Early Modern Knowledge (Fall 2016, Section 17)

About this class

To quote L.P. Hartley: “The past is a foreign country: they do things differently there.”  Early modern Europe (1500-1800) does indeed seem like a foreign land, where kings and queens ruled over a population that would be considered both ignorant and subservient by modern standards. And yet, this was a universe that had its own rationale and a time when important developments in scientific, philosophical, political, and religious knowledge laid the foundation for the world in which we live today. Western society embraced the notion that the earth revolved around the sun, and ideas about a divinely ordained monarchy gave way to the defense of democratic forms; theologians tore apart the Christian church, and people began to think through the implications of empire and conquest as Europeans spread themselves around the globe.

 

How was knowledge constructed in this period, and how and why did older forms of knowing give way to new ways of understanding the universe? Moreover, how were the various intellectual developments of the day interrelated, and what does all of this tell us about the production of knowledge more generally? This course will investigate how knowledge was produced (and also reformed) in the early modern world and, in the process, develop students' capacity for critical thought and analysis. It is organized thematically rather than chronologically, and incorporates workshops and in-class activities alongside lecture material. A participation mark will be also assigned.

Marianopolis College
by colombia96 on October 26, 2016
The book we worked with was called “the way to Health” by Tryon. It was a very small book, about pocket size. Its rough dimensions were roughly 20 x 12 x 4 cm and weighted about 3.5 lbs. The library guy said it was an octavo, a total of 520 pages so that should mean 65 leaves folded 8 times. The book was most probably in its original leather binding along with the reconstruction of the backbone of the book. It had that undistinguishable old book smell.

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Marianopolis College
by Provisional Polygon on October 26, 2016
Published in 1792, the 12th edition of William Cheselden’s The Anatomy of the Human Body is unlike any book of anatomy you’ve ever seen. Its size is comparable to a novel you may find on your bookshelf; the 300+ page textbook is approximately 15cm wide by 25cm long and weighs about half a kilogram. It includes detailed drawings (carved from copper plates) of human body parts from the skeletal system to the muscles and even inner organs. Each drawing is carefully labeled and gives the name and a description of the body part.

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Marianopolis College
by xl on October 26, 2016
The book assigned to me at the Osler library was The English Physician Enlarged with Three Hundred Sixty-Nine Medicines Made of English Herbs, that were not in any Impressions until This by Nicholas Culpeper. It is a small book of around 15 x 10 x 3 cm of dimensions. It weights approximatively 250 grams. The book is published in 1794 and is written in vernacular (English). The pages are threaded together and the cover of the book is a cheap leather binding. It is probably the original cover as it has already begun to fall apart probably due to an abundant manipulation.

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Marianopolis College
by Error on October 26, 2016
In the Osler library, there is a book titled “the way to health”, written by Thomas Tryon in the 17th century. The book in question was a reprint, however, and was only the second edition and not an original, being published in the year 1961. The book was written in English, and did not weigh very much, only around 3.5 pounds, ideal for the lower rank citizens that it targeted. The book was printed in 8o as was common for books targeting the poorer classes of society.

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Marianopolis College
by space_unicorn on October 26, 2016
Empirical Observations   In a recent trip to the Osler Library, the opportunity to work with a rare medical book from 1684 was presented.

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Marianopolis College
by Hippocampus on October 26, 2016
The learning process changes greatly over time and I was able to witness part of this change through a field trip to the Oslo Library that archives medical document as old as clay tablets from 2700 years ago. The book I had the chance to work with is the 12th edition, published in 1792, of an anatomical manual entitled The Anatomy of the Human Body by W. Cheselden, a surgeon of the Royal Hospital at Chelsea, London. It is a book the size of a small agenda and of a few hundreds of page.

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Marianopolis College
by BamBamKam on October 26, 2016
So I ended up with a very small book, with the dimensions of around 3x5 inches and weighed approximately 1 pound, by Culpepper published in 1751 titled, “Complete and Experienced Midwife.” This book was probably used by lower-classed midwifes during the 18th century as a guide to child bearing and proper remedies for the diseases. At first glance of the book, the cover is made from leather and is probably the original cover, since the cover seems to used and scuffed with marks.

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Marianopolis College
by manofthematch on October 26, 2016
Empirical Observations:    Upon an initial observation, the first thought that struck me was the size of this book. It is extremely small and light. An approximate measurement of the book’s size is 3x5 inches and it weighs about one pound. The book is called The Compleat and Experienced Midwife by  Culpepper and was written in 1751, which makes it over 250 years old. The book is written in English  and contains 213 pages (with only one picture) on how women should birth and nurture children.  

