Indiana University Bloomington
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Course Descriptions


Fall 2015


MEST-M 502 Constructing the Self in Medieval European Literature 4 cr McGerr, R.
MEST-M 815 Readings in Medieval Civilization 1-4 cr McGerr, R.


CEUS-T 358 Old Iranian Languages: Avestan 3 cr Choksy, J.
CEUS-R 397 Empires of the Silk Road 3 cr Beckwith, C.
CEUS-R 569 Social History of Inner Asian Nomadism 3 cr Atwood, C.
CEUS-T 658 Old Iranian Languages: Avestan 3 cr Choksy, J.
CEUS-T 673 Imperial Old Tibetan 3 cr Beckwith, C.


CLAS-G 100 Elementary Greek I (Undergraduate) 4 cr  
CLAS-G 200 Intermediate Greek (Undergraduate) 3 cr Christ, M.
CLAS-G 500 Elementary Greek I (Graduate) 4 cr  
CLAS-G 600 Intermediate Greek (Graduate) 3 cr Christ, M.
CLAS-L 100 Elementary Latin I 4 cr  
CLAS-L 150 Elementary Latin II 4 cr  
CLAS-L 200 Second-Year Latin I 3 cr  
CLAS-L 250 Second-Year Latin II 3 cr  
CLAS-L 300 Intensive Introduction to Classical and Medieval Latin 3 cr  
CLAS-L 540 Readings in Medieval Latin: Alan of Lille 4 cr Balint, B.


CMLT-C 523 Constructing the Self in Medieval European Literature 4 cr McGerr, R.


EALC-E 336 Ghosts, Immortals, Animal Spirits 3 cr Luo, M.
EALC-E 505 Ghosts, Immortals, Animal Spirits 3 cr Luo, M.


ENG-L 307 Medieval & Tudor Drama 3 cr Gayk, S.
ENG-L 310 Literary History I: Beginnings through the Seventeenth Century 3 cr Fulk, R.
ENG-G 601 Medieval Languages: Introduction to Old Irish 4 cr Fulk, R.
ENG-L 636 Readings in Drama and Performance to 1800 4 cr Gayk, S.


FRIT-F 361 La France Medievale (a 1500) 3 cr
FRIT-M 503 Italian Classics: Manuscript to Print 3 cr Storey, W.


GER-G 635 Old Icelandic 3 cr Gade, K.


HIST-H 206 Medieval Civilization 3 cr Deliyannis, D.
HIST-H 213 The Black Death 3 cr Craig, K.
HIST-B 351 Western Europe in the Early Middle Ages 3 cr Deliyannis, D.


FINA-A 624 Problems in Early Gothic Art 4 cr Reilly, D.


PHIL-P 301 Medieval Philsophy: Augustine, Boethius, Anselm, Abelard, Aquinas, and Ockham 3 cr Wood, R.


SLAV-S 320 Kievan and Muscovite Culture 3 cr Stern-Gottschalk, A.
SLAV-R 503 Old Russian Literature 3 cr Stern-Gottschalk, A.


CLAS-L 540 Readings in Medieval Latin: Alan of Lille

Selections from the works of the twelfth-century intellectual, including the Plaint of Nature and the Anticlaudianus, as well as from his rhetorical, exegetical, theological, and polemical works. We will also examine the poet's historical and intellectual surroundings, personal and political networks, the transmission and reception of the texts, and recent scholarly disputes about his identity. Students should have at least advanced-intermediate skill in Latin; the ability to read secondary literature in modern French will also be helpful. No previous experience with medieval Latin is required.

MEST-M 502
CMLT-C 523
Constructing the Self in Medieval European Literature

This semester, we will explore what medieval lyrics, plays, and narratives -- both courtly and devotional texts -- can reveal to us about the role of performance in constructing identity and community in medieval European cultures. We will examine such topics as the relationship of musical and dramatic performance of verbal texts to the visual arts, the representation of reading as performance, and the construction of gender and faith as performance. Our common readings will include lyrics poems by Yehuda Halevi, Hildegard von Bingen, Lombarda de Toulouse, Walther von der Vogelweide, Alfonso X, and Guillaume de Machaut; plays such as Abraham, Aucassin and Nicolette, The N-Town Mary Play, and The Second Shepherds’ Play; and narratives such as The Song of the Cid, The Romance of Silence, the Decameron, The City of Ladies, and The Book of Margery Kempe. Students will prepare two class presentations on critical or theoretical readings and complete an individual research project on the role of performance in a medieval text of their choice.

ENG-L 307 Medieval & Tudor Drama

This course is an introduction to early English drama. From biblical drama to allegorical morality plays, medieval theater offers a unique mix of the sacred and the profane, the high and the low, the bawdy and the profound. Unlike the renaissance theater that followed it, medieval drama was often the project of entire towns, performed in the streets rather than in theaters and acted by merchants, artisans, and laborers rather than professionals. Throughout the semester, we will read widely in early English drama, exploring the literary strategies used to move, teach, and make audiences laugh, discussing issues of performance and staging, and considering the larger social, economic, and religious contexts in which the drama is produced. We will focus on biblical drama and morality plays but end the semester looking toward the renaissance stage by reading Marlowe's Doctor Faustus (a work that itself glances back at the medieval stage). Course requirements included preparation and engaged participation, a series of short papers and one longer essay, a midterm exam, and participation in a group performance project.

