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Power and Communication in Late Medieval and Early Modern Europe (1400-1800)


Module description

Today the overwhelming power of the media is obvious. This course illustrates the ways in which this was true too of Europe in the period between the Reformation and the outbreak of the French Revolution, two of a number of historical movements which were strongly affected by the diffusion of print and other means of communication. We will study both the variety of these media (manuscripts, images, rumours as well as the printed word), and the ways in which the increasing organisation and development of information changed the nature of politics at both government and grassroots level. The focus is comparative, with special attention given to Italy and France, and to a lesser extent to England and Spain. The classes are arranged thematically, from propaganda to censorship, the commercialisation of information, rumours and the emergence of public opinion.