History of Art 290 (section 4): (Visual and Material) Conversion in the Early Modern World

Instructor: Professor Todd Olson

The notion of conversion exerts some pressure on the given terminology of trans-cultural encounters of early modern maritime capitalism and European empires (hybridity, diffusion, transmission, circulation, convergence, etc.). In addition to studying religious conversion and the visual/performative cultures of missionary practices of the 16th-17th centuries, this seminar will propose that conversion describes broader processes involving dominant/subordinate visual and material cultures, indigeneity, the transposition of media technologies, conflicting temporalities, resistances and formal survivals, such as pattern. Scholarly attention to historical instances of religious conversion and resistance (pagan/early Christian, Iberian Jews and Muslims/conversos and Crypto-Judaism, Portuguese/Christian Congolese and Jesuit interventions in Asia and South Asia) may offer models for examining patterns of latency, formal persistence and recurrence. The seminar will primarily take cases from the visual and material cultures of the early colonial Hispanic Americas and trans-oceanic worlds as ballast for discussion; other geographic and temporal research topics concerning media archaeology may be pursued.

French 281: The Politics of Representational Pleasures: Early Modern Court and City Spectacles of Theater, Music and Dance in Comparative Perspective (1600-1800, and in their modern-day receptions and performances)

Instructor: Professor Déborah Blocker

This seminar will comparatively investigate the social and political uses of early modern court and city spectacles of theater, music and dance over a 200-year period (1600-1800), both through the contextualized study of early modern documents and in a number of modern-day and performances of the 8 works listed above. This thoroughly interdisciplinary seminar — originally designed with REMS students in mind, but also more than suitable for RLL students, as well as graduate students in French, Italian Studies, English, German, Music and Performance Studies — will have three main learning goals : 1) initiate students to the contextualized analysis of early modern court and city performances, in their various social, political, institutional and economic contexts ; 2) train participants in the production history and analysis of contemporary performances of early modern spectacles, in the context of the current wave of Baroque revival productions (including through a live production of Shakespeare’s Julius Cesar by Le Théâtre National de Bretagne, to be given at Cal Performances on April 26-28 : http://calperformances.org/performances/2018-19/theater/theatre-national-de-bretagne-julius-caesar-by-william-shakespeare.php, which the class will collectively attend in the last week of the semester) ; 3) develop in all participants the necessary skills and confidence to enjoy, interpret and historicize early modern spectacles comparatively, in five closely interrelated geographic areas across early modern Europe (Italy, England, France, Prussia and modern day Germany, as well as the Austro-Hungarian Empire). The works studied (please see detailed list given above) will be examined in class in the language(s) they were originally produced in. But current English translations exist for all of the works to be investigated and will be made available to students via the seminar’s Courses site. Thus, no other language than English is needed to take this seminar, though a working knowledge of French, Italian and/or German would of course be helpful. If you are interested in this seminar but are unsure if it would work well for you, please free to contact the instructor directly at dblocker@berkeley.edu — or in person, during her Fall 2018 office hours.

English 218: Milton

Instructor: Professor James Turner

For better or worse, most roads in literary history lead either to or from Milton. The goal of this course is to find a way through the massive corpus of Milton's writing, to see how Milton “produces himself” in his work. You should get an adequate knowledge of the major poems, or new angles if you are already familiar with them, but we will also give a central place to hitherto marginal texts: prose, minor poems, manuscript variants, foreign-language writings. Without prescribing a theme, my selections will foreground Milton’s materiality, in several senses: awareness of economic corruption; political activism in the “Puritan Revolution;” educational theory that includes physical exercise and hands-on experiment; the “wanton growth” of the natural environment, the ecosystem of Paradise and the Fall; monist cosmology; visceral fear of gender inversion; conflicted relation to the body, especially digestion and sexuality (and later blindness); music, dance and scenery in the Ludlow Mask (“Comus”); the physical production and correction of Milton’s manuscripts and printed books. We will coordinate with a conference on “Milton and Materiality” organized by our own students and the Townsend Center this Spring.

