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The Early Modern World - culture and mentalities from the Renaissance to the Enlightenment

The period from the Renaissance to the Enlightenment laid the foundations of modern Europe. During these centuries, Europeans invented printing, discovered the New World, developed modern science and philosophy, and produced an impressive body of art and literature. At the same time, this was an age marked by religious division and conflict, extensive warfare, witch crazes and popular rebellions, a belief in magic and the occult, and, for most of Europe’s population, the ever-present threats of poverty, disease and high mortality.

The Early Modern World - Culture and Mentalities from the Renaissance to the Enlightenment short course seeks to understand Europe in the period 1500-1800 by focusing on culture and mentalities. How did people think, feel, work and love? What were their pleasures, anxieties, hopes and fears? How did they understand their world and themselves? Using a wide range of primary and secondary sources, including images, and considering the culture and mentalities of both elite and popular society, we will discuss how people made sense of and tried to shape their world. In addition, the course will explore the extent to which the period was one of change or of continuity, and we will consider how an understanding of early modern Europe can inform our understanding of the world we live in today.

By the end of the course, you will be able to: evaluate the society and culture of early modern Europe; discuss and interpret primary texts and images as evidence of early modern culture and mentalities; engage with and apply the approaches and practices of social and cultural history, and the history of ideas; communicate and present historical understanding with confidence; and evaluate the significance of early modern European society, culture and mentalities to an understanding of our own world.

15 credits at level 4

  • Entry requirements

    Entry requirements

    Most of our short courses have no formal entry requirements and are open to all students. You may have to fulfil specific prerequisites for some intermediate-level or advanced-level courses, but these will be specified where relevant.

    Visa requirements

    If you are not from the European Economic Area (EEA) and/or Switzerland and you are coming to study in the UK, you may need to apply for a visa.

    The visa you apply for varies according to the length of your course:

    • Courses of more than six months' duration.
    • Courses of less than six months' duration.
    • Pre-sessional English language courses.

    International students who require a Tier 4 visa should apply for our full-time courses (with the exception of modular enrolment certificates of higher education and graduate certificates), as these qualify for Tier 4 sponsorship. If you are living in the UK on a Tier 4 visa, you will not be eligible to enrol as a student on Birkbeck's part-time courses (with the exception of some modules).

    For full information, read our visa information for international students page.

  • How to apply

    How to apply

    You enrol directly onto the classes you would like to take, using the Enrol Now link below. Classes are filled on a first-come, first-served basis - so apply early. If you wish to take more than one short course, you can select each one separately and then enrol onto them together via our online application portal. There is usually no formal selection process, although some modules may have prerequisites and/or other requirements, which will be specified where relevant.

First class: Thu 30-Apr-20 11am-1pm

Class location Central London
Class code SSHC495H4AAA