Fall 2017 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. 


Celtic Studies

Medieval Celtic Culture

Course/Section: Celtic Studies 128 (4)
Location
: TBA
Time
: MWF 10-11
Instructor
: Walsh, Thomas

A study of medieval Celtic culture, its society, laws, religion, history, and the daily life of the Celtic peoples, as they are reflected in a selection of texts ranging from medieval literary works to legal texts and historical chronicles. All works will be read in English translation. 

 

English

Chaucer: Early Poetry and the Troilus and Criseyde

Course/Section: English 211
Location
: TBA
Time
: W 3-6
Instructor
: Justice, Steven

This course studies all Chaucer's majors works before the Canterbury Tales. About the first third of the semester will use the earlier works--the Book of the Duchess and the Parliament of Fowls especially--to introduce Middle English "philology," in the old, broad sense of that word: the texture and logic of the language and its textual settings, the literary possibilities available within those, the available channels of convention and innovation, and the tools for studying all these things. It will also, inevitably, spend some time thinking about literary history. The remaining weeks will give detailed study to the Troilus and Criseyde, Chaucer's greatest and most important work, and to the stages by which he developed the idea for the Canterbury Tales.

 

Introduction to Old English

Course/Section: English 104
Location
: TBA
Time
: MWF 10-11
Instructor
: Thornbury, Emily

Hwæt! Leorniað Englisc!

In this introduction to Old English, you will begin to read and write Old English from your first day in class, while also learning fundamental principles of grammar and historical language change. As you progress in your knowledge, you will begin exploring the wide range of literature in Old English, including riddles, love-laments, heroic poetry, and exotic travel narratives. You will learn what to do about demons, and the surprising reason that pepper is black. (Hint: it involves snakes.) By the end of the course, you will be able to read most Old English texts with the aid of a dictionary. You will also have a strong grasp of the linguistic principles that still shape modern English, and will be well prepared for further study of modern and medieval languages.

This course satisfies the pre-1800 requirement for the English major.

There are no prerequisites for this course, and no prior knowledge is expected. Graduate students interested in Old English should contact the instructor: a concurrent version of this course may be taken for graduate credit.

** English 104 (Introduction to Old English) is customarily taught with provisions for graduate students to work at a more advanced level. They can either enroll in the course directly, or (after consultation with Prof. Thornbury) as an independent study running concurrently with the course.

Book List

Mitchell, Bruce, and Fred C. Robinson: Guide to Old English

Other Readings and Media

A coursepack

 

German

Middle High German

Course/Section: German 105 (3)
Location
: TBA
Time
: TuTh 8-9:30
Instructor
: Largier, Niklaus

The aim of the course is to help students develop proficiency in reading Middle High German texts. The course emphasizes translation, grammar, and close reading, though the cultural context of the literary documents and of the production of texts during the Middle Ages will be discussed as well. In addition to the courtly romance Iwein by Hartmann von Aue, students will read medieval poetry. The final list of readings and the way of proceeding will be determined in consultation with the class. The course is open to both undergraduate and graduate students.

 

History of the German Language

Course/Section: German 270 (4)
Location
: TBA
Time
: Tu 10-1 
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.

 

History

The Middle Ages

Course/Section: History 275B (003)
Location
: TBA
Time
: W 2-4
Instructor
: Miller, Maureen C.

An introduction to the history and historiography of Europe and the Mediterranean c. 300 – c,1500, emphasizing broad patterns of change and key interpretive debates. Themes include the end of the ancient world and the character of early medieval societies; political transformations east and west over the central Middle Ages; economic expansion and urban development; changes in ecclesiastical institutions and religious cultures.  Students should expect to read and analyze c. 500 pages of monographic scholarship per week, preparing cogent notes and argument summaries.  Requirements also include active, critical, and courteous participation in discussion; several presentations across the term; and two short essays akin to those expected of medieval history students in their third-semester screening examination.

 

Introduction to Byzantine Studies

Course/Section: History 280/285
Location
: TBA
Time
: Tu 3-5
Instructor
: Mavroudi, Maria

This seminar will offer both a general introduction to and an investigation of special topics within Byzantine studies.  The weekly seminar discussions will be organized as follows: weeks 1-9 covered the period from the 7th until the 15th centuries in chronological sequence.  Students will be expected to become familiar with the sequence of events in Byzantine history through reading G. Ostrogorsky, History of the Byzantine State;at the same time, through reading additional secondary bibliography, they will be expected to think about particular problems that modern historians face in their attempt to study and interpret these events. Weeks 10-15 will be dedicated to particular aspects of Byzantine studies: the survival of Byzantine culture after the political end of the empire in 1453; Byzantium and the Slavs; Byzantine economy; Byzantine learned and vernacular literature; Byzantine epic poetry and the expression of collective identity, in the Middle Ages and now; the study of Byzantine art; Byzantine studies as a modern discipline. Students taking this seminar as 285 will be required to identify a research topic early in the semester, on which they will present a research report and produce a final paper.

 

History of Art

Breaking Images: Iconoclasms, Past and Present

Course/Section: History of Art 192T
Location
: Doe Library 425
Time
: M 9-12
Instructor
: Angelova, Diliana

Purposeful destruction has occurred many times in the history of art. This undergraduate seminar examines the causes and theorization of such Iconoclasms through a number of case studies, including Christian destruction of pagan images; the Byzantine Iconoclasm; Maya breaking and reuse of images; image destruction in Renaissance Italy, Revolutionary France, and the two World Wars; and the more recent attacks of monuments and artifacts under the Taliban and ISIS.

