Fall 2014 Courses

 The following is a list of courses relating to the Concurrent Degree in Medieval Studies.  Please see the online schedule of classes for updated information. 



Course/Section: English 211 
Instructor:  Miller, Jennifer

In this course, we will read all of Chaucer's Canterbury Tales, along with relevant sources and other contemporary texts. We will also read current scholarship on the Tales, with the goal of attaining a reasonably complete knowledge of the different approaches that have been used to talk about Chaucer's work. Students will learn how to read Middle English aloud and will work on translating Chaucer into idiomatic modern English, a more difficult task than it seems. No prior knowledge of Middle English is required for this course.

Book List: Canterbury Tales, edited by Jill Mann; Chaucer: Sources and Backgrounds, edited by Robert Miller.



Reading and Interpretation of Old French Texts

Course/Section: French 211A
4226 Dwinelle Hall
  Monday, 1-4
Instructor:  Hult, David 

Introduction to the study of medieval French language and literature of the twelfth and thirteenth centuries. Through a careful analysis and critical interpretation of certain canonical works (La Chanson de Roland; Béroul and Thomas, Tristan; selected lais of Marie de France; selected romans of Chrétien de Troyes; Le Roman de la Rose) we will study Old French language and some main dialects; verse and prose composition; theories of the oral tradition; editorial problems; and the material aspects of the manuscript work (including some work on codicology and paleography). Class will be conducted in English.

La Chanson de Roland
, ed. I. Short; Le Roman de la Rose, ed. Strubel; Chrétien de Troyes, Romans; Tristan et Iseut, ed. P. Walter; Kibler, Introduction to Old French.

Additional information: No previous knowledge of Old French language or literature is expected. This course fulfills the Medieval Literature component of the historical coverage requirement.



Old High German 

Course: German 276
Location: 282 Dwinelle
Time: Tuesday, 2-4
Instructor: Rauch, Irmengard

Reading of poetic and prose texts in Old High German; passages selected to represent a broad scope of chronology, geography, genre in eighth to eleventh century German. Of special interest, among others:  the Otfrid credited with the introduction of end-line rhyme into all of Germanic; one of the oldest documents in French literature, the bilingual German-French Oaths of Strassburg; and the heroic alliterative epic, the Lay of Hildebrand. Socio-political/cultural dynamics of the Old High German period as reflected in a medley of dialects. Open to graduate and undergraduate students. No prerequisites.




Course/Section:  History 281
Location:  TBA
Time: TBA
Instructor: Mavroudi, Maria

This course is designed as a general introduction to the use of primary documents pertinent to Mediterranean history and culture during the ancient and medieval periods.  It will address issues of paleography, codicology, textual tradition, and the critical edition of sources. The main focus will be on Greek and Arabic documents,  but the issues covered will be of interest to anyone interested in the manuscript culture of the medieval Mediterranean even beyond these two languages. We will mainly study books, but will also refer to administrative documents. Though the bulk our material will be medieval, the course is of potential interest to clacissists, since the works of ancient authors survive mostly in medieval manuscripts.  The unifying theme for covering such a great chronological, geographical, cultural, and linguistic gamut will be the common developments regarding the technology of book production and the logic of authoring, editing, and reproducing texts before the advent of printing, though differences will also be discussed. Students will be encouraged to work independently in order to learn more about the written documents of the civilization and time period that most interests them beyond what will be covered in class, and will be graded based on class participation and a final paper covering an area of their special interest. In addition to the two-hour seminar discussion, those who know Greek and/or Arabic will also read out of medieval Greek and/or Arabic medieval documents.


Medieval Italy: An Introduction to the Sources and Historiography

Course/Section:  History 280
Location:  TBA
Times: TBA
Instructor: Miller, Maureen C.

This seminar is designed to introduce graduate students to the study of Italy during the Middle Ages (c. 500-1300).  Key debates and developments in medieval Italian history – such as the phenomenon of incastellamento, the origins of the communes, and differences between north and south – are introduced through the reading of important monographs (e.g., Pierre Toubert's Les structures du Latium médiéval, Cinzio Violante's La società milanese nell’età precomunale, Ron Witt's Two Latin Cultures).  This historiographical exploration is combined with an introduction to medieval Italian charters and charter collections. Readings will be in English, Latin, Italian, and French (students must have a reading knowledge of at least three of these to enroll).


History of Art

Art and Science

Course/Section: HA 156 B / History C188A
Location: 141 McCone
Time:  Tuesday/Thursday, 12:30-2
Instructors:  Fricke, Beate and Mazzotti, Massimo

In this course we explore the intersections of art and science in medieval, modern, and contemporary history. Our aim is twofold. First, to show the close interaction between these two fields, and of the way in which historically they have shaped each other. Leonardo, Galileo, Darwin, and Einstein acted at the threshold between these two fields. Second, to turn specific instances of art/science interaction into the prism through which one can reach a fuller understanding of major historical transformations. Gutenberg and Leonardo will be the pivotal Renaissance figures, while the rise of Newtonian science and the Romantic revolution will guide us into the contemporary experience of the art/science interaction, up to the current transformation of both fields through computing and digital media. The course takes the form of a longue-durée overview that spans from the awakening of European culture through the reception of new knowledge from the Near East to the most recent encounters between artistic and scientific practice in the twenty-first century. 


