Course Offerings

Fall 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.

Medieval Art in Southern Europe

ARTH 253 - STAFF / Olson-Janjic, Kathleen

Examination of the art and culture of Italy and Greece from the rise of Christianity to the first appearance of bubonic plague in 1348. Topics include early Christian art and architecture; Byzantine imagery in Ravenna and Constantinople during the Age of Justinian; iconoclasm; mosaics in Greece, Venice and Sicily; sculpture in Pisa; and the development of panel and fresco painting in Rome, Florence, Siena and Assisi.

Plato

CLAS 221 - Crotty, Kevin M.

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.

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.

Gender, Love, and Marriage in the Middle Ages

ENGL 312 - Kao, Wan-Chuan

A study of the complex nexus of gender, love, and marriage in medieval legal, theological, political, and cultural discourses. Reading an eclectic range of texts--such as romance, hagiography, fabliau, (auto)biography, conduct literature, and drama--we consider questions of desire, masculinity, femininity, and agency, as well as the production and maintenance of gender roles and of emotional bonds within medieval conjugality. Authors include Chaucer, Chretien de Troyes, Heldris of Cornwall, Andreas Capellanus, Margery Kempe, and Christine de Pisan. Readings in Middle English or in translation. No prior knowledge of medieval languages necessary.

Shakespearean Genres

ENGL 320 - Pickett, Holly C.

In a given term, this course focuses on one or two of the major genres explored by Shakespeare (e.g., histories, tragedies, comedies, tragicomedies/romances, lyric and narrative poetry), in light of Renaissance literary conventions and recent theoretical approaches. Students consider the ways in which Shakespeare's generic experiments are variably inflected by gender, by political considerations, by habitat, and by history.

History of Islamic Civilization I: Origins to 1500

HIST 170 - STAFF / Peterson, David S.

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.

Medieval and Renaissance Culture

MRST 110 - Dobin, Howard N. (Hank)

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. Offered as 110A when HL; or as 110 when HU; depending on topic.

Fall 2017, MRST 110-01: The Age of Elizabeth: Politics, Personalities, Faith and Culture (3). We study the 45-year reign of Elizabeth I through a variety of lenses in order to develop a complex understanding of this fascinating and formative period of English history. We look at the politics (the war with Spain, marriage negotiations, internal factions); the personalities (Elizabeth herself, Mary Stuart, key courtiers, suitors, and councilors); the religious controversies (the Elizabethan Settlement, the transition from Catholicism, the rise of Puritanism); and the rich cultural heritage (popular theater, sonnet sequences, portraiture). (HU) Dobin.

Plato

PHIL 221 - Crotty, Kevin M.

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.

Sufism: Islamic Mysticism

REL 283 - STAFF / Lubin, Timothy (Tim)

This course explores the mystical expressions and institutions known as Sufism within the Islamic community. Topics include the elaboration of Sufism from the core tenets of Islam; Sufi practices of ecstasy and discipline; the artistic and literary products of the Sufi experience; the institutions of Sufi orders, saints, shrines, and popular practices; and the debates among Muslims over the place of Sufism within the greater tradition of Islam.

Spanish Civilization and Culture

SPAN 211 - Mayock, Ellen C.

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 - STAFF / Bailey, Matthew J.

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

Peninsular Seminar

SPAN 397A - Mayock, Ellen C.

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 2017, SPAN 397A-01: Representaciones de la Guerra Civil Española (3).  This seminar examines the fundamental importance of the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939) in literary and visual texts of the Franco and contemporary periods of Spain. Through readings of these literary and visual texts, students come to understand the evolution of often conflicting histories, ideologies, obsessions, and artistic notions surrounding the war itself and its consequences. After a review of the events leading up to the Spanish Civil War and of the prelude to the Second World War, we observe how the themes and issues of the war manifest in fiction, poetry, film, and other visual texts. We pay particular attention to the Franco regime, the pact of silence, and the desire to uncover the past in myriad ways. Literature includes works by Federico García Lorca, Jaime Gil de Biedma, Carmen Laforet, Alberto Méndez, and Mercè Rodoreda. Visual texts include posters, newspapers, letters, government documents, documentaries, fictional films, and NO-DO reels from the Franco era. (HL) Mayock.

Spring 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.

Dante: Renaissance and Redemption

HIST 200 - Peterson, David S.

A survey of the culture, society, and politics of early Renaissance Italy using the life of the Florentine poet Dante Alighieri (1265-1321) and his Divine Comedy . This period witnessed revolutions in Florence and Rome and the emergence of new artistic forms aimed at reconciling Christian beliefs with classical thought, notably that of the Greek philosopher Aristotle and the Roman poet Virgil. It also generated conflicts between popes, kings, and emperors that issued ultimately in modern European states. First, we survey Dante's historical setting using a chronicle by one of his contemporaries, Dino Compagni. We then follow Dante on his poetic pilgrimage of personal and collective redemption through Hell, Purgatory, and Heaven as he synthesized the artistic, religious, philosophical and political challenges of his age.

Medieval Spanish Cultures in Context

SPAN 312 - Bailey, Matthew J.

Spring Term Abroad course . Muslims, Jews, and Christians co-existed for eight-hundred years on the Iberian Peninsula. This course examines these diverse cultures through the texts (literary, historical, religious, and philosophical), the art, and the architecture from the period prior to the arrival of the Arabs in 711, up to and beyond the expulsion of the Jews in 1492. The objective of the course is to glean from the remnants of the experience of their co-existence insights into their distinctive characteristics and how they understood and influenced each other.

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.