Indiana University Bloomington
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Course Descriptions


Spring 2015


MEST-M 390 Studies in Medieval Culture 3 cr McGerr, R.
MEST-M 600 Medieval Manuscripts 4 cr Balint, B.
MEST-M 650
MUS-M 510
Music Books 1140-1450 3 cr Di Bacco, G.
MEST-M 815 Readings in Medieval Civilization 1-4 cr McGerr, R.


CEUS-T 352
CEUS-T 752
Advanced Persian II 4 cr Choksy, J.


CLAS-L 429 Roman Letters 3 cr Bannon, C.


COLL-C 104 Empire of the Mongols 3 cr Atwood, C.


ENG-L 610 Chaucer, Pre- and Postmodern 4 cr Lochrie, K.
ENG-L 760 The Exeter Book of Old English Poetry 4 cr Fulk, R.


FRIT-F 603 History of the French Language II 3 cr Vance, B.


HIST-H 206 Medieval Civilization 3 cr Deliyannis, D.
HIST-B 352 The High and Later Middle Ages in Europe 3 cr Shopkow, L.
HIST-G 357 Survey of Premodern Japanese History 3 cr Oxenboell, M.
HIST-H 610
HIST-H 710
Chivalry and Courtliness 4 cr Shopkow, L.


FINA-A 101 Ancient and Medieval Art 3 cr Graves, M.
FINA-A 425
FINA-A 525
Art and the Church in Byzantium 4 cr Bassett, S.


HON-H 235 Bibles and Bodies 3 cr Furey, C.


JSTU-J 304 Muslim Spain 3 cr Gonzalez Dieguez, G.


NELC-N 303
NELC-N 695
Muslim Spain 3 cr Gonzalez Dieguez, G.


COLL-C 104 Empire of the Mongols

This course introduces beginning students to the Mongol Empire, the largest land empire in the world. Themes include the nomadic lifestyle, Mongol military skills, institutions, and government. Readings from across Eurasia's societies (Mongols, China, medieval Europe, Islam) introduce their culture, methods of conquest, and interactions with the conquered peoples.

ENG-L 610 Chaucer, Pre- and Postmodern

This course will work intensively with the writings of Geoffrey Chaucer, including the Canterbury Tales, Troilus and Criseyde, and some of his dream poems. We will be reading exclusively in Middle English, but prior knowledge of the language isn't required. It's fairly easy to pick up. Instead of reading Chaucer's work in terms of a major issue or critical approach, this course will sample various recent approaches to medieval literature and culture, including ecocriticism, affect theory, queer theory, and more. Students can sample different approaches and delve into one more fully in a seminar report and/or paper. For medievalists among in the class, there will be opportunities to consider pedagogies in relationship to the material for oral presentations. There will be seminar presentations, some short papers and one conference-length paper due at the end of the semester.

ENG-L 760 The Exeter Book of Old English Poetry

Most of this course will be devoted to the intensive study of the poems contained in the Exeter Book, in which are found such familiar Old English poems as The Wanderer, The Seafarer, and the Old English Riddles. But we will also examine a few works from other sources, in both verse and prose. The general aim of the course will be to cultivate familiarity with the nature of Old English poetry, the makeup of the Old English poetic corpus, the history of scholarly approaches to the corpus, current trends in scholarship, and the resources available for the study of Old English verse. In other words, this seminar will aim to prepare students for professional participation in Old English scholarship devoted to poetry. Particular emphasis will be laid upon textual criticism in Old English studies, with comparisons drawn to textual studies in other periods. On a day-to-day basis, seminar sessions will generally include the analysis and translation of texts, along with discussion of relevant criticism and critical methods. Since this is a seminar, members will make in-class presentations and submit a seminar paper. A prerequisite is an introductory course in the Old English language, G601 or equivalent.

HIST-H 206 Medieval Civilization

The Middle Ages spanned more than a thousand years, from approximately 400 to 1500 AD, and included many different political, cultural, and ethnic communities. There was not one medieval civilization, but many medieval civilizations, related in some ways to each other, but distinct and constantly changing. This class will be an introduction to the history of the Middle Ages through its culture and ways of life. Because the period to be covered is so vast, we will focus our attention on six moments in time and space that are representative of some of the communities of the Middle Ages. We will look at villages and cathedral towns, monasteries and manor houses and cities, and for each, we will consider who lived in the community, what activities they took part in, what the community looked like physically, and what aspects of medieval life, politics, and culture are represented there. Students will read short selections from primary sources and use them to complete four short (2-3 page) written exercises/papers; there will also be a midterm and a final exam.

HIST-B 352 The High and Later Middle Ages in Europe

An accused poisoner, a ragged preacher, and a knight walk into the room... What do they have in common? They're all people struggling with some issues we still face in modern society: what's the role of religion in society; how can we cope with violence; what do you do if your in-laws really hate you? We'll be looking at their stories and more as we consider the High Middle and Later Middle Ages in Europe (c. 1000-c. 1500), trying to understand both how medieval people saw their world and how we can understand the ways their lives and ideas were both like ours and very different from ours. We'll approach this exciting period of history through five scholarly works, all of which take different approaches to the period. We'll think about medieval colonialism, urban economic life, the ideology of chivalry, and family politics. We'll be talking not only about the Middle Ages but also about how we can know about the past and create our own histories of it. The culmination of the course will be a research paper that you will be guided through to create your own take on the high and later Middle Ages in Europe.

