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Master Syllabus

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Administrative Unit: History and Political Science Department
Course Prefix and Number: HIST 332
Course Title: The European Renaissance
Number of:
Credit Hours 3
Lecture Hours 3
Lab Hours 0
Catalog 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 economic 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 HIST 111.


Prerequisite(s) / Corequisite(s):

HIST 101 or HIST 111.

Course Rotation for Day Program:

Occasional offering.

Text(s): Most current editions of the following:

Along with the required and recommended texts provided, each student should select and obtain a monograph from the Sixteenth Century Essays and Studies Series. See

Primary source documents available in print include texts 3-5.

Primary source documents available online include texts 6-9: The Praise of Folly by Desiderius Erasmus; Gargantua and Pantagruel, (excerpts) by Francois Rabelaisl; Essais "On Cannibals" by Michel de Montaigne; Sonnets by William Shakespeare.

Additional monographs or readers may be assigned as appropriate.

The Renaissance in Europe
By King, Margaret L. (McGraw Hill)
Category/Comments - REQUIRED
Humanism and the Culture of Renaissance Europe
By Nauert, Charles G. (Cambridge University Press)
The Renaissance Philosophy of Man
By Cassirer, Ernst et al., eds. (Kessinger Publishing, LLC)
Category/Comments - Primary
The Prince
By Niccolo Machiavelli. George Bull, tr. (Penguin Books)
Category/Comments - Primary
The Courtier
By Castiglione, Baldassare. George Bull, tr. (Penguin Books)
Category/Comments - Primary
The Praise of Folly
By Desiderius Erasmus
Category/Comments - Primary Online
Gargantua and Pantagruel, excerpts
By Francois Rabelais
Category/Comments - Primary Online
By Michel de Montaigne
Category/Comments - Primary Online
By William Shakespeare
Category/Comments - Primary Online
Course Learning Outcomes
  1. Describe the major trends in historical scholarship on the Renaissance.
  2. Trace the geographical progression of the Renaissance from Italy northward and identify the main characteristics of the Renaissance in different parts of Europe.
  3. Identify the political systems used during the Renaissance era and explain their central features.
  4. Identify the major contributions of Renaissance artists and their patrons, including the styles of art and architecture that developed during this period.
  5. Discuss the intellectual contributions of Renaissance thinkers, notably the philosophical and literary trends.
  6. Discuss daily life in the cities, courts and villages of Europe during the Renaissance.
  7. Identify the major aritistic, political, intellectual and literary figures of the Renaissance and describe their contributions to the development of Western culture.
  8. Summarize the differences between medieval and Renaissance culture and identify the major contributions of the Renaissance period to the subsequent history of the West.
Major Topics/Skills to be Covered:

Because the course represents an upper-level history elective, it bears a distinctive responsibility for teaching advanced knowledge within the discipline. It must be distinguished as an advanced course by three structural components: extensive reading, intensive writing, and historiographical thinking. It must require advanced students to complete both in class and out of class projects (i.e., midterms, finals, team reports, quizzes, research papers).  The course reading load should be at least 1000 pp.; the course writing assignments should total c5000 words.  Topics to be covered:

  • The waning of the Middle Ages and the dawn of a new era
  • Politics and economics
  • Popular and court culture
  • Arts and humanities
  • Intellectual life
  • Religion and the church
  • The Age of Discovery
Culminating Experience Statement:

Material from this course may be tested on the History Assessment Test (HAT) administered during the Culminating Experience course for the degree. The results of the tests are used by faculty to improve the general education curriculum at the College.


Recommended maximum class size for this course: 25

Library Resources:

Online databases are available at the Columbia College Stafford Library.  You may access them using your CougarTrack login and password when prompted.

Prepared by: David Karr Date: November 1, 2016
NOTE: The intention of this master course syllabus is to provide an outline of the contents of this course, as specified by the faculty of Columbia College, regardless of who teaches the course, when it is taught, or where it is taught. Faculty members teaching this course for Columbia College are expected to facilitate learning pursuant to the course learning outcomes and cover the subjects listed in the Major Topics/Skills to be Covered section. However, instructors are also encouraged to cover additional topics of interest so long as those topics are relevant to the course's subject. The master syllabus is, therefore, prescriptive in nature but also allows for a diversity of individual approaches to course material.

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