The Italian Renaissance

Teacher: Jessica Stah (
Extra Help: Tuesdays 3-4pm, room 205 or by appointment.

Course Overview

  • How does change impact, challenge and benefit a community? 
  • How did the advancements in religion, art, education and politics during the Italian Renaissance accelerate global expansion and change everyday life?  
  • What impact does this era continue to have on the twenty-first century? 

At the end of the fourteenth to the mid-sixteenth century, scholars began to question the world around them. Out of their skepticism, the Italian culture underwent a rebirth of culture and artistic innovation. In this course, we will develop an awareness of the interrelationship between arts, culture, and politics in history as well as work to articulate the role of the Italian Renaissance in the formation of the modern world and contemporary human experience. We will explore this era through a multitude of readings, documentaries, and regular analysis of both primary and secondary sources. During the course, we will explore life in major Italian cities including Rome, Florence, and Venice while delving into the footsteps of the following individuals: Filippo Brunelleschi, Lorenzo de’Medici, Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo Buonarroti, Niccolo Machiavelli, Baldassare Castiglione, and Galileo Galilei. Course resources will include excerpts from The Prince and The Courtier and clips from the PBS documentary series The Medici: Godfathers of the Renaissance.