In Cultural Periods and Styles we’ll be working within the Modern Era, or roughly from 1492 to the present. This span of years is, in itself, a traditional periodization, one that foregrounds two related events of that year. The first, odds are, you already know: the Columbian “discovery” of America. The second is equally as important in world-historical terms and has a particular resonance with the contemporary (another periodization) geopolitical scene: the Reconquista, or the moment when the last vestiges of Islamic rule in the Iberian Peninsula were extinguished. That latter process took centuries to unfold and ended with the expulsion (ethnic cleansing) of almost the entire Muslim and Jewish population of Al-Andalus. Notably, then, historians of the Modern Era have often chosen to emphasize not only the opening of the “antipodes” as the projection of “Western” power (in all its forms: military, technological, political, etc.) but Europe’s reconsolidation against the “foreign” element of Islam.