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Medieval Studies 282 Medieval Civilization Devun, Di Battista
English 306 Chaucer Novacich
English 307 Medieval and Early Modern Women Writers Graham
English 309:02 Medieval English Representations of Islam and Judaism Goldstein
English 412 Old English Language and Literature Klein
English 422 Seminar: Realism, Fantasy, Religion: The Poems of the Pearl Manuscript Scanlon
History (510) 351 Medieval Italy, 476-1300 Di Battista
History (506) 271 Jewish Society and Culture I Rendsburg
History (508) 410 Medieval Turkey Artun
Art History 105 Introduction to Art History I Paulsen
Jewish Studies  250 Jewish Mysticism Yadin-Israel

   Medieval Studies: Medieval Civilization (667:282)

Prof. Di Battista
Section 1  T 9:50 AM-12:50 PM, FH-A2
Section 3  Th 9:50 AM-12:50 PM, HH-A5
Cross-listed with History (510:211:03) The Harvest of the Middle Ages, 1150-1520

Harvest of the Middle Ages hopes to provide students with an understanding of the key aspects of the history of Europe from the time of the First Crusade to the beginnings of the Renaissance. The High Middle Ages saw the development of such institutions as the medieval university and the construction of the great Gothic cathedrals. The rise of market economies the development of the centralized nation-states were threatened by the spread of the Black Death and a series of peasant revolts. The term “Harvest” of the Middle Ages suggests that special attention will be paid to the late medieval crises that signaled the shift to the Renaissance.


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  English: Chaucer (358:306)

Prof. Novacich
M/W 1:10 PM-2:30 PM, MU 114

This class is an introduction to Chaucer through close study of his most famous work: the Canterbury Tales. At once a tale-telling contest, a game, and a journey, the Canterbury Tales offers students the opportunity to learn Middle English; to investigate major social, philosophical, and theological questions important to late medieval English culture; and to take pleasure in beautiful, challenging, sometimes quite funny, sometimes sobering poetry. Assignments include two papers, two exams, and a series of unannounced reading quizzes.

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  English: Medieval and Early Modern Women Writers (358:307)

Prof. Graham
T/Th 1:10-2:30 PM, FH A3

In this course we will read poetry, prose, and drama written by women between 900 and 1689. We will start with poems preserved in the Exeter Book, a manuscript from the 900s, and range widely through the Middle Ages and Renaissance. Our guiding question will be twofold: how do bodies, defined by the cultures and moments in which they live, impact how people experience literature? And, how do these women writers rethink religious devotion, literary history, and social and political power? We will focus on the historical contexts of these writers, who were writing and reading when very few women were taught these skills; we will also engage with current theories about how gender affects our own reading and writing.

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  English: Issues & Problems in Medieval Literature and Culture: Medieval English Representations of Islam and Judaism (358:309)

Prof. Goldstein
M/Th 9:50-11:10 AM, SC 102

In this class, we will investigate medieval English narrative representations of encounters with the Middle East to understand the many different ways medieval Christians approach Islam and Judaism. In our exploration of these narratives, we will think about concepts such as orientalism, religious alterity, conversion, monstrosity, nationalism, internationalism, and vernacularity. We will consider the different possible ways that issues of race, gender, and sexuality might intersect with medieval conceptions of religion. We will also spend some time contemplating whether these narratives are reflected in later 20th and 21st century western depictions of Islam and Judaism.

Most texts will be in their original Middle English, but no background in Middle English is required to take this course. We will read everything else (Old English, Latin, etc.) in modern English translation. Texts will include Chaucer’s Man of Law’s Tale and Prioress’s Tale, the Pearl Poet’s Patience and Cleanness, some anonymous romances, such as The Sultan of Babylon, The King of Tars, and Richard Coeur de Lion, the Croxton Play of the Sacrament, some medieval hagiography, and more.

Grading will consist of 3 papers, a midterm, attendance, active participation, and occasional reading quizzes.

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  English: Old English Language and Literature (350:412)

Prof. Klein
T/Th 2:50-4:10 PM, SC 121

This course has two goals: 1) to teach students to read Old English, the language written and spoken in England from roughly 450 to 1100 AD; and 2) to develop skills in critical thinking and writing that are necessary for completing large-scale research projects in literary studies. We will focus mainly on Beowulf, the longest surviving Old English poem, and a text that has been treated from almost every critical perspective imaginable. Inhabited by monsters, pagans, and a hero whose fame derives from both his handgrip and his kindness, Beowulf offers extraordinarily rich ground for exploring the language and culture of England before the Norman Conquest of 1066. Seamus Heaney’s prize-winning translation and Robert Zemeckis’s animated film have recently brought Beowulf into the midst of popular culture. However, Beowulf has occupied a central place in the canon of English poetry for quite some time and thus offers an excellent springboard for thinking about broader issues within literary studies, such as why we read certain texts rather than others, what we hope to gain from reading, and how modern ideas about reading and interpretation might have differed from those held in earlier historical periods. This is a helpful seminar for students considering doing an Honors thesis or any other sort of independent writing/research project in the Humanities as it focuses closely on bibliographic skills and research methods, as well as on developing original ideas and putting them into elegant prose.

