Medieval and Renaissance Studies
Medieval and Renaissance Studies

Archives for Announcements

Undergraduate Medieval and Renaissance Courses, Fall 2016

Below, please find a list of undergraduate Medieval & Renaissance courses being offered in fall 2016. For a list of graduate courses, please visit this page on our website. For the most up-to-date information, please visit the Columbia Directory of Classes.

ART HISTORY AND ARCHAEOLOGY

AHIS UN2800 Arts of Islam. Matthew Saba. TR 4:10pm-5:25pm. 612 Schermerhorn Hall.
Undergraduate survey course.

AHIS BC3350 Medieval Art in the West. Joseph S. Ackley. TR 1:10-2:25 pm. Location TBC.
A survey of medieval art and architecture from Late Antiquity to c. 1400. Questions of iconography, function, and historical context will be interwoven with those of style, material, and craft. Late Antique, Byzantine, and early Islamic (Umayyad and Abbasid) art, as well as that of the Migration Era (Merovingian, Visigothic, and other Germanic cultures), will be briefly reviewed, after which the course will explore in depth the diverse artistic traditions of medieval Europe, including Insular, Carolingian, Anglo-Saxon, Ottonian, Mozarabic, Romanesque, and Gothic art. The course concludes with a nod towards van Eyck, Alberti, and early-fifteenth-century painting. Key thematic questions throughout include strategies of picturing, manifesting, and touching God; cross-cultural exchange between West and East; the relationship between Church and court; and the intersection of politics, religion, and economics embodied by so much of medieval art. The course will emphasize both the figural arts of painting and sculpture and the precious arts of metalwork, ivory, and textiles; architecture will be discussed as necessary.

AHIS GU4627 Life of a Cathedral: Notre Dame. Stephen Murray. T 10:10am-12pm. 832 Schermerhorn Hall.
Like a great city, the cathedral brings together multiple segments of society in lively collaboration and conflict.  We will explore the three overlapping worlds of the cathedral: the world of the clergy (owners and principal users), the world of the layfolk (parishioners, townsfolk and pilgrims) and the world (most mysterious) of the architects, or master masons.  The semester is thus divided into three parts: each class will be preceded by an intense look at a specific aspect of the life of the cathedral and a reading presented by one of the participants as specified in the schedule below.  Participants in the class will also be invited to contribute to the development of a new website on the cathedral, designed for the use of Art Humanities students.

EAST ASIAN LANGUAGES AND CULTURES

Chinese GU4507 Readings in Classical Chinese. Wei Shang. TR 10:10am-11:25am. 412 Pupin Laboratories.
Prerequisites: CHNS W3302 or the equivalent. Admission after placement exam. Focusing on Tang and Song prose and poetry, introduces a broad variety of genres through close readings of chosen texts as well as the specific methods, skills, and tools to approach them. Strong emphasis on the grammatical and stylistic analysis of representative works.

ENGLISH & COMPARATIVE LITERATURE

ENGL BC3135 Wit & Humor in the Renaissance. Anne Prescott. MW 1:10pm-2:25pm.

ENGL UN3145 Literature of Medieval Courts: Medieval Performance. Susan Crane. T 12:10pm-2pm.
Britain’s medieval aristocrats lived in the public eye, staging an array of elite performances including tournaments, coronations, weddings, hunts, and feasts. These performances were memorably lavish and entertaining, but more importantly, they asserted the aristocracy’s superiority and power. This seminar will explore an archive of poetic and historical texts concerning the ritual and performative strategies of aristocratic courtship, heraldry, and chivalry. Ecclesiastical courts, in turn, develop an alternate nobility of faith as they elevate saints and condemn heretics. The seminar’s persistent areas of inquiry will be into how medieval people conceived and performed their personal identity, and how social groups deployed public performances to claim social authority. Texts will include Chaucer’s Knight’s Tale, saints’ legends, the romances of Silence, The Knight of the Swan, and Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, and the minutes of the trial of Joan of Arc. Course requirements: weekly posts, a midterm paper of about 5 pages, a workshop presentation with annotated bibliography, and a research paper of about 20 pages.

ENGL BC3154 Chaucer Before Canterbury. Christopher Baswell. TR 10:10am-11:25am.

