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WIU Department of History Chair Jennifer McNabb
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WIU's McNabb Releases The Great Courses on the Renaissance

July 20, 2018

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MACOMB, IL -- The Great Courses has announced the release of "Renaissance: The Transformation of the West" — 48 lectures that go beyond the artistic and cultural achievements of this period, taught by historian and award-winning Western Illinois University Department of History Chair Jennifer McNabb.

The course delivers a holistic, comprehensive view of the Renaissance that will show just how impressive and truly influential it was—focusing on epic transformations in politics, spirituality, philosophies, economics and societies.

"The scope of our course is broad because I want us to see the Renaissance not as a single event but as a transformative process whose influences touched many areas of early modern life," said McNabb.

McNabb's extensive background in medieval and Renaissance history makes her the perfect guide through these exciting, tumultuous and powerful centuries of Western civilization. She brings the same celebrated teaching style that has earned her awards, including the Provost's Award for Excellence in Teaching from Western. As McNabb guides viewers through centuries of exhilarating change in Europe, she focuses on often-unexplored or overlooked areas, including the role of women in the Renaissance, the daily lives of the rural poor and urban elite, the classical roots of Renaissance thinking and the powerful connections to the Reformation.

Available exclusively at The Great Courses, "Renaissance: The Transformation of the West" offers a wealth of critical insights and connections not found in typical narratives that celebrate the centuries between medievalism and modernity.

The Great Courses, which services millions of lifelong learners, has delivered more than 20 million courses since 1990. Every month, the company releases new titles spanning dozens of categories and always aimed at igniting the minds and imaginations of its customers. 

"Most of our studies of the Renaissance focus on the art and culture movements of Italy. Our goal with 'Renaissance: The Transformation of the West' was to provide our lifelong learners with a chance to immerse themselves in aspects of the Renaissance often overshadowed by brilliant art," said VP of Marketing at The Great Courses, Cale Pritchett. "In short, we wanted a way for our lifelong learners to truly grasp the global impact of these centuries of change—and how they firmly established much of the early modern world."

Available on video or audio, "Renaissance: The Transformation of the West" is an authoritative, wide-ranging, and multidisciplinary way to experience not just one of Europe's Renaissance movements—but all of them.

McNabb received her PhD in History from the University of Colorado Boulder in 2003. Since joining the WIU faculty in 2005, Professor McNabb has received the Provost's Award for Excellence in Teaching and the College of Arts and Sciences Outstanding Faculty Award for Teaching and for Service. She also previously served as the associate director of the WIU Centennial Honors College.

McNabb has spoken and published widely on social relationships in early modern Europe, especially courtship and marriage. In addition to articles in journals such as the Journal of Women's History and Quidditas, she has authored material for several textbooks on Western civilization and European history. McNabb has served as president of the Rocky Mountain Medieval and Renaissance Association and is the former chair of the program committee of the Midwest Conference on British Studies. In 2018, she was appointed as the Advanced Placement European History Chief Reader.

More information about The Great Courses can be found at

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