Fall 2015

(updated 4/21/15)

Medieval Courses 

MSCP 80500 Bastards, Kingship, and Kinship in Medieval Europe [28578] W, 2:00-4:00pm, Prof. Sara McDougall, 3 credits Cross listed with HIST 70400

This course will investigate ideas of illegitimate birth in medieval Europe and particularly their role in dynastic succession.  Throughout the Middle Ages some children were classified as less worthy than others: less worthy to inherit royal or noble title, and less worthy to inherit property more generally. This class will critically examine the history of when people in medieval Europe began to identify other people as “bastards,” what they meant when they did so, and when calling a child a bastard meant his or her exclusion from succession or an inheritance. We will make use of a wide rage of primary sources available in the original and in translation, sources including chronicles, legal texts, theological writings, vernacular literature, and images.

ART 74000 – Topics in Islamic Art & Architecture: Early and Medieval Islamic Art and Architecture (ca. 632-1250) [28577] T., 6:30 – 8:30 pm, 3 credits, Prof. Elizabeth Macaulay-Lewis, Rm TBA  Cross-listed with MALS 74400/MES 78000 email: emacaulay_lewis@gc.cuny.edu  

Since the emergence of Islam in seventh-century Arabia, the world of Islam, which spanscontinents and centuries, has produced art and architecture that is as remarkable as it is diverse. How to define Islamic art, however, is more complex. Unlike Christian, Jewish or Buddhist art,the art produced in the lands where Islam was a dominant religious, political or cultural force is commonly referred to as “Islamic Art”.

This course aims to introduce students to the Islamic art and architecture by framing the emergence of Islamic visual and material culture in Late Antiquity to better understand the monuments, art and architecture produced during first centuries of Islam. The course also introduces the major theoretical and methodological issuesinvolved in the study of Islamic art and architecture, while also focusing on the development of critical visual skills. This course will present an overview of a specific period, dynasty, or region in Islamic art and then focus on an extended discussion of a monument or object in each class. Visits to the MET and other museums will also be planned.

Requirements:

(1) Completion of all readings and informed participation in class.

(2) An object / building report on a specific work of art, monument or building (no more than 4,000 words) due at the middle of the semester.

(3) A picture-based final examination, where students are asked to write about specific objects, monuments, and architecture.

ART 83000– Seminar: Selected Topics in Medieval Art and Architecture: Performance and Devotion in Medieval Art [28571], Thurs. 11:45 am – 1:45 pm, 3 credits, Prof. Cynthia Hahn, Rm 3421  Office hours: TBA email: chahn@hunter.cuny.edu

Medieval art is not art for art’s sake. It consists of material objects created to facilitate interaction with viewers, spaces, and other objects in dense and complex ways. This seminar will consider the literature on performance and devotional art to investigate interactions and points of contact. The primary focus of our investigation will be liturgical and devotionalmaterials, especially manuscripts and reliquaries. Readings will include basics on performance such as work by J.L. Austin and Judith Butler, and essays from Visualizing Medieval Performance, as well as Jill Stevenson, Performance, Cognitive Theory, and Devotional Culture, and also, work on devotion by Jeffrey Hamburger. The class will visit the Morgan Library and the Metropolitan Museum of Art and interact with the curators.

ENGL 80700.  – Small Things, M,  2:00PM-4:00PM.Room TBA, Prof. Karl Steel 2/4 credits. [28556]

Critical animal theory has tended to focus on larger animals, while ecocriticism has tended to focus on systems. What, however, of small, only seemingly inconsequential things? This course will range from Lucretius to Muffet, Hooke and Cavendish to study swarming animals like worms, insects, and other vermin, the basic building materials of existence, and little people, some real, and some legendary (the pygmies of Plinian writings and the Green Children of Woolpit).

The course will focus on medieval texts, but will frequently range into early modern material, particularly in its final weeks.

ENGL 89500.  – Textual Issues: from Manuscript to Print in the Late Medieval and Early Modern Period. Mondays 4:15PM-6:15PM. 2/4 credits. Prof. Michael Sargent [28553]

In this course, we will explore the change in mentalité –– in attitudes toward textuality, textual variability, uniformity, and authority –– in the period from Chaucer to Shakespeare. At the beginning of this period, “publication” meant giving a book that you wrote personally or had someone copy out for you to other people so that they could make their own handwritten copies from it, with little or no control from you over what those copies might look like. At the end, “publication” meant that a printer got hold of a copy of your book, registered it in his own name in the Stationers’ Register, hired workers to set it up, and printed a number of (supposedly) identical copies, with the profit, in proper capitalist fashion, accruing to the owner of the means of production. And what had been known simply as “publication” in the age before print is now called “coterie publication”.

