Courses

Courses by semester

Courses for Spring 2023

Complete Cornell University course descriptions are in the Courses of Study .

Course ID Title Offered
MEDVL1101 FWS: Aspects of Medieval Culture

Full details for MEDVL 1101 - FWS: Aspects of Medieval Culture

MEDVL2170 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.

Full details for MEDVL 2170 - Early Modern Iberian Survey

Fall, Spring.
MEDVL2770 Islam and Gender This course explores the role of gender and sexuality in shaping the lives of Muslims past and present. Through a close examination of ethnographies, intellectual histories, and religious treatises, we will analyze the key debates and discourses surrounding the intersection of gender and Islam. We begin by investigating Quranic revelations and hadith concerning gender and sexual ethics, female figures of emulation in early Islam, and feminist exegeses of the Quran. Continuing onward, we focus upon the everyday lives of Muslim women and non-binary individuals in medieval, colonial, and post-colonial contexts, highlighting the ways in which people negotiate and respond to the sexual politics of the times in which they live as we ask what, if anything, is specifically "Islamic" about the situations under discussion? Following this, we embark upon a history of sexuality within Islam, tracing the ways in which the categories of "homosexuality" and "heterosexuality" came to exist in the Muslim world, as well as the history and positionality of trans communities past and present. We then continue with an exploration of Islamic feminism as it exists today, looking to the ways in which Muslim feminists have critically engaged both religious texts as well as Western feminist theory. Finally, the course concludes by analyzing the relationship between the study of Islam, gender, and empire.

Full details for MEDVL 2770 - Islam and Gender

Spring.
MEDVL3120 Beowulf Beowulf has received renewed attention in popular culture, thanks to the production of recent movies and riveting new translations. The poem's popular appeal lies in its complex depictions of monsters, its accounts of heroic bravery, and its lavish portrayals of life in the Meadhall. Through close readings we will also explore the "darker side" of the poem: its punishing depictions of loss and exile, despairing meditations on unstable kingship and dynastic failure, and harrowing depictions of heroic defeat and the vanities of existence on the Middle-Earth. Attention will be given to the poem's cultural contexts, its literary heritage, and its layered pagan and Christian perspectives. A bilingual edition of the poem will be assigned so that students may read in Old and Modern English. The class counts toward the pre-1800 requirement for English majors.

Full details for MEDVL 3120 - Beowulf

Spring.
MEDVL3316 Old Norse II 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.  Extensive reading of Old Norse texts, among them selections from some of the major Icelandic family sagas: Njals saga, Grettis saga, and Egils saga, as well as the whole Hrafnkels saga.

Full details for MEDVL 3316 - Old Norse II

Spring.
MEDVL3775 Future Past: Fantasy Fiction This course will introduce students to the relationship between modern fantasy fiction and the Middle Ages. What kind of world is the world of quests and secret love affairs, swords and sorcery? We'll begin with the two main models for adventure stories in medieval French literature, the Song of Roland and Lancelot, before examing how they appear in modern literature and film. Along the way, we'll consider more familiar exchanges between medieval literture and modern allegory in the work of C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien, and we'll ask what fantasy fiction allows us to fantasize about.

Full details for MEDVL 3775 - Future Past: Fantasy Fiction

Spring.
MEDVL3888 Jews, Christians, and Others in Late Antiquity This course explores the interactions between Jews, Christians, and other religious groups in late antiquity, especially in Sasanian Persia circa the first through seventh century C.E. Students pay particular attention to the portrayals of Christians in Jewish rabbinic literature, including Midrash and Talmud, but also draw from early Christian, Zoroastrian, Manichaean, and other sources. There will be an emphasis on the reading of primary texts in translation in their appropriate historical contexts, and in comparison with one another. Students engage such questions as: How did Jews define themselves in relation to Christians, and vice versa? In what ways did Jews and Christians part ways with one another, as scholars often maintain, and what were the factors at play in their separation? And, lastly, what role did other religious and political groups, such as Gnostics, Zoroastrians, Romans, Mandaeans, Manichaeans, and early Muslims play in these developments?

Full details for MEDVL 3888 - Jews, Christians, and Others in Late Antiquity

Spring.
MEDVL4002 Latin Philosophical Texts Reading and translation of Latin philosophical texts.

Full details for MEDVL 4002 - Latin Philosophical Texts

Fall, Spring.
MEDVL4103 Survey of Medieval Latin Literature The Survey is designed to introduce participants to characteristic genres and discourses of Medieval Latin. The traditional focus is prose style and its implications for audience and genre from classical rhetoric to the humanist revival of a 'classical' style. A basic foundation in Latin morphology, syntax, and vocabulary is assumed. Intermediate and advanced topics in post-Classical idioms and syntax will be treated as they arise, with the goal of improving the facility with which students approach, read, and, especially, understand Latin writings from the Middle Ages. In addition to studying the practice(s) of style and Latin prose composition, modern approaches to stylistic analysis, and the intersections of style and identity, participants will gain a working knowledge of medieval theories of prose style as articulated in treatises on the genera dicendi, ars dictaminis, and ars praedicandi, as well as medieval (and modern) discussions of cursus and clausulae.