Requirements: regular translation assignments, attendance, revision workshops, vigorous class participation, several short (1-2 page papers), 1 longer (approximately 15-page) paper, to be completed in several stages

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  English: Seminar: Realism, Fantasy, Religion: The Poems of the Pearl Manuscript (358:422)

Prof. Scanlon
M/W 2:50-4:10 PM, SC 102

This seminar will concentrate on one of the most remarkable poets of the later Middle Ages, the anonymous author of the four poems contained in a single manuscript known as the Pearl manuscript. The best known of these is Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, one of the best Arthurian poems of the entire period. They also include Cleanness, a meditation on purity, profanation and sexuality, drawing mainly on biblical stories, Patience, a re-telling of Jonah and the Whale, and Pearl, a dream vision.

These poems were not rediscovered until the beginning of the nineteenth century. Modern readers have found them compelling because of their puzzling combination of clearly medieval features, such as their religious orientation, and those that seem modern, such as their interest in realism. We will investigate this combination thoroughly, as well as the poet’s interest in the category of the fantastic, which is both medieval and modern.

Our discussions will draw on both modern and medieval perspectives. In addition to modern critical treatments of realism and fantasy, we will also look at Kazuo Ishiguro’s 2015 novel, The Buried Giant, which is based on Sir Gawain and the Green Knight. For medieval perspectives, we will look at the biblical texts the poet draws on and related poems in the tradition of medieval romance. We will also spend some time on the linguistic and formal features of the poems. Knowledge of Middle English, while helpful, is not required.

As this course is a seminar, the principal requirement will be a 15-20 pp. page paper. Substantial class time will be given over to the development of individual topics and drafting and revising. This instruction will be integrated into the more general discussion of the poetry.


Kazuo Ishiguro, The Buried Giant

Poems of the “Pearl” Manuscript, ed. Andrew and Waldron


Informal class presentations

15-20 pp. paper, plus drafts

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  History: Italy 476-1300 (510:351)

Prof. Di Battista
T/Th 2:50-4:10 PM, MU 115

This course will cover the history of the Italian peninsula from the late Roman Empire to the beginnings of the Renaissance. The history of medieval Italy spans a varied and multi-ethnic trajectory following the decline of the western Roman Empire. Special attention will be paid to developing an understanding of the unique transformations of Italian society that occurred during these centuries. The geographic determinants, the religious components, and the flowering of art and literature will be examined. The course will also concentrate on the contributions of several celebrated individuals to medieval and Renaissance Italian history. These will include a focus on Dante, Petrarch, Machiavelli, and St. Francis of Assisi.


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  History: Jewish Society & Culture I (506:271)

Prof. Rendsburg
M/W 1:10 PM-2:30 PM, MU 210
Cross-listed with Jewish Studies (563:201, 563:501) and Middle Eastern Studies (685:208)

This course examines the social, religious, intellectual, and political experience of the Jewish people from the crystallization of their national-religious consciousness in the biblical period through the end of the 15th century. The religion and culture of the Jews are discussed within the broader context of their environment. The course divides neatly into three main periods: the biblical (or ancient) period, the post-biblical period (known as late antiquity), and the medieval period. We will begin our course with the ancient Israelites as an independent people in their own land, and then move to the study of the Jews under foreign rule (including Babylonia, Persia, Greece, Rome, Islam, and Christianity). Primary sources (Bible, Dead Sea Scrolls, Josephus, Talmud, Maimonides, etc.) are emphasized throughout. The course concludes with the Expulsion of the Jews from the Iberian Peninsula. The course is required for majors and minors in Jewish Studies, and it is also cross-listed in History and in Middle Eastern Studies.


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  History: Medieval Turkey (508: 410)

Prof. Artun
T/Th 4:30-5:50 PM, HH 47

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  Art History: Introduction to Art History I (082:105)

Prof. Paulsen
Section 02: T/Th 5:00-6:20 PM, TIL 258

Prof. TBA
Section 03: T/Th 7:40-9:00 PM, VH-105

This course presents an introductory overview of the history of Western art from antiquity to the late medieval period. It considers the achievements of great civilizations ranging from Egypt to the Holy Roman Empire, and focuses on a diversity of cultural and religious traditions, including, Byzantine, Islamic, and Jewish. The class examines a wide array of objects, including statues of gods and emperors, reliquaries containing saints' bones, Greek temples and Gothic cathedrals, early synagogue decoration, devotional manuscripts, and gold-gilded altarpieces.

Emphasizing significant stylistic movements in Western Europe, this course lays the groundwork for more advanced art history courses by introducing visual analysis and other interpretative tools of art historical research. Students will also learn how the visual products of a culture relate to historical circumstances, societal values, and shifting personal and collective identities. The skills developed in this class provide important tools for navigating and interpreting media and visual representation in the twenty-first century.

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  Jewish Studies: Jewish Mysticism (563:250)

Prof. Yadin-Israel
M/Th 9:50-11:10 AM, MH 115
Cross-listed with Religion (840:250) 

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