Course Offerings

Winter 2017

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, George R.

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.

The Early Renaissance in Italy

ARTH 354 - Bent, George R.

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.

The Age of Reformation

HIST 204 - Peterson, David S.

Examines the origins, development, and consequences of the Protestant and Catholic Reformations of the 16th century. The late medieval religious environment; the emergence of new forms of lay religious expression; the impact of urbanization; and the institutional dilemmas of the church. The views of leading reformers, such as Luther, Calvin, and Loyola; and the impact of differing social and political contexts; and technological innovations, such as printing, on the spread of reform throughout Europe. The impact of reform and religious strife on state development and the emergence of doctrines of religious toleration and philosophical skepticism; recent theses and approaches emphasizing "confessionalization," "social discipline," and "microhistory."

History of the British Isles to 1688: Power, Plague, and Prayer

HIST 217 - Brock, Michelle D. (Mikki)

The history of the British Isles to 1688 tells the story of how an island remote from the classical world came to dominate much of the modern one. This course ventures from Britain during Roman occupation and Anglo-Saxon migration, to the expansion of the Church and tales of chivalry during the Middle Ages, then finally to exploration and conflict during the Tudor and Stuart dynasties. Topics include the development of Christianity, Viking invasions, the Scottish wars of independence, the evolution of parliament, the Black Death, the Wars of the Roses, the Reformation, the beginnings of Empire, and the 17th-century revolutions.

Medieval and Renaissance Culture

MRST 110 - Bent, George R.

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 2017, MRST 110-01: Life and Death in Dante's Florence (3). People ate and slept and worked and played in the city of Florence during the Middle Ages and the Renaissance, just as they do today. They studied and prayed and fought with each other, too, and they read books and considered images and sang songs to their heroes and advocates right up to the day they died. In this introduction to the history of European culture on the cusp of the early modern era, we examine the way common people, communal leaders, and spiritual guides conducted themselves on a daily basis. We read contemporary critiques of a socio-economic system that favored some (but not others) and see representations of concepts that held together the fabric of this society. We consider lay spirituality, art for common people, and the realities of life for women and children in their homes and in their neighborhoods. We wince at Dante's bitter condemnation of his fellow Florentines in the Inferno and laugh at Boccaccio's bawdy tales of vice and villainy in the Decameron . Specific events that challenged, confirmed, or changed this society serve as landmarks to help us construct a loose narrative of one of the region's most influential and important centers, and help us understand how it came to be known as "the Cradle of the Renaissance". (HU) Bent.

Honors Thesis

MRST 493 - Bent, George R.

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.

Music History I

MUS 201 - Williamson, Scott M.

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

Early Christian Thought: Orthodoxy and Heresy

REL 250 - Brown, Alexandra R. (Alex)

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.

Introducción a la literatura española

SPAN 220 - Campbell, Gwyn E.

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

Golden Age Spanish Women Writers

SPAN 323 - Campbell, Gwyn E.

A study of the comedia and the novela corta and the manner in which the secular women writers inscribe themselves within and beyond these genres. Close reading and discussion of representative works that may include the short stories and plays by María de Zayas, Ana Caro, Leonor de Meneses, Mariana de Carvajal, and Angela de Azevedo.

Fall 2016

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.

Medieval Art in Northern Europe

ARTH 254 - Bent, George R.

Survey of the art of France, Spain, Germany, and the British Isles from circa 700 to circa 1400. Discussions include Carolingian and Ottonian painting and architecture, Celtic and Anglo-Saxon manuscripts, and French cathedral design and decoration during the Romanesque and Gothic periods.

