MEST M200 / FRIT M222: Medieval Italy: Cultural Identity in Medieval Italy (Storey)
This class investigates the role of identity in the cultural, political, and artistic formation of medieval Italy from Rome’s third-century revision of the definition of citizenship (225 A.C.E.) to Boccaccio’s and the early humanists’ stories about corruption, sexual betrayal, and the nature of royalty and of humankind. Do medieval Italians identify themselves according to their family ties, the State, their political party, the Church? (and at what level? allegiance to the bishop or to the local priest who protects their land claims against papal interests?) And how do financial interests, class, language, education, and gender alter these traditional identities that are anything other than monolithic? We will examine the formation of identity across the peninsula, from Milan and Venice to Arabic and Norman Sicily, to understand also the foundations of modern Italian identity. Readings will include selections from Boethius’s Consolation of Philosophy, Polybius’s History of Rome, Boccaccio’s Decameron, Dante’s Divine Comedy, Paul the Deacon’s History of the Lombards, as well as Christian and Arabic chronicles from Florence, Sicily, and Venice, crusade songs, inquisition narratives, personal letters, and the art and philosophies that marked the development of Italian medieval cultures.
CEUS U595: Introduction to Central Eurasian History (Beckwith)
This course is an introduction to the history of the world area traditionally known as Central Eurasia, which stretches from the Arctic up to the Indian Subcontinent and from Central Europe to northwestern China and the Sea of Japan. The focus is on the ethnolinguistic origins and the socio-economic and political-religious structure of the most prominent nations of this area--speakers of Indo-European, Uralic, Turkic, Mongolic, Tibeto-Burman, Tungusic, and Puyo-Koguryoic languages—and their political and intellectual achievements. The course will cover the period from the migrations of the early Indo-Europeans up to the present day, but will focus on the period from late Antiquity through the Renaissance. While the conquests of the nomadic empires (for example, the careers of Attila the Hun and Chinggis Khan) are covered, the emphasis is on correcting the distorted received view of Central Eurasians as, essentially, ‘barbarians’ rather than bearers of an advanced, complex culture (with many subcultures and regional variants) that made important contributions to the culture of Eurasia and the world as a whole.
CLAS G200: Greek Prose: Pagans & Christians (Christ)
This course introduces students to reading continuous passages from original Greek texts. The first half of the semester will be devoted to readings from the Greek New Testament, focusing on Acts. The second half will focus on selections from Plato’s Apology. A review of Greek grammar will help students develop their skills in reading Greek.
CLAS L409: Readings In Medieval Latin (Balint)
Survey of the secular and religious literature of the Middle Ages; discussion of the later development of the Latin language; selections from such authors as Gregory of Tours, Isidore of Seville, Paul the Deacon, Matthew Paris, and Bernard of Cluny.
EALC E201: Lords, Ladies, and Hermits in Traditional Japanese Culture (Sarra)
In this lecture/discussion course we will be reading some of the best known and most influential works of Japan’s classical and early medieval eras with attention to the representation of three groups of characters: court women, aristocratic and/or warrior-class men, and hermits (of both genders). The goal of the course is to introduce students to the literate groups of classical Japan, exploring social, political, and religious contexts as well as the literary conventions created in this period to depict the world of romantic love, norms of masculinity and femininity, and religious aspirations. In addition to exploring Japan’s literary golden age, this course aims to teach you basic skills in careful reading and interpretation of literary and critical texts which should be widely applicable to other courses in literature, history, and related pursuits.
ENG E301: Literatures in English to 1600 (Linton)
This course introduces you to literatures in English in the Medieval and Early Modern periods, with a focus on the images of community presented in these works, and the social values and assumptions they reflect or question. We will read texts from a variety of critical perspectives in order to develop an understanding of each within its literary, cultural, and historical contexts. Our goal is not simply to learn about literatures from cultures removed from ours, but to use this difference as a basis for reflecting on our own critical perspectives and cultural assumptions. In written assignments, we will expand and sharpen our rhetorical and interpretive skills in developing insights into specific texts.
