Department Course Course Title Professor
Medieval Studies 281:01, 03 Medieval Civilization Di Battista
Medieval Studies 320 Islamic Art and Architecture Kahlaoui
History (510) 205 History of the Byzantine Empire Takacs
History (510) 211 Harvest of the Middle Ages Devun
English (358) 306 Chaucer Scanlon
English (358) 309 Averting the Future Past: Manipulating Time in Medieval Literature McConnell
English (358) 411 Old English Language and Literature Klein
English (358) 422 Seminar in Medieval Literature  O'Byrne
Art History 105 Introduction to Art History I Various
Jewish Studies 201 Jewish Society and Culture I Tartakoff


               Medieval Studies: Medieval Civilization (667:281:01, 03)

Prof. Di Battista
Section 01, Th 11:30 AM-2:30 PM, CAC
Section 03, T 9:50 AM-12:50 PM, CAC
Cross-listed with History (510:209) Emergence of Medieval Europe

The Middle Ages is one of the most misunderstood and fascinating periods in European history. It marks the emerging of the first distinctly European cililization in western history. Emergence of Medieval Europe hopes to provide students with an understanding of the key aspects of that history from the end of the Roman Empire to the Investiture Crisis. Special attention will be paid to the growth of feudal institutions, the crusades, and the development of the Church. 




               Medieval Studies: Islamic Art and Architecture (667:320)

Prof. Kahlaoui
MW 1:10-2:30 PM, CAC
Cross-listed with Art History (082:320) and Middle Eastern Studies (685:320)
Pre-requisites: 082:105 and 082:106 OR permission of instructor

This survey course will study the major characteristics of Islamic visual culture while classifying its chronologically according to its overall cultural and political context. The course will be taught in 4 parts. We will begin by discussing general concepts and get acquainted with some basic notions in Islamic culture and history with regards to the visual arts.

The course is divided chronologically into four parts: First Part (600-750 AD) after an introduction and discussing basic concepts, we will study the foundation and the formation of the "early imperial" style during the Umayyad period. The Second Part (750-1000): we will study the characteristics of the "early imperial" style under later empires up the end of the first Millennium during the dynasties of the Abbasids, the Umayyads of Spain, and the Fatimids. The Third Part (1000-1500) will cover a new historical phase during which new geopolitics (the emergence of "princely states" instead of the early empires) created a new context for the creation of the visual culture. Finally the Fourth Part (1500-1700) will cover two periods the resurrection of imperial visual culture with three empires: the Ottomans, the Safawids, and the Mughals. However, the course will emphasize the early period (parts 1 and 2 mainly) since it is the foundational phase of many lasting characteristics of Islamic visual culture.

Readings, "key texts" and "key images" will help us go through all these phases. "Key texts" are short translated texts that are supposed to give an inside textual look that would help understand some aspects of the visual culture of each period; "key images" are intended to provide a generic representation of the visual culture of each period and serve as introductory visual samples to the series of images that will be the backbone of the course.

NOTE on Resources:
Readings: There is no text book for this class but there will be readings mostly available online assigned for each topic of the course.
Online Resources: The course syllabus, all ppt. presentations, all readings, "key texts," and "key images" will be available online (sakai). A major source of images and articles especially for Islamic architecture is ArchNet website ( I will present the class with few videos along the course taken mainly from the open internet (Google Videos most likely). I will post the links subsequently.
Examinations and assignments:
a. Mid-term: (30 %)
A 1 1/2 hour examination consisting of two parts:
1. Identifications, consisting of the name, date, location, importance of the monument or object.
2. Comparisons. Short essays introduced through the mechanism of a comparison of two items taken from the material of the course.

b. The final examination (two hours): (40 %)
The examination will consist of three parts:
1. Identifications (5)
2. Comparisons (3)
3. Essay question, chosen from a list of three broad questions.
In general, the second part of the course will be favored over the first, although your firm knowledge of the first part may be very helpful in formulating the answers.

c. Attendance/Participation in class and quizzes (30%): quizzes (1 to 3 quizzes will be announced a week in advance) will be brief (15 min.) and touch on specific images or articles.



Averting the Future Past: Manipulating Time in Medieval Literature (358:309)

Prof. McConnell
TTh 1:10-2:30 PM CAC

In spite of the gulf of time that separates our modern day from a medieval past, both eras are marked by a shared anxiety that our age is perched on the threshold of the apocalyptic, in the throes of a cultural, political, or religious crisis. This anxiety leads to a cultural preoccupation with time: we look to the past to ask how we came to be where we are now or what we could do differently; we wonder what role in history we shape for ourselves in our present; and we question whether a different future is possible, or whether our fates are already sealed. Today, this preoccupation underlies the many books and films that explore time travel; in the Middle Ages, before science fiction and time travel, writers still explored the manipulation of time in various ways. Geoffrey of Monmouth’s chronicle Historia Regum Brittaniaeexpands the timeline of British history by two hundred years, adding in the golden era of Arthur and providing Britain with a glorious past that it remembers with nostalgia. One poet of Middle English alliterative verse even offers us the astonishing example of a proto-time traveller in the Awntyrs off Arthure—the ghost of Queen Guinevere’s mother, whose death has allowed her to step outside of time to witness the future downfall of the Arthurian court, and who appears in the first flowering of the court to warn them against that downfall.

