Northern Europe in the early modern period endured wars, plagues, witch panics and calamitous religious change. We will explore the history of the parts of the Baltic and North Sea we will be visiting using the techniques of “Microhistory.” Microhistorians concentrate on the seeming minor events of individual lived experience as a way to come to a fuller understanding historical change. We will look carefully at the world of individual soldiers and sailors, witches, peasants and merchants who lived and worked in the area. Students will be able to analyze the process of historical change and to see how it transformed the Baltic world between 1500 and 1800.
Field WorkCountry: Portugal
Day: 1 - Lisbon - Saturday, 21 June
In 1755 Lisbon, which was one of the most prosperous cities in Europe, was leveled by a devastating series of earthquakes. The most devastated areas were then rebuilt in a new and more modern style. Further, as they tried to understand this natural tragedy, Europeans found themselves debating the nature of Good and Evil as well as the nature of God. Our project will be to understand the impact of the earthquake on Portuguese and European Culture. We will tour Lisbon beginning with a visit to the Museum of the City (Museu da Cidade) in which we will be introduced the city and its history. We will then proceed on a guided walking tour of the old city looking especially at what remains of the old city as well as the form of the reconstructed, new post-earthquake city. This visit will be the basis for future reports made to the class based on what you could learn about Lisbon and the importance of the Earthquake. In preparing for our visit and subsequent class presentations, we will divide into work groups so that students can work together to formulate questions and to initiate their researches analyzing the remains just as any historian or archeologist would. 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 that will be explained in class before the due date. Students may offer a written evaluation as well if they so desire. Academic Objectives: 1. Evaluate the impact of natural disaster on an early modern European community. 2. Study the nature of urban design in early modern Europe, based on the projects to rebuild a destroyed city. 3. Allow students to learn how to construct presentations and to carry out historical investigations.