ENG E301: Literatures in English to 1600 (Anderson)
This course will focus on English literature from Anglo-Saxon times to the Elizabethan period. Reading will likely include, but not be limited to, Beowulf, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, extensive selections from Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales, selected sonnets, and important texts by Sidney, Spenser, Marlowe, and Shakespeare. The course will emphasize the major literary achievements of the centuries it treats, acknowledging as well the larger cultural contexts in which these participate.
ENG L306: Medieval Appetites (Gayk)
From feasting to fasting, eating books to eating bodies, appetite is an important motif in medieval literature. In this course we will read widely in early English literature, considering allegorical pilgrimages, Arthurian legends, saints lives, medieval dietaries and advice books, and modern cinematic versions of medieval texts. In our discussions of these readings, we will focus on discourses of desire, appetite, and consumption and ask some of the following questions: What does food mean in medieval literature? What did people eat and how did they understand and represent their relation to food? What does food have to do with sex? With religion? What does the hungry body have to do with the hungry soul? What social and ethical issues are bound up with the production and distribution of food in late medieval England? Over the course of semester we will consider representations of: feasting, fasting, cannibalism, Eucharistic consumption, eating books, medieval ideas about health, and the ethics of eating. Readings will include: Piers Plowman, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, Pearl, The Life of Saint Katherine, The Croxton Play of the Sacrament, Malory’s Le Morte d’Arthur, and selections from medieval lyrics and dietaries.
ENG G603: Introduction to Old English (Fulk)
The topic this semester will be the Middle Welsh language. Welsh is a Celtic language, a lineal descendant of the language spoken in most of Britain when the Anglo-Saxons invaded the island in the fifth century. Middle Welsh is the form that the language took from the middle of the twelfth century to the end of the fourteenth, the period during which for the first time a corpus of literature in Welsh is preserved—as opposed to the rare, stray glosses and names that comprise nearly all of the small corpus of Old Welsh. Some Middle Welsh texts, however, are plainly redactions of much earlier compositions, some perhaps as old as the sixth century. The language is something like English in structure, as it is syntactically isolative and not heavily inflected, though the word order is different, and syntactic functions are frequently indicated by initial consonant mutations (as in Old Irish, though Welsh is much easier to learn and pronounce). Our approach to the language will be text-oriented, so that we will learn much of our grammar from the process of translating texts (much as one learns, for example, Old Norse reading the texts in Gordon’s Introduction to Old Norse). Depending on availability, the texts to be studied will include Branwen Uerch Lyr from the delightful, fairy-tale-like Pedeir Keinc y Mabinogi ‘Four Branches of the Mabinogi’, as well as the tale Cyfranc Lludd a Llefelys and selections from the older heroic-elegiac verse.
ENG L613: Middle English Literature: From History to Form: Readings in the Long Fifteenth Century (Gayk)
The last decade has seen the fifteenth century emerge as an increasingly defined period of literary study. Recent work on this period has brought new perspectives along with challenges to notions of the English medieval canon, authorship, and traditions of literary authority. The fifteenth century has emerged, in short, as both a new field and as a testing ground for rethinking periodization and theorizing the relations between form and history. Yet even while the fifteenth century has attracted a new critical momentum, the majority of work has concentrated on only the opening years of the 1500s. Figures like John Lydgate and Thomas Hoccleve tend to stand in for broader claims about both the century as a whole and “post-Chaucerian” writing. While we will consider these writers in L613, we will read them in their fifteenth-century context, paying special attention to the middle and later years of the century. Writers from these years, like Audelay, Capgrave, and Caxton, but also Skelton, Medwall and the early English humanists, have been only lightly treated, and often through literary historiography; the few studies of these figures primarily consider questions of heresy, censorship, the market, emerging literacy, shifting patronage models, and the role of the courtier. In this course, we will extend the critical chronology of the fifteenth century and also explore how the century’s writers speak to the categories of “literary” and “history” that inform our sense of the changes that took place over this period – from incunabula to print, from Catholic to reformist, from Middle Ages to Renaissance. Over the course of the semester, we will consistently interrogate the period’s engagements with formal innovations and historical interventions.