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Marianopolis College
by Truffles_are_Ov... on October 26, 2016
    Empirical Observations  

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Marianopolis College
by darkexodus on October 25, 2016
Mercurius Compilalitius: or, a Guide to the Practical Physician is the extravagant title of this three-hundred-year-old book written by Theoph Bonet available at the Osler Library for consultation. The binding is half ripped off due to its age. Its cover is hard and woody, with nothing written on it. It is of a dark brownish color with a tinge of red and the fore edge of this book is also of this same color. Only a few words are carved on the spine of the book. From far, it looks like a large brick.

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6 months 2 weeks ago

I really enjoyed reading your article. You have an eye catching title that got me interested right away and you wrote on an interesting topic that made me considered the future of our generations. You have also successfully identified the two sides of this questionable topic. Even though I am against the idea of altering the genetics of living organisms, I do acknowledge the multiple benefits in doing so, especially in a gendered context. Firstly, human genetics can solve men and women’s struggle of acquiring the ideal body that satisfies our modern beauty standards. For example, men are always trying to achieve the modern Adonis body, which is the ideal masculine body. The problem is that men are always comparing themselves or other people to these ideal body images and people who fail to conform to these images are treated poorly. However, with the help of human genetic alteration, men will no longer be pressured in acquiring the ideal hegemonic masculine body, thus solving the discriminatory problems in the process. To show that women are also pressured in achieving the ideal body image, here is a website containing interesting statistics.
http://www.heartofleadership.org/statistics/

Genetics alteration is also the solution to completely annihilating multiple social constructs, most importantly the concepts of privilege and intersectionality. These concepts can be based on the physical appearance of the person which results in major discriminatory problems to people who are not in the privileged category. These problems have caused issues with huge wage gaps and reinforcing the ideology of the glass ceiling. Everyone in our society should be treated fairly and they should all have an equal opportunity in advancing the corporate ladder. With the help of genetics engineering, society can create the ideal human race where privilege and intersectionality are no longer an issue, because everyone is an ideal human being.

6 months 3 weeks ago

I am not sure whether I should be intrigued or petrified by this article. This post is powerful as it touches upon the dreadful reality of human trafficking. It shows the reader how human trafficking is a global issue since it includes both, developed countries (UK, USA, etc.) and Third World countries (India, etc.). I really like the way you included evidence to prove the severity of the human trafficking issue in India. Doing so supports the credibility of your article and makes the post much more persuasive.

Another concept to look at when discussing human trafficking is intersectionality. Intersectionality is a theory that explains how different types of inequality, discrimination, or oppression (racism, sexism, homophobia, ableism, etc.) overlap and reinforce one another. When many of these methods of oppression are combined, the social discrimination a person suffers grows exponentially. Intersectionality continuously changes because it depends on the person’s environment. Anyone who has an intersectional identity must be able to switch identity depending on where they are in order to survive in our world. For example, a homosexual, African-American male will take on an African-American, masculine identity when he is among black men, but he may adopt a homosexual identity when he is among gay men. This continuous swap of identities can be explained by “the hat game”. The various intersectional identities are like hats, and the person with the intersectional identity must be constantly paying attention in order to change their hat depending on the setting. The goal is conform to social standards or to blend in with the crowd.

Intersectionality is a factor that influences which humans are being kidnapped for human trafficking. In Canada, a working-class, indigenous woman is much more likely to be kidnapped for human trafficking than a middle-class, white female, due to her intersectional identity. Similarly, in the US, black and Hispanic women represent a large percentage of human trafficking victims. This is partially related to their intersectional identities as well.

I would like to say once more how interesting and captivating this article is. Well done!

References/Links:
Intersectionality: https://www.sfu.ca/iirp/documents/resources/101_Final.pdf
Human Trafficking in Canada: http://www.cbc.ca/news/indigenous/aboriginal-women-girls-targets-for-hum...
Human Trafficking in USA: http://victimsofcrime.org/docs/ncvrw2013/2013ncvrw_stats_humantraffickin...

7 months 4 days ago

I really enjoyed reading your article and your title gives a good idea of what you’re going to talk about. I really love how you mentioned both sides of the problem and you took realistic situations as examples to support your points. One of your examples that intrigued me was your reference to rape culture because it is an issue in society that requires a lot more attention. Our society gives off the wrong idea that rape has no consequences and it happens infrequently. In many cases, the victims were blamed and were seen responsible for enabling the act and even when found guilty, many of the perpetrators were not punished severely. Rape culture is also normalized in certain advertisements and music where woman is objectified and degraded. These form of media has a great influence on the population and it is sending off these discriminatory messages stating that this type of behavior is encouraged. These messages can be misunderstood, resulting in rape and potentially also leading to unplanned pregnancy. I believe that acknowledging this issue could have greatly emphasized the burden on the ethics relating to abortions, because women are faced with an incredible tough decision on whether they should keep the child of a rapist or abort it. I have found a website that contains shocking statistics on women facing these tough decisions.
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8765248

7 months 5 days ago

I have never had a reason to question how homosexuality is treated throughout the world. Your article is powerful and shows us how this matter is deeper than simply homosexuality: it is about the violation of basic human rights. I really like the way you introduce your text by emphasizing the amount of homophobic hatred that is constantly spread in our society. It is an aggressive method that immediately grasps the reader’s emotional attention.