ENG-L 310 Literary History I: Beginnings through the Seventeenth Century

The approach of the course to early English texts will be archaeological, in the broadest sense of the word. Although the primary focus of the course will be on the close reading of English texts from earliest times to the Restoration, we will continually attempt to supplement close reading by placing these texts in their cultural contexts, recovering the material conditions under which they were produced and received in the Anglo-Saxon, late medieval, and early modern periods. That is, we will map and navigate the methods of interpretation peculiar to the study of texts from periods separated from modern literature by time and cultural difference. We will, for example, study the Elizabethan book trade to understand the milieu in which works like the poems of Wyatt and Surrey, Marlowe's Hero and Leander, and Shakespeare's sonnets reached the reading public. We will study how the late medieval explosion of book production and the invention of the printing press molded the development of canonical forms of literature, language, and religious and political belief. We will examine how the concurrent rise of the Gothic style in art and architecture and of more natural, less stylized literary forms express a profound cultural shift related to the rise of affective lay piety. And we will examine the nature of monastic life to facilitate an understanding of how modern conceptions of literacy as print-based, of literature as high art, and of authors as independent agents of inspiration stand in the way of our understanding of the intentions of those who recorded such works as Beowulf and The Wanderer in the Old English period. In the process we will examine some of these works in their manuscript contexts and learn how to decipher varieties of Tudor and medieval handwriting. Our approach will be "archaeological," then, in the sense that we will attempt to reconstruct literate cultures from their disparate remains and make sense of early English texts in the context of what we know about the uses of literacy in early times. In fine, we will aim to do the work of professional scholars in these periods--the kinds of work that make medieval and Renaissance studies refreshingly different and medieval and Renaissance texts documents both absorbing and enjoyable to study.

The texts to be studied will include all or parts of Beowulf, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, Chaucer's Canterbury Tales, The Book of Margery Kempe, a medieval drama, Spenser's Faerie Queene, dramas by Marlowe and Shakespeare, lyrics by Wyatt, Surrey, Elizabeth I, Sidney, Marlowe, Shakespeare, Donne, Marvell, and Milton, and Milton's Paradise Lost. Assignments will include three examinations and two brief analytic papers.

The textbook will be the ninth edition of The Norton Anthology of English Literature, Vol. 1, ed. Stephen Greenblatt (ISBN 978-0-393-91247-0), which, however, may be purchased in three volumes of more manageable size (Vols. A-C, ISBN 978-0-393-91300-2).

ENG-G 601 Medieval Languages: Introduction to Old Irish

The topic this semester will be the Old Irish language. Irish is a Celtic language, related to Welsh, Breton, Cornish, and several extinct continental languages, including Gaulish. Modern Irish, Scottish Gaelic, and Manx are descended from Old Irish. The Old Irish period lasted roughly from 600 to 900 CE, the Middle Irish from ca. 900 to 1200. In addition to laws, glosses, saints' legends, and tracts on grammar, poetic meter, medicine, and a wide variety of other topics commonly treated in medieval vernacular literatures, Old Irish literature includes a sizeable body of poetry and of sagas, the latter particularly relating to the heroes of ancient Ulster. Some of the most remarkable characteristics of the language are these: (1) a system of initial consonant mutations, whereby grammatical relations are indicated by the interchange of initial consonants in individual words (as in Welsh); (2) palatalization of consonants, which may differentiate inflectional forms within paradigms, and which is one source of complexity in the orthography; (3) extreme allomorphy within some verb paradigms; (4) conjugated prepositions (as in Welsh); and (5) infixation of prepositions within some verb forms. The textbook for the course will be Ruth and Winfred Lehmann's Introduction to Old Irish (MLA, 1975), which includes the delightful tale Scéla Muicce Meic Da Thó 'The Story of Mac Da Thó’s Pig'. Later in the semester we will read selections from J. Carmichael Watson's edition of Mesca Ulad 'The Intoxication of the Ulstermen' (Dublin, 1967), which unfortunately is out of print. A number of inexpensive used copies are available on the Internet, though ( is a good source), and class members will be expected to secure a copy on their own. There will be two examinations and some shorter exercises.

