Early Celtic Cultures, Spring 2002

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Fighting fiends, curling coils, precious pigs, magical mounds, beauteous bottleflies, gleaming goddesses, copious cows and lyrical, language laces: These are just a few of the marvels we will encounter in this course as we explore early Celtic cultures from Galway to Gaul. In this course, we will study the cultures of Wales, Ireland and Scotland in our efforts to understand these proud, complex peoples. Emphasizing works from the medieval period, we will examine works from literature, history, fine art, anthropology, architecture, and mythology to expand our perspectives and focus our attention on Celtic themes such as love, loyalty, sexuality, heroism, the meaning of kingship, religious faith, and the relationship between humans and nature.

The goals of this course are to encourage students to: 1) Gain strong knowledge of varied materials from the Celtic cultures that most influenced the development of European history and civilization; 2) Hone skills in researching topics from early cultures through practice in short research papers; 3) Develop critical thinking and analytical writing skills through spontaneous in-class discussion, more considered but still informal interaction on an e-mail forum, reflection based on paper presentations, and carefully prepared analysis in a formal paper; and 4) Share information, resources, and research strategies with classmates through oral presentations on their own work.

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