When we place events in the past, we choose coordinates like the term "century," which is relatively neutral, however arbitrary. Conventional terms like "the Renaissance" or "the postmodern" carry more baggage. In this course, we choose the equally difficult concept of the "premodern" to describe the past but rethink its qualities. What is the "modernity" that it precedes? Does the "premodern" elide differences between the ancient and the medieval? How might premodernity help us think of a time/place that includes both classical and medieval periods? How can we speak of the past if it persists in the present or is the basis for the future?