Renaissance Studies is an interdisciplinary undergraduate major that
offers students an opportunity to study one of the most exciting periods
of Western European history, that time when the structures of art, literature,
music, religion, and political life underwent profound change.
The boundaries of the Renaissance are difficult to fix, and modern
scholarship hesitates to construct a sharp boundary from the late-medieval
world, but from some time in the late fifteenth-century to the mid-seventeenth
century Europe saw mind-altering changes in the ways people understood
their world. The names associated with the Renaissance alone proclaim
the significance of the period: Shakespeare, Cervantes, Ariosto, Machiavelli,
Montaigne; Michelangelo, Raphael, Durer, Bruegel, Caravaggio; Luther,
Erasmus, Loyola; the Medici, Francis I, Elizabeth I; Columbus, Magellan,
Drake. It was also the age of discovery, and the European encounter
with the "New World" would change decisively, for better or
worse, the face of four continents.
Students can do course work in the appropriate courses in English,
the European literatures, history, art history, and music. They can
construct a major that emphasizes some particular field of endeavor
(for example, literature, art, history, music) or they can choose an
eclectic mix of courses in the period. Renaissance Studies can also
be paired with a departmental major to create a double major that combines
intense study of the period with a more traditional focus; eight units
may count toward credit in both majors.
With the assistance of members of the advisory committee and in consultation
with the chair of the program, students will set up individual programs
of study from the beginning of their junior year. Students are also
encouraged to consider spending a year of their undergraduate study
in a European university through the Education Abroad Program.