Critical and theoretical readings for this course will range from Ivan Illich and Bernard Cerquiglini through Elizabeth Eisenstein and William Kuskin to Jennifer Summit, David Greetham and Roger Chartier. Texts under consideration will include, e.g., Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales, the Sarum rite and the Book of Common Prayer, the Golden Legend and Foxe’s Book of Martyrs, as well as texts that course participants want to bring in as relevant case studies.

MUS 86100 –  Seminar in Music History: Reading Late Medieval Song [28896] M, 10:00am-1:00pm, Room 3491,  Prof. Anne Stone, 4 credits.

 


 

Renaissance Courses

RSCP. 72100 – Introduction to Renaissance Studies: Orientalisms in Early-Modern France  GC:  T, 4:15-6:15 p.m., Rm. TBA, 3/4 credits, Prof.  Stanton, [28593] Cross listed with FREN 73000

This course will focus on Orientalisms in France’s relations with the Ottoman  empire in the context of globality. Beginning with 16th-century orientalists such as Postel (long before Said’s Orientalism begins to track these figures), we will examine theories of Orientalisms as well as a number of discourses, including cartographic representations and travel narratives and letters; commercial relations (and the European desire for oriental luxury items); pilgrimages; conversion narratives from Christian to Muslim to Christian; phantasms of oriental harems and baths and the gendering of the Orient itself as feminine and effeminate, despite the coincident stereotypy of Turks as militaristic, violent, and cruel.

We will consider closely theatrical works produced in France (Paris and the port city of Rouen) in the period 1600-1680, when openness and “tolerance” of alterity (e.gg Manfray,  La rhodienne (1621), Scudéry, L’amant libéral (1638), Desfontaines, Perside [1644])  seem to close down during the reign of Louis XIV (e.g. Molière, Le bourgeois gentilhomme; Racine, Bajazet), just when the Ottoman threat to Europe is temporarily ended by the European victory at Vienna in l683.

We will examine the nature of the perceived threat (and desire) of Oriental despotism during the long reign of Louis XIV

The course will be conducted in English. A reading knowledge of early-modern French is important, but translations, where they exist, will be made available. In addition to close readings of primary as well as historical and theoretical texts, work for the course will include an in-class presentation of one primary reading and a final exam. After consultation with the instructor, those taking the course for four credits will submit a 25-page research paper; those taking it for three credits, will produce a 10-12-page research paper. Those  who wish to take the course for two credits will turn in their class presentation and take the final exam. The research papers can deal with sites other than early-modern France, including ones bordering the Mediterranean or then England and Northern  Europe.  The syllabus for the course will be posted on line by August 15. Readings for the course will appear on Blackboard before the first class.  Please address any questions to domna stanton at dstanton112@yahoo.com

ART 75000 [28565]– Topics in European Art & Architecture 1300-1750:The Quest for the Spiritual in German Painting and Graphics from 1375 to 1550  Mon. 4:15 – 6:15 pm, 3 credits, Prof. Barbara Lane, Rm 3421Office hours: TBA email: b.g.lane@att.net

This course will study German painting, woodcut, and engraving from the late Gothic period to the Reformation. The spirituality of these works inspired German artists of the Romantic period and were among the most significant sources of German Expressionism. After investigating how spirituality is expressed in the work of early German painters such as Master Bertram, Master Francke, Witz, Lochner, and Pacher, we shall study the development of early fifteenth-century printmaking by concentrating on Master E.S. and Schongauer.

We shall then focus on Dürer and Grünewald, who produced some of the most spiritual work of the period, and conclude with a review of how the paintings and prints of Cranach, Altdorfer, and Holbein relate to the aims of the Reformation.

Course Requirements: There will be one midterm and a final examination. Students with a good reading knowledge of German and a strong background in Northern Renaissance art may choose to write a term paper instead of taking the final examination.

Preliminary Reading:

Panofsky, Erwin. The Life and Art of Albrecht Dürer. Princeton, 1967.

Snyder, James. Northern Renaissance Art: Painting, Sculpture, the Graphic Arts from 1350 to 1575. Englewood Cliffs, N.J. and New York, 1985, Ch. IV, XI, XII, XIV, and XVI-XX. Students who have no background in Northern Renaissance Art may find it helpful to read Ch. V-X. 5 auditors will be accepted.

