Presented by Anthony T. Grafton,
Henry Putnam University Professor of History
In this lecture, Professor Grafton will look at what has traditionally been seen as the first modern western culture — that of Western Europe in the Renaissance — through the prism of race. He will examine the thought and practices of European artists, scholars, and officials, as they encountered people who were not European or Christian, both in Europe and around the world; tried to understand where they came from and who they were; and drew practical consequences, which were often — but not always — harsh and tragic from their assumptions about the origins and nature of the peoples of the world (who included, they thought, everything from monsters and beings condemned by their nature to servitude to non-Christians of great wisdom and virtue). The lecture will pay special attention to Christian views of the Jews, strangers who lived in large numbers inside Europe, but will also examine European responses to many other groups.