Chaucer’s innovations with major medieval forms: lyric, the extraordinary dream visions, and the culmination of medieval romance, Troilus and Criseyde. Approaches through close analysis and feminist and historicist interpretation. Background readings in medieval life and culture.

ENGL BC3164 Shakespeare II. Peter Platt. MW 8:40am-9:55am.

CLEN GU4021 European Literature in the Middle Ages: Culture of the Book. Christopher Baswell. TR 6:10pm-7:25pm. 702 Hamilton.

ENGL GU4103 English Literature 1500-1600. Alan Stewart. MW 8:40am-9:55am. 214 Pupin Laboratories.
(Lecture). This lecture course examines sixteenth-century English literature in the light of the new religious, social and political challenges of the period.  Texts, primarily poetry and prose, include lyric poetry by Thomas Wyatt, Henry Howard, earl of surrey, and John Donne; sonnet sequences by Philip Sidney and William Shakespeare; early narrative works by George Gascoigne and Thomas Nashe; works of Early English literary criticism; travel writings by Walter Ralegh and Thomas Harriot; as well as longer texts including More’s Utopia and Spenser’s Faerie Queene.

ENGL GU4702 Tudor-Stuart Drama. Jean Howard. TR 4:10pm-5:25pm. 517 Hamilton.
(Lecture). This course investigates plays that treat historical themes as well as theories of historical and documentary drama. We will consider each playwright’s sources and techniques, the historical conditions of each play’s first production, and the play’s reception history. We will also consider certain suggestive resonances between the disciplines of theatre and history. Plays by Aeschylus, Cervantes, Lope de Vega, Marlowe, Shakespeare, Ford, Schiller, Goethe, Büchner, Shaw, Brecht, Weiss, Churchill, Parks, and others.

FRENCH AND ROMANCE PHILOLOGY

FREN GU4301 French Literature of the 17th Century. Pierre Force. W 4:10pm-6pm.

HISTORY

HIST BC1062 Introduction to the Later Middle Ages. Joel Kaye. TR 11:40am-12:55pm.

HIST UN2060 Laws of War in the Middle Ages. Adam Kosto. MW 10:10am-11:25am. 313 Fayerweather.
The perception and regulation of war and wartime practices in Europe and the Mediterranean World in the period 300-1500, from the standpoint of legal and institutional history rather than of military history. Topics include: the Just War tradition, Holy War and Crusade, the Peace and Truce of God, prisoners and ransom, the law of siege, non-combatants, chivalry, and ambassadors and diplomacy. Readings are principally primary sources in translation.

HIST UN2657 Medieval Jewish Cultures. Elisheva Carlebach. MW 2:40pm-3:55pm. 310 Fayerweather.
This course will survey some of the major historical, cultural, intellectual and social developments among Jews from the fourth century CE through the fifteenth. We will study Jewish cultures from the Christianization of the Roman Empire, the age of the Talmuds, the rise of Islam, the world of the Geniza, medieval Spain, to the early modern period. We will look at a rich variety of primary texts and images, including mosaics, poems, prayers, polemics, and personal letters. Field(s): JEW/MED

History: Middle East UN2810 History of South Asia I. Manan Ahmad. MW 8:40am-9:55am. 103 Knox Hall.
This survey lecture course will provide students with a broad overview of the history of South Asia as a region – focusing on key political, cultural and social developments over more than two millennia. The readings include both primary sources (in translation) and secondary works. Our key concerns will be the political, cultural and theological encounters of varied communities, the growth of cities and urban spaces, networks of trade and migrations and the development of both local and cosmopolitan cultures across Southern Asia. The survey will begin with early dynasties of the classical period and then turn to the subsequent formation of various Perso-Turkic polities, including the development and growth of hybrid political cultures such as those of Vijayanagar and the Mughals. The course also touches on Indic spiritual and literary traditions such as Sufi and Bhakti movements. Near the end of our course, we will look forward towards the establishment of European trading companies and accompanying colonial powers.

ITALIAN

ITAL GU4009 Development of Italian Language. Jo Ann Cavallo. M 2:10pm-4pm.
The external history and internal development of the Italian language from its origins to the present.

ITAL GU4050 Medieval Lyric. Teodolinda Barolini. T 4:10pm-6pm. 702 Hamilton Hall.
This course maps the origins of the Italian lyric, starting in Sicily and following its development in Tuscany, in the poets of the dolce stil nuovo and ultimately, Dante. Lectures in English; text in Italian, although comparative literature students who can follow with the help of translations are welcome.

