Collins Living Learning Center | Medieval Travel Literature
L310 | 23167 | Elizabeth Williamsen


This course will examine popular travel narratives of the Middle Ages from
Scandinavia to Japan, exploring the conventions of the genre as well as
analyzing the intercultural encounters the narratives describe.  The major
inquiries of the course will include the following:  How do medieval texts
represent foreignness?  Do the travelers embrace or reject the differences
they encounter?  To what uses could their narratives be put, both by their
contemporary audiences and by us as students of medieval history and
culture?  How do some of the conventions of these medieval narratives linger
on in modern texts about foreign travel?  We will be considering these issues
and others that arise through active class discussion, thinking critically about
medieval texts and the culture that produced them, as well as about our own
perceptions of difference, even to the extent of seeing the past as foreign.