkers, notably the philosophical and literary trends.
  • Discuss daily life in the cities, courts, and villages of Europe during the Renaissance.
  • Identify the major artistic, political, intellectual, and literary figures of the Renaissance and describe their contributions to the development of Western culture.
  • Summarize the differences between medieval and Renaissance culture and identify the major contributions of the Renaissance period to the subsequent history of the West.


Grading Scale

Grade Points Percent
A 900-1000 90-100%
B 800-899 80-89%
C 700-799 70-79%
D 600-699 60-69%
F 0-599 0-59%

Grade Weights

Assignment Category Points Percent
Discussions (8) 200 20%
Scholarship Paper 300 30%
Quizzes (3) 300 30%
Final Exam (1) 200 20%
Total 1000 100%

  Schedule of Due Dates

Week 1

Assignment Points Due
Discussion 1 20 Thursday/Sunday
Introduction 5 Sunday
Plagiarism Tutorial and Quiz 0

Week 2

Assignment Points Due
Discussion 2 25 Thursday/Sunday
Quiz 1 & Introductory Quiz 100 Sunday
Scholarship Paper Topic 25
Proctor Information N/A

Week 3

Assignment Points Due
Discussion 3 25 Thursday/Sunday
Scholarship Paper Bibliography 25 Sunday

Week 4

Assignment Points Due
Discussion 4 25 Thursday/Sunday
Quiz 2 100 Sunday

Week 5

Assignment Points Due
Discussion 5 25 Thursday/Sunday
Scholarship Paper Outline 25 Sunday

Week 6

Assignment Points Due
Discussion 6 25 Thursday/Sunday
Quiz 3 100 Sunday
Scholarship Paper First Draft 25

Week 7

Assignment Points Due
Discussion 7 25 Thursday/Sunday
Scholarship Paper 200 Sunday

Week 8

Assignment Points Due
Discussion 8 25 Thursday/Saturday
Final Exam 200 Saturday
Total Points: 1000

  Assignment Overview

Work submitted in another course or from previously taking this course is not acceptable and will be treated as plagiarism. Students should plan to review the plagiarism tutorial and submit the plagiarism quiz during the first week of class. Both of these tools are found in the D2L class environment.

The minimum penalty for plagiarism is a score of zero on the plagiarized assignment. This includes (but is not limited to) essays, discussion postings, and quizzes.


Weekly discussion posts are objective academic exercises. Your postings should be original, relevant observations of the assigned topic(s). You are expected to read your classmates’ postings and respond to them. Simply rephrasing the textbook or another student’s post is not acceptable. All responses should be original and relevant to the assigned topic. While discussion postings are informal, they should be intelligible and effectively communicate your idea(s). Please pay attention to use of capitalization and avoid misspellings, incomplete sentences, and other violations of grammatical rules.

To be eligible to receive full credit on your discussion postings, you should plan on posting to the discussion a minimum of three times on three different days. You need to plan on following the progress of the discussion threads each week so that you can participate in ongoing discussions. One post must be submitted by 11:59 p.m. CST Thursday. The rest of the postings are due on Sunday night as described in the due dates table. Discussion questions are structured around the primary source readings for each week, but you will be expected to incorporate information from the assigned secondary sources into your answers.

Scholarship Paper

The Scholarship Paper requires you to 1) critically analyze primary resources and 2) research related secondary sources. The Scholarship Paper provides you with the opportunity to develop research and writing skills as well as synthesize knowledge about an important subject of your choice. You may choose any subject dealing with the Renaissance in Europe. You will be required to submit a preliminary thesis statement by the end of Week 2, a bibliography by Week 3, an outline, which includes your thesis statement, by the end of Week 5, and a first draft by the end of Week 6. Your Scholarship Paper is due by the end of Week 7. Submit all assignments related to the Scholarship Paper via the D2L Dropbox. The final draft of the paper must be between 2000 and 2500 words (about 8-10 pages; double spaced, in 12 point font). Papers that are shorter than 2000 or longer than 2500 words will have points deducted from the paper grade, as outlined in the grading rubric. You are encouraged to ask questions or discuss your paper topic in the “Scholarship paper” discussion forum.

Work submitted in another course or from previously taking this course is not acceptable and will be treated as plagiarism. Students should plan to take the plagiarism tutorial and quiz in the D2L course environment during the first week of class.


You will take three, 100-point quizzes. These quizzes are timed; quizzes submitted past the time limit will incur a 20% late penalty. They will consist of multiple choice and short answer questions in reference to the reading material for the previous two weeks. Study guides for the quizzes will be available in the Content area. You will access each quiz from the Quizzes area from Monday until 11:59 p.m. CST Sunday of the week it is assigned. You are encouraged to ask questions or discuss the quizzes in the “Quizzes” discussion forum.

