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Kenyon College


HIST 131 Early Modern Europe: Library Assignment

Collector's Album

Over the course of the semester, you will complete your own “Collector’s Album” (if you are artistically inclined or particularly ambitious, you may create a “cabinet,” diorama, or room, but an album is all that is required!).  This handout includes all the information you need for the final album – due in the penultimate week of classes.  Each of you will chose a place in Europe as your focus, and you will acquire the required components of the album, relating each to the place you have chosen.

A complete album will have all of the required items with explanations and context given as necessary.

Select a place in Europe that interests you – somewhere you’ve read about, visited, heard stories of, or that connects to an interest you have.  All the elements of your Library Assignment must relate to your place (if the relationship is not obvious, explain it in the album).

Learn to use the library’s resources to find examples of the necessary elements for the album.  Printing them out or taking a digital photograph is the easy part.  The purpose of the assignment is to find out how to locate different types of information and to learn about the various kinds of resources available and research skills necessary.

Brick walls and dead ends happen in any research endeavor.  We are dealing with the past and the preservation of information and artifacts is necessarily incomplete.  If you are struggling to find that last piece for your “collection,” perhaps it really doesn’t exist (like the unicorns many early cabinet owners were hoping to add to their collections!).  In the case of such a fruitless search, you may include a detailed description of your research odyssey in the place of the missing item, or you can include the same item for a different place (if you couldn’t find it for your location), again explaining the details of your unsuccessful search for the item from your location.

List of Required Elements for Library Assignment: Collector’s Album: be sure to read the directions for each category, and include the required items relating to your chosen location (town or region) within Europe.  All items (where not specified) are to be from the era 1500-1800 (approx. start and end dates).  A complete album will have a total of ten components.  All sources must be properly cited for each item!!!

A. Location: Two (out of three) required.

1. Any map of Europe (our quiz map is fine) with your location clearly marked.

2. A map of your location dating from 1500-1800.

3. A painting showing the appearance of the place (architecture, landscape, street scene), from the years 1500-1800.

B. Rulers and subjects: Two (out of five) required.

1.  The population of the place in 1500.

2.   The population of the place in 1800.

3.   A list of the rulers who reigned there from 1500-1800 (remember that many places change sovereignty during this time period!).

4.   A painting showing one of the rulers of the place 1500-1800.

5.   An image showing a battle (either in your place or fought by the ruler).

C. Religious Life: One (out of four) required.

1.  The religious composition of the population in 1500.

2.  The religious composition of the population in 1800.

3.  A painting of a religious building in the place (from 1500-1800).

4.  A modern photograph of the building or Church in #1.

D. Architecture and Artifacts: Two (out of five) required.

1.   A secular building from 1500-1800 (palaces, houses, courts, all sorts of options).

2.  A modern photograph of the building in #1.

3.  An image showing the clothes worn by wealthy people in the region, dating from 1500-1800 (could include a photo of costumes from museum collections).

4.   An image showing the clothes worn by commoners (peasants, townspeople) in the region, dating from 1500-1800 (could include a photo of costumes from museum collections).

5.  An artifact or object from daily life of the Early Modern era (include a picture of the object) from a museum or archival collection.

E. The Written Record: Two (out of six) required.

1.  A legal record (of a court case, a contract, etc.)

2.  A financial record (state or private).

3.   A religious pamphlet from the Reformation era.

4.   A political document from the era of the French Revolutionary Wars.

5.  A work of popular literature.

6.    Published correspondence or memoirs about your place from 1500-1800.

F. New Technologies, new products: One (out of two) required. This section will be presented in class – see schedule!

1.  Information about the introduction of a new technology to your locality during this era (you can choose a technology that interests you.

2.  Information about the introduction of a new product (including foods and spices from global trade) to the local market between 1500-1800.  Again here you should choose something that interests you and that you find information about (i.e. early modern recipes, visual evidence, merchants’ records, etc.).

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