Center for Medieval Studies Graduate Courses Fall 2014 

MVST 5070 (4)   Manuscript Culture  Call # 24287  (Hafner)   F 1:00-3:30

This course will examine manuscript culture from the third through the fifteenth centuries, with particular attention to questions of textual transmission and illuminated adornment. Issues examined will include: the principles, materials, and study of medieval manuscripts and primary documents; the problems of evaluation of the cultural contexts of their production and use; manuscript illumination; the resources of codicology and palaeography; the preparation and evaluation of modern editions; the assessment of readership and patronage; philology and the materialism of the Middle Ages; or the development of libraries. The course will include visits to local manuscript libraries, such as Special Collections at Walsh Library, Rare Books and Manuscripts at Columbia University, the Rare Book Collection of the NY Public Library, and the Morgan Library. Students will have the opportunity to do hands-on work with primary sources. Their final projects will be tailored to their research areas and expertise and must be based on the study of an original manuscript.

ENGL 5208 (3) The English Language 1154-1776   Call # 23921  (Chase)  M 2:30-5:00

This course will deal with the linguistics and sociolinguistics of Middle English and Early Modern English. The beginning date, 1154, is the year of the last entry in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle and the year Henry II, the first Angevin king, acceded to the throne. It is as good a date as any to mark the demise of Old English and the beginning of the Middle English period. 1776, the year of the American Declaration of Independence, marks another turning point, when Early Modern English began to become the English(es) of the present day. This course, which should be of special interest to students of medieval and early modern literature, will examine the ways in which the language developed from the twelfth through the eighteenth centuries. Topics will include dialects and standardization, lexicon, grammar and syntax, phonological change (The Great Vowel Shift), stress and prosody, palaeography and codicology of Middle English manuscripts, and early printing, all with an aim to better understanding and appreciating the literature of these periods.

ENGL 5264 (3) Chaucer  Call # 24265  (Yeager)    R 2:30-5:00

This course is an introduction to Geoffrey Chaucer’s poetry as well as to trends in medieval literary criticism. By reading Chaucer’s The Canterbury Tales, the Troilus, and selections from his mid-length and shorter poems, we will touch on some of the concerns that have animated Chaucer studies: Chaucer’s representation of the social world, religion, gender, and the self. Any analysis of Chaucer’s writing implicitly or explicitly raises a question about the most responsible approach to texts that are now over 600 years old. Indeed, this question has remained constant since the beginning of Chaucer studies.   We will, therefore, be very interested in what it has meant and what it means now to read Chaucer historically. Discussion will also be animated by our exploration of Chaucer’s continued dialogue with his sources. No prior knowledge of Middle English or medieval history is assumed; however, most of the primary readings will be offered in Chaucer’s highly accessible dialect of Middle English. The course aims to develop close reading and recitation skills in Middle English, as it raises students’ awareness of Chaucer’s status as a poet in a triglossic society. Because Chaucer is so commonly associated with a medievalist’s teaching expectations on the job market, we will also explore aspects of syllabus and undergraduate teaching design. It is recommended that those who are unfamiliar with this period look at Maurice Keen’s English Society in the Later Middle Ages or May McKisack’s The Fourteenth Century before the class begins.

HIST 6153 (4)     Medieval Society and Economy    Call #24653   (Kowaleksi)   T 4:00-6:30

This course explores major themes in the social and economic history of medieval Europe, including the impact of the “barbarian” migrations, technology and social change, agriculture and rural life, the commercial revolution, the Black Death, social revolts, craft guilds and the textile industry, and changing notions of poverty and charity, among other topics. The different methodological approaches to these issues will also be highlighted in examining not only “schools” of history (such as the Annales school, neo-Marxism, and prosopography) but also the contributions of other disciplinary approaches, including archaeology, demography, environmental science, historical geography, and numismatics.

HIST 7070 (4) PSM: Med Intellectual Cultures  Call #24925   (Novikoff)  W 5:00-7:30

This pro-seminar takes a broad approach to medieval intellectual history, focusing not just on the texts and ideas that were central to medieval intellectual life but also on the cultural conditions that enabled scholarship and creativity to flourish. Beginning with the late antique absorption of classical learning and the formation of a monastic tradition, the course will deal successively with the deep impact of the Augustinian tradition, the Carolingian renewal, the conflicts between Church and State that erupted during the investiture controversy, the classicizing tendencies and innovative ideas of the twelfth-century renaissance, the golden age of scholasticism and the medieval university, and the various “crises” of authority that reshaped Europe on the eve of the Reformation and before the invention of print. A particular concern of the class will be with the history of the liberal arts and the evolution of teaching practices.

PHIL 7076 (3) Metaphysical Themes in Duns Scotus    Call #23845   (Pini)   M 5:30-7:30      

John Duns Scotus († 1308) is commonly recognized as having made a major contribution to Western metaphysics, but because his works are quite technical, they are read only rarely by a limited number of specialists. In this course, students will study and discuss some key texts concerning topics such as being, substance, essence, and individuation. The course will devote much attention to historical context but the ultimate goal will be to assess Scotus’s positions and arguments from a philosophical point of view.

THEO 6360 (3) Alexandrian Theology   Call #23854  (Lienhard)  M 5:15-7:45

This course will focus on reading and interpretation of selected writings of Clement of Alexandria, Origen, Athanasius, Didymus the Blind, and Cyril of Alexandria, against the background of the pagan and Jewish traditions of Alexandria.

THEO 6196 (3) Early Christian Ritual (3)  Call #23852  (Peppard)  M 9:30-11:30 

This graduate seminar surveys the evidence for ritual practices in the first few centuries of Christianity. Through engagement with theoretical literature on ritual and identity formation, we will explore what can be known about early Christian practices and interrogate our means of knowing it. Much of the course will focus on the rituals of initiation and their diverse interpretations in ancient sources, but other topics will be covered as time allows. Prior study of early Christian history is recommended.

THEO 6367 (3) Byzantine Christianity: History and Theology  Call #23858  (Demacopoulos)  W 11:45-2:15    

This graduate-level survey course introduces students to the theological ideas and historical transitions that captivated the minds of Eastern Christians from the 8th to the 15th centuries. Through a careful reading of primary sources (in English translation) and the scholarly debates about those sources, we will explore the Iconoclastic controversies, the expansion of Christianity to the Slavs, the experience of Christians living under Islamic authority, and a host of issues related to rupture between Eastern and Western Christianity. In most circumstances, successful completion of this course authorizes doctoral students in Theology to teach the undergraduate cognate course.