CUNY Medieval Studies Courses Spring 2013
MSCP. 80500 - Medieval Hagiography
GC: W, 4:15-6:15 p.m., Rm. TBA, 3 credits, Prof. Head,  Cross listed with HIST 70400.
Hagiography is quite simply writings about saintly men and women. The “theological” definition of a Christian saint is almost paradoxical: a holy person who, after death, has been judged worthy of immediate entrance into heaven. It was a definition so oriented to an idealized relationship of the saint to the divine that Gregory of Tours in an oft-quoted statement was able to speak of the “life rather than the lives of the saints.” For a saint to be part of the canon, a community of devotees had to exist, men and women who wrote lives, made their prayers, and visited shrines.
This course will serve as an introduction to hagiography. It will provide the students with an introduction to the texts themselves, to the means of gaining control over and doing research within them, and to the wealth of recent scholarly works based on them.
Thus the course will have an important social historical bent, using the saints to explore the societies which venerated those saints, but will also draw on sources and methods from a wide variety of disciplines, such as art history, vernacular literature, and archaeology.
MSCP. 80500 - Romance, Medieval & Beyond
GC: T, 2:00-4:00 p.m., Rm. TBA, 3 credits, Prof. Kruger,  Cross listed with ENGL. 80700
At the center of this course will be the genre of medieval romance, and we will examine intensively a series of (mostly poetic) medieval texts, stretching from the romances and lais of Chretien de Troyes and Marie de France (in the 12th century) to Thomas Malory (in the 15th).
Along the way, we will consider romances about Charlemagne, Alexander, the Crusades, Arthur, the Grail, ancient Greece and Rome, “modern” England and France.
Although we begin with texts written in French, we will examine mainly English-language texts, and we will read these in the original Middle English.
One goal of the course will be to consider what we mean by the genre of romance, and how we might approach the question of genre more generally. Alongside the romance texts, we will therefore consider a wide range of approaches to theorizing genre, and specifically the genre of romance: formalist approaches like Todorov’s; feminist readings like Radway’s; reception theory like Jauss’s; Marxist/materialist formulations like Lukács’s; cultural studies projects like Modleski’s; quantitative methods like Moretti’s.
Additionally, we will be concerned with examining some of the later developments of medieval romance: about one-third of the syllabus will be devoted to works in later periods that take up romance structures and themes. Thus, for instance, we might read Philip Sidney or Mary Wroth; Sir Walter Scott or Nathaniel Hawthorne; Virginia Woolf’s Orlando; a Harlequin romance, with an eye to considering how these take up the mantle of the romance genre while transforming it.
For non-medievalists, projects on later cultural materials are encouraged. For medievalists, interdisciplinary approaches (e.g., thinking about Crusades-related romances in relation to the historiography of the Crusades; considering works across different linguistic/national traditions; thinking comparatively about the representation of something like “courtly love” or “chivalry” in both literary works and non-literary modes like the visual arts) are encouraged.
Course requirements will include at least one in-class presentation; shorter writing during the semester; a final seminar paper of 15-20 pages.
ART. 83000 - Jerusalem in the Middle Ages
GC: F, 2:00-4:00 p.m., Rm. TBA, 3 credits, Profs. Ball/Holcomb,  Course open to Art History students only permission required for all others.
This course will meet at the Metropolitan Museum of Art
Jerusalem in the Middle Ages was a bustling, commercial city home to Jews, Muslims, Orthodox and Catholic Christians, all of whom regarded the city as integral to their various faiths.
Typically, art historians have studied Medieval Jerusalem through a Crusader lens, focusing on the Islamic-influences found in Western Medieval material culture set to a backdrop of violence, a view that ignores the many cultures within Islam that ruled Jerusalem through the centuries as well as the thriving Orthodox Christian and Jewish communities found in the city.
Each week’s discussion will spring from a different object in the Metropolitan’s collection to highlight various aspects of the living and imagined city – a fragment of the True Cross from Golgotha was encased in a precious enamel reliquary and found its way to the Vatican as a gift to the Pope; a group of molded glass vessels some with Jewish symbols and some with Christian designs were made for the many pilgrims of all faiths who came to Jerusalem; diagrams and maps of Jerusalem attest to the many attempts made by scholars to understand how this Biblical city fit into their own histories. The format also affords opportunity to test a variety of methodological approaches to the art object.
