Courses - Spring 2022

MEDVL 1101 FWS: Aspects of Medieval Culture
Academic Career: UG Instructor: Savannah Caldwell (sc2936)
Full details for MEDVL 1101 : FWS: Aspects of Medieval Culture
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, HST-AS, SCD-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: Tj Hinrichs (th289)
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MEDVL 2082 Of Ice and Men: Masculinities in the Medieval North

The Middle Ages are usually imagined as a time of manly men and feminine women: no room for gender ambiguity in Conan the Barbarian! Yet gender, then as now, was in fact unstable, multiple, and above all, constructed. This course explores the different ways masculinity was understood, manufactured, and manipulated in northern Europe – primarily early Ireland, England, and Scandinavia – using a variety of literary, legal, historical, archaeological, and artistic sources. Students will gain new perspectives on both gender and sex, on the one hand, and the history of medieval Europe, on the other.

Distribution: (HA-AS, HST-AS, SCD-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: Oren Falk (of24)
Full details for MEDVL 2082 : Of Ice and Men: Masculinities in the Medieval North
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, ALC-AS, HST-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: Laura Francis (lrf62)
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MEDVL 2355 Introduction to Medieval Art and Culture

Survey lecture course covering the creation, encoding, and reception of Medieval (roughly AD 500-1500) European, Byzantine, and Islamic architecture, ornament, manuscripts, liturgical and luxury objects.  The approach is thematic but chronologically grounded; attention is also given to cultural interaction in the Mediterranean basin.

Distribution: (CA-AS, ALC-AS, HST-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: Benjamin Anderson (bwa32)
Cynthia Robinson (cr94)
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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, ALC-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: Thomas Hill (tdh1)
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MEDVL 3120 Beowulf

Beowulf is about monsters, dragons and heroes and is the longest and most interesting Old English heroic poem. In this course we will read the poem in the original and discuss the critical and scholarly problems which the poem presents. Some knowledge of Old English is appropriate, but the class is open to beginners in Old English who will be provided with tutorial help in preparing and reading assigned passages. Among the topics we will discuss are the relationship of Beowulf to "pagan" practice and belief, the related question of  "Christianity and Paganism " in the poem, "Beowulf and the tradition of  Germanic heroic poetry", " Orality and Christian Latin learning "and "Beowulf, Tolkien, and the modern age". The course will be open to student initiatives, if students wish to explore such topics as Beowulf and archeology or the historical context of the poem. The class counts toward the pre-1800 requirement for English majors.

Distribution: (LA-AS, ALC-AS, HST-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: Thomas Hill (tdh1)
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MEDVL 3200 The Viking Age

This course aims to familiarize students with the history of Scandinavia, ca. 800-1100 ad. Although well known as a dramatic chapter in medieval history, this period remains enigmatic and often misunderstood. Our goal will be to set Norse history within its European context, observing similarities with processes elsewhere in the medieval world, the better to perceive what makes the Norse unique. We will examine the social, economic and political activities of the Norsemen in continental Scandinavia, in Western and Eastern Europe, and in the North Atlantic. 

Distribution: (HA-AS, GLC-AS, HST-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: Oren Falk (of24)
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MEDVL 3210 Medieval Philosophy

A selective survey of Western philosophical thought from the fourth to the 14th century. Topics include the problem of universals, the theory of knowledge and truth, the nature of free choice and practical reasoning, and philosophical theology. Readings (in translation) include Augustine, Boethius, Anselm, Abelard, Aquinas, Scotus, and Ockham. Some attention will be given to the development of ideas across the period and the influence of non-Western traditions on the West.

Distribution: (KCM-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: Scott MacDonald (scm8)
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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 Instructor: Brynhildur Stefansdottir (bs724)
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MEDVL 4002 Latin Philosophical Texts

Reading and translation of Latin philosophical texts.

Academic Career: UG Instructor: Scott MacDonald (scm8)
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MEDVL 4351 Problems in Byzantine Art

Topic Spring 22: Spiral Relief Columns. In this seminar, we will consider the Roman medium of the spiral relief column (beginning with the Columns of Trajan and Marcus Aurelius) and its reception in Constantinople (the Columns of Theodosius and Arcadius, and perhaps the Joshua Roll) and beyond (the Bernward Column in Hildesheim and the Vendôme Column in Paris, for example). Seminar topics rotate each semester. Previous topics include: Ravenna, Hagia Sophia, Byzantine Iconoclasm.

Distribution: (HA-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: Benjamin Anderson (bwa32)
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MEDVL 4420 Tang Poetry: Themes and Contexts

Through guided readings in Chinese of selected poems of the Tang dynasty (618-907) on various themes and in different styles, students develop the essential analytical skills for reading Tang poetry while gaining an understanding of its social, cultural, and historical contexts.

Distribution: (LA-AS, ALC-AS, HST-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: Ding Xiang Warner (dxw2)
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MEDVL 6020 Latin Philosophical Texts

Reading and translation of Latin philosophical texts.

Academic Career: GR Instructor: Scott MacDonald (scm8)
Full details for MEDVL 6020 : Latin Philosophical Texts
MEDVL 6120 Beowulf

Beowulf is about monsters, dragons and heroes and is the longest and most interesting Old English heroic poem. In this course we will read the poem in the original and discuss the critical and scholarly problems which the poem presents. Some knowledge of Old English is appropriate, but the class is open to beginners in Old English who will be provided with tutorial help in preparing and reading assigned passages. Among the topics we will discuss are the relationship of Beowulf to "pagan" practice and belief, the related question of  "Christianity and Paganism " in the poem, "Beowulf and the tradition of  Germanic heroic poetry", " Orality and Christian Latin learning "and "Beowulf, Tolkien, and the modern age". The course will be open to student initiatives, if students wish to explore such topics as Beowulf and archeology or the historical context of the poem.

Academic Career: GR Instructor: Thomas Hill (tdh1)
Full details for MEDVL 6120 : Beowulf
MEDVL 6210 Topics in Medieval Philosophy

Graduate seminar covering a topic in medieval philosophy.

Academic Career: GR Instructor: Scott MacDonald (scm8)
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MEDVL 6351 Problems in Byzantine Art

Seminar topics rotate each semester.

Academic Career: GR Instructor: Benjamin Anderson (bwa32)
Full details for MEDVL 6351 : Problems in Byzantine Art
MEDVL 6425 Mysticism in Medieval Europe

This course begins with a word - mysticism - that doesn't work, and for good reason: for the authors variously associated with the mythical traditions of medieval Christianity, words are necessary failures.  They snap at the point where they endure the greatest tension.  We'll witness together the limits of language in some of the most provocative so-called mystics of the medieval West, including Bonaventure of Bagnoregio, Catherine of Siena, Marguerite Porete, Meister Eckhart, and Thomas Aquinas, and the roots of their extraordinary speech in earlier thinkers such as Augustine, Pseudo-Dionysius, and Bernard of Clairvaux.  Along the way, we'll ask what language has to do with love, and what each of these might have to do with God, whose name (for these writers) is never one.

Academic Career: GR Instructor: Cary Howie (csh34)
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MEDVL 8010 Directed Study - Individual
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MEDVL 8020 Directed Study - Group
Academic Career: GR Instructor: Andrew Galloway (asg6)
Andrew Hicks (ajh299)
Thomas Hill (tdh1)
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