Spring 2020

Renaissance Bodies

Listed in: European Studies, as EUST-430  |  History, as HIST-430  |  Sexuality, Women's and Gender Studies, as SWAG-430


Jutta G. Sperling (Section 01)


(Offered as HIST 430 [EUP/TC], EUST 430 and SWAG 430) "Renaissance Bodies" investigates the ways in which early modern sciences and the figurative arts of the Renaissance collaborated to represent body-centered visual knowledges ranging from the "secrets of women" to scientific "monstrosities." The course also examines the ways in which Catholicism enhanced body-centered, sensual and visual forms of devotion. Discussions center on the eroticization of male, female, and queer bodies in a variety of discourses and visual rhetorics. A particular focus is on the representation of black bodies before the onset of modern racism. Case studies will include Eckhout’s "ethnographic" portrayals of African slaves and the native inhabitants of Brazil; Chiara di Montefalco’s miraculous relics; Elena Duglioli’s career as a spontaneously lactating saint; the cultural history of the dildo; Elena/o de Cespedes’s life as a transman; Sarah Bartmann as fetishized object of desire; male prostitution; and anatomical wax figures.

Spring Semester. Visiting Assistant Professor Sperling.

If Overenrolled: Priority to History and SWAGS majors.


Attention to Issues of Gender and Sexuality, Attention to Issues of Race, Attention to Research, Attention to Writing, Transnational or World Cultures Taught in English


2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2020