Courses - Fall 2021

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 1660 The Vikings and their World

Globalization may seem like a recent hot topic, but it was already very much in vogue 1000 years ago when Norse explorers burst out of Scandinavia to journey as far as North America, Azerbaijan, the Mediterranean and the White Sea. This course will introduce students to the Norsemen and women of the Viking Age and the centuries following it, weaving together literary, chronicle, archaeological and other sources to tell the remarkable stories of these medieval entrepreneurs and of the many people and places they encountered. Along the way, students will also pick up crucial historical thinking skills: assessing change and continuity over time, learning the basics of source criticism, and gaining an appreciation for interdisciplinary research. This course qualifies for credit towards the undergraduate minor in Viking Studies. 

Distribution: (HA-AS, GLC-AS, HST-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: Oren Falk (of24)
Full details for MEDVL 1660 : The Vikings and their World
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: Alvaro Garrote Pascual (ag2295)
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, ALC-AS, HST-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: David Powers (dsp4)
Full details for MEDVL 2655 : Introduction to Islamic Civilization
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, ALC-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: Samantha Zacher (sz66)
Full details for MEDVL 3110 : Old English
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, ALC-AS, HST-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: Andrew Galloway (asg6)
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MEDVL 3255 The Byzantine Empire: Culture and Society

An introduction to the art, history, and literature of the Byzantine Empire, its neighbors, and successors, ca. 500-1500.

Distribution: (HA-AS, ALC-AS, HST-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: Benjamin Anderson (bwa32)
Full details for MEDVL 3255 : The Byzantine Empire: Culture and Society
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)
Full details for MEDVL 3315 : Old Norse I
MEDVL 3530 A Mediterranean Society and Its Culture

This course examines the cultural and historical interaction of Muslims and Jews from the emergence of Islam in the seventh century through the classical age of Islam down to the turn of the thirteenth century.   The intersection of the two cultures (scriptural, spiritual, intellectual, literary, communal, and interpersonal) and members of their respective religious communities will be studied through readings of primary texts (in translation).  The course will conclude with some brief reflections on historical memory and the modern and contemporary significance of the two religious communities' interactions during the classical age of Islam.

Distribution: (HA-AS, HST-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: Ross Brann (rb23)
Full details for MEDVL 3530 : A Mediterranean Society and Its Culture
MEDVL 3677 The Search for the Historical Muhammad

As the founder of Islam Muhammad is one of the most influential figures in world history. An important source for his life is the Sira of Ibn Ishaq (d. ca. 761), a biography that opens with Muhammad's birth ca. 570 and ends with his death in 632. If we take the narrative reports in this text at face-value, then Muhammad appears to have been born in the full light of history. But is the Sira a reliable source for the historical Muhammad? In this seminar, we will read this text in its entirely and analyze selected episodes from a critical historical perspective, with special attention to biblical and post-biblical models for the writing of sacred history.

Distribution: (HA-AS, ALC-AS, HST-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: David Powers (dsp4)
Full details for MEDVL 3677 : The Search for the Historical Muhammad
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, HST-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: Sturt Manning (sm456)
Full details for MEDVL 3750 : Introduction to Dendrochronology
MEDVL 4754 Themes in Mediterranean Archaeology

This seminar provides a higher-level general introduction to, and survey of, contemporary theories, methods, and approaches in the archaeology of the Mediterranean world. Rather than focusing on a specific geographical sub-region or chronological period, this course examines and critically assesses the practice and distinctive character of Mediterranean archaeology more broadly.

Distribution: (HA-AS, HST-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: Caitlin Barrett (ceb329)
Full details for MEDVL 4754 : Themes in Mediterranean Archaeology
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 6102 Latin Paleography

This course is an introduction to and survey of Latin scripts from Roman antiquity through the early Renaissance, with an emphasis on the identification, localization, and reading of scripts. Class meetings will combine practical study of Latin scripts through medieval manuscripts in the Kroch library, facsimiles, and online digital reproductions with instruction in the cultural-historical background to manuscript production, library practices, and bibliographical resources. Students will also be introduced to basic techniques for codicological description and the principles of textual criticism.

Academic Career: GR Instructor: Andrew Hicks (ajh299)
Full details for MEDVL 6102 : Latin Paleography
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: Samantha Zacher (sz66)
Full details for MEDVL 6110 : Old English
MEDVL 6145 Race and Gender in the Middle Ages

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.

Academic Career: GR Instructor: Masha Raskolnikov (mr283)
Full details for MEDVL 6145 : Race and Gender in the Middle Ages
MEDVL 6210 Topics in Medieval Philosophy

Graduate seminar covering a topic in medieval philosophy.

Academic Career: GR Instructor: Charles Brittain (cfb9)
Scott MacDonald (scm8)
Full details for MEDVL 6210 : Topics in Medieval Philosophy
MEDVL 6330 A Mediterranean Society and Its Culture

This course examines the cultural and historical interaction of Muslims and Jews from the emergence of Islam in the seventh century through the classical age of Islam down to the turn of the thirteenth century.   The intersection of the two cultures (scriptural, spiritual, intellectual, literary, communal, and interpersonal) and members of their respective religious communities will be studied through readings of primary texts (in translation).  The course will conclude with some brief reflections on historical memory and the modern and contemporary significance of the two religious communities' interactions during the classical age of Islam.

Academic Career: GR Instructor: Ross Brann (rb23)
Full details for MEDVL 6330 : A Mediterranean Society and Its Culture
MEDVL 6677 The Search for the Historical Muhammad

As the founder of Islam Muhammad is one of the most influential figures in world history. An important source for his life is the Sira of Ibn Ishaq (d. ca. 761), a biography that opens with Muhammad's birth ca. 570 and ends with his death in 632. If we take the narrative reports in this text at face-value, then Muhammad appears to have been born in the full light of history. But is the Sira a reliable source for the historical Muhammad? In this seminar, we will read this text in its entirely and analyze selected episodes from a critical historical perspective, with special attention to biblical and post-biblical models for the writing of sacred history.

Academic Career: GR Instructor: David Powers (dsp4)
Full details for MEDVL 6677 : The Search for the Historical Muhammad
MEDVL 6754 Themes in Mediterranean Archaeology

This seminar provides a higher-level general introduction to, and survey of, contemporary theories, methods, and approaches in the archaeology of the Mediterranean world. Rather than focusing on a specific geographical sub-region or chronological period, this course examines and critically assesses the practice and distinctive character of Mediterranean archaeology more broadly.

Academic Career: GR Instructor: Caitlin Barrett (ceb329)
Full details for MEDVL 6754 : Themes in Mediterranean Archaeology
MEDVL 7220 Exploring China's Archives

In this course we will explore the historical processes by which Chinese documents have been compiled, curated, and re-curated. We will examine the theoretical and methodological implications of those curatorial processes for historical research and analysis. Focus will be on documents and archives of the middle to late imperial and modern periods.

Academic Career: GR Instructor: Tj Hinrichs (th289)
Full details for MEDVL 7220 : Exploring China's Archives
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