FRIT F361: Introduction historique à la civilisation française I (Merceron)
Dans cette introduction historique à la civilisation française, nous étudierons la période qui s’étend de l’arrivée au pouvoir des dynasties mérovingienne et carolingienne des Ve-VIIIe siècles (Clovis ; Pépin le Bref, puis Charlemagne et ses fils) à la fin du XVe siècle. Le cours combinera la présentation des « événements historiques » et l’étude de l’évolution des institutions politiques, économiques et sociales (l’aspect artistique et culturel de cette période est traité dans un autre cours : F463/1).
FRIT M307: Masterpieces of Italian Literature to 1600 (Sacalabrini)
The focus of this course is the literature of Medieval and Renaissance Italy. Its goal is to read some of Italy’s most representative works, to understand them in their specific contexts, and to develop a historical and critical approach to literary texts. Dante, Petrarch, Boccaccio, Machiavelli and Guicciardini will be among the authors considered. The class will be conducted in Italian.
FRIT M603: Literary Politics in Medieval Italian Literature (Storey)
What are “literary politics”? how do they affect the nature of our reading and interpretation of medieval Italian literature? These two questions form the basis of this seminar, which considers the critical filters of the study of medieval Italian literature, from the image of Federico II in the Tuscan Novellino, Dante’s suppression of Guittone d’Arezzo, and the pivotal role ofBoccaccio’s redefini tions of Dante and Petrarch, to the controversies that surround the 1921 and current editions of the Divine Comedy and the schools of critical thought in Petrarchan studies. In addition the class will investigate the application of critical and theoretical trends in the study of medieval Italian literature and its historical documentation.
GER G403: Medieval German Literature (Keller)
Hartmann von Aue wrote the first German novel. Its title-figure is the knight Erec. The French original “Erec et Enide” also included Erec’s wife in its title. Why did Hartmann omit her and what is her role in the story? We will look for answers as a means of accessing Hartmann’s literary world through careful reading. The major goal of this course is to introduce students to the rich cultural, historical, literary, and linguistic world of German-speaking countries during the Middle Ages. A complementary goal is to develop students’ German-language proficiency; hence, the language of instruction will be German. Each week will include practice in storytelling and reading the original texts out loud. Even if Middle High German represents new territory for you, think of these experiments as an adventure in themselves, In this and other ways, the seminar will seek to explore the convergence of medieval and modern conceptions and experiences of storytelling.
GER G635: Old Icelandic (Gade)
The object of the course is to give an introduction to Old Icelandic language and literature. The focus will be on linguistic aspects (phonology, morphology, and syntax), with sidelights to the literary, cultural, and mythological traditions. Select passages from E. V. Gordon, An Introduction to Old Norse will be translated and serve as a background for the lectures
HIST H251: Jewish History: Bible to Spanish Expulsion (Veidlinger)
This course is an introduction to the major themes and developments of the Jewish historical experience from the biblical period to the early modern period. Topics include the biblical origins of the Jewish people and the ancient Israelite monarchy; Jewish life in the Land of Israel during the Second Temple period; Judaism and Hellenism; the emergence of rabbinic Judaism and the composition of its major texts; the emergence of Jewish centers in medieval Europe and the origins of Sephardi and Ashkenazi Judaism; the relations between Jews and Christians and between Jews and Muslims; the Jews during the Crusades; and the fate of Spanish Jewry until the expulsion in 1492.
HIST B204: Medieval Heroes (Shopkow)
Well, heroes are fun, aren’t they? But a society’s heroes can tell you a lot about that society. (Can you imagine Rambo or Forrest Gump being heroes in any society but modern America?) So heroes are a great way to learn about past societies. This course is an introduction to the history of the Middle Ages in western Europe through its heroes. What made people heroes in the Middle Ages? Who can be a hero? Who can become a heroine? How did changes in medieval society create changes in people’s thinking about heroes? And how do modern people see these medieval heroes? I’ve chosen a mix of figures to represent the three periods of the Middle Ages: the early Middle Ages (c. 300-c. 1000), the high Middle Ages (c. 1000-c. 1300), and the later Middle Ages (c. 1300-c. 1500). There are all kinds of heroes: saints, outlaws, kings and legends. We’ll look at what was going on when their stories were written and why they became significant heroes.
