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Modern Liberal Arts

University of Winchester

Semester 2 2015-16

LA 1006 Learning from the Renaissance

Thursdays 3pm MB1 (week 6 MCT1)

Derek, Nigel, Becky, Tom

Module leader: Rebekah Howes

Module Learning Outcomes

Demonstrate engagement with texts and ideas relevant to the Renaissance

Demonstrate reflection on experiences and the wider contexts in which they take place

Communicate experiences of texts and ideas as appropriate

Show knowledge and understanding of specialist terminology

Demonstrate requisite research skills in gathering, summarizing and presenting evidence including proficiency in referencing and academic conventions


There are so many aspects of the Renaissance that have shaped the ideas that we employ today, and often we simply take them for granted without really comprehending their origins. You will see over the course of the module that the Renaissance was a remarkable time, not least because it gave freedom and expression to literary and artistic cultures, to music, to political theory, and to science, perhaps not seen in Europe since the ancient civilizations of Greece and Rome.

As far as Liberal Arts are concerned, the Renaissance marks something of a watershed. From Antiquity (for example, Pythagoras, Plato and Aristotle), the liberal arts had gradually become codified into the trivium and quadrivium. Over the 1500 years or so, there had been a tendency to reduce the liberal arts to compendia of knowledge – a bit like having text books replace primary sources – and by the time of the Renaissance there was a growing dissatisfaction with this canon of higher education, and especially with the dialectical wrangling of the Scholastics. Against this, humanism and the fine arts mounted a serious challenge to the dominance of Aristotelianism.
We hope you enjoy learning about one of the most important and influential periods in European history.

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