Dynastic Marriages in Early Modern Europe

History R1B.002

Fall 2017
235 Dwinelle
Day & Time: 
MWF 4-5
Class Number: 
  • This course satisfies the second half of the Reading and Composition Requirement.
  •  The Hapsburg’s attainment of political and territorial preponderance by the 16th century is often attributed by scholars to the family’s motto: “Let others wage war, but thou, O happy Austria, marry.” This course will examine the dynastic marriages of the Spanish Hapsburgs, the most powerful branch of the family, from the reign of Charles V through Charles II.  In order to paint a complete picture of these complex diplomatic exchanges, discussions will require varying levels of analysis that consider the impact that they had at an international, state and individual level. How effective were marriages as a tool for realizing foreign policy and/or promoting international stability? To what extent did dynastic ties facilitate cultural transfers between states? What effect did intense negotiations, physical displacement, and inbreeding have on the men and women at the center of these exchanges? In grappling with these questions, students will have the opportunity to explore a number of themes ranging from dynastic strategies and diplomacy to culture and gender. The course is designed to improve student’s critical thinking, reading, and writings skills and will be comprised of discussions and writing workshops. Coursework will include a number of short papers and one final research paper.