Insurgent Literacy in Europe

Insurgent Literacy in Europe, 1300-1800
Texts were an integral part of European life long before widespread literacy or the printing press. Reading and using documents was conducted communally in households, neighborhoods, and other groups. Reading primary sources from western Europe c.1300-1800, we will study how the increased circulation of documents shaped emerging modern institutions like newspapers, archives, bureaucracies – and even the state apparatus itself. After some theoretical groundwork on literacy and power from thinkers like Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Max Weber and James C. Scott, we will read charters, pamphlets, indulgences, letters, and graffiti that entered the city streets. Against this background we will finally consider whether the printing press was revolutionary in shaping European politics, looking especially at the ideas of Luther, Hobbes, and Rousseau.

Ron Makleff is a historian of Europe focusing on cities and the emergence of the nation-state, as well as the material and intellectual legacies of archives as institutions of power, memory, and forgetting./
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HIST 1032

All Sections in Winter 2024

Winter 2024

HIST1032A-W24 Lecture (Makleff)