Indiana University Bloomington
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Course Descriptions


Spring 2016


MEST-M 200 Dante's Divine Comedy 3 cr Storey, W.
MEST-M 502 Medieval Literature: Performance, Identity, and Community in Medieval Europe 4 cr McGerr, R.


CLAS-G 150 Elementary Greek II (Undergraduate) 4 cr staff
CLAS-L 100 Elementary Latin I 4 cr staff


CMLT-C 523 Medieval Literature: Performance, Identity, and Community in Medieval Europe 4 cr McGerr, R.


ENG-L 305 Chaucer 3 cr Ingham, P.


FRIT-M 236 Dante's Divine Comedy 3 cr Storey, W.


FRIT-M 504 Forms of Civility in the Italian Renaissance 3 & cr Scalabrini, M.


GER-E 361 Vikings and Sagas 3 cr Gade, K.
GER-G 636 Old Icelandic Literature 3 cr Gade, K.


HIST-B 204 Medieval Heroes 3 cr Shopkow, L.


FINA-A 101 Ancient and Medieval Art 3 cr Forstall, C.
FINA-A 436 Italian Art of the Fifteenth Century 4 cr Knox, G.


JSTU-J 360 Muslim Spain and Portugal 3 cr Gonzalez Dieguez, G.


NELC-N 360 Muslim Spain and Portugal 3 cr Gonzalez Dieguez, G.


PHIL-P 515 Richard Rufus and the History of Metaphysics, Epistemology, and Natural Philosophy 3 cr Wood, R.
HISP-S 618 Tradiciones Epicas de la Edad Media 3 cr Giles, R.


THTR-T 370 History of Theatre and Drama I 3 cr Owicki, Eleanor


MEST-M 502
CMLT-C 523
Medieval Literature: Performance, Identity, and Community in Medieval Europe

This course will explore what medieval lyrics, plays, and narratives 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 and visual forms of constructing identity, the representation of reading as performance, and the construction of gender, class, and faith as performance. Medieval documents of several kinds reveal awareness of the performative nature of defining identity and community. Constructing the Self always involves imag(in)ing the Other. Medieval rituals suggest that what people do or say can create or express identity, yet the need for expressing identity or agency when a person is physically absent leads to the use of various forms of representation, such as seals, heraldry, or letters for the literate. All of these forms of representation are fraught with anxiety: disguises can be entertaining or deceptive. Literature can provide a tool for direct or indirect performance of identity or community, but literature can also serve as a forum for raising questions about the assumptions underlying constructions of identity and exploring human capacity for projecting multiple forms of identity. This course offers an opportunity to explore literary works that were performed, as well as representations of performance in lyrics, narratives, and drama from different times and places in medieval Europe from the 4th through the 15th centuries. In each case, we will look at how the text constructs identity or questions such constructions and how this process highlights the role of performance in medieval cultures.

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 Second Shepherds' Play, and Everyman; 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 plus another text of their choice.

FRIT-M 504
Forms of Civility in the Italian Renaissance

In such seminal texts as Pontano's De sermone (1509), Castiglione's Cortegiano (1528), Della Casa's Galateo (1558) and Guazzo's Civil conversazione (1574) the Italian Renaissance created a new style of moral conduct: the style of civility. This graduate course examines the classical genealogy, the social and historical milieu and the rhetorical matrix of this new form of social interaction, which was to become the generative model of early modern European ethics, and which was governed by the values of moderation, convenience, conformity, adaptability, grace, and dissimulation. The course will be conducted in Italian.

PHIL-P 515 Richard Rufus and the History of Metaphysics, Epistemology, and Natural Philosophy

Richard Rufus of Cornwall was the Thirteenth Century Philosopher who first taught Aristotle's Metaphysics, Psychology, and Physics in the West. In studying Rufus we study the origins of Western Scholasticism, which laid the groundwork for modern philosophy in the 17th and 18th Centuries and for modern science. Thus the study of Rufus' philosophy is foundational for subsequent medieval philosophy, for modern philosophy, and for the history of scientific thought.

No special background in medieval philosophy will be required, though knowledge of medieval history and Aristotelian philosophy will be very helpful. Required readings will be in English and available for download on Canvas.

Rufus' core concerns were ontological, refining the Aristotelian account of form and matter, sensible species forms and leading the way to modern theories of perception. His deepest influence was on his more immediate successors: Thomas Aquinas, John Duns Scotus, and William Ockham.

Still with us today are some of the arguments Rufus stated, including one of the Kantian antinomies of pure reason. Just as interesting are some of Rufus' most compelling theories that were not later taken up. Thus, for example, it is just interesting to explore why Rufus' rejection of Ibn Rushd's claim that the possible intellect must lack a natural form had no influence, as to see the tremendous influence of Rufus' development of Averroes' concept of `spiritual being' to solve problems in epistemology -- an account recently revived by Myles Burnyeat and attributed to Aquinas.

In metaphysics we will look at Rufus' theory of universals and his theory of individuation. On these subjects Rufus' most immediate influence was on Scotus, whose account of individuation by indexicals or thisness develops Rufus' theory. But Ockham's radical rejection of reified relations also reflects Rufus' influence.

In epistemology, we will look at Rufus' treatment of the objects of sensation and cognition, where Aquinas rejects as much as he accepts. In psychology, we will consider Rufus' discussion of the relation of the faculties of will and intellect, which is the basis for Scotus' development of the formal distinction. In physics, we will look at Rufus discussion of substantial change, where Aquinas' rejection of the standard Aristotelian account of ultimate matter directly targets Rufus' views.

HISP-S 618 Tradiciones épicas de la Edad Media

This course examines the transmission of heroic traditions on the Iberian Peninsular during the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, as evidenced by cantares de gesta as well as historiography and clerical poetry. Primary texts include the Poema de mío Cid, Poema de Fernán González, the "Cantar de Roncesvalles," and "Cantar de los siete infantes de Lara," among others.