HIST B351: Western Europe in the Early Middle Ages (Deliyannis)
The Early Middle Ages (c. 400-1000 AD) was a time of dramatic cultural, political, and social change. In the year 400, the Roman empire was a political entity that embraced most of western Europe, as well as much of eastern Europe, the Levant, and North Africa. People belonged to a variety of different religious, cultural, and ethnic groups, but all coexisted under a common Roman administrative and social umbrella. In the year 1000, western Europe was divided into various different political units, but again shared similar sorts of economic and social institutions, and had a common religion centered on Rome. However, the eastern and southern Mediterranean areas had gone in very different directions. The civilization of 1000 was very different from that of 400; during these seven hundred years, Europe experienced invasion, conversion, and other upheavals that overturned the old Roman order and shaped entirely new systems. Europe in 1000 contained many of the political, cultural, religious, ethnic, and linguistic boundaries that we know today, and thus the Early Middle Ages can be regarded as the period in which the foundations of modern western society were put into place. We will be examining the different ways that Roman, Germanic, Christian, and Islamic traditions interacted to produce this new world.
HIST H710: Medieval Historiography (Deliyannis)
Medieval historiography has been called “inauthentic, unscientific, unreliable, ahistorical, irrational, borderline illiterate, and, worse yet, unprofessional.” Historia in the Middle Ages meant “story” or “narrative”, and could refer to narrative works of art, saints’ lives, parts of the bible, the literal sense of scriptural texts, liturgical offices, epic poems, and other texts and objects. “History” as we understand it was not part of the traditional education curriculum, and, perhaps as a result, was written in a large variety of genres and styles. Historical texts are extremely important sources of information for historians of all different aspects of medieval culture; however, before ‘facts’ can be extracted from them, we must understand why and how those pieces of information are included in the first place. In this course we will examine some of the major historical and biographical works written during the Middle Ages, as well as modern scholarly studies of these texts. We will consider the research methods of these authors, the sources and models that they used, and the different formats in which they arranged their information to fulfill their own personal, political, and literary aspirations. We will then discuss what kinds of information can be acquired from them, and what their limitations as sources are.
FINA A327/527: Formation of Islamic Art (Gruber)
This course examines the beginnings, development, and maturation of Islamic art and architecture around the world from the 7th to the 20th century. Beginning with a discussion of Islam, Muhammad, the Qur’an, and a definition of “Islamic” art, we will discuss the roles and meanings of demarcating divine topography as visible in the Ka‘ba in Mecca and the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem. The rapid spread of Islam to the east and west during the 9th- 11th centuries created a new vocabulary for Islamic art and architecture, fusing pre-existing Byzantine and Persian models with Islamic innovations. We will look at mosque and palace complexes in north Africa, southern Spain, as well as in Mesopotamia and Central Asia. During the Crusades, Islam came into close contact with Europe, resulting in fascinating hybrid objects and architecture that call into question the simplistic division of “East” and “West.” From the 15th to the 17th century, the three so-called gunpowder states of Anatolia (the Ottomans), Persia (the Safavids), and the Indian Subcontinent (the Mughals) created new concepts of empire, wealth, and administration in the imperial cities of Istanbul, Isfahan, and Agra. Finally, Colonialism and Orientalism will be examined, as well as the emergence of modern Islamic art.
FINA A623: Romanesque Manuscripts (Reilly)
In the eleventh and twelfth centuries, monasteries began to produce a variety of different kinds of illuminated manuscripts both to meet their own needs, for export, and as gifts for other people and places. This course will explore the uses, appearance, and owners of such manuscripts as the Giant Bibles, the Exultet Roll, the illustrated Saint’s Life, and the Psalter. Students will lead a reading discussion and write a critique of a scholarly work, prepare an in-class presentation and a research paper on a manuscript or an aspect of manuscript production.
NELC N707: Praise Poems to the Prophet (Stetkevych)
This course will consist of the close reading and contextual study of the tradition of Mada’ih Nabawiyyah (Praise Poems to the Prophet) focusing on three main texts: the Burdahs of Ka’b ibn Zuhayr and al-Busiri, and the Nahj al-Burdah of Ahmad Shawqi, as well as additional related texts from the Arabic tradition. We will examine the texts themselves and the traditions of relics and miracles, commentary, expansion, imitation and translation that grow out of them. Students who work in other Islamic languages are welcome to present related works from other traditions.
