Current Courses

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MEDVL 1101 : FWS: Aspects of Medieval Culture
Semester offered: Spring 2019 Instructor:
Patrick Naeve
Paul Vinhage
Anna Waymack
Tyler Wolford
Description
MEDVL 2100 : Medieval Romance: Voyage to the Otherworld
Crosslisted as: ENGL 2100 Semester offered: Spring 2019 Instructor:
Masha Raskolnikov
Romances were, essentially, medieval science fiction and fantasy writing. They were how authors in the Middle Ages imagined things beyond rational understanding that, at the same time, greatly extended the possibilities of the world around them.  The course will survey some medieval narratives concerned with representative voyages to the otherworld or with the impinging of the otherworld upon ordinary experience. The syllabus will normally include some representative Old Irish otherworld literature:  selections from The Mabinogion; selections from the Lays of Marie de France; Chretian de Troye's Erec, Yvain, and Lancelot; and the Middle English Sir Gawain and the Green Knight.  We will finish by looking at a few contemporary otherworld romances, such as selections from J.R.R. Tolkein. All readings will be in modern English.
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MEDVL 2130 : Cultures of the Middle Ages
Crosslisted as: HIST 2742 Semester offered: Spring 2019 Instructor:
Oren Falk
It's bad enough to run up against a border: at least you know where you stand. The frontier, however -- that fuzzy, murky zone that envelops the border while making its precise contours invisible -- is far more ambiguous, dangerous ground to tread. People, ideas, and other contraband criss-cross it; men (and sometimes women) make their own law; cultures clash and conspire together. At the margins of Europe -- Ireland, Wales, Scandinavia, Poland, Germany, the Low Countries, Spain, Sicily, the Levant -- medieval people discovered what every Trekkie knows: final frontiers, spaces of both oppression and opportunity. This course will explore some of the exchanges, friendly and otherwise, that took place at the edges of the medieval world, seeding many of the most radical developments which shaped the modern world.
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MEDVL 2170 : Early Modern Iberian Survey
Crosslisted as: LATA 2170, SPAN 2170 Semester offered: Spring 2019 Instructor:
Ebtisam Mursi
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.
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MEDVL 2350 : The Medieval Book: Objects and Texts
Crosslisted as: COML 2350, FREN 2350, ITAL 2350 Semester offered: Spring 2019 Instructor:
Laurent Ferri
The course provides a survey of the book from ca. 1100 to 1500, with emphasis on the development of the book in Western Europe, especially France, Germany, Italy, the Low Countries, and Spain.  It focuses on the many roles of the book in medieval societies, with special attention paid to production, dissemination, and reading practices. The collection of manuscripts and incunabula in Kroch Library allows a "hands-on" approach to learning.  Along the way, we will read excerpts from some of the most influential texts of the Middle Ages, such as the Song of the Nibelungs: The Romance of Alexander; the Scvias of St. Hildegard of Bingen: Dante's Divine Comedy; Jacobus de Varagine's Golden Legend; and the travel narratives of Marco Polo or Bernhard von Breydenbach.
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MEDVL 2642 : The Art of Math: Mathematical Traditions of Symmetry and Harmony
Crosslisted as: CLASS 2642, MUSIC 2642 Semester offered: Spring 2019 Instructor:
Andrew Hicks
Courtney Roby
Symmetry and harmony are central aesthetic concepts built on a long history of mathematical exploration, not just in the European mathematical tradition but also in mathematical texts from China, India, and the Islamic world. This course will cover theoretical proofs and practical applications from geometrical, harmonic, and astronomical traditions ranging from ancient Greek geometry to early modern science. Topics include geometrical proofs, calculating systems, astronomical models, ratios and proportions, and scales and temperaments.
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MEDVL 2695 : Introduction to Christian History
Crosslisted as: CLASS 2636, NES 2695, RELST 2695 Semester offered: Spring 2019 Instructor:
David Kaden
This course offers an introduction to the history of Christianity from the first century through the seventeenth and perhaps a bit beyond. Our emphasis will be on the diversity of Christian traditions, beliefs, and practices throughout history. We will explore the origins of Christianity within the eastern Mediterranean world, the spread of Christianity, the development of ecclesiastical institutions, the rise and establishment of monasticism, and the various controversies that occupied the church throughout its history. Throughout the course, we will supplement our reading of primary texts with art, archaeology, music, and manuscripts.