By reading across French and English works like the Historia Regum BrittaniaeLe Conte du Graal, The Awntyrs off ArthureLe Morte Darthur, and other texts, students will see how medieval thinkers grapple with and even challenge their own interpretations of time and futurity, playing with notions of cause and effect, chance and destiny. How does the past work in the service of the future? How do we interpret our place and responsibility within the present, caught in between a known past and an anxiety-producing future? What control do we have over our own fates? This course will ask students to think critically about the intersections of narrative, history, and theories of temporality, as well as the relationships between fiction, theology, politics, and culture. Readings, when possible, will be in Middle English. A series of short written assignments will culminate in a final research paper, providing students with the chance to pursue various critical approaches to and interests in these texts, as well as to build upon and revise their thinking.

               English: Old English Language and Literature (358:411)

Prof. Klein
TTh 2:50-4:10 PM, CAC

Old English was the language written and spoken in England from approximately 450-1100 AD. This course is designed to give students with no previous knowledge of Old English the basic skills necessary to read and interpret Old English texts. We will examine a variety of poems and prose writings, including Old English alliterative shorter poems dealing with exile, gender roles, and early medieval cults of the cross; chronicles and historical narratives designed to construct specific ideas about the past and historical memory; and excerpts from the growing body of vernacular religious writings produced for an Anglo-Saxon populace that, according to some monks, was becoming increasingly illiterate. Throughout the course, attention will be given to Old English pronunciation, grammar, and vocabulary, and most of the individual class periods will be devoted to reviewing and discussing translations which students will have prepared at home. Enrolled graduate students will be assigned additional readings and will meet with me individually and in small groups to discuss bibliographic and other resources for pursuing Anglo-Saxon studies, theoretical approaches to the period's literature, and their own research interests.

Requirements: regular and intense translation, midterm and final, one 5-7 page paper, and memorization of a short passage in Old English



             English: Medieval Irish Literature (358:422)

Prof. O'Byrne
TTh 2:50-4:10 PM, CAC

Escape enslavement with St. Patrick. Set sail from the rocky western coast of Ireland to lands unknown. Accompany the great warrior Cú Chulainn on his quest to single-handedly defend Ulster from the army of Queen Maeve. Flee the wrath of king Conchobar with Deirdre and her lover, Naoise. This course offers a survey of literature written in Ireland between 400 and 1400. Major readings will include St. Patrick's autobiography, the famous saga, The Cattle Raid of Cooley, accounts of Finn McCool and his band of élite warriors, the tale of Oisín's journey to the Land of the Young, and several works pertaining to the lives of Ireland's three major saints: Patrick, Bridget, and Columba. This course asks students to think critically about the ways in which literature reflects and enhances the culture that created it. Students will gain an understanding of the history and development of literature in Ireland. In the final weeks, they will explore how medieval literature persists in modern Irish culture. Through this course, students will develop a set of tools for examining other ancient, multilingual cultures and their literature. They will also have the opportunity to deepen their skills in close reading and oral and written expression. Some course texts will be in Middle English. All course texts originally written in Irish, Latin, Old Norse, or French will be available in English translation.

Attendance and Participation, including weekly online posts 10%
2 in-class reports on secondary articles or books accompanied by 2-page summaries 20%
Take-home close-reading exam 10%
Peer-review of essay drafts of 2 classmates 10%
10-12 page essay 30%
Final 15-minute conference presentation 20%


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

Section 01, TTh 1:10-2:30 PM, CAC
Section 05, MTh 10:55 AM-12:15 PM, D/C
Section 07, MW 7:40-9:00 PM, CAC
Please see the online course catalog for other online section options.

Please visit the Art History website for specific information about each section's requirements.



               Jewish Studies: Jewish Society & Culture I (563:201)

Prof. Tartakoff
MW 1:10-2:30 PM, CAC
Cross-listed with History (506:271) and Middle Eastern Studies (685:208)

Explore the history of Jews and Judaism from ancient Israel's earliest origins to the late Middle Ages. Learn about archaeological findings, analyze ancient and medieval texts and works of art, and examine how one of the world's oldest religious traditions evolved in a global context.