The Reformation as Modern Event

History 280/285B.001

Spring 2012
211 Dwinelle
Day & Time: 
Tu 2-5

"We have lost the Reformation," says the Berlin historian Heinz Schilling. This seminar/colloquium presupposes that, if "the Reformation" has been lost, its counterparts will be found elsewhere and -when. The course responds to the rising interest in the impact of religion on the histories of society, politics, and culture. It is designed for graduate students majoring in the early modern or late modern Europe, US history, or history-related disciplines. There are two principal themes: Part I, the history of interpretations of the Protestant and Catholic reformations; and Part II, the current arguments about the relationships of the reformations to the modern age. In Part I the weight of readings and discussions ranges from the late 18th to the mid-20th century (early modernists may well choose earlier subjects). Possible common readings include texts from the German idealists (Fichte, Hegel, Ranke); American and British romantics (Parkman, Bancroft, Carlyle); continental Roman Catholics (Mohler, Dollinger); liberal Protestants (Macaulay, Ritschl, Weber, Troeltsch, Holl); and Marxists (Engels, Kautsky, Ernst Bloch, Tawney). In Part II the readings will be drawn from leading works written within the past half-century, especially those which deal with the pluralization of ";reformation"; as a historical concept, the convergence of the Protestant and Catholic reformation, and the formulation and critique sociological and anthropological interpretations. Each student will choose a theme for a seminar paper and report on the subject to the seminar during the late weeks of the semester. Students who seek seminar credit (285B) must work in primary sources in the original language(s); other students will receive colloquium credit (280B). Research topics should reflect the students' interests and, where appropriate, be designed to explore possible dissertation themes. The common readings will be available in English, though students are encouraged to read in other languages, and some texts will be distributed in the digital format or hard copy.