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MEDVL 3120 : Beowulf
Crosslisted as: ENGL 3120, ENGL 6120, MEDVL 6120 Semester offered: Spring 2019 Instructor:
Samantha Zacher
In recent years, Beowulf has received renewed attention in popular culture, thanks to the production of two recent Beowulf movies and riveting new translations (eg. Seamus Heaney). The poem's appeal lies in the complex depictions of its monsters, accounts of heroic bravery, and lavish portrayals of life in the Meadhall. Through close readings we will also explore the "dark 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 to the poem's literary heritage (in Latin and Norse) and its layered pagan and Christian perspectives reveals an amalgamated Christian heroic ethos. [Readings in Old or Modern English]
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MEDVL 3210 : Medieval Philosophy
Crosslisted as: PHIL 3210, RELST 3150 Semester offered: Spring 2019 Instructor:
Scott MacDonald
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.
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MEDVL 3316 : Old Norse II
Crosslisted as: LING 3316 Semester offered: Spring 2019 Instructor:
Brynhildur Stefansdottir
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.
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MEDVL 4002 : Latin Philosophical Texts
Crosslisted as: LATIN 7262, MEDVL 6020, PHIL 4002, PHIL 6020, RELST 4100, RELST 6020 Semester offered: Spring 2019 Instructor:
Scott MacDonald
Reading and translation of Latin philosophical texts.
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MEDVL 4145 : Race and Gender in the Middle Ages
Crosslisted as: ENGL 4145, ENGL 6145, FGSS 4145, MEDVL 6145 Semester offered: Spring 2019 Instructor:
Masha Raskolnikov
If "the past is a foreign country," is it a country full of oppressed women? We can, with some smugness, agree that it may have been dreadful to be a woman or sexual minority in the Middle Ages, but it's nowhere near that simple. Also un-simple are medieval notions of race. Scholars long assumed that the European Middle Ages were entirely white and/or that since "race" as a concept hadn't been invented yet, it wasn't an issue. But both racial and gender difference matter tremendously, then as now. Together, we will think about race and gender as imagined at a time before the world we now know came into being, asking what the pre-history of difference might have to do with us and our future.
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MEDVL 4295 : Introduction to Medieval German Literature
Crosslisted as: GERST 4285, GERST 6285 Semester offered: Spring 2019 Instructor:
Erik Born
This course introduces the canon of medieval German literature: lyric poetry (Minnesang), Arthurian romance (Gottfried's Tristan, Wolfram's Parzival, Hartmann's Iwein), and the heroic epic (Nibelungenlied). With a focus on twelfth-century courtly culture, we will investigate medieval problems of form, genre, and representation, as well as post-medieval approaches to materiality, hermeneutics, and textuality. Our larger questions, centering on the controversial concept of medieval alterity, will address the contested legacy of the Middle Ages in German modernity.
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MEDVL 4632 : Emperors, Kings, and Warlords: Political Legitimacy at the End of the Ancient World
Crosslisted as: CLASS 4602, HIST 4632, HIST 6632, MEDVL 6632, SHUM 4632, SHUM 6632 Semester offered: Spring 2019 Instructor:
Damian Fernandez
This seminar will analyze the transition between the late Roman empire and the barbarian kingdoms in western Europe from the perspective of how rulers, intellectuals, and common people understood legitimate and illegitimate political authority. The so-called "Dark Ages" (4th-7th centuries) were a vibrant period of creativity and reinvention. Class discussion will focus on primary source analysis, and how ethnic (Roman/Germanic), religious (Christian/non-Christian), gender, and other categories informed late antique notions of political authority. We will also discuss how notions of rulership were deployed to challenge emperors and kings. Knowledge of late antique and early medieval political ideas is crucial to understanding modern uses of the so-called "Western" past in current political debates.
