When and how did the modern world emerge? It is a question that has attracted generations of thinkers as they seek to illuminate the past and, with it, the present. The conventional answer has been to mark an imaginary line through the 14th century. On the far side lies the "darkness" of the Middle Ages. On the near side lies the "light" of the Renaissance — empirical science, the printing press, the growth of cities and trade, and the revival of classical models of thought, art and architecture. Scholars now challenge that view, however. They point out that the past is far too complex to fit such a simple pattern. And that has led them to explore the very ways in which history is told and recorded.
Medieval and Renaissance studies at Hamilton is a truly interdisciplinary program, combining coursework in art, literature, history and music. Interested students may choose to minor in this field of study. The minor consists of five courses taken in at least three departments. Within this broad framework, students in the program focus on one of the two epochs, but they are encouraged at every turn to explore the continuities between them as well.