Connections 20083. The Meaning of Space in the Early Modern World
Human actions have usually been analyzed in terms of individual will balancing against the wills of other actors surrounding these individuals. That these actions and activities took place in the environmental and ecological framework of distinct “spaces” needs further consideration and exploration. Both ARTH 243 “Early Modern Spaces” and HIST 351 “War and Peace in the Mediterranean World” explore the theme of space as intellectual, political, diplomatic, and economic sites of activity and exchanges. By understanding the historical weight that spaces held, by examining how human interactions were shaped by and in turn determined these spaces, and by exploring their subsequent visualizations, students are able to discuss the early modern world, in particular the variegated communities in premodern Europe and the Mediterranean, in an informed fashion.
The courses complement each other not only methodologically, but geographically as well since HIST 351 focuses on Spain and the Ottoman Empire, while ARTH 243 looks mostly at France and the Italian peninsula. By taking the two courses, students will gain a breadth of knowledge of spaces as cohesive zones of human interaction, as expressions of empires that encompassed a variety of territories and peoples, as local communities in which ordinary people engaged and competed, as determinants of urban and rural communities, and as central axes for the development of intellectual discourses.