ITAL GU4097 Boccaccio’s Decameron. Teodolinda Barolini. R 4:10pm-6pm. 516 Hamilton Hall.
While focusing on the Decameron, this course follows the arc of Boccaccio’s career from the Ninfale Fiesolano, through the Decameron, and concluding with the Corbaccio, using the treatment of women as the connective thread. The Decameron is read in the light of its cultural density and contextualized in terms of its antecedents, both classical and vernacular, and of its intertexts, especially Dante’s Commedia, with particular attention to Boccaccio’s masterful exploitation of narrative as a means for undercutting all absolute certainty. Lectures in English; text in Italian, although comparative literature students who can follow with the help of translations are welcome.

LATIN AMERICAN & IBERIAN CULTURES

SPAN UG3821 Andalusian Iberias. Seth Kimmel. MW 11:40am-12:55pm.
The relationship between the Spanish, Latin, Arabic, and Hebrew literatures of the Iberian Peninsula has been hotly contested over the last fifty years. This class is an introduction to these debates about the development of literary genre, the transmission of philosophical knowledge, and the history of religious polemic in medieval and early modern Iberia. We will study not only the conventions that structure the different religious, linguistic, and political communities of the peninsula, but also the multiplicity of Andalusian Iberias produced by the interactions among them.
We will concentrate on the pre-modern period of Muslim presence on the Iberian Peninsula—between the Berber invasions that started in 711 and the expulsion of the Moriscos at the beginning of the seventeenth century—but we will address questions that remain important today: What constitutes conclusive evidence in literary analysis? What is the relationship between literary or cultural forms and imperial power? Compared with various political, economic, and aesthetic categories of investigations, how much analytical importance does religious difference carry?

MIDDLE EASTERN, SOUTH ASIAN & AFRICAN STUDIES

Middle East GU4721 Epics & Empires. Hamid Dabashi. T 2:10-4pm.
The purpose of this course is an examination of the genre of epic and its narrative connection to empire-building.  The primary text that will be used in this critical examination is the Persian epic poem Shahnameh, composed by Abolqasem Ferdowsi circa 1000 CE.

RELIGION

RELI UN3425 Judaism and Courtly Literature in Medieval and Early Modern Iberia and Italy. Isabelle Levy. MW 10:10am-11:25am. 628 Kent Hall.
The course explores secular Jewish literature composed in the medieval and Early Modern Mediterranean in the context of its Arabic and Romance-language counterparts. After examining the literary, linguistic and philosophical backdrop of Jews in the Islamic Empire, we will focus on poetry and prose of al-Andalus, Christian Spain and Italy. We will look at examples of how Jews depicted themselves and how Christian and converso thinkers portrayed Jews. In addition, we will consider two crossover writers, one Jew in Spain and one in Italy, whose compositions in Castilian and Italian were accepted and integrated into Christian society. Historical materials will accompany textual examples, which span the eleventh through sixteenth centuries.
All readings are in English, but all texts will be made available in the original language, and students are encouraged to read in the original whenever possible. The course qualifies for Global Core.

WOMEN’S & GENDER STUDIES

Women’s Studies UN3900 Reading and Writing (on) the Body in the Francophone Middle Ages. Eliza Zingesser. T 2:10pm-4pm. 754 EXT Schermerhorn.
In this course, we consider the body both as a site for textual production—the animal skin used to make medieval parchment—and as an object of representation in medieval francophone literature. How does the choice of literary genre inflect the presentation of gender? What characterized the corporeality of the medieval hero? How did writers depict themselves and the objects of their desire? When genitalia “speak for themselves,” as in some the medieval fabliaux we will read, what do they say and whose desire do they express? Which bodies are clearly gendered and why? How does bodily metamorphosis intersect with sexual transgression and other kinds of gender trouble?
Class discussion in English, with readings available in both modern French and English. The course can be taken for French credit if students complete the reading and all assignments in French.

