The Early Modern World - culture and mentalities from the Renaissance to the Enlightenment
The period from the Renaissance to the Enlightenment laid the foundations of modern Europe. During these centuries, Europeans invented printing, discovered the New World, developed modern science and philosophy, and produced an impressive body of art and literature. At the same time, this was an age marked by religious division and conflict, extensive warfare, witch crazes and popular rebellions, a belief in magic and the occult, and, for most of Europe’s population, the ever-present threats of poverty, disease and high mortality.
The Early Modern World - Culture and Mentalities from the Renaissance to the Enlightenment short course seeks to understand Europe in the period 1500-1800 by focusing on culture and mentalities. How did people think, feel, work and love? What were their pleasures, anxieties, hopes and fears? How did they understand their world and themselves? Using a wide range of primary and secondary sources, including images, and considering the culture and mentalities of both elite and popular society, we will discuss how people made sense of and tried to shape their world. In addition, the course will explore the extent to which the period was one of change or of continuity, and we will consider how an understanding of early modern Europe can inform our understanding of the world we live in today.
By the end of the course, you will be able to: evaluate the society and culture of early modern Europe; discuss and interpret primary texts and images as evidence of early modern culture and mentalities; engage with and apply the approaches and practices of social and cultural history, and the history of ideas; communicate and present historical understanding with confidence; and evaluate the significance of early modern European society, culture and mentalities to an understanding of our own world.
15 credits at level 4
Most of our short courses have no formal entry requirements and are open to all students. You may have to fulfil specific prerequisites for some intermediate-level or advanced-level courses, but these will be specified where relevant.
If you are not from the European Economic Area (EEA) and/or Switzerland and you are coming to study in the UK, you may need to apply for a visa.
The visa you apply for varies according to the length of your course:
- Courses of more than six months' duration.
- Courses of less than six months' duration.
- Pre-sessional English language courses.
International students who require a Tier 4 visa should apply for our full-time courses (with the exception of modular enrolment certificates of higher education and graduate certificates), as these qualify for Tier 4 sponsorship. If you are living in the UK on a Tier 4 visa, you will not be eligible to enrol as a student on Birkbeck's part-time courses (with the exception of some modules).
For full information, read our visa information for international students page.
How to apply
How to apply
You enrol directly onto the classes you would like to take, using the Enrol Now link below. Classes are filled on a first-come, first-served basis - so apply early. If you wish to take more than one short course, you can select each one separately and then enrol onto them together via our online application portal. There is usually no formal selection process, although some modules may have prerequisites and/or other requirements, which will be specified where relevant.
First class: Thu 30-Apr-20 11am-1pm
Fees and payment
With government loans for undergraduate and postgraduate study, fantastic financial support packages and flexible payment options, there’s never been a better time to study at Birkbeck.
Life at Birkbeck
Birkbeck offers a unique combination of evening study and a matchless central London location, right in the geographic and academic centre of the city, giving you exceptional opportunities.
Discover more about our comprehensive range of student services, which offer all the support and assistance you need.
Birkbeck is committed to helping you finance your short course study. Find out about what is available for short courses students, and the advice and support we provide.
Evening study explained
Birkbeck is London’s only specialist provider of evening higher education. With classes held 6pm-9pm, your days are free to study, work, volunteer, or just do your own thing.
There are lots of ways to come and visit us and meet our staff and former students, including Open Evenings, Open Days and guided campus tours. Discover more here.
Short courses explained
Find out everything you need to know about studying a short course at Birkbeck.
The Birkbeck experience
Birkbeck is different: our classes are held in the evening, so your days are free - to study, work, volunteer or just do your own thing.
How to apply
Once you've found the course that's right for you, here's what to do next to get your place at Birkbeck. We can give you the advice and support you need.
Birkbeck’s SHaMe project secures £250,000 grant by the Wellcome Trust
The grant has been awarded to Birkbeck’s research hub that explores the interlinks between sexual violence, medicine and psychiatry.
Report highlights inclusivity and diversity challenges in business innovation
Professor Helen Lawton Smith from Birkbeck’s Department of Management is part of the research team behind the Supporting Diversity and Inclusion in Innovation report.
Birkbeck launches hunt for lost memorial that commemorates students who died in World War II
College offers voucher to the first person who can locate or reveal the fate of missing 1.2 metre Ralph Beyer stone sculpture that depicts seated woman in mourning.
Podcast: Overcoming the odds
Student Warren O'Keefe talks about overcoming homelessness and addiction to achieve his academic goals at Birkbeck.
A day in the life
of Dr James Hammond who visited Chile as part of his research in to earthquakes.
Reframing human-predator relations
Dr Simon Pooley investigates if humans and predators can coexist in areas where habitats are shrinking.