ENG-L 636 Readings in Drama and Performance to 1800

This course offers an introduction to the literature of sacred performances in medieval England from liturgical practices and ritual performances, to personal piety and the communally-produced biblical drama. While the course focuses primarily on dramatic texts, we will read widely in the religious literature of the period more generally, thinking especially about the ways in which biblical narrative is appropriated, translated, and performed across a variety of settings and for a range of purposes. We will consider how individuals imaginatively insert themselves into sacred narrative, examining the place of affective piety, religious identity, identification with the suffering of Christ, and imitatio christi. We will also discuss the social functions of sacred drama, focusing on its religious, civic, economic, and political import. As we survey this literature, we will likely consider the following questions: How do these performances shape or reproduce models of social ethics? How do ideas about history and temporality, allegory and typology, and truth and fiction shape these reenactments and performances? How does religious performance represent and structure time and space? What is the role of the gendered body in these performances? How do these texts construe the social and theological significance of labor and play? What is the place of doubt and skepticism in religious theater? How do these texts navigate or represent the relationships between the local and the universal, the individual body and the social body? Course readings will include selections from Chaucer, medieval sermon literature, The York Mystery Plays, medieval morality plays, The Book of Margery Kempe, Thomas Hoccleve's Complaint and Dialogue; and Marlowe's Doctor Faustus.

FRIT-M 503 Italian Classics: Manuscript to Print

A close investigation of five Italian classics and their itinerary from manuscript to early print: Dante's Commedia and Vita Nova, Boccaccio's Decameron, Petrarch's Rerum vulgarium fragmenta, and Tasso's Gerusalemme liberata. This course will examine the ways that these five icon works were adopted for print from manuscript forms and how that process and the early editions affected interpretation of each work while establishing essential cultural information about the epoch and ethos that printed them. The printed editions that will be studied are owned either in the original or facsimile by the Lilly Library or the instructor (the 1472 Comedia printed in Foligno, the 1472 Valdezoco Fragmenta di Petrarca, the 1481 Dechamerone printed by Antonio da Strada and the Florentine 1527 (Venetian 1729) edition of the Decameron edited by Bernardo Segni et al., the 1576 Vita Nuova printed by Bartolomeo Sermartelli, and the Gierusalemme liberata printed by Febo Bonnà in July of 1581. Manuscripts will be consulted in facsimiles and digital editions. Readings will include secondary works on the PhD reading list: Michele Barbi's Nuova filologia and Corrado Bologna's Tradizione e fortuna dei classici italiani, and Gino Belloni et al, Commentario all'edizione in facsimile dei 'Rerum vulgarium fragmenta'.

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-H 213 The Black Death

How would your life change if half of the people around you suddenly dropped dead? The bubonic plague has forced people all over the world to answer this question, and the bacteria is still with us today. This class will explore how people react to crisis in their day-to-day life by looking at cultural artifacts (art, written sources, clothing, even medical theory) created during outbreaks of plague. From the sixth-century medieval Mediterranean world to 19th century China, from Renaissance England to 20th century Hawaii, we'll see how cultural similarities and differences shape plague response, and how these responses shape interactions between different cultures. From primary sources to modern research and big-data analysis, we'll use a historian's tool box to explore the limits of what we can understand about the Black Death's past.

HIST-B 351 Western Europe in the Early Middle Ages

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. Assignments: four essays (5-7 pp.) on primary source readings, participation in one in-class debate, a midterm, and a final exam.

FINA-A 624 Problems in Early Gothic Art: Storytelling in the Middle Ages: Medieval Narrative Art in Manuscripts, Mural Paintings and Mosaics

The art of Medieval Europe was almost entirely based on texts. The Bible, the Golden Legend, Arthurian romances and royal chronicles all provided hundreds of stories that were portrayed in the art commissioned both for the Christian Church and for private patrons. Artists instructed and diverted the viewers using a variety of narrative techniques, some straightforward, some subtle and cunning. Manuscripts could include cycles of illustrations that picked themes from the text, reinterpreting it for a specific patron. Mural paintings or stained glass could incorporate imagery meant to construct a message across a three-dimensional space. Images from different stories could be interwoven to provide a composite message understandable only to the initiated and educated viewer. This seminar will explore the stories and methods used by medieval narrative art, and the audience for whom it was intended.

PHIL-P 301 Medieval Philosophy: Augustine, Boethius, Anselm, Abelard, Aquinas, and Ockham

P301 introduces medieval philosophy by examining six classics of Western philosophy that explore the puzzles facing a believer seeking to lead a good life and understand herself and herworld.These classics presenta theory of will and human motivation, a theory of ethics based on the agent's intention, and a theory of divine omniscience and omnipotence consistent with divine goodness and human freedom:
  • Augustine, On Free Choice of the Will, tr. T. Williams, Hackett 1993.
  • Boethius, Consolation of Philosophy, tr. P. Walsh, Oxford World's Classics 2000.
  • Anselm: Basic Writings, tr. T. Williams, Hackett 2007.
  • Abelard, Ethical Writings, tr. P. Spade, Hackett 1995.
  • Aquinas, On Evil, Summa theol. (Theology Summarized), ex. & tr. R. Wood (Oncourse)
  • Ockham, On the Connection of the Virtues, tr. R. Wood, Purdue 1997 (Oncourse)
P301 meets the World Cultures Gen Ed requirement. Learning outcomes: (1) knowledge of medieval beliefs, values, perspectives (2) the ability to use such knowledge to think critically, solve problems, and write clearly.