HIS 75 — Great Cities: Capitals of Culture
Course Format: Live Online (About Formats)
Duration: 9 weeks
Date(s): Jan 21—Mar 18
Time: 7:00—9:05 pm (PT)
Drop Deadline: Jan 23
Instructor(s): Bruce Elliott
Historically, the most fascinating cities were not always those at the height of power. More often, they were cities that served as beacons of civilization lighting up their particular corner of the world. In this course, each of our nine sessions will highlight the history and art of a great urban center at the apogee of its cultural Golden Age. Working chronologically, we begin in Quattrocento Florence, where Renaissance art and humanist philosophy first arose, then move northward to Prague, prime center for the Scientific Revolution, the place where astrology evolved into astronomy. Proceeding to the 18th century, we will experience successively the sophistication of Venice, capital of Carnivale and key destination of the Grand Tour; the brilliance of Edinburgh in the Scottish Enlightenment that featured David Hume, Adam Smith, and Robert Burns; and the grandeur of Catherine the Great’s St. Petersburg, with its magnificent Russian baroque architectural setting. Our historical journey culminates in the 19th century with successive explorations of antebellum New Orleans, the most diverse and European of American cities; the avant-garde character of Paris in the Belle Époque; monumental Budapest as the architectural embodiment of Hungarian national pride; and art nouveau Barcelona, the home ground of modernisme luminaries like Picasso and Antoni Gaudí. Each city we study will be its own window on the ascent of Western civilization.