Final Exam

The comprehensive, computerized exam will consist of short answer/definition style questions as well as several essay questions. It will be taken in the D2L quizzes module. NOTE: You will be supervised by a proctor. You will have two hours to take the exam, and you will not be allowed to use books, notes, flash drives, or any outside websites. See the Course Policies section of the syllabus for more information about obtaining an acceptable proctor. You are encouraged to ask questions or discuss the final exam in the “Final Exam” discussion forum.

  Course Outline

Click on each week to view details about the activities scheduled for that week.

• Zophy, Chapter 1
• Nauert, Introduction
• Jakob Burckhardt, “The Development of the Individual.” In The Civilization of the Renaissance in Italy, 100-127. Westminster, MD: Modern Library, 2000.
• Mommsen, Theodore E. “Petrarch’s Conception of the Dark Ages.” Speculum Vol. 17, No. 2 (April 1942), 226-242.
• Petrarch’s “Ascent of Mount Ventoux” (1350)
• Additional recommended reading: Ronald G. Witt. “Conclusion.” In In the Footsteps of the Ancients: The Origins of Humanism from Lovato to Bruni. Leiden: Brill Academic Publishers, 2000.
Discussion 1
Do Petrarch’s reflections on his climb up the mountain justify Burckhardt’s claim that the Renaissance represents the “development of the individual”? Does the document justify Mommsen's argument that Petrarch saw himself living at the brink of a new age? Explain your answers.

