Courses - Spring 2016

To download a PDF of the current course brochure, click here.

Art History

Art History 201.001 - History of Art I

Justine Andrews
MWF 9:00-9:50

This course is the first half of a survey of Art History. We will cover a vast amount of material beginning in the Ancient Near East, continuing through Egypt, Ancient Greece, and Rome. The second half of the semester will explore the Art of the Middle Ages including the rise of the Byzantine and Islamic Empires. Although the course will follow a chronological framework, attention will be given to the specific themes of images of kingship/rulership; the devotional image; text and image; and architecture. This course will be taught with the principles of active learning. There will be an online component including quizzes within an e-textbook. There will be a variety of projects completed during class periods so attendance and active engagement with the material is essential for this course.

Art History 432.001 - Islamic Art and Architecture

Justine Andrews
MW 12:30-1:45

This course will provide an introduction to the visual culture of the Islamic world from its foundations in the seventh century on the Arabian Peninsula to its flowering under Ottoman and Mughal rule in the seventeenth century. We will begin with a brief outline of the historical and theological foundations of Islamic Art. We will proceed with a chronological survey of imagery from the Mediterranean to India. 

English

English 228.001 - The Medieval Side of Horror

Jessica Troy
MWF 2:00-2:50

While vampires, zombies, magical beasts, and supernatural creatures are typical in horror films and literature, they are not always creations from the imaginations of modern writers and directors. Many horror stories have a medieval context and background which are often overlooked. In this class, students will analyze contemporary horror and discuss how medievalism plays a part in its creation as well as the ways in which the true medieval history has been altered, reworked, or obliterated for the modern audience’s enjoyment. Additionally, students will find their own examples of medieval-based horror, research the historical or literary context from which the film/book/show extracts its content, and investigate how the cinematic or literary piece affects the contemporary view of the medieval world. Titles to be used in class include, but are not limited to, Bram Stoker’s Dracula, Knight of the Dead, Black Death, and Army of Darkness.

English 347.001 - Viking Mythology

Nicholas Schwartz
TR 9:30-10:45

This course is designed to comprehensively introduce students to Viking Mythology. It will cover Norse ideas about the creation of the world, the end of the world, and everything in between. Students should expect to read about Odin, Thor, Loki, and a host of other characters not so well known today. In addition to these important mythological features, we will read accounts of significant events, like the conversion to Christianity. Texts will include, but are not limited to, The Elder Edda, Snorri Sturluson’s Prose Edda, and The Saga of the Volsungs. All primary sources will be read in English translation. Additionally, students will learn about the culture(s) that produced these wonderful stories and their specific literary conventions. This course will foster a valuable familiarity with an important mythological tradition and expose students to a variety of methods of reading its stories. 

English 349.001 - From Beowulf to Arthur

Lisa Myers
MWF 9:00-9:50

This course is designed as an introductory survey to the literary works produced in England in the Middle Ages, ca. 700‒1500. While most texts will be read in Modern English translations, class lectures will provide some background on the development of the English language. The class will focus on both the specialized terminology and the literary devices particular to medieval English texts as well as the cultural, social, and political factors that influenced the development of English literature. Readings will introduce students to a wide variety of medieval genres and will include epic, lyric poetry, romance, mystical revelation, and outlaw tale as illustrated in such works as Beowulf, The Dream of the Rood, Sir Orfeo, the Showings of Julian of Norwich, and the Rhymes of Robin Hood.

English 351.001 - Chaucer

Nicholas Schwartz
MWF 10:00-10:50

This course will focus on The Canterbury Tales, the final work and masterpiece of Geoffrey Chaucer, one of the greatest and most important writers in English. A mix of the bawdy and the chaste, the sacred and the profane, the high- and the low-class, amongst other dichotomies, Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales is a work that provides its readers with a host of personalities, literary conventions, styles, and much, much more. All primary texts will be read in Chaucer’s Middle English, though students do not need to have any experience with the language in order to take this course. Chaucer wrote during the fourteenth century—a time of great tumult, including famine, plague, political uprising, and religious rebellion. We will consider the Canterbury Tales in light of this complicated historical context while also paying attention to the long and rich history of scholarly criticism on the Tales. Coursework and assignments will be designed to develop knowledge of the conventions of medieval English poetry, a competence in Middle English, and a recognition of Chaucer’s contributions to English language and literature.