MUS M651: Medieval Music (Mathiesen)
A survey of music in the Middle Ages, beginning with the development of the Christian liturgy (East and West) and the various traditions of chant (Byzantine, Old Roman, Ambrosian, Gallican, and Gregorian) and extending through secular song (especially the Troubadours and Trouvères), notated polyphony (including the Schools of St. Martial and Notre Dame), medieval music theory, the music of fourteenth-century France (especially Philippe de Vitry and Guillaume de Machaut) and Italy, and English music, concluding with John Dunstaple. The course requirements include a term paper or project and a final examination with aural and written components. Although some basic background in music is helpful, detailed knowledge of musical notation and prior experience with the repertoire is not a prerequisite.
PHIL P710: Medieval Science (Wood)
A look at the tough questions medieval natural philosophers addressed: Has the world always existed? Was the past eternal or finite? Out of what elements is the world comprised? Is it made up of indivisible atoms or continuous substances? Does each substance have a single nature, or is each individual compounded from many natures? How does one substance change into another? We begin by looking at Aristotle and continue with thirteenth- and fourteenth-century authors: Richard Rufus, Thomas Aquinas, William Ockham, and Adam Wodeham.
REL R330: Christianity 400-1500 (Furey)
We often hear that Medieval Europe was a Christian society. But what does this mean? How did Christianity shape politics? Piety? Social relationships? And what about Christians who lived outside of western Europe? Or Jews and Muslims who lived among Christians in Europe? In this course we will look for answers to these questions by studying the history of Christianity from 400-1500. This means our investigation will stretch from the time when northern Europeans took over the Roman Empire and solidified a political divide between eastern and western Christianity all the way to the eve of the Protestant Reformation, when powerful reformers like Martin Luther inspired the rise of new forms of Christianity and catalyzed the break-up of medieval Christendom. This course explores the fascinating diversity of Christianity from 400-1500 CE by surveying the history in three thematic cycles. In Section One we focus on the institutional authority of the Catholic Church; in Section Two we analyze the religious authority of saints and holiness; and Section Three explores the intellectual authority of theologians and theological teachings. This structure will allow us to revisit key developments in medieval Christianity from different perspectives during the course of the semester and will demonstrate the complexity and variety of practices, beliefs, institutional structures, and religious attitudes within a single religious tradition. By the end of the course we should understand the ways medieval Christians in western Europe (and, to a lesser extent, the eastern Orthodox churches) might have answered the following questions: Where is the holy? What is the source of authority? How do we know God? How can we find salvation?
REL R425: Gnostic Religion & Literature (Brakke)
The Gnostics were condemned by other ancient Christians as the ultimate “heretics,” and their writings—most of which were rediscovered only sixty years ago—are filled with elaborate myths and “shocking” versions of biblical stories. The ancient religion of gnosis (“knowledge, acquaintance”) continues to fascinate and attract some modern people, while scholars now debate whether Gnosticism even existed. We will study the myths, rituals, and beliefs of the Gnostic sect, Valentinus and his followers, and the School of St. Thomas. We will consider important methodological issues that these movements pose for the historian of religion: How do we classify religious groups? How do we make sense of strange myths? How do we evaluate hostile sources? We will also study how “proto-orthodox” Christian thinkers responded to the challenges of Gnostic thought.
HISP C400: Catalan Language & Culture
This introductory course to Catalan language and culture has three main goals. First, it aims to provide a basic knowledge of the Catalan language. The course will be an intensive study of the language, geared primarily at reading knowledge, but not limited to it. A solid knowledge of another Romance language is assumed of all students. Secondly, the course will also consist of a cultural overview of Catalunya and the Catalan linguistic area (País Valencià, Illes Balears, Andorra, Rosselló-Catalunya Nord, and the city of l’Alguer). We will focus on the cultural history of this nation in its always conflictive relations to the Spanish and French states. Finally, the case of Catalonia and its both unique and exemplary characteristics will be a perfect occasion to undertake more general reflections on the intricate relations between language, culture, the modern state, and globalization.