Please post at least once by 11:59 p.m. Thursday. The rest of the postings are due by 11:59 p.m. CST Sunday.
Please introduce yourself to your fellow students in the “Introduction” topic found in the Discussions area. In your post, please include the following: 1) your name, 2) your major, and 3) what you hope to learn in this class. Please post your introduction by 11:59 p.m. CST Sunday.
Plagiarism Tutorial and Quiz
Please complete the plagiarism tutorial and quiz.
• Zophy, Chapter 2, 3, 4
• Kirshner, Julius. “Family and Marriage: A Socio-Legal Perspective.” In Italy in the Age of the Renaissance: 1300-1550, edited by John M. Najemy, 82-102. Oxford GBR: Oxford University Press, 2004.
• Boccacio’s Decameron (1359) “Introduction”
• Goeffrey Chaucer, The Canterbury Tales, “Prologue” (1400)
Discussion 2
In the assigned excerpts from the work of Chaucer and Boccacio, the authors describe people and events of 14th century Europe. What sorts of social and institutional problems do these excerpts describe? Discuss the use of satire in both works. Is satire an effective tool for conveying a sense of desperation in the lives of people living in the 14th century?
Quiz 1 & Introductory Quiz
The quiz grade for this week includes two quizzes: Quiz 1 and the Introductory Quiz. Quiz 1 will cover material from the Week 1 & 2 readings. The Introductory Quiz will cover material found in the course syllabus and D2L course environment. You are allowed only one attempt and 90 minutes for Quiz 1; however, you may take the Introductory Quiz as many times as you need to earn all points. Both quizzes are accessible via the Quizzes module and are due by 11:59 p.m. Sunday.
Scholarship Paper Topic
Submit your topic for the Scholarship Paper via the correct Dropbox folder by 11:59 p.m. Sunday. See the grading rubric for guidelines.
Proctor Information
Submit your proctor form to the appropriate Dropbox folder by the end of the week. Remember to “Save” the form before placing it in Dropbox. See the Content area for more information.
• Zophy, Chapter 5, to page 80
• Nauert, Chapter 1, 2
• Lorenzo Valla, “Discourse of the Forgery of the Alleged Donation of Constantine” (1440). Read especially pp. 21-29 and 75-111.
Discussion 3
How does Valla’s work on the “Donation of Constantine” characterize Renaissance Humanism? How does Valla’s Humanism differ from that of Petrarch, Salutati, and Bruni? What is common to the work of these men that makes them all Humanists?
Scholarship Paper Bibliography
Submit the bibliography for your Scholarship Paper via the correct dropbox folder by 11:59 p.m. Sunday. See the grading rubric for guidelines.
• Nauert, Chapter 3, to p. 80
• Zophy, Chapter 4, pages 56-57 (on Savonarola); Chapter 5, pages 80-81 (on Machiavelli)
• Giovanni Pico della Mirandola, “Oration on the Dignity of Man” (1486)
• Niccolo Machiavelli. The Prince, Chapters 15-19. (1513)
Discussion 4
Based on the primary source readings for this week, how do Machiavelli and Pico della Mirandola characterize human nature? How are their views similar? How are they different? Do these works represent the concerns and ideas shared by the majority of people living during the Renaissance period?
Quiz 2
Quiz 2 will cover material from the Week 3 & 4 readings. You are allowed only one attempt and 90 minutes. The quiz is accessible via the Quizzes area. Please complete the quiz by 11:59 p.m. Sunday.
• Zophy, Chapter 6, 7
• Nauert, Chapter 3, page 80 to end of chapter
• View and analyze selected images from the Web Gallery of Art. These selected images are copied into the content module of class.
Discussion 5
Compare and contrast the paintings, sculptures, and buildings that are categorized in the content area as “medieval” with the items in the “Renaissance” category. Identify some specific features of Renaissance style in particular examples. Which of the style or which particular image would you be most interested in displaying in your home? Why?
Scholarship Paper Outline
Submit the outline for your Scholarship Paper via the correct Dropbox folder by 11:59 p.m. Sunday. See the grading rubric for guidelines.
• Zophy, Chapter 8; Chapter 9, pages 152-163
• Nauert, Chapter 4, 5
• Sir Thomas More. Utopia. (1516) This book is also free on Kindle.
Discussion 6
Based on the vision that More created in Utopia what does he think is wrong with the political and social customs of Europe?
Quiz 3
Quiz 3 will cover material from the Week 5 & 6 readings. You are allowed only one attempt and 90 minutes. The quiz is accessible via the Quizzes area. Please complete the quiz by 11:59 p.m. Sunday.
Scholarship Paper First Draft
Submit the first draft of your Scholarship Paper via the correct Dropbox folder by 11:59 p.m. Sunday. See the grading rubric for guidelines.
Course Evaluation
Please evaluate the course. You will have an opportunity to evaluate the course near the end of the session. A link sent to your CougarMail will allow you to access the evaluation. Please note that these evaluations are provided so that I can improve the course, find out what students perceive to be its strengths and weaknesses, and in general assess the success of the course. Please do take the time to fill this out.
• Zophy, Chapter 5, pages 81-86; Chapter 9, to page 152
• Nauert, Chapters 6, 7
• Selected sonnets of William Shakespeare (Sonnets 153, 130, 131)
• Francois Rabelais, Gargantua and Pantagruel (1532) excerpts. Read Book (Chapter) I, XXI - XXIII and LII - LVII.
Discussion 7
Gargantua is a fictional king, and Thélème is a utopian vision. What do the description of Gargantua's education and the rules of Thélème tell us about Northern Renaissance attitudes toward education, courtly life, and the Church? In what ways does this fiction mimic or differ from the reality?
In a second posting, choose your favorite of the Shakespearean sonnets that are on the content page this week. Why is it your favorite?
Scholarship Paper
Submit the final version of your Scholarship Paper via the correct Dropbox folder by 11:59 p.m. Sunday. See the grading rubric for guidelines.
• Zophy, Chapter 18, pages 301-312
• Montaigne, “On Cannibals,” (1580) excerpts.
Discussion 8
Discuss Montaigne’s view of the “other” during the age of exploration. How does this view express or diverge from the sentiment of Europeans for their own culture at the end of the 16th century? How does this essay both hearken back to earlier humanism and point toward the future?
Final Exam
The exam may be taken any time during week 8. You will have two hours to complete the exam. No notes or textbooks are allowed at the proctored final exam. For information about the final exam, see the “final exam” discussion thread which will open during week 4. You must complete the computerized Final Exam with a proctor by 11:59 pm Saturday.

  Course Policies

Student Conduct

All Columbia College students, whether enrolled in a land-based or online course, are responsible for behaving in a manner consistent with Columbia College's Student Conduct Code and Acceptable Use Policy. Students violating these policies will be referred to the office of Student Affairs and/or the office of Academic Affairs for possible disciplinary action. The Student Code of Conduct and the Computer Use Policy for students can be found in the Columbia College Student Handbook. The Handbook is available online; you can also obtain a copy by calling the Student Affairs office (Campus Life) at 573-875-7400. The teacher maintains the right to manage a positive learning environment, and all students must adhere to the conventions of online etiquette.

Plagiarism and Academic Integrity

Academic integrity is a cumulative process that begins with the first college learning opportunity. Students are responsible for knowing the Academic Integrity policy and procedures and may not use ignorance of either as an excuse for academic misconduct. Columbia College recognizes that the vast majority of students at Columbia College maintain high ethical academic standards; however, failure to abide by the prohibitions listed herein is considered academic misconduct and may result in disciplinary action, a failing grade on the assignment, and/or a grade of "F" for the course.

Additionally, all required papers may be submitted for textual similarity review to Turnitin.com for the detection of plagiarism. All submitted papers may be included in the Turnitin.com reference database for the purpose of detecting plagiarism. This service is subject to the Terms and Conditions of Use posted on the Turnitin.com site.


There will be no discrimination on the basis of sex, race, color, national origin, sexual orientation, religion, ideology, political affiliation, veteran status, age, physical handicap, or marital status.