Requirements: Discussion, a research paper focusing on an object(s) in the Metropolitan’s collection and presentation of one’s research are required.
No auditors accepted.
Preliminary Readings: Jaroslav Folda, “Reflections on the Historiography of Crusader Art,” and “The Beginnings of Crusader Art: 1099-1100,” in The Art of the Crusaders in the Holy Land 1098-1187.
Hillenbrand, Robert, “The Art of the Ayyubids: An Overview” in Ayyubid Jerusalem, ed. R. Hillenbrand and S. Auld (London, 2009), 22-44.
Montefiore, Simon Sebag, Jerusalem: The Biography (London, 2011), chapters 15-30.
ENGL. 70700 - Mystic Bodies
GC: W, 4:15-6:15 p.m., Rm. TBA, 2/4 credits, Prof. Hennessy, 
This seminar will examine a broad range of texts written on the topic of sex and gender in the Middle Ages.
From the scandalous fabliaux to the orthodox lives of the saints, from mystical writings to medical treatises, the texts read in this course will be used to explore some of the dominant ideas about gender and sexuality, as well as the often paradoxical discourses of medieval misogyny, present in medieval literature and religious culture.
Texts to be read include works by major authors such as the women troubadours, Marie de France, Heloise and Abelard, Geoffrey Chaucer, and Richard Rolle.
In addition, we will read several anonymous texts, including women’s weaving songs (chansons de toile), “The Ballad of a Tyrannical Husband,” and (in translation) the Anglo-Latin Book of Monsters.
Topics to be studied include: blood, body, and Christian materiality; chaste marriage and clerical sexuality; the erotics of courtly love; transgender persons and hermaphrodites; the sexuality of Christ and other issues of iconography and visual representation; and masculinity in the earliest Robin Hood texts.
Throughout the course we will engage with recent developments in criticism (including historical, literary, feminist, queer, and art historical approaches) by authors such as Judith Bennett, Glenn Burger, Caroline Walker Bynum, Jeffrey Jerome Cohen, Carolyn Dinshaw, Dyan Elliott, Ruth Mazo Karras, Sarah McNamer, and Leo Steinberg, among others, as well as theoretical approaches by Judith Butler, Michel de Certeau, and Judith “Jack” Halberstam.
In addition, we will consider how the topics of sex, gender and religion in the Middle Ages intersect with affect theory and the history of the emotions.
Requirements: one research paper (15-20 pages); and 20 minute oral report based on one of the optional readings for the week on the syllabus.
FREN. 71000 - Enigmes medievales
GC: W, 4:15-6:15 p.m., Rm. TBA, 2/4 credits, Prof. Sautman,  Course taught in French.
En ce qui concerne la littérature médiévale, il n’est sans doute pas injuste de supputer que, pour nombre de lecteurs non médiévistes, cette littérature se dérobe à l’entreprise théorique, souffre d’ un affligeant dénuement de pertinence, et est marquée par sa transparence, voire sa simplicité, sa prévisibilité, sa redondance—ou au contraire, est le champ onirique d’ un imaginaire a-historique et sans freins. A l’opposé, les médiévistes en loueront la complexité, les multiples ancrages historiques, les intertextes qui tissent d’ immenses réseaux de conversations, les strates symboliques qui affleurent à la peau des textes, leur étonnante matérialité, à la fois artefacts et traces, et l’enrichissement vertiginieux que lui apportent les approaches théoriques modernes.
Recherchant un point de rencontre entre ces deux perspectives, ce cours entreprend une approche multiple envers quatre textes particulièrement significatifs, chacun à sa manière, et chacun dans sa période. Il s’agira du Perceval (ou Conte du Graal) de Chrétien de Troyes, du Roman de Mélusine de Jean d’ Arras, du Livre de La Mutacion de Fortune de Christine de Pizan, et du Testament de François Villon.
