Religious Violence in Early Modern Europe and the World

HISTORY 103B.006

Fall 2015
Instructor (text): 
Robert Harkins
3205 Dwinelle
Day & Time: 
M 12-2P

This course will examine the historical relationship between religion and violence in early modern Europe and the wider world (from the 15th to the 18th century). Drawing upon primary and secondary sources, we will investigate the ways in which religious violence related to major historical trends, including the Reformation, the Wars of Religion, the Enlightenment, global conquest and colonialism, the development of political philosophy, and the rise of the modern state. Some of our topics will include the use of torture and interrogation, martyrdom, heresy, religious radicalism, intra-confessional conflict, ideas of toleration and pacifism, popular rebellion and riots, anti-Semitism, secularism, and the persecution of minorities. Throughout the seminar we will also seek answers to some of the following questions: When and why did violence occur? How did ordinary men and women experience religious conflict? Why did some people willingly participate in acts of violence? What options were available to the persecuted? How and why did some people remain non-violent? Why were religious minorities targeted? Was early modern religion inherently violent? What effects did conflict have on political and religious culture? How did Western religious beliefs influence violence outside of Europe? And, finally, we will ask whether the study of the early modern past can help us to understand religious violence in the world today.

Robert Harkins is a historian of early modern Europe and modern Britain. He received his Ph.D. from UC Berkeley in 2013. His wide-ranging research interests include politics, religion, and society in the early modern world, violence and confessional conflict, Renaissance political thought, and the social and economic effects of corruption. He has previously taught courses on early modern and modern history, Tudor and Stuart Britain, corruption in the early modern world, and Berkeley Connect in History.



Course Books

Voltaire: Treatise on Tolerance (Cambridge Texts in the History of Philosophy) by Voltaire Cambridge University Press. ISBN: 978-0521649698 Required
Cunegonde's Kidnapping: A Story of Religious Conflict in the Age of Enlightenment by Kaplan, Benjamin Yale University Press. ISBN: 978-0300187366 Required
Trent 1475: Stories of a Ritual Murder Trial by Hsia, R. Po-Chia Yale University Press. ISBN: 978-0300068726 Required
Fires of Faith: Catholic England under Mary Tudor by Duffy, Eamon Yale University Press. ISBN: 978-0300168891 Required
The St. Bartholomew's Day Massacre: A Brief History with Documents by Diefendorf, Barbara Bedford/St. Martin's. ISBN: 978-0312413606 Required
Foxe's Book of Martyrs: Select Narratives by King, John Oxford University Press. ISBN: 978-0199236848 Optional