Spring 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.
Introduction to Research Materials and Methods
Course/Section: Medieval Studies 200
Location: 6220 Dwinelle
Time: M 5-7
Instructor: Miller, Maureen
The gradute proseminar. Basic materials and resources in fields represented in the Medieval Studies program, and in some subjects involving expertise in more than one discipline (e.g., liturgy, codicology). Emphasis on methods of interdisciplinary research, research tools, and critical evaluation of their use.
Mary: The Global Icon
Course/Section: History of Art 258
Time: W 9-12
Instructor: Angelova, Diliana
The objective of this graduate seminar (undergraduates are welcome) is to offer a global view of the Virgin Mary that cuts across periods and faiths as well as national and geographic divides. The first part of the seminar traces the iconography and veneration of the Virgin Mary from theological and historical perspectives. The Byzantine, Western medieval, and the Islamic traditions are to be examined. The second part considers the later history of Marian images and veneration through case studies from around the world: the Black Madonna, the Virgin of Guadalupe, icons of Mary in Ethiopia, and the miraculous statue of the Virgin in the Philippines. Class participation, oral presentation, and a research paper are required.
Anglo-Saxons and the Law
Course/Section: English 205b
Time: TuTh 12:30-2:00
Instructor: Katherine O'Brien O'Keeffe
In the last decade, there has been considerable interest in Anglo-Saxon law from the perspectives of history and literature, including a new, international project to re-edit the corpus. This course will consider both the social and textual dimensions of Anglo-Saxon law from Æthelberht to Cnut. We will also look at some collections of conciliar decisions available in Anglo-Saxon England and ask how church law interacted with secular law. Questions of evidence, of crime and sin, and of punishment will occupy us. We will also consider selected strategies for avoiding the latter. Some of our usual suspects will be: adulterers, bishops, counterfeiters, exiles, foreigners, kings, murderers, nuns, slanderers, slaves, thieves, and wives, to name an obvious few. We will investigate what the laws tell us about the changing understanding of the body during the Anglo-Saxon period and about the different schemes of rendering satisfaction for crime and sin.
Requirements: daily engagement with the texts, one or two class presentations, a short experimental paper (aimed at trying out the idea for the final paper), a final paper of 15-20 pages. Topics will be chosen in consultation with the professor.
Chaucer's Canterbury Tales
Course/Section: English 211
Location: 106 Mulford
Time: TuTh 2:00-3:30
Instructor: Maura Nolan
This course will introduce specialists and non-specialists alike to the close reading of Chaucer's Canterbury Tales. You need have no previous experience with Middle English; indeed, if you do have previous experience, you may find that Chaucer challenges you in ways you aren't expecting! We will start with the General Prologue and read the Tales through to the Retractions, paying attention along the way to who Chaucer was, why he was writing, what he was reading, where he situated his tales, when everything takes place, and above all, HOW Chaucer's literary art functions at the level of the word, the clause, the sentence, the line, the stanza, all the way up to the idea of the Tales as a whole. A central question that we will address will be the question of style. Can we use the word "style" to describe Chaucer's artfulness? What does "style" mean in Middle English and in the classical rhetoric from which Chaucer got many of his ideas about literature? What do we mean by style in the present day? Is it a useful category of literary analysis? What is the relationship of style to theory and to history? In the simplest terms, what enables a critic to identify a style as characteristic of an author? Of an era? Of a place? Students will write short papers and exercises rather than a seminar paper, though the option of a long paper is open to anyone wishing to write one.
If you want to get started, you can get Jill Mann's Penguin edition of the Canterbury Tales. It is also available as a Kindle edition. **However** Buyers beware! When you go to the listing on Amazon for the Mann edition, and click on "Kindle edition," you are taken to a 99 cent edition by someone I've never heard of. DO NOT get this edition. Instead, search the Kindle store using this search string, "Chaucer Canterbury Tales Middle English." The Mann Kindle edition should come up in this search. You will know it is the right edition because it is the one costing $3.99. (**Update as of Oct. 19--Penguin has caught on to this low low price and raised it to $15, I'm sorry to say). Or use this link: https://www.amazon.com/Canterbury-Tales-Penguin-Classics-ebook/dp/B002RI9O6Y/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1474606938&sr=1-1&keywords=chaucer+canterbury+tales+Middle+English. (Working as of Sept. 22, 2016). If you still can't find it, email me and I'll unearth it again. They don't seem to want to sell this book, for some reason. No doubt they are worried that worldwide demand would crash their servers if they made it too easy to acquire.
