Course Offerings

Winter 2015

See complete information about these courses in the course offerings database. For more information about a specific course, including course type, schedule and location, click on its title.

Northern Renaissance Art

ARTH 255 - Bent

A survey of Northern painting from 1300 to 1600, examined as symbols of political, religious, and social concerns of painters, patrons, and viewers. Among the artists covered are Campin, van Eyck, van der Weyden, Dürer, Holbein, and Brueghel. Emphasis placed on interpretation of meaning and visual analysis.

Early Renaissance Art in Florence

ARTH 354 - Bent

Examination of the intellectual, cultural, and artistic movements dominant in Florence between ca. 1400 and ca. 1440. Images and structures produced by Ghiberti, Brunelleschi, Masaccio, Donatello, and Fra Angelico are considered within the context of Florentine social traditions and political events.

Plato

CLAS 221 - Crotty (Multiple Sections)

An in-depth examination of the philosophy of Plato.  We look at Plato's epistemology, metaphysics, philosophy of mind, ethics, and political philosophy through a careful analysis of several dialogues, including some or all of the following:  Euthyphro, Laches, Apology, Gorgias, Meno, Phaedo, Symposium, Phaedrus, and Republic.  In addition, we consider certain challenges posed by Plato's use of the dialogue form, such as whether we are justified in assuming that Socrates is a mouthpiece for Plato's own views, and how we should interpret Plato's frequent appeal to myths and other literary devices within his dialogues.

The World of Late Antiquity

CLAS 224 - Elliott

This course introduces students to the historical period between the close of the ancient world and the rise of the Middle Ages ca. 250 to 650 AD). Students read primary sources and explore the historical evidence in order to investigate the reigning historical model of "Decline and Fall" inherited from Edward Gibbon and others, and study the development of Christianity and Judaism during this period. Finally, the course investigates the formation of Europe and the rise of Islam.

Shakespeare and Company

ENGL 319 - Pickett

Focusing on the repertory and working conditions of the two play companies with which he was centrally involved, this course examines plays by Shakespeare and several of his contemporary collaborators and colleagues (Jonson, Middleton, Fletcher). Attentive to stage history and the evolution of dramatic texts within print culture, students consider the degree to which Shakespeare was both a representative and an exceptional player in Renaissance London's "show business."

Milton

ENGL 330 - Gertz

This course surveys one of the most talented and probing authors of the English language -- a man whose reading knowledge and poetic output has never been matched, and whose work has influenced a host of writers after him, including Alexander Pope, William Blake, William Wordsworth, and Mary Shelley. In this course, we read selections from Milton's literary corpus, drawing from such diverse genres as lyric, drama, epic and prose polemic. As part of their study of epic form, students create a digital humanities project rendering Paradise Lost in gaming context. Quests, heroes,ethical choices and exploration of new worlds in Paradise Lost are rendered as a game. Students read Milton in the context of literary criticism and place him within his historical milieu, not the least of which includes England's dizzying series of political metamorphoses from Monarchy to Commonwealth, Commonwealth to Protectorate, and Protectorate back to Monarchy.

La France de l'Ancien Régime

FREN 341 - McCormick

Readings in French literature and civilization from before the Revolution of 1789. May be repeated for degree credit if the topic is different.

Winter 2015 topic:

FREN 341: La Légende Arthurienne (3). Prerequisite: three courses at the 200 level. Corequisite: Digital Humanities (DH) 190. This course introduces students to the Arthurian narrative tradition of the medieval francophone world. We examine the origin and development of Arthur and the knights of the round table, the manuscript tradition in which these legends are transmitted, the concept of le merveilleux, and the role beasts and monsters play in the textual fabric of Arthurian material. The course project, which is completed in conjunction with the digital humanities corequisite studio, aims to create a website on the works of Marie de France, a medieval woman writer. Students learn how to encode text according to the Text Encoding Initiative (TEI). The main objectives of this course are to improve students' reading fluency in French, and to give students an introduction to the field and applications of digital humanities. (HL) McCormick

The Italian Renaissance in Its Historical Setting

HIST 203 - Peterson

Examines, through lectures and discussions, the Italian Renaissance within the framework of European religious, political and cultural development. The rise and impact of commercial and urban values on religious and political life in the Italian communes to the time of Dante. Cultural and political life in the "despotic" signorie and in republics such as Florence and Venice. The diffusion of Renaissance cultural ideals from Florence to the other republics and courts of 15th-century Italy, to the papacy, and to Christian humanists north of the Alps. Readings from Dante, Petrarch, Leonardo Bruni, Pico della Mirandola and Machiavelli.

