Matthew Sneider

Associate Professor




Liberal Arts 314





Introduces students to historical method and perspective through comparative study of human societies and cultures. The concept of "civilization" is examined in varied contexts through comparisons of social, economic, and political institutions, as well as systems of thought and religion, from pre-history to around 1400.

A requirement for all History majors and minors, this course introduces students to the skills necessary for effective historical study: understanding and analyzing primary and secondary sources; critical thinking; library and research strategies; and historical writing. This course is a prerequisite for all history seminars beginning in 2006-2007, so students should take this course early in their careers.

Traces the history of Europe from the mid-14th century through the mid-16th century with a special focus on Italy, France, and England. The focus is on the slow transformation of Europe's political elites and their self-representation in literature and the visual arts. Also, students study the working classes of the city and countryside, whose labor made possible the cultural achievements of the period, and groups of people, religious minorities, heretics, bandits, and vagabonds, whose relations with 'normal' society were often conflicted.

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