Wheaton College Norton, Massachusetts
Wheaton College


History 398. Experimental Courses

Fall 2015

A Social History of Death and Dead Bodies in Early Modern Europe

This social history course considers how humankind has dealt with death and dead bodies from the Middle Ages to the mid-nineteenth century. Discussion focuses on anthropological frameworks for death, Catholic and Protestant conceptions of purgatory and the fate of the human soul, body snatching and dissection of dead bodies, mourning and commemoration practices, society’s fascination with murder, execution as legalized death, forensic science and dead bodies, and ghosts.


Spring 2015

Early Modern Europe and the World: Cultural Interaction and Transformation

The early modern period saw an explosion of trade, travel, evangelization, and imperial expansion, as individuals from different societies interacted with each other. In this course we will study cultural interactions during this fascinating era.

We will examine cross-cultural interactions through a comparison of world empires and nation formation. We will also assess how early modern individuals formed, challenged, and shared their own cultural assumptions and experienced other cultures. We will see how these complex interactions encouraged the creation of new identities and “cultural symbiosis.” We will analyze written and visual primary sources and evaluate current scholarship in this discussion-based course.

Laura Perille