Topics in European History

HIST 229 - Brock

A course offered from time to time depending on student interest and staff availability, on a selected topic or problem in European history. May be repeated for degree credit if the topics are different.

Winter 2015 topics:

HIST 229-01: Objects of Desire: The Origins of Consumer Culture (3). This course explores how global products (particularly "exotic" foods and medicines) imported into Western Europe after the Age of Exploration initiated new patterns of production, consumption, and trade throughout the globe. Students examine how ownership and consumption of global objects normalized concepts such as: advertising, global commercial networks, cosmopolitism, social class, empire, consumerism, and black markets. (HU)

HIST 229-02: Blood, Sex, and Sermons: The History of the Reformations in Britain (3). The Reformation of the 16th century shattered the once unitary religious cultures of early modern England and Scotland. Although important continuities remained, the introduction of Protestantism wrought dramatic effects on society and culture in both countries, including intense conflicts over the nature of salvation, the burning of martyrs, the hunting of witches, religious migrations in and out of Britain, a reorientation of foreign policy, changes in marriage and baptismal practices, and more. In this course, we explore the lives and legacies of some of history's most fascinating figures, from Henry VIII and Thomas Cromwell in England to Mary Queen of Scots and John Knox in Scotland, while also constantly questioning how ordinary English and Scottish men and women experienced the Reformation and its aftermath. (HU)

Fall 2014 topic:

HIST 229-01: Seminar: The Age of the Witch Hunts (3). This course introduces students to one of the most fascinating and disturbing events in the history of the Western world: The witch hunts in early modern Europe and North America. Between 1450 and 1750, more than 100,000 individuals, from Russia to Salem, were prosecuted for the crime of witchcraft. Most were women, and more than half were executed. In this course, we examine the political, religious, social and legal reasons behind the trials, asking why they occurred in Europe when they did, and why they finally ended. We also explore, in brief, global witch hunts that still occur today in places like Africa and India, asking how they resemble yet differ from those of the early-modern world. (HU) Brock.

HIST 229-02: The Great War in History and Literature (3). No prerequisites. To commemorate the 100th anniversary of the outbreak of the First World War, this course analyzes different forms of personal testimony about the experience of that war, including a famous autobiography by a British officer who became an ardent pacifist, Robert Graves, an autobiographical novel by the fiercely patriotic German soldier Ernst Juenger, a collection of poems by British women who worked on the "home front," and a useful theoretical work based on a close reading of hundreds of works by French combat veterans.  In class discussions will seek to develop standards to assess the reliability and historical authenticity of such testimony.  Students will be write three short papers on the required readings and choose another "witness" of special interest to them as the subject for a ten-page term paper.  Students with some background in twentieth-century English, German, or French literature are welcome in this course alongside all those interested in the history of the First World War. (HU) Patch

Special Topics in Literature in Translation

LIT 295 - Radulescu

A selected topic focusing on a particular author, genre, motif or period in translation. The specific topic is determined by the interests of the individual instructor. May be repeated for degree credit if the topics are different.

Winter 2015 topic:

LIT 295-01: Theater, Women and Sexuality in the Renaissance and Beyond (3). Prerequisites: Completion of FW requirement. An exploration of the role of women theater artists and representations of femininity and sexuality in early modern theater across European cultures such as France, Italy, Spain and England. We explore plays and performance art by women theater artists during Renaissance Europe, such as Isabella Andreini, as well as images of femininity in Renaissance plays by male playwrights such as Niccolò Machiavelli and their echos and influences in the theater of later centuries. All texts are read in English translations. (HL) Radulescu. Winter 2015

Medieval and Renaissance Culture

MRST 110A - Kao

An introduction to the interdisciplinary study of the Medieval and Renaissance periods through the study of a particular topic. Recent studies: The Crusades, Monasticism, Chivalry, Elizabethan England, the Birth of Italian Literature, Pilgrimage, and European Encounters with Islam.

