Spring 2020

Celtic

Medieval Welsh Language and Literature

Course/Section: Celtic 146A
Location
: 6307 Dwinelle
Time
: Tu-Th 12:30-2 PM
Instructor
: Rejhon, Annalee

A selection of medieval Welsh prose and poetry will be read with a view to learning to read the original language as well as to examining key themes in the literature; lectures will provide both grammar instruction and analysis of the works in their cultural and historical contexts. The Mabinogion tales of Branwen and Maxen Wledic will be read as will selections from the early Welsh poetry of Taliesin and Aneirin and from the fourteenth-century poetry of Dafydd ap Gwilym. Selections will also be read from the oldest Arthurian tale in the vernacular, Culhwch & Olwen. English translations will be available for all works read in the original Middle Welsh and in-class translations will form a normal part of each class. Course requirements include a midterm and final examination.


English

Old English

Course/Section: English 104
Location
: 2032 VLSB
Time
: Tu-Th 12:30-2 PM
Instructor
: Miller, Jennifer

No description. 

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

For more information about this course, please contact Professor Miller at j_miller [at] berkeley [dot] edu.

 

Arthurian Romance

Course/Section: English 166
Location
: 310 Hearst Mining
Time
: Tu-Th 2-3:30 PM
Instructor
: Nolan, Maura

King Arthur and his Round Table together constitute one of the most enduring imaginative inventions in the European literary tradition. In the modern era, writers and artists have created Arthurian plays, films, poems, novels, cartoons, paintings, and more, all rooted in the medieval traditions that we will encounter in this class. Starting with the earliest depictions of Arthur, we will follow the tradition as it emerges in French and English (all texts will be in English translation). 

Texts include: The Arthurian Handbook; Chrétien de Troyes' romances; the Vulgate Quest for the Holy GrailSir Gawain and the Green Knight; the Alliterative Morte Arthure; and Malory's Le Morte d'Arthur.

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


French

Medieval French Literature

Course/Section: French 112A
Location
: 4226 Dwinelle
Time
: MW 4:10-5:30
Instructor
: Hult, David

The subject of this course is the most creative period of medieval literature, in which the epic still flourished butcourtliness and the romance were born. Among the topics will be oral tradition, the chanson de geste, thetroubadours of southern France and the rise of courtliness, the women troubadours, the values of courtly society, theinvention of romantic love, adultery and faithfulness, the transmission of Celtic themes in the matière de Bretagne,the legends of King Arthur, Lancelot and Guinevere, Tristan and Iseut, as well as medieval manuscripts (including asession viewing manuscripts in the Bancroft Library). Most of the texts will be read in modern French, but instructionin the Old French language will be an important component of the class and key passages will be read in their originallinguistic form.

Readings: The Chanson de Roland, ed. Short (ISBN 978-2-253-05341-4); Tristan et Iseut, ed. Walter (ISBN 978-2-253-05085-7); Chretien de Troyes, Le Chevalier de la Charrette (ISBN 978-2-253-05401-6), Le Chevalier au Lion (ISBN 978-2-253-06652-1) and Kibler, Intro to Old French.

Prerequisites: French 102 or consent of instructor.

Additional information: Knowledge of Old French not required; readings in modern French translation. This course satisfies 1 French Major course requirement in the "Literature" category or 1 French Major course requirement in the Elective category. This course satisfies 1 Historical Period Requirement in the French major. Priority enrollment for declared French majors. Satisfies the College of Letters & Science breadth requirement in Arts and Literature.

 

Studies in Medieval Literature: Late Medieval Fictions of Love

Course/Section: French 210A
Location
: 4226 Dwinelle
Time
: M 1-4
Instructor
: Hult, David

This seminar will focus on the tradition(s) of love narrative in the later French Middle Agesbeginning with two important thirteenth-century works that set the tone for centuries to come byinscribing 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, AlainChartier, Charles d’Orléans, and René d’Anjou. 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.

Additional Information: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.

Readings: Guillaume de Lorris, Le Roman de la Rose;  Richard de Fournival, Le Bestiaire d’Amour; Guillaume de Machaut, Le Livre du Voir Dit; Alain Chartier, La Belle Damesans Mercy; Christine de Pizan, Cent Ballades d’Amant et de Dame; René d’Anjou, Le Livre du Cœur d’Amour Épris.


