In the early sixteenth century, the institutional unity of western Christianity came to an end. There had been plenty of challenges to that unity in the past, and many years elapsed before the “Luther Affair” transformed into the “Protestant Reformation.” But within a few decades, Protestantism had become the first Christian “heresy” since the early Middle Ages to assert itself successfully as a state-supported alternative to the established Catholic faith. This rupture was unique in that it ultimately affected every aspect of religion, society, culture, gender, and politics in western Europe. Beyond the impact of Reformation on theology and political thought, too, most Christians would eventually come to think of themselves as adherents of this “confession” or that., and behave accordingly in their choice of neighborhoods, for example, or marriage partners. How did all this happen? Why did it happen when it did? What were the social, cultural, and political antecedents and preconditions of reform? How did this schism alter the lives ordinary people in sixteenth- and seventeenth-century Europe? What role did ordinary people play in creating the Reformation and spreading it? History 441/541 introduces students the causes, contours, and consequences of the Protestant Reformation, primarily as it affected subjects of the Holy Roman Empire and Switzerland. The emphasis in course readings will be on primary documents and scholarly studies, and will approach the subject on a broad front. In addition to traditional sources on the Reformation—key theological treatises by Martin Luther, Huldrych Zwingli, and Jean Calvin, for example—we will also read and discuss samples of visual “propaganda” sources on the Reformation as it affected the relationship between secular and spiritual authority, and documents on the Reformation as it related to marriage, communal life, and popular culture.