Winter 2015 topic:

MRST 110A: Dreaming in the Middle Ages (3). This course explores a broad range of medieval dream theories and literature of dreaming by authors such as Boethius, Chaucer, Langland, Julian of Norwich, and Shakespeare. Student consider how dream vision functions as a vehicle for understanding the human, the divine, the demonic, and the cosmic. We consider how medieval dream literature engages with romance, epic, devotion and theology, philosophy, allegory, travel narrative, and early science fiction. At the same time. we examine how modern cognitive science and psychoanalysis differ from medieval concepts, and how they might be useful in the reading of medieval texts. (HL) Kao. Winter 2015

Music History I

MUS 201 - Gaylard

A survey of music from the Middle Ages through the Classical period.

Plato

CLAS 221 - Crotty (Multiple Sections)

An in-depth examination of the philosophy of Plato.  We look at Plato's epistemology, metaphysics, philosophy of mind, ethics, and political philosophy through a careful analysis of several dialogues, including some or all of the following:  Euthyphro, Laches, Apology, Gorgias, Meno, Phaedo, Symposium, Phaedrus, and Republic.  In addition, we consider certain challenges posed by Plato's use of the dialogue form, such as whether we are justified in assuming that Socrates is a mouthpiece for Plato's own views, and how we should interpret Plato's frequent appeal to myths and other literary devices within his dialogues.

Gender, Sexuality, and Islam

REL 284 - Blecher

How have issues of gender and sexuality in Medieval and Modern Islamic societies been debated across the Middle East, South Asia, and the West? Students examine scholarly and public discussions of gender and Islam, and they build a vocabulary in which to talk about women. queer, and intersex history as they concern Muslim societies and their foundational sources in their regional and historical contexts. No prior knowledge of Islam is necessary.

Special Topics in Religion

REL 295 - Fruchtman Hannah

A course offered from time to time in a selected problem or topic in religion. May be repeated for degree credit if the topics are different.

Winter 2015 topics:

REL 295-01: Martyrdom: From the Maccabees to ISIS (3). his class explores martyrdom as a historical, literary, and religious phenomenon. It offers critical tools for deciphering martyrdom discourse in other contexts, such as interreligious conflicts and American popular culture. While maintaining a focus on historical circumstances surrounding martyr narratives, we also establish some thematic commonplaces, including witness, sex, gender, power, dreams, memory, community, blood, violence, torture, sacrifice and death. Martyrdom is a powerful and potentially dangerous discourse. This class helps students appreciate the full significance of its use. (HU) Fruchtman

REL 295-02: Augustine, Descartes, and the Literature of Self and Soul (3). This course explores western conceptions of the human self or soul and its place and purpose in the world, or lack thereof. It is framed by consideration of two key figures: St. Augustine and René Descartes. A careful reading of the depiction of the restless soul in Augustine's Confessions is followed by study of its transformation into the certain self by Descartes' philosophy. After reading these two inter-related figures, we consider literary, religious, and/or scientific literature that lets us reflect on the state of the soul in a world centered on selves or the fate of the self in a soulless world... and whether there might be other options. (HU) Kosky

REL 295-03: Authority and Gender in the Middle Ages (3). This course explores the various ways that texts, traditions, institutions, and individuals asserted, acquired, and maintained authority (or failed to do so) in the Middle Ages, with particular attention to issues of gender. We discuss the gendered reality of historical figures and the impact of that reality on claims to authority, and investigate how discourses of masculinity and femininity served to legitimize both religious and secular authority in the period from Constantine to Luther. (HU) Fruchtman

Spring 2015 topic:

REL 295: Christianity in Contemporary American Political Discourse (4). This course asks students to select an issue of focus and to trace public discourse on that issue across a variety of Christian perspectives. Students will explore the Interpretation history of biblical passages, use digital tools to help analyze their sources, and create a detailed concept map of the discourse surrounding their Issue. Combined with readings designed to introduce them to Christianity's complex history and to the analysis of language and rhetoric, these projects will help students appreciate the diversity of Christianity in America today as well as the pervasiveness of Christian discourse in the public sphere. (HU) Fruchtman. Spring 2015 

Fall 2014 topic:

REL 295A-01: Heidegger and being in the world (3). This course explores the work of Martin Heidegger and the development of its themes in the work of select literary and/or film artists of the 20th and 21st centuries. A close reading of the magisterial account of being in the world in his 1927 Being and Time is followed by careful study of representative essays from his later work. Short works from Heidegger's critics help us see the possibilities and/or problems that his account of being in the world poses for ethical, religious, and existential concern. After our reading of Heidegger, we consider the literary and cinematic work of major 20th- and 21st-century artists who let us reflect on the meaning and importance of his thinking about being in the world. Artists considered may include Terrence Malick, Cormac McCarthy, Milan Kundera, and others. (HU) Kosky.

