Anchored by the experience of Japan but broadly oriented to developments in North America and Western Europe, this seminar will explore defining features of early modernity. Topics include state formation and the law; military power; urbanization; international trade and the penetration of the market; commercial publishing and education; demography and the family; material culture and consumption; art and erotica. Regular visits by faculty colleagues in the department and elsewhere will be arranged. Weekly reading responses and one essay of fifteen to twenty pages. No prerequisites. All welcome.