Student Accessibility Resources

Columbia College is committed to creating a learning environment that meets the needs of its diverse student body. If you anticipate or experience any barriers to learning, communicate your concerns with the instructor. In addition to speaking with the instructor, the following resources are available to ensure an opportunity to learn in an inclusive environment that values mutual respect.

  • For students with disabilities/conditions who are experiencing barriers to learning or assessment, contact the Student Accessibility Resources office at (573) 875-7626 or sar@ccis.edu to discuss a range of options to removing barriers in the course, including accommodations.
  • For students who are experiencing conflict which is impacting their educational environment, contact the Office of Student Conduct at studentconduct@ccis.edu or (573) 875-7877.
  • For students who have concerns related to discrimination or harassment based on sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, pregnancy or parental status, please contact the Title IX Office at titleixcoordinator@ccis.edu. More information can be found at http://www.ccis.edu/policies/notice-of-non-discrimination-and-equal-opportunity.aspx

Online Participation

You are expected to read the assigned texts and participate in the discussions and other course activities each week. Assignments should be posted by the due dates stated on the grading schedule in your syllabus. If an emergency arises that prevents you from participating in class, please let your instructor know as soon as possible.

Attendance Policy

Attendance for a week will be counted as having submitted any assigned activity for which points are earned. Attendance for the week is based upon the date work is submitted. A class week is defined as the period of time between Monday and Sunday (except for week 8, when the work and the course will end on Saturday at midnight.) The course and system deadlines are based on the Central Time Zone.

Cougar Email

All students are provided a CougarMail account when they enroll in classes at Columbia College. You are responsible for monitoring email from that account for important messages from the College and from your instructor. You may forward your Cougar email account to another account; however, the College cannot be held responsible for breaches in security or service interruptions with other email providers.

Students should use email for private messages to the instructor and other students. The class discussions are for public messages so the class members can each see what others have to say about any given topic and respond.

Late Assignment Policy

An online class requires regular participation and a commitment to your instructor and your classmates to regularly engage in the reading, discussion and writing assignments. Although most of the online communication for this course is asynchronous, you must be able to commit to the schedule of work for the class for the next eight weeks. You must keep up with the schedule of reading and writing to successfully complete the class.

No late discussion posts will be accepted.

I will penalize late work by two letter grades (20%) unless I have granted an extension to an individual before the due date. If you need an extension on an assignment, email me well ahead of time. If you are granted an extension on an assignment, you must remind me of my consent when you turn in the late assignment. The late penalty applies to all assignments submitted to the dropbox past the due date (i.e. to the “late submissions” dropbox) and to quizzes submitted past the time limit. No late discussion postings or final exams will be accepted.

Student scholarship and exams will be kept on file for one session following the completion of this course.

Course Evaluation

You will have an opportunity to evaluate the course near the end of the session. A link will be sent to your CougarMail that will allow you to access the evaluation. Be assured that the evaluations are anonymous and that your instructor will not be able to see them until after final grades are submitted.

Proctor Policy

Students taking courses that require proctored exams must submit their completed proctor request forms to their instructors by the end of the second week of the session. Proctors located at Columbia College campuses are automatically approved. The use of ProctorU services is also automatically approved; there is no cost for the use of ProctorU. Students are required to schedule their exams with ProctorU ahead of time. In the event that students no-show to their scheduled exam period or do not reschedule within 24 hours of the scheduled exam period, a fine will be placed on their student accounts.

The instructor of each course will consider any other choice of proctor for approval or denial. Additional proctor choices the instructor will consider include: public librarians, high school or college instructors, high school or college counseling services, commanding officers, education service officers, and other proctoring services. Personal friends, family members, athletic coaches and direct supervisors are not acceptable.

  Additional Resources

Orientation for New Students

This course is offered online, using course management software provided by Desire2Learn and Columbia College. The course user guide provides details about taking an online course at Columbia College. You may also want to visit the course demonstration to view a sample course before this one opens.

Technical Support

If you have problems accessing the course or posting your assignments, contact your instructor, the Columbia College Technology Solutions Center, or the D2L Helpdesk for assistance. If you have technical problems with the VitalSource eText reader, please contact VitalSource. Contact information is also available within the online course environment.

Online Tutoring

Smarthinking is a free online tutoring service available to all Columbia College students. Smarthinking provides real-time online tutoring and homework help for Math, English, and Writing. Smarthinking also provides access to live tutorials in writing and math, as well as a full range of study resources, including writing manuals, sample problems, and study skills manuals. You can access the service from wherever you have a connection to the Internet. I encourage you to take advantage of this free service provided by the college.

Access Smarthinking through CougarTrack under Students -> Academics -> Academic Resources.