Spanish Civilization and Culture

SPAN 211 - Campbell

A survey of significant developments in Spanish civilization. The course addresses Spanish heritage and the present-day cultural patterns formed by its legacies. Readings, discussions and papers, primarily in Spanish, for further development of communication skills.

Introducción a la literatura española

SPAN 220 - Campbell

Spanish literary masterpieces from the Poema del Cid through the present. Readings and discussions are primarily in Spanish.

Don Quijote

SPAN 320 - Campbell

Close reading and discussion of this Early Modern novel. May include close reading and discussion of additional narrative and poetic genres of the Golden Age, as represented in or contributing to the Cervantine work

Winter 2015: SPANISH 320: Digital Don Quijote (3). Prerequisites: SPAN 220 and 275. To celebrate the 400th anniversary of this timeless work by Miguel de Cervantes -- the first modern novel and source of such current expressions as "tilting at windmills" -- students work individually and collaboratively on a Don Quijote website that allows us to better capture the nuances of the text and understand its enduring appeal. While close reading and discussion of the novel itself (and additional narrative and poetic genres of the Golden Age, represented in the work) is the basis of the course, the digital humanities component (the website) constitutes much of the assessed components of the course, instead of more traditional graded assignments. (HL)


Fall 2014

See complete information about these courses in the course offerings database. For more information about a specific course, including course type, schedule and location, click on its title.

Italian Renaissance Art

ARTH 256 - Bent

Survey of the art and architecture of Italy during the 15th and 16th centuries. The course focuses on innovations of the Early, High, and Late Renaissance through the work of Brunelleschi, Donatello, Masaccio, Alberti, Leonardo, Bramante, Raphael, and Michelangelo. Images are considered as exponents of contemporary political, social, and religious events and perceptions.

Chaucer's The Canterbury Tales

ENGL 313 - Kao

This course considers the primary work on which Chaucer's reputation rests: The Canterbury Tales. We pay sustained attention to Chaucer's Middle English at the beginning of the semester to ease the reading process. Then we travel alongside the Canterbury pilgrims as they tell their tales under the guise of a friendly competition. The Canterbury Tales is frequently read as a commentary on the social divisions in late medieval England, such as the traditional estates, religious professionals and laity, and gender hierarchies. But despite the Tales' professed inclusiveness of the whole of English society, Chaucer nonetheless focuses inordinately on those individuals from the emerging middle classes. Our aim is to approach the Tales from the practices of historicization and theorization; that is, we both examine Chaucer's cultural and historical contexts and consider issues of religion, gender, sexuality, marriage, conduct, class, chivalry, courtly love, community, geography, history, power, spirituality, secularism, traditional authority, and individual experience. Of particular importance are questions of voicing and writing, authorship and readership. Lastly, we think through Chaucer's famous Retraction at the "end" of The Canterbury Tales, as well as Donald R. Howard's trenchant observation that the Tale is "unfinished but complete." What does it mean for the father of literary "Englishness" to end his life's work on the poetic principle of unfulfilled closure and on the image of a society on the move?

European Civilization, 325-1517

HIST 100 - Peterson (Multiple Sections)

An introductory survey, featuring lectures and discussions of European culture, politics, religion and social life, and of Europe's relations with neighboring societies, from the rise of Christianity in Late Antiquity through the Middle Ages and the Italian Renaissance, to the beginnings of the 16th-century Protestant and Catholic Reformations.

History of Islamic Civilization I: Origins to 1500

HIST 170 - Blecher

This course surveys the political, social, and cultural history of the Islamic World from the 7th to 15th centuries, with particular attention paid to the diverse geographical and cultural contexts in which pre-modern Islamic civilization flourished. Topics include the origins of Islam in late Antiquity; the development of Islamic religious, political, and cultural institutions; the flourishing of medieval Islamic education, science, and literature; the tension among state, ethnic, sectarian, and global Muslim identities; and the emergence of a distinctly Muslim approach to historiography.