Reconnaissant à la fois l’importance d’ un concept tel que “l’étrangeté” du Moyen Age et l’indispensable appareil critique des lectures historisantes, la valeur des approches modernes et post-modernes et le fondement des connaissances médiévistes, le travail du cours consistera à “compliquer” les interprétations trop simples et définitives, à proposer des ouvertutres sur de multiples fenêtres dans et à travers ces textes, et à explorer les sens divers (et contradictoires) qui puissant en conserver intactes ces énigmes fondamentales qui font que ces textes continuent, en fait, à inciter, provoquer, et stimuler.
Travail: lectures des textes premiers et d’un appareil critique et théorique substantiel. Un travail continu sous forme de “research paper” à developer en étapes et ébauches programmées au cours du semestre avec présentation orale du projet individuel. Un court essai de midterm “take-home”. NB: la technologie du GC le permettant, ce cours utilisera E-Portfolio.
Le noyau du syllabus sera disponible vers la fin du semestre de Fall 2012: me contacter (firstname.lastname@example.org) par e-mail pour ces informations ou consulter Blackboard.
HIST. 70800 - The Byzantine “Dark Ages”
GC: M, 6:30-8:30 p.m., Rm. TBA, 3 credits, Prof. Ivison, 
This course focuses on the East Roman or Byzantine Empire and its world during the period ca. 580-843: a period of far-reaching crisis, transformation and change often dubbed the Byzantine “Dark Ages”.
This period witnessed the final end of Roman imperial hegemony in the Mediterranean, first weakened by war with Sassanid Persia, and then made permanent by the Islamic conquests of the Roman Middle East and the settlement of the Slavic peoples in the Roman Balkans and Greek lands. These momentous events threatened the very existence of the east Roman state and reduced the Empire to portions of Italy, Greece and the Balkans, and the provinces of Asia Minor (Anatolia). Military defeat and political instability shook the ideological foundations of the state and led to the collapse of the economy and urban society of Late Antiquity.
The East Roman Empire survived by the skin of its teeth, however, and initiated policies of retrenchment, reorganization and reconstruction that transformed it into what historians recognize as its medieval or `Byzantine’ form. By the early 9th century, these developments had set in train a process of military and economic recovery that supported the successes of middle Empire of the Macedonian epoch (867-1056). New rivals emerged during this period, most importantly the Islamic Caliphate and the Bulgar state in the Balkans, resulting in the militarization of the Byzantine state, society, and economy.
Although the Empire maintained a hold on southern and central Italy, this period also saw the emergence of an independent Roman papacy and the challenge of rival ‘Roman Empire’ in the form of the Carolingians after 800. The political and military crises of this period also produced major ideological controversies, the most important of which was Byzantine Iconoclasm.
This course discusses these developments and therefore offers a case study of an empire in crisis, exploring the effects of these changes and the imperial response.
This course offers an introduction to the secondary historiography and primary sources for the period, and is conceived as a reading and discussion class.
The first weeks will introduce students to the range, uses, and issues of the primary sources, both textual and archaeological. Subsequent meetings will discuss major historiographic questions in modern scholarship, using readings from monographs and journal articles, as well as translations of primary sources. No prior knowledge of medieval languages is required (translations will be used) but any such knowledge would be welcomed.
Secondary readings will be mostly in English, but some readings will be in French and possibly German.
Each week we will all read major critical and paradigmatic studies, while select students will present on individual readings that illuminate aspects of the question under discussion.
Grading is divided between a choice of two historiographical essays, and class participation based on discussions that review assigned readings and present mini-research projects.
Assigned Readings available at Mina Rees Library will be put on Reserve; hard-to-find items will be placed on Blackboard as PDFs. Some readings will have to be consulted in other NYC libraries; some photocopied handouts will be distributed. For ease of reference, these books are available for purchase (soft-cover):
• Haldon, J.F., Byzantium in the Seventh Century: The Transformation of a Culture (Cambridge UP: Cambridge, 1997, revised ed.). ISBN 052131917 X, list price $58.00 – a classic, we will read a lot of JFH.
• Kaegi, W.E., Byzantium and the Early Islamic Conquests (Cambridge UP: Cambridge, 1995). ISBN 0521484553, list price $45.00 – detailed discussion of the conquests.