Full details for MEDVL 4103 - Survey of Medieval Latin Literature

Spring.
MEDVL4351 Problems in Byzantine Art Topic Spring 23: Portraiture.

Full details for MEDVL 4351 - Problems in Byzantine Art

Spring.
MEDVL4540 Moses Maimonides Moses Maimonides who was born in Cordoba (1138), moved to Fez as a youth and died in Cairo (1204) is regarded by Jewish, Islamic, and Christian tradition alike as the most important Jewish religious intellectual of the classical age of Islam/the High Middle Ages. This seminar will examine Maimonides as the product of his time and place including his complex relationship with Arabo-Islamic culture and, because of his stature as a communal figure, rabbinic scholar, court physician and philosopher, his role as a catalyst for cultural developments. For comparative purposes we also consider Maimonides' Andalusi contemporary, Ibn Rushd, the philosopher, Muslim jurist, physician and scholar of Islamic law.

Full details for MEDVL 4540 - Moses Maimonides

Spring.
MEDVL4557 Desert Monasticism How and why do landscapes come to inspire the religious imagination? And why do religious practices, rituals, traditions, and beliefs take place in particular landscapes? This seminar treats these questions by focusing on the desert, both imagined and real, as it has shaped religious ascetic practice, especially the development of Christian monasticism in the Middle East. We will read widely from monastic literatures, mostly from late ancient Egypt, to explore both the historical development of monasticism in Christianity and examine why the monastic impulse seems so closely tied to the "desert." In addition to reading saints lives and the stories of hermits, we will read early monastic rules, the desert fathers, and we will draw from archaeological sources to examine the varieties of ascetic practices in the deserts of late ancient Egypt, Gaza, Sinai, Palestine, and Syria. Throughout the course we will explore ancient and modern ideas about "wilderness" and we will explore parallels between ancient Near Eastern literatures and their nineteenth- and twentieth-century parallels in the American frontier and environmental literatures.

Full details for MEDVL 4557 - Desert Monasticism

Spring.
MEDVL4858 Dancing the Stone: Body, Memory, and Architecture This course examines the role of temples and their sculptural programs in South and Southeast Asia as creative stimuli for performative reenactments. Choreographic encounters between imagination and memory will be mapped as they occur at various points historically and politically in Java, Bali, Cambodia and India. Since architectural choreography implies the human body's inhabitation and experience of place, the nature of ritualized behavior and its relationship to performance and politics will be explored spatially, both in organizing experience and defining or redefining identity on colonial, national, and diasporic margins. Bringing back the haptic sense (i.e. of feeling and doing at the same time) students will have the unique opportunity to balance the demands of learning a Balinese traditional dance while exploring performance traditions in historical perspective.

Full details for MEDVL 4858 - Dancing the Stone: Body, Memory, and Architecture

Spring.
MEDVL6020 Latin Philosophical Texts Reading and translation of Latin philosophical texts.

Full details for MEDVL 6020 - Latin Philosophical Texts

Fall, Spring.
MEDVL6103 Survey of Medieval Latin Literature The Survey is designed to introduce participants to characteristic genres and discourses of Medieval Latin. The traditional focus is prose style and its implications for audience and genre from classical rhetoric to the humanist revival of a 'classical' style. A basic foundation in Latin morphology, syntax, and vocabulary is assumed. Intermediate and advanced topics in post-Classical idioms and syntax will be treated as they arise, with the goal of improving the facility with which students approach, read, and, especially, understand Latin writings from the Middle Ages. In addition to studying the practice(s) of style and Latin prose composition, modern approaches to stylistic analysis, and the intersections of style and identity, participants will gain a working knowledge of medieval theories of prose style as articulated in treatises on the genera dicendi, ars dictaminis, and ars praedicandi, as well as medieval (and modern) discussions of cursus and clausulae.

Full details for MEDVL 6103 - Survey of Medieval Latin Literature

Spring.
MEDVL6120 Beowulf Beowulf has received renewed attention in popular culture, thanks to the production of recent movies and riveting new translations. The poem's popular appeal lies in its complex depictions of monsters, its accounts of heroic bravery, and its lavish portrayals of life in the Meadhall. Through close readings we will also explore the "darker side" of the poem: its punishing depictions of loss and exile, despairing meditations on unstable kingship and dynastic failure, and harrowing depictions of heroic defeat and the vanities of existence on the Middle-Earth. Attention will be given to the poem's cultural contexts, its literary heritage, and its layered pagan and Christian perspectives. A bilingual edition of the poem will be assigned so that students may read in Old and Modern English.

