In the words of George Scialabba, “modernity is the ensemble of changes—intellectual, political, economic, social, cultural, technological, aesthetic—that have altered the world drastically since roughly the 17th century, until which time the world was. . .far less different from the world of any previous epoch. . .than it is from the world of today.?The modern predicament is the set of problems these changes have bequeathed us.” Focusing on the Dutch Republic between 1568 and 1700—a period of unprecedented cultural, artistic, and scientific achievement—we will explore ways in which the world it created both resembles and differs from our own.?The paintings of Rembrandt, Vermeer, and other Dutch masters will provide points of entry to topics as diverse as global trade, climate change, the Jewish Diaspora, religious conflict, Descartes, Spinoza, publishing, cartography, science, natural history, music, and literature.?Utilizing a combination of video resources, presentations, and discussion, this study group depends on the willingness of members to research and present topics drawn from the class syllabus.?Close reading and discussion of both primary and secondary sources is expected from all study group members.?Use of Canvas is mandatory. No class on 10/29/19.