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MEDVL 4761 : Anglo-Saxon England
Crosslisted as: HIST 4761, HIST 6761, MEDVL 6761 Semester offered: Spring 2019 Instructor:
Oren Falk
The people who invaded the isle of Britain after the withdrawal of Roman government in the early fifth century, and who dominated it until the establishment of Norman rule in the late eleventh century, are responsible for some of the best-known and most enduring legacies of the Middle Ages: Beowulf and Bede's Ecclesiastical History, the archbishoprics of Canterbury and York, Alfred the Great and Æthelred the Unready. This course examines the Anglo-Saxons in their early-medieval context, focusing especially on the cooperation between history and its sister disciplines – archaeology, literary criticism, and others – that is so vital for shedding light on this distant, opaque era. 
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MEDVL 6020 : Latin Philosophical Texts
Crosslisted as: LATIN 7262, MEDVL 4002, PHIL 4002, PHIL 6020, RELST 4100, RELST 6020 Semester offered: Spring 2019 Instructor:
Scott MacDonald
Reading and translation of Latin philosophical texts.
View course details
Description
MEDVL 6120 : Beowulf
Crosslisted as: ENGL 3120, ENGL 6120, MEDVL 3120 Semester offered: Spring 2019 Instructor:
Samantha Zacher
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.
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Description
MEDVL 6145 : Race and Gender in the Middle Ages
Crosslisted as: ENGL 4145, ENGL 6145, FGSS 4145, MEDVL 4145 Semester offered: Spring 2019 Instructor:
Masha Raskolnikov
If "the past is a foreign country," is it a country full of oppressed women?  We can, with some smugness, agree that it may have been dreadful to be a woman or sexual minority in the Middle Ages, but it's nowhere near that simple. Also un-simple are medieval notions of race. Scholars long assumed that the European Middle Ages were entirely white and/or that since "race" as a concept hadn't been invented yet, it wasn't an issue. But both racial and gender difference matter tremendously, then as now. Together, we will think about race and gender as imagined at a time before the world we now know came into being, asking what the pre-history of difference might have to do with us and our future.
View course details
Description
MEDVL 6632 : Emperors, Kings, and Warlords: Political Legitimacy at the End of the Ancient World
Crosslisted as: CLASS 4602, HIST 4632, HIST 6632, MEDVL 4632, SHUM 4632, SHUM 6632 Semester offered: Spring 2019 Instructor:
Damian Fernandez
This seminar will analyze the transition between the late Roman empire and the barbarian kingdoms in western Europe from the perspective of how rulers, intellectuals, and common people understood legitimate and illegitimate political authority. The so-called "Dark Ages" (4th-7th centuries) were a vibrant period of creativity and reinvention. Class discussion will focus on primary source analysis, and how ethnic (Roman/Germanic), religious (Christian/non-Christian), gender, and other categories informed late antique notions of political authority. We will also discuss how notions of rulership were deployed to challenge emperors and kings. Knowledge of late antique and early medieval political ideas is crucial to understanding modern uses of the so-called "Western" past in current political debates.
View course details
Description
MEDVL 6761 : Anglo-Saxon England
Crosslisted as: HIST 4761, HIST 6761, MEDVL 4761 Semester offered: Spring 2019 Instructor:
Oren Falk
The people who invaded the isle of Britain after the withdrawal of Roman government in the early fifth century, and who dominated it until the establishment of Norman rule in the late eleventh century, are responsible for some of the best-known and most enduring legacies of the Middle Ages: Beowulf and Bede's Ecclesiastical History, the archbishoprics of Canterbury and York, Alfred the Great and Æthelred the Unready. This course examines the Anglo-Saxons in their early-medieval context, focusing especially on the cooperation between history and its sister disciplines – archaeology, literary criticism, and others – that is so vital for shedding light on this distant, opaque era.
View course details
Description
MEDVL 8010 : Directed Study - Individual
Semester offered: Spring 2019 Instructor: Description
MEDVL 8020 : Directed Study - Group
Semester offered: Spring 2019 Instructor:
Andrew Galloway
Andrew Hicks
Description