German

Old Saxon

Course/Section: German 282
Location
: 282 Dwinelle
Time
: Tu 11-1
Instructor
: Rauch, Irmengard

Introduction to a literarily, culturally, and  linguistically diverse language which is unquestionably the most provocative of the major Germanic dialects in terms of language identification and language origin. The Old Saxon Heliand, a darling of translation enthusiasts, together with the OS Genesis and a Latin verse and prose preface provide the socio-cultural milieu reflective of Europe’s historical impact on the second half of the first millennium CE. Consideration of the most recent Old Saxon find in 2006, the digitized Leipzig manuscript, advances the historical relevance into the 16th century through a forensic trail tracing Luther’s possession/use of an original Heliand manuscript. The hybrid Old Saxon language shares features with Old Frisian and Old English to the North, and with Old High German to the South. Open to both undergraduate and graduate students; no prerequisites.

 

History

Medieval Sacred Kingship: Embodied Power and the Divine in Europe and Africa c.500-1500

Course/Section: History 100U/Global Studies 140
Location
: 223 Dwinelle
Time
: TuTh 1-3:29 PM
Instructor
: Miller, Maureen C.

If contemporary popular culture is any guide, we are fascinated by rulers with super-human abilities: from Black Panther's King T'Challa to Aragorn's foresight and healing power, sovereigns with special gifts loom large in our imaginary realms. This course explores the historical origins of ideas about sacred rulers during the centuries usually called "medieval" (c. 500-1500).  It will compare the development of Christian sacred kingship in Western Europe—the idea that sovereigns ruled by "divine right"—with the influence of Islam on ideas and practices of rulership in several African kingdoms.  In both cases, the impact of indigenous "tribal" beliefs and practices on the acceptance and development of Abrahamic faiths will be considered.  What relations between rulers and the sacred are attested?  What kinds of divine powers are attributed to kings and how are they related to their earthly, political authority?  How were power and holiness mobilized in the creation of early states?  Close reading and analysis of primary sources in translation (such as biographies, letters, chronicles, and traveler's accounts) will be emphasized as well as interpretive frameworks drawn from modern scholarship.  Course requirements include brief analytical responses to primary sources; a take-home midterm examination; and a final exam as scheduled by the Office of the Registrar during the university's final examination week.

 

Origins of Western Civilization: Medieval Europe

Course/Section: History 4B
Location
: GSP 150
Time
: Tu-Th 12:30-1:59PM
Instructor
: Koziol, Geoffrey

As a period, the middle ages is puzzling, contradictory, difficult, and endlessly fascinating. It is also profoundly important, because its 1000 years saw the development of principles and institutions fundamental to later European, American, Latin American, and even East Asian societies. The first half of the course begins with the fall of the Roman Empire and the church's role in stabilizing the chaos of the period. We will then turn to the conversion to Christianity of northern pagan society, the evolution of kingship in Anglo-Saxon society, and the creation of a Frankish empire on the continent that gave Europe a lasting belief in its historical destiny. In the second half of the course we will discuss the First Crusade, changing expressions of religious belief and practice (including heresy and the church's responses to it), the rise of states, the appearance of popular rebellion, and the literary culture of the aristocracy. A good deal of attention is also given to the position of women in society and the distinctive social values and religious piety that grew out of women's piety. With the exception of a fairly straightforward textbook, readings are entirely translated primary sources — generally whole works rather than excerpted snippets.

 

Eros: A History of Love from Ancient Greece to the Rennaissance

Course/Section: History 100AP
Location
: Mulford 240
Time
: MW 5-6:29 PM
Instructor
: Angelova, Dillana

What is love? An instinct, a thing of nature? Or an idea, a product of culture? European philosophers since Plato have sought answers to these questions, advancing in the process various theories about the relationship between nature, culture, and the human condition. This class considers these theories as a starting point of an historical exploration of love as represented in a variety of cultural artifacts from ancient Greece through the Middle Ages. Among them are the poetry of Sappho and Ovid; Greek and Roman sculpture; ancient, Byzantine, and medieval romances; marriage chests and wedding hymns; the letters of Abelard and Eloise; the New Testament and Augustine’s The City of God.