English 448.001/558.001 - Beowulf

Jonathan Davis-Secord
TR 12:30-1:45

Beowulf is the most celebrated and studied Old English poem, yet it remains ambiguous and contested. Modern scholars continue to scrutinize difficult points in the text and wrestle over approaches to the poem. This course will be devoted to a close reading of Beowulf in the original Old English, coupled with pertinent scholarship on specific points in the poem along the way. We will explore the roles of women in the text, the meanings of the monsters, the patterns of gift-giving, the linguistic intricacies of the text, and many other topics. Students will prepare translations of the poem, read secondary literature, and write a critical research paper for the semester. Prerequisite: ENGL 447 or the equivalent.

English 451.001/551.001 - Medieval Latin

Jonathan Davis-Secord
TR 9:30-10:45

The phrase “medieval Latin” covers an amazingly wide array of time periods, genres, and geographical locations. It applies to philosophical treatises written in Italy in the fifth century, letters written in northern Europe in the ninth century, and saints’ lives written in England in the fifteenth century. As a result of this abundance, this course will touch upon only a small number of important texts and authors from the medieval period. We will concentrate on short sections of these texts, spending several weeks with each in order for students to become familiar with major texts and authors of Medieval Latin and increase their facility with Latin generally and their knowledge of the distinguishing features of Medieval Latin specifically. Prerequisite: LATN 102 or equivalent.

English 551.002/History 668.001 - Medieval Research and Bibliography

Timothy C. Graham
W 4:00-6:30

This course will offer intensive training in the research and bibliographic skills necessary for the study of the Middle Ages while also introducing students to the history of medieval scholarship from the sixteenth century onwards. A key aspect of the course will be a detailed orientation to the major published resources available to medievalists, including the volumes of the Patrologia Latina, the Monumenta Germaniae Historica, and the Early English Text Society, as well as the important series Early English Manuscripts in Facsimile. Participants in the course will learn about the techniques used by scholarly editors when preparing a medieval text for use by a modern readership; they will also be introduced to the conventions of the modern apparatus criticus. Students will learn how to read and analyze charters and other types of medieval document and will receive instruction in the basics of such important ancillary disciplines as medieval chronology and sigillography. The section of the course devoted to the history of medieval scholarship will include a special focus on the origins and development of Anglo-Saxon studies from the sixteenth to the eighteenth century.

English 680.001 - The Gawain Poet

Anita Obermeier
W 4:00-7:30

The last quarter of the turbulent fourteenth century exhibited a highly imaginative and fertile period of heterogeneous literary composition. Although Geoffrey Chaucer is often called the Father of English Poetry and the uncontested literary giant of the fourteenth century, he does have to share the stage with several other highly gifted authors, most notably the Gawain-Poet. This seminar will offer the opportunity to study in depth and from a variety of perspectives the four poems of the late fourteenth-century manuscript Cotton Nero A. x, attributed to the Gawain-Poet: Pearl, “Cleanness,” “Patience,” and Sir Gawain and the Green Knight. We will also explore the historical and cultural context, including jewelry, armor, the Wilton Diptych, the tomb of Richard II, and the Alliterative Revival, within which this manuscript was created.

