Indiana University Bloomington
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Course Descriptions


Fall 2014


MEST-M 502 Literature by Women in Medieval Europe 4 cr McGerr, R.
MEST-M 650 Medieval Music 3 cr Long, M.


CEUS-R 393
CEUS-R 539
The Mongol Century 3 cr Atwood, C.
CEUS-R 596 The Rus, Khazars, and Bolgars: Ambition and Competition in the Heart of Central Eurasia, 8th-13th Centuries 4 cr Lazzerini, E.
CEUS-T 151
CEUS-T 551
Introductory Persian I 4 cr Shahyar, D.
CEUS-T 251
CEUS-T 651
Intermediate Persian I 4 cr Shahyar, D.
CEUS-T 351
CEUS-T 751
Advanced Persian I 4 cr Losensky, P.


CLAS-G 100 Elementary Greek I - Undergraduate 4 cr Staff
CLAS-G 500 Elementary Greek I - Graduate 3 cr Staff
CLAS-L 100 Elementary Latin I 4 cr Staff
CLAS-L 150 Elementary Latin II 4 cr Staff
CLAS-L 200 Second-Year Latin I 3 cr Staff
CLAS-L 250 Second-Year Latin II 3 cr Staff
CLAS-L 300 Intensive Introduction to Classical and Medieval Latin 3 cr Staff
CLAS-L 409 Readings in Medieval Latin 3 cr Balint, B.
CLAS-L 620 Seminar in Latin Historical Texts and Historiography 3 cr Bannon, C.


COLL-C 103 King Arthur of Britain 3 cr McGerr, R.


CMLT-C 523 Literature by Women in Medieval Europe 4 cr McGerr, R.


EALC-E 203 Samurai: Violence and Culture in premodern Japan 3 cr Oxenbøll, M.
EALC-E 600 The Invention of the Middle Ages in Japan 3 cr Oxenbøll, M.


ENG-G 601 Introduction to Old English 3 cr Fulk, R.
ENG-L 306 Middle English Literature: Medieval Dreaming 3 cr Lochrie, K.
ENG-L 740 Research in Aesthetics, Genre, and Form: Medieval Creatures 4 cr Ingham, P.


FRIT-F 361 La France Medievale 3 cr Merceron, J.
FRIT-F 501 Littérature française du Moyen Âge I : Introduction à l’ancien français 3 cr Merceron, J.
FRIT-F 603 History of the French Language I 3 cr Vance, B.
FRIT-M 307 Masterpieces of Italian Literature 3 cr Storey, W.
FRIT-M 501 The World of Dante's Vita Nova 3-4 cr Storey, W.


GER-E 311 Adventure and Risk: Tales from the Time before Columbus 3 cr Keller, H.
GER-G 632 Gothic 3 cr Gade, K.
GER-G 638 Old High German 3 cr Gade, K.


HIST-B 204 Medieval Heroes 3 cr Shopkow, L.
HIST-C 205 Intro to Islamic Civilization 3 cr Sahin, K.
HIST-B 348 Byzantine History 3 cr Deliyannis, D.
HIST-J 400 Chivalry and Courtliness 3 cr Shopkow, L.
HIST-H 610
HIST-H 710
Essential Readings in Late Antiquity 4 cr Deliyannis, D.


FINA-A 101 Ancient and Medieval Art 3 cr Bassett, S.


JSTU-H 100 Elementary Hebrew I 4 cr Cover, L.
JSTU-H 150 Elementary Hebrew II 4 cr Weiss, A.
JSTU-B 200 Intermediate Biblical Hebrew 3 cr Maoz-Levy, M.
JSTU-H 200 Intermediate Modern Hebrew I 3 cr Weiss, A.
JSTU-H 250 Intermediate Modern Hebrew II 3 cr Weiss, A.
JSTU-H 300 Advanced Modern Hebrew I 3 cr Moaz-Levy, M.


ILS-Z 584 Manuscripts 3 cr Williams, C.
ILS-Z 680 The Book to 1450 3 cr Williams, C.


MUS-M 650 Medieval Music 4 cr Long, M.