While reading this post, I can’t help but think how gender plays an important role in the on going struggle against homophobia, specifically hegemonic masculinity. Seeing as hegemonic masculinity glorifies the “man box” (i.e. men must be rich, strong, violent, straight and highly sexual, etc.), it pays to analyze how hegemonic masculinity and the glorification of this marginalized perception of the ideal man encourages homophobia in such a patriarchal society. By understanding that virility is at the base of the patriarchal word view, it becomes increasingly obvious that hegemonic masculinity is the only true identity for males to conform to. If one refuses to conform to the “man box” and openly rejects being a hegemonic masculine because of his sexual orientation, the patriarchal society panics and thus resorts to homophobic laws in order to attempt to keep social order.

We can also discuss how hegemonic masculinity influences the emotional and psychological state of homosexual men. That is a much larger argument that looks at the impact of hegemonic masculinity on homosexual men rather than the effect of hegemonic masculinity in our society.

I would like to congratulate you one more on writing such an interesting and captivating article!

References/Links:
Hegemonic Masculinity: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hegemonic_masculinity
Man Box (also features hegemonic masculinity): http://www.wgac.colostate.edu/men-and-masculinities
Virility: http://www.newyorker.com/culture/cultural-comment/when-men-wanted-to-be-...
Patriarchal World View: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Patriarchy

7 months 6 days ago

It begins with a catchy title. I really like how the title goes from Snickers, a comforting chocolate bar brand, to Sex, a touchy, more sensitive topic to be taking about, and the to Violence, where the mood of the reader completely takes a turn for the worst. It captures the readers attention and I must congratulate you on choosing such a clever title. As far as the rest of the text goes, it definitely does not disappoint. I really like the diverse variety of messages that were extracted from this advertisement as it goes to show how some of the messages this advertisement is spreading may be obvious to certain viewers, but some are completely embedded and can only be realized once one analyzes the true concepts that this advertisement is promoting. I believe that all messages in this ad, from most obvious to the most subtle, were spotted and I think that is what makes the text so strong as it allows the reader to have no other option but to face the truth about how advertisements such as these are present in our society and are damaging the ideas people have about gender and sexuality. Though it was hinted at when discussing domestic violence, I think it would have been relevant to perhaps include how this advertisement may be a factor in supporting and promoting the rape culture we have in our society. It is embedded when the article speaks about when always wanting sex and men being sexually violent. The most interesting message analyzed to me is how the boxing gloves prevent the man to be lick and seductive, which implies that men are supposed to always be slick and seductive. This message is crucial to understanding how advertisements such as these are equally harmful to the way men perceive masculinity as women perceive femininity. I also agree with the solution as using nutritional facts in to ads would be a great fix in order to prohibit the continuation of improper gendered messages will continuing to promote, if not better promote, their product. Good job!!

Reply to: Forgivable Woman
7 months 6 days ago

As said above, I give this two thumbs up! I really like the arguments proposed and this is the first text that I do not have any comments with the bulk of the post. I am in complete agreement with the advertisement sending messages about normalizing sexual violence. I think the one of my favourite arguments mentioned is that this also normalizes sexual violence among the thoughts of women, and often they will accept sexual attention even though it I truly not consensual simply because advertisements like this have brain washed society into thinking that this is alright. Because the discussion around rape culture, I really liked the way the text also embedded the concept of virility by mentioning how advertisements like these support the notion that men are and must be highly sexual creatures in order to truly be men. It points out how important virility is as it pops up all through our patriarchal society, even and especially our media. I love the proposed solution to this advertisement as it replaces the theme of non-consensual sex with a harmless more powerful theme: love. The only change I would consider making is in the final sentence, where the claim that sex does sell is made, seeing as studies show this to be incorrect. Though sex does capture the attention of consumers, it does not actually push consumers to buy products. This post is definitely a favourite of mine!

