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Venice and Cultures of Consumption (HIST20052)

Undergraduate level 2Points: 12.5Off Campus

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Year of offer2019
Subject levelUndergraduate Level 2
Subject codeHIST20052
November - Off Campus
FeesSubject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date

This intensive three-week study abroad subject is taught on location in Venice. The Renaissance in Italy is regarded by many as the locus of the first consumer society in the western world. Venice was at the centre of the new commercial revolution and the trade and production of the luxury goods that were its staple. With a series of lectures, tutorials and detailed site visits, this subject examines Venice's position as a trading empire, and the goods traded, produced and consumed from luxurious textiles, printed books, art works, dyes and spices, to slaves and prostitutes. Venetian authorities were actively involved in regulating consumption with the passage of extensive sumptuary laws, the development of copyright, the application of duties and taxes, and a complex system of surveillance. Students will complete this subject with a deeper understanding of Venetian culture and society and its contribution to the globalised luxury trades; one of the key markers of the west and of modernity.

Intended learning outcomes

Students who complete this subject should be able to:

  • reflect critically on the city of Venice as a central site for the development of consumer culture in the west;
  • acquire an understanding of Venetian and Italian culture and its contribution to understandings of modernity and the west;
  • be critically immersed in the cultural sites and artefacts of an historic city, and the ways in which these have been analysed in primary and secondary sources;
  • gain an understanding of a culture's complexity, and respect for difference and diversity;
  • develop critical thinking and analysis through recommended reading, essay writing and tutorial discussion, and by determining the strength of an argument; and
  • demonstrate skills in public presentations and confidence in self expression through seminar presentations, essays, and online journal forums.

Last updated: 11 October 2019