How my views of history have changed during the course Foundations of Western Civilization

My views of history itself have not radically changed during the course, in the sense that I was always interested in history and intrigued by the historical development of Western Civilization.

On the other hand, however, I have enjoyed the structure of the course itself, which presented a wide spectrum of crucial moments and ideas in this history in a form that, while demanding, does not overwhelm the student, but rather encourages them to learn more. The combination of primary sources with the history literature has helped me place the former in a context after which I could think about their meaning, while the primary sources also helped me understand the literature that comments on them, as I became more aware of the multiple interpretations of history that can be offered. In this sense, I have learned that history in terms of how it may be written is much more fluid than I thought.

I think that the course has improved my study habits because the reading schedule is quite demanding as well as the writing schedule. However, this is helpful because it really emerges the student into the course materials. Perhaps one problem in this regard is that the material moves so fast that I do not have time to adequately reflect on the material, but I understand that this can be done in later studies: the point is to immerse the student in history and thinking about history and I feel I have improved not only in terms of how I read history, but also how to think and also write about history during the course. By combining readings with writings, I think this improved my study habits because we are forced to think about what we read, and this can only augment our overall understanding. (As a side note, I would just like to add that my favorite assignment was the one in which we assumed we were Machiavelli and then wrote a letter to Martin Luther. I really enjoyed combining creative writing with the history of ideas.)

Works Cited

Zuffi, Stefano. European Art of the Sixteenth Century. New York: Getty, 2006.

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