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Machiavelli at 500
January 21, 2014 @ 12:00 am - May 9, 2014 @ 12:00 am
Spring 2014 Faculty Development Seminar:
French and Italian
Machiavelli’s Prince was completed 500 years ago, and it – along with its author and his works – has been the subject of controversy ever since. The project of the seminar is a study of Machiavelli’s major writings, with some attention to their reception. Why has Machiavelli been so controversial, and what are these controversies? Machiavelli is one of the most important figures in early modern thought, while his dramatic and poetic works are of great importance in their own right. The broad aim of the seminar is to facilitate a cross-disciplinary encounter with Machiavelli. Devoting extra time to The Prince (1513) we propose to read Machiavelli’s primary written works in chronological order while incorporating specific, complementary critical studies representing the different disciplinary and hermeneutical approaches to Machiavelli. Texts include the Prince, Discourses, Mangragola, Clizia, Life of Castruccio Castracani, and The Art of War. Seminar participants will pursue three interrelated aims. First and foremost, participants will encounter Machiavelli’s life and times through his major works. Second, participants will encounter seminal works of Machiavelli scholarship from a variety of humanistic disciplines through introductory discussions by the faculty conveners. Third, participants will grapple with the questions Machiavelli himself – and his interpreters – have confronted: empire, republicanism, the limits of human agency, and the aims of literature.