History

History 300.002/500.002 - Ancient and Medieval Mediterranean

Sarah Davis-Secord
MWF 10:00-10:50

From the ancient to medieval periods, the Mediterranean Sea was the point of intersection between the major civilizations of the age: the Egyptian, Roman, and Greek worlds that transformed into Latin Europe, the Byzantine Empire, and the Islamic world. Romans, Greeks, Phoenicians, and Egyptians of the ancient world battled for control of the sea and its surrounding lands while also sharing technology, culture, language, and trade goods. Medieval Christians, Jews, and Muslims lived in the Mediterranean along shifting frontiers, at times in both conflict and cooperation. In both of these eras, merchants, pilgrims, diplomats, and warriors traveled across the sea, often bringing with them cultural or economic products that contributed to a larger framework of commerce and communication. This course will examine the Mediterranean Sea region, both as a geographical concept and as a stage for such complex relationships, from the ancient through the late medieval periods. Topics running throughout the course will include the following: the creation, maintenance, and crossing of boundaries; the balance between violence and cooperation in cross-cultural dialogue; relationships between religious minorities and their dominant society; and commercial and cultural exchanges between the major civilizations of the Mediterranean world.

History 304.001/504.001 - High and Late Middle Ages

Michael A. Ryan
MWF 1:00-1:50

In this class, we will re-evaluate the traditional historical narrative that depicts the High Middle Ages (ca. 1000‒1300) as the “golden” age of medieval civilization, whereas the Later Middle Ages and onset of the early modern era (ca. 1300‒1550 C.E.) represent the death or waning of that civilization. The reality, of course, is far more complex. We will question that narrative and invert it by studying the events that took place during the High Middle Ages that tarnished this “golden” era. We will analyze the crises of the Later Middle Ages and early modern eras, but we will also contextualize them within a larger atmosphere of political, cultural, and social change. We will read and analyze primary sources, the eyewitness accounts of the people who lived through these times, and learn the fundamental techniques of the study of history. We will also study a variety of secondary sources that have either reinforced or diverged from these larger narratives. By encountering the many manifestations of what constitutes the European High and Late Middle Ages, students will come away with a more nuanced understanding of what that period comprises.

History 402.001/602.001 - Medieval Crusade and Jihad

Sarah Davis-Secord
MWF 12:00-12:50

This course will provide a history of the crusading movement of Western Europe (ca. 1095‒1291) and its impact on the civilizations of the medieval West and Middle East. Course material will address both the events and the long-term legacies of the Crusades and counter-crusades (jihad) as well as the histories of the peoples and ideas involved. Students will be asked to reflect on the following questions, as presented in lectures, readings, discussions, and writing assignments: What were the motivations of the Christian crusaders? How did the Muslims and Jews of the Middle East view the Crusades, and how did they respond to them? In what ways did the prolonged contact between these two major civilizations affect the societies, religions, and economies of each?

History 485.001/585.001- Islamic Middle East, ca. 600-1260

Patricia Risso
MWF 10:00-10:50

The Middle East is, historically and geographically, a critical bridge connecting Europe and Asia. It is the setting for the early evolution of Islam as the ancient regimes of Persia and Eastern Rome exhausted themselves in conflict. It is also center stage for the Crusades beginning in the late eleventh century, as well as the Mongol destruction of Abbasid Baghdad in 1258. The narrative and analysis will take us, briefly, as far east as Samarkand and Sindh and as far west as Iberia. This course is the first of three that, together, cover western Asia from the late ancient period to recent history, with divisions at 1260 and 1800. Each course stands alone, without prerequisites.

History 668.001/English 551.002 - Medieval Research and Bibliography

Timothy C. Graham
W 4:00-6:30

This course will offer intensive training in the research and bibliographic skills necessary for the study of the Middle Ages while also introducing students to the history of medieval scholarship from the sixteenth century onwards. A key aspect of the course will be a detailed orientation to the major published resources available to medievalists, including the volumes of the Patrologia Latina, the Monumenta Germaniae Historica, and the Early English Text Society, as well as the important series Early English Manuscripts in Facsimile. Participants in the course will learn about the techniques used by scholarly editors when preparing a medieval text for use by a modern readership; they will also be introduced to the conventions of the modern apparatus criticus. Students will learn how to read and analyze charters and other types of medieval document and will receive instruction in the basics of such important ancillary disciplines as medieval chronology and sigillography. The section of the course devoted to the history of medieval scholarship will include a special focus on the origins and development of Anglo-Saxon studies from the sixteenth to the eighteenth century.