Law 207.7: The Jurisprudence of Conquest

Instructor: Professor Kinch Hoekstra

Conquest is at the foundation of the legal regimes of the United States.  The conquest of native peoples, and the defeat of previous colonizers, was itself justified in legal terms, and continued to shape legal status and legal argument.  These justifications were heavily indebted to ancient sources and theories, with which we will begin.  Readings will be at the nexus of arguments about the right of war, the justifications of empire, and legal titles over other lands and peoples.  We will examine claims that were sometimes rivals to and sometimes complementary to an argument from a right of conquest, including consent, ownership, purchase, protection, salvation, defense of self or others, and productivity.  After reading classical sources, we will spend much of our time on the legal justifications for taking possession of 'the New World', especially by the Spanish and English, but also by the French and Dutch.  The course will cover materials through the early nineteenth century legal justifications for Indian dispossession, including Marshall's influential opinion in Johnson v. M'Intosh (1823) that "conquest gives a title which the Courts of the conqueror cannot deny."

Italian 248 or Spanish 280: Decentering the early modern: utopian texts in the Atlantic world

Instructor: Professors Diego Pirillo and Ivonne del Valle

Whether or not the Renaissance truly was “the first genuinely global movement in the history of ideas,” (Burke, Clossey, Fernández-Armesto, 2017) it is certain that the “global turn” in historical studies has transformed our understanding of this epoch in Western history marked by the recovery of classical antiquity. A growing body of scholarship reminds us of the many debts the Renaissance owed to the Mediterranean and the Islamic worlds while also examining the different ways in which Renaissance culture spread beyond Europe, and the responses it produced from Mexico to China. This scholarship also pays attention to Europe’s response to the challenges posed by other civilizations and religions. To decenter the early modern world this seminar moves beyond the rigid and traditional Eurocentric vision of the period by recovering the transfer of people, ideas, and knowledge that existed during the ‘first globalization’, especially as it materialized in the Atlantic world starting in 1492.

The seminar will introduce students to the most recent historiographical and theoretical trends in the field of Renaissance and early modern/colonial studies that present alternative viewing positions from which to understand what this epoch meant for those living in it, and for the future. A strong component of the seminar will be early modern utopias (More, Quiroga, Bruno, Campanella, Sahagún, Bacon, Harrington, Winthrop, Penn and others), especially as they are carried out in the Americas, and in the desire to undo the many political and religious wrongs of the moment.

English 246C: Graduate Proseminars: Sixteenth Century: the End of Scholarism

Instructor: Professor David Landreth

"Lately two gentlemen poets... had it in derision, for that I could not make my verses jet upon the stage in tragical buskins, every word filling the mouth like the faburden of Bow Bell, daring God out of heaven with that atheist Tamburlaine, or blaspheming with the mad priest of the sun; but let me rather openly pocket up the ass... than wantonly set out such impious instances of intolerable poetry, such mad and scoffing poets, that have prophetical spirits as [if] bred of Merlin's race. If there be any in England that set the end of scholarism in an English blank verse, I think either it is the humour of a novice that tickles them with self-love, or too much frequenting the hot-house hath sweat out the greatest part of their wits." (Robert Greene, lamenting the explosive debut of rival playwright Christopher Marlowe.)
What are the language arts for? What can they do? What are the proper bounds, and what the possible scope, of human reason, rhetoric, or invention? The advent of humanism in English universities and schools converged with the formation of the Tudor state, and offered high hopes for the place of learning in the new polity. Those hopes were dashed over the course of the following decades of upheaval, even as the objects of learning--the scope of the present world, the legacy of the past, the future of the soul--became perilously unstable. We'll be examining the despairing frustration and the glamorous peril of the writing life in sixteenth-century English: so we will start with "the end of scholarism" as Greene ironically locates it, in the detonating force of the lines Marlowe gives his nihilist world-beater Tamburlaine, and move from there to define the individual ingredients of sixteenth-century culture and thought from which Marlowe concocts his explosive mixture. We'll put particular emphasis on Utopia, Golding's translation of Metamorphoses, and Book Three of The Faerie Queene.

English 203, section 4: Renaissance Drama

Instructor: Professor Jeffrey Knapp

Shakespeare’s preeminence as a dramatist has often paradoxically excluded him from courses on English Renaissance drama.  We’ll be returning Shakespeare to the company of his fellow playwrights, reading (among other works) Twelfth Night with Lyly’s Gallathea, The Merchant of Venice with Marlowe’s Jew of Malta, and Hamlet with Kyd’s Spanish Tragedy.  We will also be exploring Renaissance drama from a variety of other perspectives: its generic diversity and complexity; the social status of actors and playwrights; tensions between art and commerce; the representations of gender, class, and race in the plays; and important recent scholarship on these subjects.