Courses - Fall 2020

MEDVL 1740 Imperial China

This course explores the history of imperial China between the 3rd century b.c.e. and the 16th century c.e. with a focus on the following questions:  How did imperial Chinese states go about politically unifying diverse peoples over vast spaces?  How did imperial Chinese approaches to governance and to relations with the outer world compare with strategies employed by other historical empires?  How did those approaches change over time?  How did major socio-cultural formations — including literary canons; religious and familial lineages; marketing networks; and popular book and theatrical cultures — grow and take root, and what were the broader ramifications of those developments?  How did such basic configurations of human difference as Chinese (civilized)-barbarian identity, high-low status, and male-female gender operate and change over time?

Distribution: (HA-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: Tj Hinrichs (th289)
Full details for MEDVL 1740 : Imperial China
MEDVL 2170 Early Modern Iberian Survey

This course explores major texts and themes of the Hispanic tradition from the 11th to the 17th centuries. We will examine general questions on literary analysis and the relationship between literature and history around certain events, such as medieval multicultural Iberia, the creation of the Spanish Inquisition in the 15th century and the expulsion of the Jews in 1492; the encounter between the Old and the New Worlds; the 'opposition' of high and low in popular culture, and of the secular and the sacred in poetry and prose. Readings may be drawn from medieval short stories and miracle collections; chivalric romances, Columbus, Lazarillo de Tormes, Cervantes, Lope de Vega, Calderón, and Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz, among others.

Distribution: (LA-AS)
Academic Career: UG Full details for MEDVL 2170 : Early Modern Iberian Survey
MEDVL 2655 Introduction to Islamic Civilization

At the beginning of the 7th century, a new religion, Islam, appeared in Arabia and by the end of the century, Muslims had defeated the Byzantines and Persians and created an empire that stretched from Spain to India. For the next millennium, Islam glittered. Its caliphs, courts, and capitals were grander, more powerful, and more sophisticated than those of any medieval king, duke or prince. In this course, we will trace the emergence and development of Islamic civilization from the birth of Muhammad ca. 570 to the Mongol sack of Baghdad in 1258. We will read the Qur'an and listen to its recitation; examine the career of the Prophet Muhammad; follow the course of the Arab conquests; explore the nature of the conflict between Sunnis and Shi'is; learn about the five pillars of Islam, sharia law, theology, and Sufism; and assess the achievements of Muslim intellectuals in literature, art, architecture, science, and philosophy.

Distribution: (HA-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: David Powers (dsp4)
Full details for MEDVL 2655 : Introduction to Islamic Civilization
MEDVL 3080 Icelandic Family Sagas

An introduction to Old Norse-Icelandic mythology and the Icelandic family saga-the "native" heroic literary genre of Icelandic tradition. Texts will vary but will normally include the Prose Edda, the Poetic Edda, Hrafnkels Saga, Njals Saga, Laxdaela Saga, and Grettirs Saga. All readings will be in translation. The class counts toward the pre-1800 requirement for English majors.

Distribution: (LA-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: Thomas Hill (tdh1)
Full details for MEDVL 3080 : Icelandic Family Sagas
MEDVL 3110 Old English

In this course, we will read and discuss some of the earliest surviving English poetry and prose. Attention will be paid to (1) learning to read the language in which this literature is written, (2) evaluating the poetry as poetry: its form, structure, style, and varieties of meaning, and (3) seeing what can be learned about the culture of Anglo-Saxon England and about the early Germanic world in general, from an examination of the Old English literary records. We will begin by reading some easy prose and will go on to consider some more challenging heroic, elegiac, and devotional poetry, including an excerpt from the masterpiece Beowulf. The course may also be used as preparation for the sequence ENGL 3120/ENGL 6120. The class counts toward the pre-1800 requirement for English majors.

Distribution: (LA-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: Thomas Hill (tdh1)
Full details for MEDVL 3110 : Old English
MEDVL 3130 Medieval Women Writers

This course will study medieval women writers and some of the contexts and methodologies that might help us assess their works and lives. There will be some attention to writings to women, and we'll sample the vast range of writings about women; but the main focus will be on writing (apparently) by women, considered historically and in the literary, religious, and other terms that the writings invite, as well as modern theories and historical stratagems for approaching the topic. Early texts will include Perpetua's martyrdom, Heloise's letters, Hildegard of Bingen and other visionaries, poetry by Marie de France and some trobaritz, then a substantial part of the term will treat visionary writings, family letters, poetry collections, and even drama by women in late medieval England.