This course fulfills the following Major requirements: Geographical area (E) and Chronological period (I) or (II), based on the topic of the final research paper or project.

 

Italian

The Italian Renaissance, Then and Now

Course/Section: Italian 215
Location
: Dwinelle 6331
Time
: T 2-5
Instructor
: Ascoli, Albert

As the New Historicism began its quest to revolutionize Renaissance studies, one of the first things to go was a little book by E.M.W Tillyard called The Elizabethan World-Picture, Tillyard’s book, like Curtius’ even more valuable European Literature in the Latin Middle Ages, was a compendium of clichés, absent any contextualization in the complex of social, political, religious conflicts and the realities of everyday life from which they had been abstracted.  And yet, those clichés were deeply embedded in the language and texts of the times, and the fact that we have stopped teaching them systematically in favor of more interesting and complex, yet also more narrowly conceived, topics has, in significant ways, made the period less legible, more susceptible to partial and anachronistic readings.

In this course we will attempt to do three things, of necessity in partial and heuristic ways.  First, we will revisit the “classic” Italian Renaissance, as defined by Burckhardt, Michelet, Garin, Baron, Kristeller and others, and we will read in and around a number of the texts upon which 19th and 20th century historians of the period drew to construct their image of it (Petrarch; Alberti; Pico; Machiavelli; Castiglione; Ariosto; Vasari). Second, we will examine the margins or boundaries which both historians and period authors drew upon to construct seemingly secure but ultimately unsustainable versions of a linguistic, intellectual, artistic, and political “rebirth” in Italy—margins including but not limited to: contrasting historical periods before and after, such as “The Classics,” “The Middle Ages,” “The Reformation,” “The Baroque,” and the “Enlightenment”; oppositional and/or exoticized spaces such as “The Nation-State” (France; Spain; England), “The New World,” Islam, Africa, and “The Orient”; repressed and/or subordinated groups including: the poor, women, Jews, Moors, and so on.  Finally, we will consider some of the by-now classic historiographical critiques of/alternatives to “Renaissance Studies,” including Kelly’s “Did Women Have a Renaissance?”, Ginsburg’s “The Cheese and the Worms,” efforts by Ruggiero, Rocke and others to give a non-idealized picture of Renaissance sexualities; economically-oriented “early modern studies; along with some more recent attempts both to critique and to reclaim the Renaissance (e.g., Wojciehowski, Group Identity in the Renaissance World; Ramachandran, The Worldmakers; and others).

Readings: TBD, on-going student in-put will be partially responsible for choices of texts

Requirements: a series of short papers (3-5 pp.), roughly one every two weeks, on weekly course topics; regular turns as “discussion leader.”  Students wishing to write a longer term paper may do so with the consent of the instructor and appropriate reduction of other requirements from week 10 on.

Taught in English, reading knowledge of Italian and/or Latin useful but not indispensable

Fulfills REMS DE requirement for intellectual history, 2 or 4 units.

 

Music

Motets of the 14th century

Course/Section: Music 220
Location
: TBA
Time
: Th 2-5
Instructor
: Zazulia, Emily

These are often the most interesting pieces from the time for students outside of musicology, since there is a lot to talk about in the texts as well as the music. We'll be engaging with textual and musical analysis, plus manuscript studies/codicology, and notation. While some experience with music would be helpful, it is not essential. Please contact the instructor if you are concerned that you do not have the right preparation.

 

Scandinavian

Introduction to Old Norse I

Course/Section: Scandinavian 101A
Location
: TBA
Time
: MWF 12-1
Instructor
: Wellendorf, Jonas

This class will introduce students to the written vernacular language of Iceland and Norway in the Middle Ages. Class time will focus on the grammatical structure of Old Norse, translating into English, and close-reading exercises of Old Norse texts. By the end of the semester students should be able to read saga-style Old Norse prose texts in normalized orthography with the help of a dictionary. Assignments will include translations, grammatical exercises, quizzes, a midterm, and a final exam. Regular and active participation is required.

Texts: Zöega’s Old Icelandic Dictionary (any edition) and additional texts to be announced by the instructor.

Prerequisites: none

**If students need to take the class for graduate credits, Professor Wellendor will assign additional readings on topic relevant to the class. 

 

Early Scandinavian Literature: Eddic Poetry

Course/Section: Scandinavian 220
Location
: Dwinelle 6415
Time
: Th 10-1
Instructor
: Heslop, Kate

With the recent publication of a new edition of the eddic corpus (Eddukvæði, ed. Jonas Kristjánsson and Vésteinn Ólason, Reykjavik, 2014), a comprehensive study of eddic metrics (The meters of Old Norse eddic poetry, Seiichi Suzuki, Berlin, 2014) and a handbook (A handbook to eddic poetry, ed. Carolyne Larrington et al., Cambridge, 2016), the time is ripe for a reconsideration of this fascinating material. In this seminar we will read, discuss and write about poetry in eddic meters, focusing in particular on the poetry of the Codex Regius manuscript (Gks 2365 4to). In particular, seminar participants can expect to:

  •  work closely with the Codex Regius manuscript (in facsimile) as well as other important manuscript sources (versions of Vǫluspá, quotations from eddic mythological poetry in Gylfaginning, eddic heroic poetry in fornaldarsögur);
  •  get to know the various editions of eddic poetry, and familiarize themselves with their advantages and disadvantages;
  •  get a basic grounding in eddic metrics – useful for comparative work with other parts of the Germanic alliterative tradition, as well as the best starting point for understanding skaldic metrics;
  •  and discuss issues in eddic scholarship, both historical and more recent.

A good working knowledge of Old Norse is needed to participate.