Cogut Institute for the Humanities
Center for the Study of the Early Modern World

Concentration & Courses

The Early Modern World concentration promotes interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary approaches to historical cultures around the world between the waning of feudalism and the arrival of global industrial capitalism, from the 1300s to the end of the 1800s.

Students take courses in a wide range of departments and with faculty affiliated with the Center for the Study of the Early Modern World. Concentrators have the opportunity to be mentored by faculty, staff at the special collections libraries at Brown, and graduate students working on contiguous topics.

Students are invited to take advantage of this breadth of offerings to enhance their understanding of the period, as well as to gain a sense of the uses, limitations, and interrelationships of particular disciplinary approaches.

Concentration Requirements

Concentrators are required to take a minimum of eight courses:

  1. Three courses on early modern topics in one field in which the student has primary interest or training — e.g., literature, history of art and architecture, history.
  2. Three courses related to the early modern period chosen from two other fields.
  3. A capstone project determined by the student's interests, of which possible examples might be: 1) a senior thesis (roughly equivalent to a senior seminar paper); 2) the staging of an early modern play, musical performance, or other event that offers students an opportunity to develop professional competency in a field in which they already have experience and expertise; or 3) an exhibition, website, or other curated project with a public outcome. The project will be developed in consultation with the EMW concentration advisor and a faculty advisor from the department in which the topic of the research lies. Credit will be granted through registration for Independent Study.
  4. Other relevant courses of the student’s choosing.

In addition, the student must be able to demonstrate a reading knowledge of a relevant modern or ancient language other than English. This language requirement does not count as one of the eight courses.

Eligible students wishing to pursue honors in the concentration complete nine courses and write a thesis in their senior year. 

Concentration Courses

Listed below are past courses and sample courses regularly offered in various departments. Students interested in 2000-level courses must obtain the instructor's permission before enrolling. Other courses may count for concentration credit upon consultation with the Director of the Center for the Study of the Early Modern World. 


CLAS 0420 - Ancient Novel and Its Influence
CLAS 0760 - Ancient Utopias and Imaginary Places
CLAS 0900 - Greek Mythology
LATN 1040b - Virgil: Aeneid
LATN 1060f - Ovid's Metamorphoses
LATN 1120G - Reading Humanist Latin Texts
LATN 2080F - The Latin of America

Comparative Literature

COLT 0812 - Hamlet Post-Hamlet
COLT 1410L - Philosophy and Tragedy
COLT 1410U - Shakespeare in Perspective
COLT 1431A - The Philosophical Art of Shakespeare’s Sonnets


ENGL 0310GE - Shakespeare: The Screenplays
ENGL 1510A - Jane Austen and Her Predecessors: The Other History of the Novel
ENGL 1561G - Swift, Pope, Johnson
ENGL 1561K - Restoration and the Eighteenth-Century Drama
ENGL 2360X - Hamlet: Appropriation, Mediation, Theory

French Studies

FREN 0720 - From Courtly Love to Postmodern Desire (Freshman Seminar)
FREN 2130 - Queering the Grand Siècle

Hispanic Studies

HISP 0550 - Topics in Hispanic Culture and Civilization
HISP 1240A - Fashion and the Fictions of Identity in Early Modern Spain
HISP 1240C - Golden Age Short Stories
HISP 1240L - Cervantes and Don Quijote in the Context of Golden Age Spain
HISP 1330C - Indigenous Literatures of Latin America
HISP 1330H - Transatlantic Colonial Encounters
HISP 2350H - The History of Wonder in Colonial Spanish American Lettres


HIST 0150B - The Philosopher’s Stone: Alchemy From Antiquity to Harry Potter
HIST 0233 - Colonial Latin America
HIST 0286A - History of Medicine I: Medical Traditions in the Old World Before 1700
HIST 0286B - History of Medicine II: The Development of Scientific Medicine in Europe and the World
HIST 0522G - An Empire and Republic: The Dutch Golden Age
HIST 0535A - Atlantic Pirates
HIST 1262M - Truth on Trial: Justice in Italy, 1400–1800
HIST 1266C - English History, 1529–1600
HIST 1266D - British History, 1660–1800
HIST 1331 - The Rise and Fall of the Aztecs: Mexico, 1300–1600
HIST 1855A - Self-Fashioning and Souvenirs: History and Culture on the Grand Tour
HIST 1964B - The Enchanted World: Magic, Angels, and Demons in Early Modern Europe
HIST 1964D - Women in Early Modern England
HIST 1964E - The English Revolution
HIST 2870E - Early Modern Continental Europe – Reading
HIST 1974M - Early Modern Globalization

History of Art and Architecture

HIAA 0010 - Introduction to the History of Art
HIAA 0020 - Introduction to the History of Architecture and Urbanism
HIAA 0150 - Visual Cultures of Colonial Latin America
HIAA 0580 - Word, Image, and Power in Renaissance Italy
HIAA 0620 - The Age of Rubens and Rembrandt: Culture of the Netherlands in the Seventeenth Century
HIAA 0650 - Eighteenth-Century Art: Imagining the Global Eighteenth Century
HIAA 1150 - Topics in Hispanic Art and Architecture
HIAA 1560 - Topics in Italian Visual Culture
HIAA 1650 - Topics in Eighteenth-Century Art
HIAA 1850 - Topics in Twentieth-Century Architecture

Italian Studies

ITAL 0590 - Word, Image, and Power in Renaissance Italy
ITAL 1010 - Dante in English Translation
ITAL 1020 - Boccaccio's "Decameron"
ITAL 1320 - Great Authors and Works of Italian Renaissance
ITAL 1610 - The Divina Commedia: Inferno and Purgatorio
ITAL 1620 - The Divina Commedia: Paradiso

Modern Culture and Media

MCM 1130 - Literature and Society


MUSC 0300 - Major Masters of Music
MUSC 0570, 0580 - Chamber Music Performance
MUSC 0910 - Medieval and Renaissance Music
MUSC 0920 - Baroque and Classic Music
MUSC 1040 - Tonal Counterpoint


PHIL 0070 - The Individual and the State
PHIL 0350 - Ancient Philosophy
PHIL 0360 - Early Modern Philosophy

Portuguese and Brazilian Studies

POBS 1600 - Topics and Themes in Portuguese and Brazilian Cultures and Civilizations

Theatre Arts & Performance Studies

TAPS 1240 - Performance Historiography and Theatre History