Late Medieval Fictions of Love
Course/Section: French 210b
Location: Dwinelle 219
Time: M 1:00-4:00
Instructor: David Hult
This seminar will focus on the tradition(s) of love narrative in the later French Middle Ages beginning with two important thirteenth-century works that set the tone for centuries to come by inscribing the lyric tradition within romance narrative: Guillaume de Lorris’s enormously influential, fragmentary Roman de la Rose; and Richard de Fournival’s intriguing Bestiary of Love, which inscribes the love quest within the hitherto didactic genre of animal lore, the bestiary. The balance of the semester will be devoted to noted authors of the fourteenth and fifteenth cenuries, including Guillaume de Machaut, Jean Froissart, Christine de Pizan, Alain Chartier, Charles d’Orléans, and René d’Anjou. Although previous knowledge of Old French is not required, inasmuch as most texts will be read in original language editions with facing-page modern French translation, class discussions will frequently focus on the original text. Topics of discussion will include the question of the first-person narrative voice, the relations between lyric and romance, song and book, evolving notions of authorship, and the rhetoric of courtly love. For a more detailed description please visit French Department website at http://french.berkeley.edu
Studies in Medieval Literature
Course/Section: German 205/Comparative Literature 212
Location: Dwinelle 282
Time: TuTh 4:00-7:00
Instructor: Niklaus Largier
So-called ‘mystical’ forms of thought and experience have played a major role in the history of medieval theology and spirituality. They also were of importance to modern authors from Hegel to Georg Lukàcs, Martin Heidegger, Georges Bataille, and Jacques Derrida; and from Novalis to Robert Musil, Paul Celan, Ingeborg Bachmann, Pierre Klossowski, to John Cage (to name just a few). In this seminar we will read and discuss medieval key texts written by Ps. Dionysius Areopagita, Eckhart of Hochheim (Meister Eckhart), Henry Suso, Mechthild of Magdeburg, Hadewijch of Antwerp, and Angela Foligno, some of the most significant medieval figures in this tradition. Depending on student interest we can add other authors to this list, e.g., Bernhard of Clairvaux, William of Saint Thierry, Hugh and Richard of Saint Victor. During a second phase of the seminar we will turn our attention to baroque mysticism, especially Angelus Silesius and Jacob Böhme. Based on the class discussion and on individual student interests, we will then look into the ways how these texts have been read by 19th and 20th century authors and explore the impact they had on the formation of modern concepts of (and discussions about) subjectivity, affect, and agency. Depending on student interests, we will decide on a final version of the syllabus at the first meeting of class.
Text and Visual Media in the Age of Dante, Boccaccio, and Petrarch
Course/Section: Italian 163
Location: Dwinelle 219
Time: TuTh 3:30-5:00
Instructor: Henrike Christiane Lange
The names of Dante, Boccaccio, and Petrarch stand for a new quality of literary production in Italy between the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries. Their self-reliant language and freshly conceptualized texts would stand in a constant dialogue with the visual arts of their time. At times leading, at times following, the visual arts were called to reform themselves in their reaction to the new ideals of the texts in a mutually beneficial relationship.
With their works and cultural projects, Dante, Boccaccio, and Petrarch are situated between what has been called the “medieval world” and what is known as “the Renaissance”. On the one hand, the class will strengthen an awareness of the limits and benefits of such designations in the intellectual management of history. On the other hand, the class will investigate the different genres and the inherent visuality of these classical texts in the context of the visual media of their time.
To frame the writers’ individual contributions for the fields of language and literature studies, the literary works will be seen in the context of their predecessors and teachers such as Brunetto Latini as well as in the long lines of followers, interpreters, and epigones. For the latter, the main focus will be on the 14th and 15th centuries, but the long history of literary and artistic responses to Dante, Boccaccio, and Petrarch will lead us up into the nineteenth and twentieth centuries and into artistic issues of the present day. Depending on students’ interests, contemporary Dante illustrations in present-day America and the history of film can be part of this long perspective.
Visual media discussed will include book illustrations, paintings in small and large formats, murals, iconographical architecture, sculpture in the round and relief sculpture, objects, books as works of art, and musical and scientific instruments as they are presented in the texts and in the imagery of their time. Early print culture can be explored depending on the interests of the group. Within the rich offerings of relevant material, we will identify individual pieces or texts of interest for each student, so that every student has a chance to become an expert on one specific piece throughout specific writing tasks, discussion, and research exercises, building up to a final paper and final in-class presentation.
Course/Section: Latin 140
Location: Dwinelle 205
Time: TuTh 12:30-2:00
Instructor: Frank Bezner
This course is meant as an introduction into the Latin literature of the Middle Ages. After a brief introduction into medieval Latin as a literary and non-literary language, we will translate and discuss readings from the 5th to the 13th century, readings selected in order to illustrate important and interesting authors, genres, contexts, and features of medieval Latin Latin literature and literary culture. Texts to be studied include the Peregrinatio Egeriae, a late Ancient travel account to the holy land; Carolingian political poetry written at Charlemagne’s court; religious poetry by Notker of St. Gall; allegorical poetry of the 12th century; hagiographic and monastic literature; satirical and love poems (Carmina Burana). Two classes will be held at the Bancroft library where we will be able to work with original medieval manuscripts. Overall, we will focus on translation and analysis, but never without discussing institutional contexts and problems of interpretation. Sound knowledge of the basics of Latin grammar and at least some experience with reading (classical or medieval) texts in the original (ideally through courses such as Latin 100, 101 etc.) are prerequisites. Please email instructor when in doubt. — All texts will be handed out (via a reader or bcourses).
Course/Section: Linguistics 230
Location: Dwinelle 1303
Time: TuTh 11:00-12:30
Instructor: Gary Holland
The scholarly tradition of historical and comparative linguistics. Methods of reconstruction.
Early Scandinavian Literature: Old Norse mythology and theories of myth
Course/Section: Scandinavian 220
Location: Dwinelle 6415
Time: M 1:00-4:00
Instructor: Jonas Wellendorf
Theorists of myth and mythology rarely draw on Old Norse materials and scholarship on Old Norse myth is often carried out without reference to other mythologies. Nevertheless, a number of influential applications of structuralist, ritualists and ideological approaches to Norse myth can be found. In this seminar, we will study these applications and seek apply to some of the major theories of myth and mythology of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries to the Old Norse mythological primary sources. The aim will be to see what kinds of answers they can give to questions of origin, subject matter and function of Norse myths.
In addition to primary sources and specialized scholarship on Old Norse myth, readings will include works by Dumézil, Dundes, Eliade, Girard, Lévi-Strauss, Lincoln, Malinowski, and others.
Texts: The Prose Edda, The mythological poems of the Poetic Edda. Both will be read in Old Norse. Secondary readings will primarily be in English.
Prerequisites: At least two semesters of Old Norse language studies (or equivalent).