• Schönborn, C., God’s Human Face: The Christ Icon (Ignatius Press, 1994). ISBN 0898705142, list price $16.95 – a very readable scholarly overview.
• Brubaker, L., Inventing Byzantine Iconoclasm (Studies in Early Medieval History) (Bristol Classical Press: Bristol, 2012), ISBN-10: 1853997501, ISBN-13: 978-1853997501, list price $27.95 – new!
• Howard-Johnston, J., Witnesses to a World Crisis: Historians and Histories of the Middle East in the Seventh Century(Oxford UP: Oxford, 2011), ISBN-10: 0199694990, ISBN-13: 978-0199694990, list price $75.00 – a significant synthesis and revision of the historiography and chronology of the 7th century.
CUNY Renaissance Studies Courses Spring 2013
RSCP. 83100 - Renaissance Art/Global Context
GC: M, 6:30-8:30 p.m., Rm. TBA, 3/4 credits, Prof. Saslow,  Cross listed with ART 75000.
This course examines European art of the early modern period (1300-1750) in its increasingly international context.
It begins with Europe’s long cultural interactions with its nearest neighbors, the Muslim and North African worlds; then, as Europe’s reach extended farther to Africa, China, India, and Japan, attention shifts to these new challenges to the received order of the West and their reciprocal influences.
After 1492, we trace the processes by which the Old World and the Americas were knitted together, at the cost of dramatic cultural upheaval in Europe, and considerable cultural loss or adaptation for native Americans and others.
Emphasis will be on processes of cultural transfer and exchange, artistic reception, hybridization, and conflict that led to the international character of the modern political and cultural world.
Requirements: Weekly readings and discussion. Brief oral critique of one reading. Research paper on a topic approved by instructor, or final exam.
Preliminary Reading: Jay Levenson, ed., Circa 1492: Art in the Age of Exploration (exh. cat., Washington, DC: National Gallery, 1992), esp. “A World United,” pp. 647-52.
Eric Wolf, Europe and the People Without History (Berkeley: U. of California Press, 1982): chap. 2, “The World in 1400,” pp. 24-72; chap. 4, “Europe, Prelude to Expansion,” pp. 101-125.
RSCP 83100 - Early Modern Writing/Coloniztion/Globalization
GC: W, 4:15-6:15 p.m., Rm. TBA, 4 credits, Prof. Carroll,  Cross listed with C L. 85500
Why are we so obsessed with globalization today, and what do the origins of this system in the Renaissance have to do with the way we think of the world now?
To investigate how the world came to be understood as a global system, we will study maps, journals, essays, poetry, plays, and paintings from Spain, Mexico, India, China, France, Brazil, England, and the Dutch Republic from 1492 to 1675 alongside the work of some of the most important twenty-first century historians of early modern art, literature, and material culture.
You will get the chance to meet some of these scholars (including Serge Gruzinski, Alessandra Russo, Barbara Fuchs, Kim Hall, Stephanie Merrim, and Timothy Brook) at an international conference “Becoming Global: The Renaissance and the World” on March 15, 2013 at the CUNY Graduate Center.
Readings include: Montaigne, “Des cannibales,” Serge Gruzinski, The Mestizo Mind, Haklyut’s Voyages, Jean de Léry, L’Histoire d’un voyage fait en la terre du Brésil, Jonathan Spence, The Memory Palace of Matteo Ricci, Sanjay Subrahmanyam, Three Ways to be Alien, Travels and Encounters in the Early Modern World, and Timothy Brook, Vermeer’s Hat.
C L. 80900 - Fretful Memory: The Past & Its Anxieties in Renaissance Prose
GC: M, 6:30-8:30 p.m., Rm. TBA, 4 credits, Prof. Elsky, 
An exploration of self-definition through reference to an ideal past, thereby defined as classical; attention to the cultural and personal anxieties that stem from a shifting sense of kinship to, and difference from, a desired past and the fear of being anachronistically out of kilter with time.
We will begin with an introduction to memory studies, with special attention to the debate between history and memory, or the tension between memorial presence and historical distance. We will then move on to the struggles of five writers who define their work by their attempt to retrieve either a personal or cultural past.