Women’s Studies UN3514 Historical Approaches to Feminist Questions: Debates on Women in the Premodern World. Julie Crawford. R 2:10pm-4pm. 754 EXT Schermerhorn.
This class is an introduction to the debates on women that played a dominant role in both the philosophical and literary traditions of the European/Atlantic world from the classical period through the seventeenth-century. Beginning with the works of ancient political theory that actively debated women’s political, social, and ethical position in society (chiefly Aristotle, Plato, and Plutarch), the course will address the pan-European books of “Good Women” that served as exemplary case studies, the querelle des femmes (or debate on women) that dominated political and humanist discourse of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, and the crucial importance of the political analogies between the household and the state and the marital and social contracts in the premodern world (and, indeed, in our own).  We will study works from ancient Greece and Rome and medieval and early modern Italy, Spain, France, England, Ethiopia and Mexico, and topics ranging from domestic violence and political resistance theory to transvestitism and lesbianism.

Old French Reading Group at NYU, Fall 2016

A graduate student reading group in Old French will be taking place at NYU this fall. For more information, check out the flyer: Old French Reading Group announcement-1 And contact Mimi Zhou <mimizhou12@gmail.com> or Emily O’Brock <ejobrock@gmail.com>.

Congratulations to Jeffrey Wayno for a successful defense and appointment as CLIR Post-Doctoral Fellow

Jeffrey Wayno (rapporteur for the Seminar on Medieval Studies) defended his dissertation last week: “Communication and the Limits of Papal Authority in the Medieval West, 1050-1250.” The dissertation was advised by Professor Adam Kosto (History), and the committee consisted of Professors Susan Boynton (Music), Richard John (Journalism and History), Neslihan Senocak (History), and Robert Somerville (Religion and History).

In the fall, Jeffrey will begin as Council on Learning and Information Resources (CLIR) Postdoctoral Fellow in Data Curation for Medieval Studies at Columbia University.

Congratulations, Jeffrey!

Wayno

Spring Material Texts Workshop

Yesterday – March 9, 2016 – our program held our Spring 2016 Material Texts Workshop. Alexis Hagadorn, Conservator and Head of the Conservation Program at the Columbia University Libraries, graciously taught the workshop, which was attended by our MA students.

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Alexis Hagadorn shows materials from Columbia’s Rare Book and Manuscripts Library to students attending the workshop.

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Students and Program Director Susan Boynton listening to Alexis Hagadorn’s lecture.

Thank you, Alexis and the Columbia RBML, for a wonderful workshop!

Music Paleography Crash Course

A message from Professor Andrew Hicks (Cornell) and Professor Anna Zayaruznaya (Yale):

“We are writing to garner interest for a “crash course” in music paleography, from neumes to the 16th century, to be held at Yale’s Beinecke library in summer 2016. The event would be open to graduate students in music history, theory, and medieval studies as well as undergraduates headed into or seriously considering graduate study, preparing them for a semester-long course on the topic, refreshing a rusty skill set, or providing a basic groundwork for further self-study.

No previous knowledge of historical notation will be assumed, but some experience with modern music notation would be needed. Instruction would be hands-on, combining singing from primary and digitized sources with transcription assignments. Reading assignments will be given in advance of the workshop.

The event might last some 3–4 days, and would be free of charge, though participants would most likely need to arrange their own lodging and transportation. The weeks of August 14th or 21st would seem to be probable candidates.

At this point, before proceeding to look for space and funding, we are writing to garner interest: those interested are invited to complete a brief form at http://goo.gl/forms/19EPMF3HG9 by 23 February 2016.”

Professor Carmela Franklin Elected President of the Medieval Academy of America

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Professor Carmela Vircillo Franklin (Department of Classics) has been elected president of the Medieval Academy of America. Congratulations, Professor Franklin!

Rutgers Medieval Studies: Reading Groups, Spring 2016

Medieval Studies at Rutgers has announced the schedule for their reading groups (Medieval Latin and Medieval English) in spring 2016.

The Middle English reading group will meet on Mondays from 1:10-2:30pm. The Medieval Latin reading group will meet on Wednesdays from 1:10-2:30pm.

Groups meet in the McDonnell Room of Rutgers’ Alexander Library.  The first Monday and Wednesday of every month will be given over to paleography. The dates are as follows:

Monday, February 1
Wednesday, February 3
Wednesday, March 2
Monday, March 7
Monday, April 4
Wednesday, April 6
and possibly
Monday, May 2 and
Wednesday, May 4

The topic for February’s sessions will be manuscript description.  Later sessions are TBD.  If you have a topic you would like someone to cover, or if you would like to present on a topic or manuscript, please contact theresa.obyrne@rutgers.edu.