Class fulfills the following requirements: Historical Studies, L&S Breadth; Social & Behavioral Sciences, L&S Breadth

 

Pre-Colonial Africa

Course/Section: History 112A
Location
: Wheeler 102
Time
: MWF 11-11:59 AM
Instructor
: Hall, Bruce Stewart

This course explores African history before 1800: How and why did complex societies form in Africa? Why did states form in some place and times and not others? What technological responses did different Africans make to environmental changes? How did various cultures, religions, and state ideologies help to organize African social and political formations? What effect did the medieval and early-modern trade in African slaves have on African social and political formations? We will attempt to answer these questions from both theoretical and historiographical perspectives by engaging with academic debates on some of these issues, and by looking at the viewpoints of African historical actors themselves using primary sources.


History of Art

Psychologies of Art: The Middle Ages & Early Modernity

Course/Section: Histart 192T
Location
: Doe Library 425
Time
: Th 2-4:59 PM
Instructor
: Lange, Henrike Christiane

“Psychologies of Art: The Middle Ages & Early Modernity” maps psychological, emotive, and pathological patterns in art, in the history of art, and in art theory from the late Middle Ages to the present day. In this new version of the original “Psychologies of Art” seminar, students will focus mostly on research topics in medieval and early modern art history. In the first half of the course we will trace themes such as art and empathy, the psychological aspects of Christian art and iconography, the emotional implications of the maniera greca / maniera latina conflict, the dynamics of trauma and transcendence, and the representation of emotions and psychological states between the middle ages and the early modern age. The second half of the semester will be focused on specific figures of depression and madness (such as Dante’s Count Ugolino in literature and in the visual arts, the emotional charge of figures in Giotto, the gender psychology of Botticelli’s paintings, Dürer’s Melancholia, Michelangelo and the distancing self-analysis in some of his writings, and the rewriting of those themes in European art and thought (Lessing, Burke, Reynolds, Lavater, Warburg, Klibansky, Panofsky, Saxl). Additional discussions of modern themes in the mirror of the medieval / early modern materials prepare the issues of modernity and the “Ornament of the Masses” (Kracauer) through the question of fetishism, the new nineteenth-century concepts of childhood (Walter Benjamin), the history of art therapy and Gestalt psychology, Freud’s readings of Michelangelo’s works, and Gombrich’s psychological perspectives. We will furthermore relate medieval and early modern artworks to critical work of theorists and philosophers such as Susan Sontag, Georges Didi-Huberman, and Judith Butler. This course fulfills the following Major Requirements: Geographical Area (E) and Chronological Area (II).


Italian

Studies in Renaissance Literature and Culture: Faith and Ideology in Early Modern Italy

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

Class conducted in English; reading knowledge of Italian highly desirable.

The polysemous word-concept, “faith,” usually studied in its separate religious, moral, political, economic, textual, and other acceptations, constitutes an unusually potent means for examining the subtending ideological structures of early modern Italy, and of European culture more generally, as well as the transformative pressures on these during the sixteenth century.  “Fede” is at once the name given to blind trust in unprovable truth and to blind commitment in institutional and personal relationships.  It is, in other words, the name explicitly given in this period to the general principle that once shapes the social order, binding individuals to and within it, and effaces what lies, unseen and unsaid, beneath it.  Drawing on recent historical scholarship, I will demonstrate the pervasiveness of “fede” as the pivotal concept in the range of key discursive domains, indicate the homologies among them, and analyze their interactions in some symptomatic texts of the period.  These texts, ranging across the late medieval and early modern period from Dante, Petrarch and Boccaccio, to Machiavelli and Ariosto to Tasso and Guarino, with reference to such as key European figures as Luther, Rabelais, Montaigne, and Shakespeare, typically bring together multiple strands of the discourse of “fede,” at once revealing its systemic function and pointing to a pervasive crisis within it that opens on to what we are accustomed to call “modernity.”

Requirements: Attendance and active participation.  Two in-class reports.  Detailed paper proposal with bibliography (due in week 10).  Final paper (20-25 pages text; 5000-6000 words).  Papers may be developed from readings within the course and in relation to its primary topic (fides), or they may treat that topic in relation to texts not considered in the course (Italian or other), or they may consider an analogous problem using critical tools developed during the course.

East Asian Languages and Cultures

Classical Japanese Poetry

Course/Section: Japan 130
Location
: Dwinelle 183
Time
: Tu-Th 3:30-4:59 PM
Instructor
: Horton, H. Mack

An introduction to the critical analysis and translation of traditional Japanese poetry, a genre that reaches from early declarative work redolent of an even earlier oral tradition to medieval and Early Modern verses evoking exquisitely differentiated emotional states via complex rhetoric and literary allusion. Topics may include examples of Japan's earliest poetry in Man'yoshu, Heian courtly verse in Kokinshu, lines from Shinkokinshu with its medieval mystery and depth, linked verse (renga), and the haikai of Basho and his circle.