History of the British Isles to 1688

HIST 217 - Brock

This course considers 1,600 years of British history, from the coming of the Romans to the Revolution of 1688. It focuses on the major events and most momentous political, cultural, and social changes that shaped the lives of people throughout the British Isles. Topics covered include the introduction and development of Christianity, Viking invasions, the Scottish wars of independence, the evolution of parliament, the Black Death, the War of the Roses, the Protestant Reformation, the witch-trials, the beginnings of the British Empire, and the revolutions of the seventeenth century.

Directed Individual Study

MRST 403 - Peterson

Individual study of selected topics in Medieval and Renaissance studies. May be repeated for degree credit if the topics are different.

Senior Thesis

MRST 473 - Peterson

Individual research devoted to an original topic dealing with issues pertinent to Medieval and Renaissance studies. The focus of this thesis should coincide with the area of study in which the student has done the most work and should be grounded in interdisciplinary themes. Projects should be approved no later than September 30 of the senior year.

Honors Thesis

MRST 493 - Peterson

Honors thesis devoted to a specialized topic in Medieval and Renaissance studies. Applications for honors should be submitted to the program head no later than March 1 of the junior year.

The Immense Journey: Harmonices Mundi

PHYS 150 - Cook

The classical astronomy of the solar system is traced by a study of Greek astronomy and the revolutionary ideas of Kepler and Newton. The apparent and real motions of the earth, moon, and planets are studied in detail, as well as special phenomena such as eclipses, tides, and objects such as comets and asteroids. Emphasis is on comprehension and application of principles rather than memorization of facts. The laboratory stresses the observational aspects of astronomy. Elementary geometry, algebra, and trigonometry are used in the course. Laboratory course.

The Qur'an

REL 108 - Blecher (Multiple Sections)

This course approaches the Qur'an from a range of modern and pre-modern perspectives: as an oral recitation; as a material object; as a historical document; as a literary text; as it relates to the Hebrew Bible and the New Testament; as a foundation for Islamic law, theology and mysticism; and as a source for ethics and social activism. Particular attention is devoted to issues of gender and politics raised by the Qur'an, supplemented by a number of film screenings. Prior knowledge of Islam is not required.

Early Christian Thought: Orthodoxy and Heresy

REL 250 - Fruchtman Hannah

An exploration of the uncertain boundaries between orthodoxy and heresy in early Christian movements. Questions addressed include, "Who decides what is orthodox and what is heretical, how are these decisions made, and what impact do they have on institutional structures? What perennial problems in Christian thought and practice emerge in the early debates about orthodoxy and heresy, and how are those problems being addressed today?" Readings include selections from the Hebrew Scriptures, the New Testament, "Gnostic gospels" and other so-called heretical texts, writings from the Church Fathers (with special attention to St. Augustine) and recent scholarly treatments of orthodoxy and heresy.

Spanish Civilization and Culture

SPAN 211 - Bailey

A survey of significant developments in Spanish civilization. The course addresses Spanish heritage and the present-day cultural patterns formed by its legacies. Readings, discussions and papers, primarily in Spanish, for further development of communication skills.

Introducción a la literatura española

SPAN 220 - Campbell (Multiple Sections)

Spanish literary masterpieces from the Poema del Cid through the present. Readings and discussions are primarily in Spanish.

Peninsular Seminar

SPAN 397 - Bailey

A seminar focusing on a single period, genre, motif, or writer. The specific topic will be determined jointly according to student interest and departmental approval. Recent topics have included "The Female Voice in Hispanic Literature," "19th- and 20th-Century Spanish drama," "Women Writers of the Golden Age," and "Romanticism and the Generation of '98." May be repeated for degree credit if the topics are different.

Fall 2014 topic:

SPAN 397: Peninsular Seminar: Medieval Spanish Literature. (3): Prerequisites: SPAN 220 and SPAN 275. This course surveys the major works of Medieval Spanish literature, taking into account the widest possible sampling of literary forms and authors, from the first literary text in Castilian Spanish, Cantar de mio Cid (c. 1207), Galician-Portuguese lyric poetry, Marian miracle stories, wisdom literature, satirical verse, pre-Renaissance love lyric, and the parody of courtly-love drama La Celestina (1499). The texts are read in their original language, with translations to English and vocabulary aids to assist in comprehension as needed. (HL) Bailey.


Spring 2014

We do not offer any courses this term.