NELC-A 100 Elementary Arabic I 5 cr Morkus, N.
NELC-A 200 Intermediate Arabic I 5 cr Morkus, N.
NELC-A 300 Advanced Arabic I 3 cr Morkus, N.
NELC-A 400 Advanced Arabic III 3 cr Morkus, N.
NELC-N 305
NELC-N 695
Issues in Middle Eastern Literature: Solitary Life in the Pre-Modern World: Muslim and Jewish Sources.

3 cr González Diéguez, G.
NELC-N 370
NELC-N 570
Koranic Studies 3 cr Walbridge, J.


PHIL-P 596 Readings: Medieval Philosophical Sources 1-4 cr Ebbs, G.


REL-A 220 Introduction to the New Testament 3 cr Schott, J.
REL-R 521 Christianity 50–450 CE 3 cr Schott, J.
REL-A 485
REL-R 553
Life and Legacy of Muhammad 3 cr Jaques, R.


SLAV-L 571 Old Church Slavonic 3 cr Stern-Gottschalk, A.


HISP-S 474
HISP-S 498
Hispanic Literature and Society 3 cr Giles, R.


Literature by Women in Medieval Europe

This course explores the rich tradition of texts authored by women during the Middle Ages in Europe. Our primary readings come from the ninth through fifteenth centuries and were written in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, the Netherlands, and England, some in Latin and some in vernacular languages. The readings include secular and spiritual texts from a wide range of genres: lyrics, plays, letters, vision accounts, romance narratives, allegorical narratives, and autobiography. The list of authors includes "saints" and "heretics," members of royal courts and members of the merchant class, mothers and nuns. In each case, we will examine the text from multiple perspectives. Among the issues we will address are the position of medieval women in relation to literary, civic, and theological authority; the role of literacy in medieval definitions of authorship; the construction of gender within the individual texts; and the relationship of medieval women's texts to modern conceptions of feminist writing.

Our readings will include works by Dhuoda of Septimania, Hrotsvit von Gandersheim, Marie de France, Hildegard von Bingen, Heloise, the trobairitz, Hadewijch of Brabant, Catherine of Siena, Julian of Norwich, Christine de Pizan, Margery Kempe, and Florencia Piñar.

All readings will be available in modern English. No previous experience with medieval European literature required. Students will each lead two class discussions on assigned critical or theoretical readings. Students will also choose a comparative topic for a research project on a topic related to the course readings, submit a project proposal with preliminary bibliography (2-3 pages), and complete the written research project (20-22 pages) at the end of the semester. This course will meet with CMLT C523.

CEUS-R393 The Mongol Century

This course deals with the empire built by the Mongols in the 13th century, the largest land empire in the world. Most readings will be from translated primary sources of the 13th and 14th centuries, written by the Mongols themselves and also by Persians, Chinese, Eastern Christians, Europeans, and other peoples that fought, surrendered to, or traded with the Mongol conquerors. The course will explore the Mongols, the most spectacular example of the nomadic conquerors who played such a large role in all Eurasian history, and survey how their empire affected themselves and the peoples they conquered. By using primary sources, the course will also provide a survey of civilizations in Eurasia in the 13th and 14th centuries, and give a hands-on example of how historians build historical knowledge from varied sources. Summary articles from my Encyclopedia of Mongolia and the Mongol Empire will provide orientation and context.

CEUS-R 596 The Rus, Khazars, and Bolgars: Ambition and Competition in the Heart of Central Eurasia, 8th-13th Centuries

Three kaganates--the Rus, the Khazar, and the Bolgar--vied for political and economic influence in the heart of Central Eurasia during the 500 years preceding the grand unification of the region by Mongols and their allies. Representing the last, spectacular bloom and power of pastoral nomadism, the Mongol Empire swept up Central Eurasia, wrecking in the process numerous state formations, including that of the Bolgars and Rus (the Khazar kaganate had ceased to exist well before the Mongol achievement). By the 11th century, from the Dnepr River eastward beyond the Caspian Sea, and from Crimea and the Caucasus northward to the Gulf of Finland, Lake Ladoga, and the upper reaches of the Volga River, the three kaganates emerged to create the earliest extensive urban cultures in this large region. With urbanization came commercialization and the development of long-distance trade routes and their necessary markets; following the merchants came institutionalized religion with their attendant cultures that drew upon the rich store of Christian, Judaic, and Islamic traditions. Economic competition, political alliances, cultural interaction, and wars forged and reflected development of a zone of common interest that also attracted foreign attention from powerful neighbors, including Byzantium, the Abbasid Caliphate, and finally the Mongols.