Italian Studies

Becoming Dante: Dante before the Commedia

Course/Section: Italian Studies 212A
Location: 6331 Dwinelle Hall
Time:  Monday, 2-5
Instructor:  Ascoli, Albert R.

This seminar is the first half of a two semester sequence which will study the evolution of Dante’s cultural project and his poetics.  In this semester we will examine the major works leading up to the writing of the Commedia: Vita Nova; the major “canzoni”; De Vulgari Eloquentia, and Convivio, seen in proleptic relationship to selected passages from the Inferno.  Our focus will be on the dialectical construction and reconfiguration of authorship and readership in both poetry and prose, viewed through the filter of a series of pertinent late medieval contexts: including the emergence of a romance vernacular canon; proto-humanistic valorization of classical Latin literature; the rhetorical, philosophical and theological traditions; the shifting macro- and micro-politico-social order.  In the second half of the course we will read the balance of the Commedia; the Monarchy; and two or three other of the late, “minor” Latin works.  The aim of the course as whole is to recover, in some measure, the uneven historical process by which “Dante became Dante.”

Course Requirements: Students are expected to attend and participate regularly.  Students taking the course for two credits will do the reading, plus in-class reports and other short assignments.  Students taking the course for four credits will also develop one of their shorter assignments into a final research paper of 6000-7500 words (25-30 pages).  Course Conducted in English. Reading Knowledge of Italian or Latin Required. May be taken for 2 or 4 credits.


Also of Interest:


Celtic Studies

Welsh and Arthurian Literature of the Middle Ages

Course: Celtic Studies 119A
Location: TBA
Time: Tuesday/Thursday, 11-12:30
Instructor: Rejhon, Annalee

A selective study of major works of Welsh prose and poetry of the Middle Ages, with special attention to traditional and innovative views on the genesis and development of the legendary history of King Arthur in Europe.  The works read will include the Four Branches of the MabinogiCulhwch and Olwen and The Dream of Rhonabwy, two native Welsh tales of King Arthur; the early Arthurian poems, "What Man the Gatekeeper" and "The Spoils of Annwn"; a selection of the poetry of Taliesin, Myrddin (= Merlin), Llywarch Hen, and Aneirin, as well as from the Poets of the Princes; Armes Prydein [the Prophecy of Britain]; the Arthurian section of Geoffrey of Monmouth’sHistory of the Kings of Britain; and finally, the Welsh romances of Owein and Gereint and their French counterparts, Yvain or the Knight of the Lion and Erec and Enide

All texts will be available in English translation. Course requirements include a midterm and final examination. No prerequisites.

Celtic Mythology

Course/Section:  Celtic Studies C168 (Cross-listed with Religious Studies C109)
Location:  TBA
Times:  Tuesday/Thursday, 2-3:30
Instructor:  Rejhon, Annalee

The course will examine the mythology of the Celts—their gods, goddesses, festivals, and belief systems—as it is reflected in medieval Irish and Welsh texts.  Following a short presentation of introductory material regarding the history and civilization of the early Celts, the course will begin with the early Irish tale known as The Second Battle of Maige Tuired, a core mythological tale that best exemplifies the pattern of mythological deities and belief systems that pertain to varying degrees in other Celtic tales.  These tales will include in Irish, the Destruction of Da Derga’s Hostel, the Tale of Macc Da Thó’s PigBricriu’s Feastthe Wooing of Etaín, the Dream of Oengus, theWasting Sickness of CúChulaind, the Cattle Raid of Fróech, and the Táin, and in Welsh, the Four Branches of the MabinogiCulhwch and OlwenLludd and Llefelys, the Tale of Gwion Bach and the Tale of Taliesin, and the poems,  “What Man the Gatekeeper” and  “The Spoils of the Otherworld.”  All the readings are in English translation.

Course requirements include a midterm and final examination. 



Introduction to Old English

Course/Section: English 104
Location:  MWF, 11-12
Time:  122 Wheeler
Instructor:  Thornbury, Emily V.

Hwæt! Leorniaþ Englisc!

In this class, you will learn to read, write, and even speak the language of Beowulf. Once you have completed it, you will be able to understand—and will have read!—a wide range of texts, ranging from comic riddles and love-laments to King Alfred’s educational policy. Because Old English is the grandparent of modern English, success in this course will also help you understand the grammar of today’s language from the inside out.

This course does not assume any previous experience learning languages at the college level, or any prior knowledge of Old English. Work will include translation in and out of class; quizzes; daily participation, and exams.

Required texts: Baker, Introduction to Old English; Marsden, Cambridge Old English Reader

Note: Graduate students may enroll in this class, and will be expected to do additional intensive work for graduate credit.


History of the German Language

Course: German 270
Location: 282 Dwinelle
Time: Tuesday, 11-1
Instructor: Rauch, Irmengard

Designed for graduate and undergraduate students  interested in the external and internal history of the German language from prehistoric times to the present and its interchange with closely and remotely related languages. Genetic language processes informing the German language across time are illustrated through the interface with literary documents from ancient Cattle Raids through Runic, Gothic, Medieval German and English texts, as well as excerpts from Luther’s era, Modern, and Contemporary German. No prerequisites.