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Medieval and Renaissance Studies

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Medieval and Renaissance Studies

The Middle Ages witnessed the continent-wide expansion of the Church; the development of fundamental currents in philosophy and theology like scholasticism and nominalism; the establishment of Europe’s first universities; the growth of the continent’s major cities and cultural centers; the flourishing of art and architecture that would be an inspiration for future ages; and increasingly complex cultural and economic interactions with Africa, the Middle East and Asia. Emerging out of the later Middle Ages, but also marking a break with that epoch, the period now commonly referred to as the Early Modern saw the invention of the printing press and the growth of lay literacy; the development of Humanism and the beginnings of modern scientific and philosophical inquiry; religious and ideological upheaval; the creation of the first modern nation-states; Europeans’ encounters with previously unknown civilizations across the Atlantic; as well as the establishment of deep and complex links with the peoples of the Americas, Africa and Asia in what would be the first truly global economy. The complexity of this long stretch of history, remarkable for its accomplishments but also characterized by violence and intolerance, cannot be adequately accounted for by a single discipline.

A minor in Medieval and Renaissance Studies provides students with a solid grounding in the historical context for many of the major cultural and intellectual developments that contributed to the foundations of our modern global society.