Academic Career: UG Instructor: Andrew Galloway (asg6)
Full details for MEDVL 3130 : Medieval Women Writers
MEDVL 3190 Chaucer

Chaucer became known as the "father of English poetry" before he was entirely cold in his grave. Why is what he wrote more than six hundred years ago still riveting for us today? It's not just because he is the granddaddy of this language and its literature; it's because what he wrote was funny, fierce, thoughtful, political, philosophical and, oh yes, notoriously bawdy. We'll read some of Chaucer's brilliant early work, and then dig into his two greatest achievements: the epic Troilus and Crisyede, and The Canterbury Tales, his oft-censored panorama of medieval English life. Chaucer will be read in Middle English, which will prove surprisingly easy and pleasant. The class counts toward the pre-1800 requirement for English majors.

Distribution: (LA-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: Masha Raskolnikov (mr283)
Full details for MEDVL 3190 : Chaucer
MEDVL 3315 Old Norse I

Old Norse is a collective term for the earliest North Germanic literary languages: Old Icelandic, Old Norwegian, Old Danish, and Old Swedish. The richly documented Old Icelandic is the center of attention, and the purpose is twofold: the students gain knowledge of an ancient North Germanic language, important from a linguistic point of view, and gain access to the medieval Icelandic (and Scandinavian) literature. The structure of Old Norse (Old Icelandic), phonology, and morphology, with reading of selections from the Prose-Edda, a 13th-century narrative based on the Eddaic poetry. 

Academic Career: UG Full details for MEDVL 3315 : Old Norse I
MEDVL 3750 Introduction to Dendrochronology

Introduction and training in dendrochronology (tree-ring dating) and its applications in archaeology, art history, climate and environment through lab work and participation in ongoing research projects using ancient to modern wood samples from around the world. Supervised reading and laboratory/project work. Possibilities exists for summer fieldwork in the Mediterranean, Mexico, and New York State.

Distribution: (HA-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: Sturt Manning (sm456)
Full details for MEDVL 3750 : Introduction to Dendrochronology
MEDVL 4002 Latin Philosophical Texts

Reading and translation of Latin philosophical texts.

Academic Career: UG Instructor: Charles Brittain (cfb9)
Full details for MEDVL 4002 : Latin Philosophical Texts
MEDVL 4201 Topics in Medieval Latin Literature
Academic Career: UG Instructor: Andrew Hicks (ajh299)
Full details for MEDVL 4201 : Topics in Medieval Latin Literature
MEDVL 4626 Reinventing Biblical Narrative
Academic Career: UG Instructor: Kim Haines-Eitzen (kjh10)
Full details for MEDVL 4626 : Reinventing Biblical Narrative
MEDVL 6020 Latin Philosophical Texts

Reading and translation of Latin philosophical texts.

Academic Career: GR Instructor: Charles Brittain (cfb9)
Full details for MEDVL 6020 : Latin Philosophical Texts
MEDVL 6110 Old English

In this course, we will read and discuss some of the earliest surviving English poetry and prose. Attention will be paid to (1) learning to read the language in which this literature is written, (2) evaluating the poetry as poetry: its form, structure, style, and varieties of meaning, and (3) seeing what can be learned about the culture of Anglo-Saxon England and about the early Germanic world in general, from an examination of the Old English literary records. We will begin by reading some easy prose and will go on to consider some more challenging heroic, elegiac, and devotional poetry, including an excerpt from the masterpiece Beowulf. The course may also be used as preparation for the sequence ENGL 3120/ENGL 6120.

Academic Career: GR Instructor: Thomas Hill (tdh1)
Full details for MEDVL 6110 : Old English
MEDVL 6201 Topics in Medieval Latin Literature
Academic Career: GR Instructor: Andrew Hicks (ajh299)
Full details for MEDVL 6201 : Topics in Medieval Latin Literature
MEDVL 6626 Reinventing Biblical Narrative
Academic Career: GR Instructor: Kim Haines-Eitzen (kjh10)
Full details for MEDVL 6626 : Reinventing Biblical Narrative
MEDVL 7777 Medieval Studies Proseminar

This course is designed to introduce graduate students to some of the bibliography and approaches available for studying the Middle Ages.

Academic Career: GR Instructor: David Powers (dsp4)
Full details for MEDVL 7777 : Medieval Studies Proseminar
MEDVL 8010 Directed Study - Individual
Academic Career: GR Instructor: Thomas Hill (tdh1)
Full details for MEDVL 8010 : Directed Study - Individual
MEDVL 8020 Directed Study - Group
Academic Career: GR Instructor: Andrew Hicks (ajh299)
Full details for MEDVL 8020 : Directed Study - Group