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The Birth of the Modern: Europe and its Others

By Department of History, College of Liberal Arts & Sciences, Arizona State University

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This course looks at how over the course of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries Europeans gave up one set of “others,” that is, social outsiders (witches, Jews and the poor) and during the Enlightenment replaced these with a new set of “others” (women, Africans and Asians). History 300 is a historical methods course, so this subject matter will be discussed with a view toward also giving students some basic introduction to how historians develop and debate historical theses.

Customer Reviews

Great material often overlooked

I loved this professor. The way he used the concept of otherness brought in a bunch of material on sections of the population often overlooked in traditional western civilization courses. Also, within the first few lectures, he used Star Wars, Star Trek, and the Matrix to make analogies - my kind of teacher! Some reviewers complained about his speaking style, but I got used to it very quickly and indeed began to appreciate his tangents. This class will give you a lot of (sometimes scary) insights into why westerners think the way we do even today. You'll be thinking about these lectures long after they are finished.

Very biased, very tangential and mostly irrelevant

I listened to a few classes on the developed of culture in the middle ages and was appalled by this professor’s lack of concrete facts and by his extremely biased view of the subjects he was covering. The classes seemed to be little more than a proliferation of the popular misconceptions about the middle ages invented by 14th century renaissance humanists such as Petrarch who sought to contrast their appreciation for classical culture with a supposed ignorance and barbarism in generations today. Most modern historians dismiss these 14th century opinions.
To give an example of this, in the class on the 12th century renaissance, the professor spend most of the class talking about the persecution of heretics than talking about any cultural innovations. He appears ignorant of the fact the first universities (Bologna, Oxford) had already been founded, that there an intense cultural exchange with the Muslim world, that there was an emerging merchant middle class with a high level of literacy, or that during this time the Liberal arts flourished (rather important considering the professor belongs to the college of liberal arts!). These are some of the import developments that historian normally highlight when talking about the 12th century renaissance. The professor skips over these to talk about how heretic were the child molesters of their age. In short, this class is not worth your time.

Bad recording

Was super dooper excited to do this course but couldn't go through with it... Content seems indeed spectacular but the recording quality is low and with the erratic speaker voice it becomes agony to listen to. Please redo! I acknowledge that the professor might not give the most smooth dulcet tone but perhaps a video would help marry the mumbling to a moving picture to get a better sense.

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