For more information on either reading group, please email Ana Pairet at apairet@rci.rutgers.edu.

 

Consuelo Dutschke Awarded Medieval Academy of America’s Robert L. Kindrick-CARA Award for Outstanding Service to Medieval Studies

Consuelo Dutschke, curator of medieval and Renaissance manuscripts at Columbia University, has been awarded the Medieval Academy of America’s Kindrick-Cara Award for her work on the Digital Scriptorium project.

The Committee praised Dr. Dutschke’s “tireless and expert work with manuscript collections in libraries across the country. But this award specifically recognizes her leadership in the creation and development of the project known as Digital Scriptorium (DS), which she began in 1997 and which she has ‘patiently and tenaciously’ developed, organized and promoted to the present….Consuelo has been a tireless advocate and teacher for the project and its many uses, guided all the while by her ‘constancy, optimism, and skillful diplomacy,’ which has allowed the project to flourish. The letters of nominations were exuberant in their praise for her profound technical skills, the breadth of her knowledge, her ability to learn new technologies and media, and her boundless generosity toward colleagues, students and scholars. Her endeavors truly constitute an outstanding contribution to the field of Medieval Studies, for which we humbly thank her and offer this award in recognition.”

A warm, heartfelt congratulations to Dr. Dutschke for this recognition!

Medieval Latin Reading Group at NYU: Spring 2016

Melissa Vise (visiting professor of Italian at NYU) is organizing an informal Medieval Latin reading group for graduate students. The idea is to have weekly, low-stakes but still guided work with Medieval Latin. The organizational meeting will take place on Thursday, December 10 at 7 PM in the Library of the Casa Italiana, and meetings will take place weekly in the spring. If you are interested, even if you cannot attend this meeting, please send Professor Vise an email at melissavise@nyu.edu.

MAA Graduate Student Committee: Call for Self Nominations

Below, please find a message from the Medieval Academy of America:


 

Self-Nominations for the MAA Graduate Student Committee
Deadline: 15 December 2015
The Medieval Academy of America is currently accepting self-nominations for vacancies opening up on the Graduate Student Committee (GSC) for the 2016-2018 term. The GSC comprises five members appointed for a two- year term on a rotating basis. Self-nominations are open to all graduate students, worldwide, who are members of the MAA and have at least two years remaining in their program of study.
The GSC was founded more than ten years ago to represent and promote the participation of graduate student medievalists within the MAA and the broader academic community. In addition to fostering international and interdisciplinary exchange, the GSC is dedicated to providing guidance on research, teaching, publishing, professionalization, funding, and employment, as well as offering a forum for the expression of the concerns and interests of our colleagues. Our responsibilities, thus, include organizing pre-professionalizing panels and social events annually at ICMS Kalamazoo, the MAA Annual Meeting, IMC Leeds, and biennially at ANZAMEMS. We also run a successful and popular Mentorship Program that pairs graduate students with faculty to discuss any aspect of our profession such as teaching, publishing, finding a successful work/life balance, maneuvering the job market, and more. In addition, we seek to bring together graduate students through virtual communities such as the growing Graduate Student Group on the MAA website, Facebook, Twitter, the med-grad listserv, and this tri-annual newsletter.
GSC members are asked to attend the Committee’s annual business meeting at Kalamazoo for the duration of their term and to communicate regularly with the group via email and Skype. Ideal applicants are expected to work well both independently and as part of a team in a collaborative environment. Previous experience with organizing conference panels and social events, as well as facility with social and digital media are not required, but may be a benefit.
Interested applicants should submit the following by December 15, 2015:
  • –  The Nomination Form;
  • –  A brief CV (2 pages maximum) uploaded as part of the Nomination Form;
    –  A recommendation letter from your faculty advisor, sent to the Executive Director of the Medieval Academy by mail or as a PDF attachment (on letterhead with signature, to LFD@TheMedievalAcademy.org).
New members will be selected by the Committee on Committees and confirmed by the Council of the Medieval Academy at the 2016 Annual Meeting in Boston, February 25-27. If you have any questions, please contact us at gsc@themedievalacademy.org.