Full details for MEDVL 6120 - Beowulf

Spring.
MEDVL6210 Topics in Medieval Philosophy Graduate seminar covering a topic in medieval philosophy.

Full details for MEDVL 6210 - Topics in Medieval Philosophy

Spring.
MEDVL6295 Early Lyric in Transition The term "lyric" is uncommon before the sixteenth century, but the songs and short, non-narrative poetry that evidently constitute those traditions reach back to the beginnings of written literature. "Theory of the lyric" is a contested field, with much at stake in how poetry should be assessed and appreciated. Beginning with ancient and early medieval traditions, the seminar will focus on the star-studded period from the early fourteenth through the early seventeenth century, particularly Petrarch, Machaut, Chaucer, Gower, Hoccleve, Lydgate, Skelton, Sidney, Spencer, and Shakespeare. It will seek to explore their poems within literary exchanges as well as cultural history, from economics to media to colonialism to changes in the English language.

Full details for MEDVL 6295 - Early Lyric in Transition

Fall or Spring.
MEDVL6351 Problems in Byzantine Art Seminar topics rotate each semester. Topic for Spring 2023: Portraiture.

Full details for MEDVL 6351 - Problems in Byzantine Art

Spring.
MEDVL6540 Moses Maimonides Moses Maimonides who was born in Cordoba (1138), moved to Fez as a youth and died in Cairo (1204) is regarded by Jewish, Islamic, and Christian tradition alike as the most important Jewish religious intellectual of the classical age of Islam/the High Middle Ages. This seminar will examine Maimonides as the product of his time and place including his complex relationship with Arabo-Islamic culture and, because of his stature as a communal figure, rabbinic scholar, court physician and philosopher, his role as a catalyst for cultural developments. For comparative purposes we also consider Maimonides' Andalusi contemporary, Ibn Rushd, the philosopher, Muslim jurist, physician and scholar of Islamic law.

Full details for MEDVL 6540 - Moses Maimonides

Spring.
MEDVL6858 Dancing the Stone: Body, Memory, and Architecture This course examines the role of temples and their sculptural programs in South and Southeast Asia as creative stimuli for performative reenactments. Choreographic encounters between imagination and memory will be mapped as they occur at various points historically and politically in Java, Bali, Cambodia and India. Since architectural choreography implies the human body's inhabitation and experience of place, the nature of ritualized behavior and its relationship to performance and politics will be explored spatially, both in organizing experience and defining or redefining identity on colonial, national, and diasporic margins. Bringing back the haptic sense (i.e. of feeling and doing at the same time) students will have the unique opportunity to balance the demands of learning a Balinese traditional dance while exploring performance traditions in historical perspective.

Full details for MEDVL 6858 - Dancing the Stone: Body, Memory, and Architecture

Spring.
MEDVL6888 Jews, Christians, and Others in Late Antiquity This course explores the interactions between Jews, Christians, and other religious groups in late antiquity, especially in Sasanian Persia circa the first through seventh century C.E. Students pay particular attention to the portrayals of Christians in Jewish rabbinic literature, including Midrash and Talmud, but also draw from early Christian, Zoroastrian, Manichaean, and other sources. There will be an emphasis on the reading of primary texts in translation in their appropriate historical contexts, and in comparison with one another. Students engage such questions as: How did Jews define themselves in relation to Christians, and vice versa? In what ways did Jews and Christians part ways with one another, as scholars often maintain, and what were the factors at play in their separation? And, lastly, what role did other religious and political groups, such as Gnostics, Zoroastrians, Romans, Mandaeans, Manichaeans, and early Muslims play in these developments?

Full details for MEDVL 6888 - Jews, Christians, and Others in Late Antiquity

Spring.
MEDVL7100 Advanced Old English Early English writers were of two minds about their homeland: they cultivated the mythology that the English were the New Israel, while they were intensely aware (and constantly reminded by Continental authorities) of their status as a backwater at the margins of Christendom. Scripture modeled for them the concept of divinely sanctioned colonization. It also portended for them the precarity of such an elite status, challenged in their day by Viking attacks, corruption in the Church, and various ecological disasters. Such conflicting ideas about their place in the world generated sophisticated reflections about difference with respect to what is now called "race," "nationality," "indigeneity," and the status of "the human" in the world. Readings include numerous genres (poetry, sermons, riddles, and saints' lives available in Old English and translation) as well as a wide variety of relevant contemporary theory.  

Full details for MEDVL 7100 - Advanced Old English

Spring.
MEDVL8010 Directed Study - Individual

Full details for MEDVL 8010 - Directed Study - Individual

Fall, Spring.
MEDVL8020 Directed Study - Group

Full details for MEDVL 8020 - Directed Study - Group

Fall, Spring.
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