Arthurian Legend

ENGL 240 - Kao, Wan-Chuan

Why does King Arthur continue to fascinate and haunt our cultural imagination? This course surveys the origins and histories of Arthurian literature, beginning with Celtic myths, Welsh tales, and Latin chronicles. We then examine medieval French and English traditions that include Chrétien de Troyes's Perceval , the lais of Marie de France, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight , the Alliterative Morte Arthure , and Malory's Le Morte Darthur . In addition to historical and literary contexts, we explore theoretical issues surrounding the texts, especially the relationship between history and fantasy, courtly love and adultery, erotic love and madness, romance and chivalry, gender and agency, and Europe and its Others. Finally, we investigate Arthurian medievalisms in Victorian England and in American (post)modernity through Tennyson, Twain, Barthelme, and Ishiguro. Along the way, we view various film adaptations of Arthurian legends. All texts are read in modern English translation.

Chaucer's The Canterbury Tales

ENGL 313 - Kao, Wan-Chuan

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?

17th-Century Poetry

ENGL 326 - Gertz, Genelle C.

Readings of lyric and epic poetry spanning the long 16th century, and tracing the development of republican and cavalier literary modes. Genres include the metaphysical poetry of Donne, Herbert, Katherine Philips, and Henry Vaughan; erotic verse by Mary Wroth, Herrick, Thomas Carew, Marvell, Aphra Behn, and the Earl of Rochester; elegy by Jonson and Bradstreet; and epic by Milton.

European Civilization, 325-1517

HIST 100 - Peterson, David S.

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.

Medieval and Renaissance Culture

MRST 110A - McCormick, Stephen P.

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.

Honors Thesis

MRST 493 - Bent, George R.

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.

Female and Male in Western Religious Traditions

REL 215 - Brown, Alexandra R. (Alex)

An investigation of views about the body, human sexuality, and gender in Western religious traditions, especially Judaism and Christianity, and of the influences of these views both on the religious traditions themselves and on the societies in which they develop. The course focuses on religion and society in antiquity and the Middle Ages, but also considers the continuing influence of religious constructions of the body and sexuality on succeeding generations to the present.

Spanish Civilization and Culture

SPAN 211 - Bailey, Matthew J.

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, Gwyn E.

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

Peninsular Seminar

SPAN 397A - Bailey, Matthew J.

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 2016, SPAN 397A-01: Peninsular Seminar: Medieval Spanish Literature (3). Prerequisites: SPAN 220 and 275. This course studies three major works: Poema del Cid, Libro de buen amor, and La Celestina . In order to experience the widest possible sampling of medieval literary forms and authors, the course also surveys mozarabic love poetry (jarchas), Galician-Portuguese lyric poetry, Marian miracle stories, wisdom literature, pre-Renaissance love lyric, and ballads (romances ). We examine the social and historical contexts of all works, the author's purpose and audience expectations and responses. The three primary texts are read in modern Castilian, while the secondary samplings are read in their original languages. (HL) Bailey.

Spring 2016

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.

Leonardo da Vinci: Art, Science and Innovation in Renaissance Europe

ARTH 385 - Bent, George R.

Leonardo da Vinci has for years been considered the consummate "Renaissance Man," equally skilled as a painter, anatomist, engineer, and military scientist. This course examines the contextual background from which this true genius was sprung, the works he produced, the people for whom he produced them, and the visions of the artist both realized and unrealized that have captured the imaginations of people around the world since Leonardo's death in 1519.

Politics and History: The Machiavellian Moment

HIST 307 - Peterson, David S.

Is it better to be loved or feared? How much of our destiny do we control? When are societies fit for self-rule? Can people be forced to be good? Niccolò Machiavelli, arguably the first and most controversial modern political theorist, raises issues of universal human and political concern. Yet he did so in a very specific context--the Florence of the Medici, Michelangelo, and Savonarola--at a time when Renaissance Italy stood at the summit of artistic brilliance and on the threshold of political collapse. We draw on Machiavelli's personal, political, historical, and literary writings, and readings in history and art, as a point of entry for exploring Machiavelli's republican vision of history and politics as he developed it in the Italian Renaissance and how it addresses such perennial issues as the corruption and regeneration of societies.