HIST-G 357 Survey of Premodern Japanese History

Most people know about the samurai: fierce warriors with a strong sense of honor. But from where or what did they originate and develop? Were their concepts of honor significantly different from other groups in premodern Japanese society? One of the goals of the course is to make the students reflect on what honor means and how it can be gained, defended, transmitted, and capitalized on for political or material purposes. During this course we will look at the general patterns in politics, religion, literature and philosophy of the premodern period in Japan (until c. 1600). The main focus will be on (but certainly not limited to) the so-called warrior class and on its significance for the political and cultural development of premodern and early modern Japanese society. We will read some of the most influential works from the classical and medieval eras (in English translation) and discuss central concepts of honor, loyalty and violence. The professional warriors were of course not alone in the quest for honor and power in premodern Japan, and powerful monasteries, aristocrats, merchants, peasants and bandits all had competing sets of values and norms. We will discuss how these values were negotiated and how such negotiations manifested themselves in available sources from this period. Main texts: Karl Friday (ed), "Japan Emerging", 2012 Wayne Farris, "Japan to 1600: A social and economic history", 2009 Additional texts will be made available on Oncourse Course requirements consist of the following: * A Mid-term Paper (15 %): 8-10 pages (3500-4000 words). In the paper you must demonstrate an ability to formulate a precise research question and to answer the question through a thorough analysis of both primary and secondary source materials. * 3 small papers (30%): each 1-3 pages (400-1200 words). You must demonstrate a good understanding of the topic for the paper and an ability to communicate this understanding to a person not familiar with it. * Oral Presentations (5 %): Each student will be responsible for a 5-10 minutes presentation in front of the class. In the presentation you must present the main arguments of the assigned readings and answer questions from the rest of the class. * Final Paper: (20 %): 10-12 pages (4000-5000 words). Otherwise same as Mid-term paper. * Classroom: (20 %): This will not be assessed on attendance, but on active participation in class discussions, personal reflections on the assigned material, and attention to the words of the instructor and fellow students in class. * Oral Exam (10 %): 20 minutes individual exam in my office. The discussion will be based on your papers (mid-term paper and final paper) but will also include material assigned throughout the course. You will be evaluated especially on your ability to relate your topics to the overall geographical and temporal theme of the course.

HIST-H 610
HIST-H 710
Chivalry and Courtliness

Perhaps no features of medieval society have been as hotly contested as chivalry and courtliness. Where did they come from? Were they central or peripheral to the way developing medieval elites conceived of themselves? Did chivalry curb violence or perpetuate it? [How] did the crusades fit in? What was the role in women in creating or perpetuating either concept? Where or how did sexuality play a role in love? How did the church respond to ideologies containing so much that was antithetical to doctrine? Finally, were these merely intellectual conceits or did they have some connection to reality?:

Needless to say, with so much ink spilled on this huge topic, in this semester we won't be able to be comprehensive, so we will be examining the issues raised by this through a series of lenses, such as violence (including violence against women) and sexuality, and reading some relatively recent scholarship in these areas as well as a few classics. We will focus on the secondary literature, but in the course of individual research you will be working with primary source materials.

Students taking the course as H610 will write a bibliographic essay as their final projects. Students taking the course as H710 will write a research paper on a topic of their choice related to this question. All students will write responses to and reviews of the assigned reading

FINA-A 101 Ancient and Medieval Art

This survey course will examine the history of the visual arts in the Western world from Ancient Egypt (ca. 3000 BC) to the end of the Gothic era in Europe (ca. 1400 AD). The course will focus primarily on developments in the "major arts" of architecture, sculpture and painting, although it will also address other media, such as ceramics, metalwork, textiles and jewelry. In lecture and discussion sections, we will approach individual works of art with two specific goals in mind: 1) understanding the artworks in terms of their formal structure, artistic innovations and stylistic development, and 2) the situation of these works in their specific historical and cultural contexts in order to understand better how different societies lived and perceived the world around them.

FINA-A 425 Art and the Church in Byzantium

The Byzantine Empire, which emerged in the sixth century from the Christian Roman Empire of the fourth and fifth centuries, has been described as the amalgam of three major cultural forces: the Roman legal and administrative system, Orthodox Christianity, and the Greco-Roman educational tradition known as paideia. This course will examine the interweaving of these traditions in the art and architecture of Byzantium from its rise in the sixth century through the period of its Mediterranean hegemony in the 12th century to its collapse in the 15th century. Secular and sacred materials from the Byzantine capital in Constantinople and the Byzantine heartlands of Asia Minor and the Balkans will be considered together with works from the Byzantine diaspora, places such as Kiev, Venice, and Palermo, in an effort to understand the ways in which developments in art and architecture both respond to and shape the concerns of contemporary society.

NELC-N 303
NELC-N 695
JSTU-J 304
Muslim Spain

This course offers an overview of the history of Muslim Spain, a period in which a unique culture of living-togetherness flourished in Europe under Islamic rule. The course follows the chronological sequence of events, from the conquest in 711 until the fall of the kingdom of Granada in 1492, and beyond, closing with a critical examination of the memory evoked by al-Andalus and its role in contemporary culture. Particular attention will be paid to cultural and social aspects, such as intellectual production and the status of religious minorities. This course provides a close analysis of a pre-modern case of multiculturalism and its shortcomings within the frame of Islam, serving as an enlightening case study for those interested in the larger questions of cultural diversity and religious pluralism.