Of the three "states," only that of Rus has much of a historiography, partly explained by the complete disappearance of the other two by the 13th century and the cultural tradition that has claimed continuity between Rus and the Russian Empire through Muscovy. Challenging that tradition, while analyzing the extant sources revealing the parameters of Khazar and Bolgar history, this course will examine the three kaganates in all of their aspects and interrelations.

ENG-L306 Medieval English Literature: Medieval Dreaming

"The dream is the liberation of the spirit form the pressure of external nature, a detachment of the soul from the fetters of matter," wrote Sigmund Freud at the beginning of the twentieth Century. Dreams have indeed provided writers as far back as the Middle Ages with another sort of liberation that enabled them to explore the deepest issues, mysteries, and psychic investments of their time--from love, to loss, to politics, to spiritual truths, to time and space travel. Dreams also served as portals to prophecy, Hell and paradise, and adventure. Among our readings in this course will be Chaucer's dream visions in the original Middle English, "Pearl," Julian of Norwich's "Showings," William Langland's "Piers Plowman," and Boethius's "Consolation of Philosophy." In addition to the literary texts, we will also read medieval and modern theories of dreams by way of considering what dreams "do" as literary texts and why the dream-vision became such a popular genre during the Middle Ages. Requirements include translation quizzes, two 5-7-page papers, a midterm, and a final.

ENG-L740 Research in Aesthetics, Genre, and Form: Medieval Creatures

Cultural engagements with the medieval animal date back at least 20 years to Joyce Salisbury's The Beast Within. This readings course will track the engagements between animal studies and medieval literature developing in the intervening time. Medieval philosophical traditions sought to establish human difference in metaphysical terms (see “The Great Chain of Being”), but such metaphysics are regularly undone in literature, in art, in manuscript illumination, or in other medieval arts of living such as bestiaries or heraldry.

Beginning with an overview of some theories important to Critical Animal Studies (some work by Cary Wolfe, but likely including excerpts of Derrida's The Animal that Therefore I am, Agamben's The Open; or Donna Haraway’s Companion Species Manifesto along with other work from the “first generation” of animal studies), we will turn our attention to important criticism by medievalists that has emerged in the last few years. (Susan Crane’s Animal Encounters, or Karl Steel’s How to Make a Human focus on Middle English traditions; but important work on continental texts has been done by Peggy McCracken, Emma Campbell, and most recently, Sarah Kay.) We are therefore now well placed to consider the state of the question in medieval scholarship, and to examine some texts, visuals, contexts, or representational modes pertinent to it. Many medieval texts emphasize animal vulnerability; yet animals also debate, or emerge cross cut with other kinds of “gyns”—gadgets, artifacts, or lively machines. Susan Crane reads the horse of brass from Chaucer’s Squire’s Tale as “more than a mechanism.” But what does it mean that it IS one? How do medieval texts render animal sentience, and what difference does this make to our understanding of creatureliness, then or now? And what’s up with all these bird stories?

We will attend to a variety of examples of the medieval animal, and in diverse contexts. Text to be read may include: the Middle English Bestiary; some of the Lais of Marie de France (in translation); Chaucer’s Nun’s Priest Tale; Squire’s Tale; Manciple’s Tale; and the Parliament of Fowls, (this latter probably alongside Machaut’s Dit de L’Alerion (in translation) and the Owl and the Nightingale; we may also consider Pwyll, Prince of Dyfed (from the Mabinogi), fables such as the ME Vox &s; Reynard, or a few shorter Middle English Arthurian texts. Interested students are invited to suggest texts for consideration. Text written in languages other that Middle English will be read in translation, although students familiar with the original languages are welcome to read any of these in the original.