Seminar in Classical Japanese Poetry

Course/Section: Japan 230
Location
: Dwinelle 287
Time
: M 3-5:59 PM
Instructor
: Horton, H. Mack

Topics run from Japan's earliest extant poetic anthologies in Chinese (Kaifuso) or Japanese (Man'yoshu) to medieval linked verse (renga) and Edo haikai.

 

Texts on the Civilization of Medieval China

Course/Section: Chinese 234
Location
: Dwinelle 287
Time
: Th 3-5:59 PM
Instructor
: TBA

No description.

 

Scandinavian

Scandinavian Myth and Religion

Course/Section: Scandinavian 160
Location
: Barrows 60
Time
: MWF 1-2
Instructor
: Wellendorf, Jonas

L&S Breadth: Arts & Literature OR Philosophy & Values

Who were the Norse gods? How do we know? How and why did they meet their end? This course presents a survey of Scandinavian myth and religion from prehistory through the conversion to Christianity in the eleventh century, as illustrated in textual and, to a lesser extent, archaeological materials. The approach will be primarily source-critical, with some use of comparative materials. By the end of the course, students should know the sources well, have an understanding of the major problems involved in the study of Scandinavian myth and religion, and be aware of the more important scholarly trends in the field. Three hours of lecture and discussion per week.

Reading:

Edda by Snorri Sturluson, trans. Anthony Faulkes (1987), ISBN: 9780460876162

The Poetic Edda, trans. Carolyne Larrington (2014), 2nd ed., ISBN: 9780199675340

Abram, Christopher (2011): Myths of the Pagan North: The Gods of the Norsemen. ISBN: 9781847252470

Additional readings of primary and secondary literature will be made available through bCourses.

Prerequisites: None, although some background in folklore and mythology, religious studies, medieval literature and history, or Scandinavian culture is likely to prove helpful.

 

Early Scandinavian Literature: The Kings’ Sagas

Course/Section: Scandinavian 220
Location
: TBA
Time
: Th 1-4
Instructor
: Wellendorf, Jonas 

This seminar will be devoted to the development of Old Norse historiography and the king’ sagas in the late twelfth century and the first half of the thirteenth. We will examine the changing depictions of kingship and life at court as depicted in these texts as well as the historical development of kingship in Scandinavia (mainly Norway) from the Viking age to the high-medieval period. Special attention will also be given to the role of Icelanders in the development of the kings’ saga genre as well as the Icelandic political context at the time of the composition of these texts.

Recent scholarly works on the kings’ sagas and Norwegian history will be read alongside classical scholarship and the medieval texts themselves. Vernacular texts will be read in their original linguistic form, while Latin texts will be read in Latin and/or in translation (depending on the preparation of the participants).

Primary readings will include the Norwegian synoptics, the major biographical sagas on Óláfr Tryggvason, Óláfr Haraldsson, Sverrir Sigurðarson and Hákon Hákonarson, as well as longer excerpts from the great kings’ saga compilations (Morkinskinna, Fagrskinna, and Heimskringla). Less commonly read works will include Bǫglunga saga and Hákonar saga Ívarssonar.

Prerequisites: At least two semesters of Old Norse language studies (or equivalent).

 

Spanish

Challenging Genres in Medieval Iberia

Course/Section: Spanish 135
Location
: Barrows 185
Time
: Tu-Th 9:30-10:59 AM
Instructor
: Meerkhan, Nasser

Prerequisites: Span 25

This class introduces advanced students of Hispanic languages and cultures to fundamental works of Medieval Iberia. The texts span five centuries of Iberia’s literary history. We will focus on the subversive aspects of the texts we read: how they challenged social, cultural and literary standards; and how they keep challenging us today. Even though the emphasis will be on Spanish and Portuguese masterpieces such as El Mio Cid, Libro de Buen Amor, La Celestina and Alfonso X the Wise’s Galego-Portuguese poetry, we will also consider influential Semitic texts (such as zejels and maqamat) as well as texts that elude monolinguistic categorizations, such as kharjas. In order to better observe the evolution of the genres in question, we will follow a chronological order: beginning with the kharjas (XI c.) and ending with La Celestina (1499 CE).