C L. 80100-Melancholy: Between Illness of the Body and Malady of the Soul: A Comparative Perspective, M, 4:15-6:15 pm, 4 credits, [28679] Prof. Monica Calabritto

This course will analyze ways authors from the Classical period to the eighteenth century have shaped the notion of melancholy in the language and rhetorical strategies of their texts. Since the course intends to give a comparative overview of the development of the notion of melancholy, the texts taken in consideration come from different national literatures—Italian, French, English, and Spanish.

In particular we will study the interconnected notions of melancholy and selfhood from three historical vantage points—Classical period, early modern period and modern period—and according to four generic groups: literary production, and the philosophical, encyclopedic and medical traditions.

The course will address the following questions: How do language, rhetorical strategies, and melancholy shape one another? What is the relationship between the representation of the body—the physical body of the subject affected by melancholy and the metaphorical body of the text—and the notion of melancholy? When does melancholy stop being perceived and diagnosed as a bodily illness and become an illness of the “soul”? Is melancholy gendered and so, in which way? Is there a link between the popularity of melancholy in the early modern period and the social and political context in which it developed? In which way is melancholy articulated in the early modern period with the notion of genius on the one hand and that of spiritual reformation on the other?

ENGL 80700. Karl Steel. Small Things Mondays 2:00PM-4:00PM.Room TBA 2/4 credits. [28556]

Critical animal theory has tended to focus on larger animals, while ecocriticism has tended to focus on systems. What, however, of small, only seemingly inconsequential things? This course will range from Lucretius to Muffet, Hooke and Cavendish to study swarming animals like worms, insects, and other vermin, the basic building materials of existence, and little people, some real, and some legendary (the pygmies of Plinian writings and the Green Children of Woolpit).

The course will focus on medieval texts, but will frequently range into early modern material, particularly in its final weeks.

ENGL 81500. Tanya Pollard. Early Modern Tragic Women and their Classical Models.Thursdays 4:15PM-6:15PM. 2/4 credits. [28548] Cross listed with WSCP 81000 Early moderns identified tragedy explicitly with its origins in the ancient Greek world, and the Greek plays most frequently printed, translated, and staged in the period all featured female protagonists: especially bereaved mothers and self-sacrificing virgins.

This course will explore the way these female tragic icons haunted the early modern stage. We will read classical tragedies popular in the period, and consider their resonances in early modern plays that engage them directly or indirectly.

Readings will include Euripides’ Hecuba, Iphigenia, Alcestis, and Medea; Seneca’s Troades and Medea; Lumley’s Iphigenia, Kyd’s Spanish Tragedy, Shakespeare and Peele’s Titus Andronicus, Shakespeare’s Hamlet and Winter’s Tale, and Webster’s Duchess of Malfi.

ENGL 89500. Michael Sargent. Textual Issues: from Manuscript to Print in the Late Medieval and Early Modern Period. Mondays 4:15PM-6:15PM. 2/4 credits. [28553]

In this course, we will explore the change in mentalité –– in attitudes toward textuality, textual variability, uniformity, and authority –– in the period from Chaucer to Shakespeare. At the beginning of this period, “publication” meant giving a book that you wrote personally or had someone copy out for you to other people so that they could make their own handwritten copies from it, with little or no control from you over what those copies might look like. At the end, “publication” meant that a printer got hold of a copy of your book, registered it in his own name in the Stationers’ Register, hired workers to set it up, and printed a number of (supposedly) identical copies, with the profit, in proper capitalist fashion, accruing to the owner of the means of production. And what had been known simply as “publication” in the age before print is now called “coterie publication”.

Critical and theoretical readings for this course will range from Ivan Illich and Bernard Cerquiglini through Elizabeth Eisenstein and William Kuskin to Jennifer Summit, David Greetham and Roger Chartier. Texts under consideration will include, e.g., Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales, the Sarum rite and the Book of Common Prayer, the Golden Legend and Foxe’s Book of Martyrs, as well as texts that course participants want to bring in as relevant case studies.

Hist. 70900- Science and Religion in Renaissance and Early Modern Europe, R, 6:30- 8:30 p.m., 3 credits, Prof. Allison Kavey  [28828]

The period between 1450 and 1700 in Europe is remarkable for its shifts in theological and natural philosophical thought. This seminar will focus on those shifts in their larger cultural context and help produce multiple narratives for framing them and the period.

MUS 86100 –  Seminar in Music History: Reading Late Medieval Song [28896] M, 10:00am-1:00pm, Room 3491,  Prof. Anne Stone, 4 credits.

MUS 87500 – Seminar in Music History:  The “Invention” of Opera [28899] T, 10:00am-1:00pm, Room 3491, Prof. Emily Wilbourne, 3 credits