FINA-A101 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, jewelry and small-scale metalwork, and textiles. In lecture and discussion sections, we will approach individual works of art with two specific goals in mind: 1) understanding 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.

FRIT-F501 Littérature française du Moyen Âge I : Introduction à l’ancien français

Ce cours a pour objectif, dans un premier temps, de préparer les étudiants à la lecture et à la traduction à voix haute des textes en ancien français, préparation nécessaire à leur étude littéraire. Pour ce faire, nous étudierons en premier lieu les bases phonétiques, morphologiques et syntaxiques indispensables. Les textes d’étude retenus sont : Le Roman de Renart (branches I à VI, éd.-trad. J. Dufournet et A. Méline, Garnier-Flammarion, t. 1) et la chanson de geste Ami et Amile (éd. P. Dembovksi, H. Champion, version en ancien français seulement). Nous étudierons aussi le contexte institutionnel et social médiéval permettant de resituer ces textes de fiction dans leur contexte historique. La spécificité fictionnelle et générique de ces deux textes sera aussi soulignée. Autres ouvrages à acheter : Sylvie Bazin-Taccella, Initiation à l’ancien français (Hachette, 2006) ; A. J. Greimas, Dictionnaire de l’ancien français (éd. Larousse). Ouvrage optionnel : Stéphane Muzelle, 100 fiches d’histoire du Moyen Age, éd. Bréal. Notation : Présence, participation en classe active et continue et exposé oral : 40% ; examen de mi-semestre : 30% ; examen final : 30%.

FRIT-F603 History of the French Language I

F603 provides an introduction to the history of the French language, focusing on ‘internal’ developments while setting these against an ‘external’—historical and social—backdrop. We will investigate the evolution of the sound system (phonology), word formation (morphology), sentence structure (syntax), and vocabulary. In this first half of the 603-604 sequence, we especially cover early development (Popular Latin through 13th century Old French) and phonology/morphology. Diachronic study is complemented by readings from the Old French period.

FRIT-M501 The World of Dante's Vita Nova

This seminar examines Dante’s earliest book, the Vita Nova, both as a socio-cultural narrative and as a work that has spawned diverse critical and textual methods and interpretations. Called the first book in Italian literature, its “world” calls into play the lyric poetry of Dante’s day, questions of dream interpretation, the interface of narrative prose and commentary within the same work, Dante’s scribal culture and the production of manuscripts, and, from 1907 until 2014, has been the “proving ground” for how a critical edition of a medieval work should be made. Boccaccio used it pivotally to influence a critical orientation toward much of early Italian literature; and yet, it was the last of Dante’s works to come out in print (1576, over a century after the first printing of the Divine Comedy, almost 90 years after the first printing of Dante’s unfinished Convivio).

GER-E311 Adventure and Risk: Tales from the Time Before Columbus

A knight rides through a wood while a wild figure, half-human, half-animal, crosses his path and asks: "What is adventure?' The insider explains to the outsider that being on a quest is the aim of his life. What motivates his quest, what do the risks taken by medieval men consist of, what motivates their choices and with which outcomes do they possibly reckon? These questions will be addressed with help from some of the most famous tales of the Middle Ages, but also a no less celebrated travel report from early modernity, that of Hans von Staden, who by his own report was captured by cannibals before escaping and returning to the "civilized" world.

HIST-C205 Intro to Islamic Civilization

How did Islam emerge? Who were the first Muslims? What did they believe in? How did they establish a global civilization? What were the most important cultural, political, and military challenges faced by the Islamic civilization? These are some of the questions we will address during this course. In the first half of the semester, we will cover the story of Islam's rise and expansion, up to the year 1500. In the second half, we will talk about politics, law, theology, mysticism, and various issues related to the everyday lives of medieval Muslims. Course requirements include a quiz, a midterm, a final, and a short paper. In tune with the objectives of the course, the readings cover political history, cultural issues, and everyday life:
  • Vernon O. Egger, "A History of the Muslim World to 1405: The Making of a Civilization"
  • Daniel Brown, "A New Introduction to Islam"
  • James E. Lindsay, "Daily Life in the Medieval Islamic World"
  • William McNeill and Marilyn Robinson Waldman (eds.), "The Islamic World"