7 months 6 days ago

I am infatuated that this company actually encouraged its clients to post "I want to #TasteThatBush". Identifying this emphasizes how sexualized the media has become and is a strong piece of evidence that backs up how women and their reproductive system have swarmed the media and has effect our thoughts towards female sexuality. We clearly are in a dark state in our society with the messages the media is spreading and the messages we are so clearly unconsciously taking in. As far as your post goes, I really like how you pointed out that the woman's head was removed from the photograph. This is so important as it dehumanizes the model and consequently spreads a messages across society that women are not humans, therefore causing them to be seen as merely sexual objects. I preferably like to say that this advertisement makes this women seem like a lifeless corpse, a body of flesh that is present for the use of male pleasure. I am in completely agreement with one particular statement in your post among all: when you say "They are linking the presence of alcohol with sex, which can lead to the encouragement of sexual behaviour with the lack of consent while under the influence of alcohol,". Most people may miss this message when looking at this ad on a surface level. Certain people may even miss this detail when analyzing the ad, yet it is such a key element that reinforces the notion of the presence of a rape culture. If we do not consider these types of messages, which encourage manipulating women when intoxicated, to be present in the media, we will never realize how strongly present rape culture is in our society and we will never be able to annihilate its presence. As far as the solution goes, I must say that I wonder if changing the image to simply a white background is the best option. Though it does eliminate female sexual objectification, it also will make a mediocre ad and will prevent the company from attracting enough attention in our to sell their goods. Perhaps a solution would involve people laughing and having a good time with a glass of the wine in their hands to eliminate the gender disrriminatinatory aspect yet keep a marketing tactic that will intrigue consumers. In all, this was an extremely interesting and well written text!

7 months 1 week ago

I love the title! It's clever and the use of play on words creates a certain humour and horror to the post. I also like how the fact that this ad was banned in the UK was included in the introduction since it starts of the text with a shocking fact that immediately catches the readers attention. When speaking about the message of female submissiveness in the advertisement, I completely agree with your argument that the man having his arms around the woman's leg while she is lowering her panties enforces the idea that men are in sexual control and women are to do nothing but accept sexual attention from men. I did not see any connection made to the promotion of rape culture as it can, and should, be linked to this advertisement. I think it would have been important to explain how the position of the male, with his hands around the woman's legs and facing her naked genitalia, encourages men to feel sexually empowered over women and believe that their sexual needs come first, which ultimately encourages the presence of a rape culture. I also think it would have been beneficial to analyze how the woman in the photograph has only her lower body in sight, which helps to spread the message of female objectification. It is a method of dehumanizing the model as the viewer does not see the woman's face and simply sees her as a corps, as a symbol for sex and for male pleasure. I really like how you analyzed both female and male issues in this advertisement and did not only concentrate on the obvious female related issues in the ad. I also agree with the solution since Gucci is known for accommodating the higher class of society and it is important to keep that element in order to keep the urge for consumers to buy their products, but by changing the visual, sexual set up in order to eliminate gender discriminating messages in the advertisement.

7 months 1 week ago

I must admit that you certainly brought up quite appalling yet important arguments that demonstrate the problems currently present with society's views on gender. We often like to this of our generation being better educated and more advanced than all of those before us, yet we still maintain such ignorant views that women must starve themselves in order to attain an inhuman physics in order to be loved by another male. We would think that being as educated and advanced in 2000's that we would no longer see such repulsive messages circulating in society, yet you have proved with this advertisement that we have not advanced with society's values of an ideal female physic. Perhaps you could have maybe analyzed the features of the model which are often connected to the perfect female physic (white skin, blonde hair, defined jaw line, soft clean skin, etc), which also lead to women spending tones of money on plastic surgery and aesthetics products in our society. The one thing I would not be so certain about is the assumption that a man made this advertisement. The reason this messages exist are partially because society's members (both men and women) believe them to be true. If a women believes this message to be true, it is very possible that a women who is in the marketing industry is likely to create an ad that reflects her and society's values of the perfect female image. I completely agree with the proposed solution, but adding a man in the ad may not be ideal seeing as the advertisement may be directly targeting women as customers.I agree that having a slogan that comments on the health benefits of the protein bar is a perfect way to help change the messages of this advertisement, as well as changing the image. Well done!

Reply to: Protect the Future
7 months 1 week ago

This is the first advertisement I have seen that takes such a subtle method in order to educate society on gender inequality. I believe choosing such an ad really delivered the point you are trying to convey as many of societies members may have already realized the possible negative messages being conveyed in highly sexualized ads with grown women, but many have not really analyzed how dangerous an ad such as this one can be. I think one aspect that could have been mentioned as well is how this advertisement has a major impact on adults as it is discretely implying that they should have separate and specific aspirations for both their daughters and their sons. Advertisements such as these may be the reason why it is common to this different parenting styles between a parent and his/her daughter(s) and son(s). This advertisement clearly demonstrates how gender bias is taught to all ages, including toddlers, which, as you mentioned, may not be expected by most people. As far as your solution, what kind of changes could be made in order to promote gender equality? If both the boy and girl were promoted as social butterflies, would that be considered a proper fix in order to promote equality between men and women? It seems as though you may have accidentally rejected the idea of being a social butterfly as if that was part of the problem, whereas it would not be a problem if both toddlers were seen as geniuses and social butterflies. I must admit that automatically labeling the girl as the social butterfly fits perfectly within society's gendered expectations on how women are meant to behave. Congratulations on a job well done!

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