The period from the end of the Middle Ages to the end of the French Revolution witnessed the transformation of Europe from a relatively weak and poor corner of the world, to the dominant economic and political power in the world. In this same period European cultural and intellectual changed to show the beginnings of modernity, the pluralistic world in which we all live. The unified Christian Church was split into contending Protestant and Catholic groups. Traditional institutions were changed by Enlightenment reformers and later by political revolutionaries. Many of the most exciting changes occurred in precisely those areas we will be visiting.
Field WorkCountry: Finland
Day: 4 - Helsinki - Saturday, 9 August
Finland represents an almost unique opportunity to study cultural adaptation. Finland is a very important example of the mix of cultural influences found in the Baltic. The Finns were at one point part of the Swedish Empire (The Swedes founded Helsinki), later they were incorporated into the Russian State. Religiously, Finland has Catholic, Lutheran, and Russian Orthodox influences. We will tour the The National Museum of Finland which have exhibits documenting the history of Finland from Middle Ages to the twentieth century. After that we will go to the Seurasaari Open-Air Museum not far from the museum where we will see houses, shops, farmsteads recording Finish life from the eighteenth century. We will try to evaluate these various influences by dividing into teams which will look into special topics which they will then present in class. Prior to our visit, we will divide into work groups while visiting the site, so that students can work together to formulate questions and to initiate their researches analyzing the remains just as any historian might. Working in teams, members of the class will investigate their assigned topic and then report on what they have found to the class. When the reports are completed, I will also ask each member of the workgroup (with whom the students visited the museum and which whom they discussed what they found) to evaluate their project and the contributions made to the discussions by the other members of the workgroup. This may be a simple numerical grade which will be explained in class before the due date. Students may offer a written evaluation as well if they so desire. Academic Objectives: 1. Investigate the nature of communal identity in the Baltic World. 2. Study material life in the Early Modern World. 3. Allow students to learn how to construct presentations and to carry out historical investigations.