HIST-J400 Chivalry and Courtliness

Did medieval knights really fight for the honor of their ladies, wearing their beloved's tokens on their helms? Did they really strive to act with honor on and off the battlefield? Did medieval women, acting upon their own corresponding code of conduct, honor the bravest men with their love? Were medieval courts glittering sites of culture and refinement or hotbeds of competition and back-stabbing (or both)? Were chivalry and courtliness just pretty faces put the wielding of power or did they change people's values and behavior? Medieval people themselves had conflicting ideas about how noble men and women should behave, about culture, and about ethics, ideas which they took passionately, if not always seriously and which they may (or may not) have tried to live up to. We'll be exploring what they thought and why they thought it and we'll try to answer some of the questions above (and many others, no doubt) in the coming semester. For your final project, you will explore a question that interests you about chivalry or courtliness. During our weekly meetings, we'll be discussing the assigned readings, which will be a mixture of primary sources (such as guides to chivalry written by medieval writers) and secondary sources (what scholars have had to say about them). Our homework assignments will be based on the assigned readings and will be preparation for the final project. In the process of working on the final project--which you will choose yourself in consultation with the teacher--you will be guided through a research process that will help you develop your research and writing skills. These are skills that you will find useful whatever you do after college. You will also present your findings to the class, something you may also have to do later in life, whatever your job.

HIST-H610 Essential Readings in Late Antiquity

Since 1971, the historical period "Late Antiquity" has become an important category of scholarship and research, although its chronology and meaning are still hotly debated. Did it extend from AD 235-800, or should it be understood more narrowly? Did every part of the Roman empire experience a Late Antiquity, or only some parts? This course will familiarize students with key issues and scholarly debates in the history of Late Antiquity. We will read books and articles that represent key scholarly ideas, and will talk both about the periodization of antiquity and the Middle Ages, and about the meanings that are attached to different aspects of culture and society through such periodization. We will look at politics, religion, popular culture, gender, family, art, ethnicity, and other topics. Students will be expected to participate actively in class discussions every week. Each student will write a book review, which will be presented in class, and will produce a bibliographic essay on the topic of the student's choice, which will also be presented in one of the last class meetings.

REL-A485 Life and Legacy of Muhammad

The Life and Legacy of Muhammad will explore the ways in which sacred biography is used in various contexts to develop theories of authority and history. The course will begin by examining a number of different theories of religious authority and then move on to how biography is formative in developing "orthodox" methods of interpreting revelation as a means of understanding the relationship between humans and God. We will then focus specifically on the biography of Muhammad (d.632 CE) written by Ibn Ishaq (d. 767). We will explore the development of Muhammad biographical traditions in Islam and how particular forms of biography (legal and quasi-legal traditions that relate specific information thought to originate with Muhammad) were used by Ibn Ishaq in various contexts and how changing cultural circumstances in the early Abbasid period influenced the evolution of popular understandings of Muhammad's life. Specifically, we will focus on how Ibn Ishaq used various pre-existing cultural and religious themes and motifs common in late antique and early medieval Mediterranean culture to create an image of Muhammad as a prophetic authority.

Hispanic Literature and Society

This course will examine literary representations of Jews, Christians, and Muslims in Spanish texts from the medieval to the early Renaissance period. Primary readings will include selections from a number of classic works. Authors from the period often depicted and fictionalized relationships and interactions with the confessional "other" that are problematic, threatening, and characterized by violent conflict. But they also composed poems and stories about trans-confessional encounters that emphasize, or even idealize what are perceived as shared experiences, values, and beliefs. A coursepack of secondary readings will provide a larger cultural and historical context for discussing imaginative poetry and prose, dating from the tenth to the sixteenth century. Requirements include short essays, a midterm, and a final. All aspects of the course will be conducted in Spanish. This course carries CASE A&H distribution credit.