Topics will include: the most ambitious memory project of the period, Petrarch’s retrieval of the classical past and the regrets that haunt him in this work (Familiar Letters); Castiglione and the irretrievable idealized past preserved in the memory of ritualized conversation (Book of the Courtier); Montaigne’s creation of a new genre, the essay, based on personal memorial reconstruction and self- reflection through print (Essays); Robert Burton’s frenetic imitation of Montaigne and neurotic memory slippage in the information overload of print culture (Anatomy of Melancholy); Thomas Browne’s surrender to the frustrated attempt to retrieve the past and his resignation about the futility of memory (Urn Burial).
C L. 88200 - The Returns of the Baroque: from the 1600s to the Present
GC: W, 6:30-8:30 p.m., Rm. TBA, 4 credits, Prof. Fasoli, 
After the Renaissance and its institutional yet contradictory revalidation of the classical past, the belief that modernity was an intrinsically positive value began to appear in western thought. “Baroque” has sometimes been intended as a strictly historical, chronological concept pertaining to 17th century Europe, at other times as a meta-historical, often derogatory, stylistic marker. In other instances, however, the idea of Baroque has proven to be a resourceful critical tool to undermine and redefine the traditional understanding of notions of authority, subversion, and mass culture. Reading the works of authors such as Tassoni, Marino, Pallavicino, Galileo, Tesauro, Gryphius, Saint Amant, Góngora, Lope de Vega, Gracián, Donne, Crashaw, and others, we will see how the theoretical reflection of the last 100 years has incessantly revisited the Baroque, and opened different interpretive paths on 17th century literature and arts.
We will also examine how, in recent decades, various writers and cultural critics have evoked the idea of Neo- or “returning” Baroques to characterize several contemporary artistic and literary expressions, often in non-European contexts. Crucial issues lie at the core of the debate on “returning” Baroques: the definition of modernity itself, and the dialectical relationship between Neo-Baroque and postmodernism.
We will discuss essays by authors such as Croce, Benjamin, D’Ors, Rousset, Maravall, Foucault, Genette, Deleuze, Fumaroli (on Baroque and /or on modernity) and Borges, Paz, Buci-Glucksmann, Sarduy, Manganelli, Calabrese, Lambert and Egginton (for Neo-Baroque and/or postmodernism).
ENGL. 81400 - Shakespeare, the Reformation Theatre and the Religious Turn
GC: R, 2:00-4:00 p.m., Rm. TBA, 2/4 credits, Prof. McCoy, 
Over the last decade, literary studies have been marked by a striking turn to religion. To some extent, a postmodern hermeneutic of suspicion has been supplanted by what Julia Kristeva calls in her recent book, This Incredible Need to Believe (2009).
The course will consider broad academic and cultural factors behind this critical trend while examining more specific causes for New Historicism’s shift from power politics to religious beliefs and practices.
We will discuss revisionist histories of the Reformation demonstrating the vitality and durability of traditional Catholicism as well as the varieties of Protestant belief.
We will also consider speculation about Shakespeare’s own religious convictions as well as claims that his plays serve a propagandist or even sacramental function. And we will examine the religious atmospherics of a wide variety of his plays, discussing magic and enchantment in comedies (The Comedy of Errors, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, As You Like It), ceremonial in history plays (Richard II, Henry V), sacrifice in the tragedies (Titus Andronicus, Julius Caesar, King Lear), and rebirth and resurrection in the romances (The Winter’s Tale, The Tempest).
ENGL. 82300 - Milton
GC: T, 4:15-6:15 p.m., Rm. TBA, 2/4 credits, Prof. Walkden, 
This course offers an examination of the work of John Milton. Our texts will include the youthful dramatic masque, Comus, Paradise Lost, Paradise Regained, Samson Agonistes, and a selection of Milton’s controversial prose on the topics of divorce and political liberty.
Necessarily, we will be looking at the generic and formal revolutions to which Milton subjected the traditions of English and epic poetry. Also inescapable will be the extraordinary phenomenon of Milton’s authorial production, a mode of self-representation that had a signal impact on eighteenth and nineteenth century British and American literature.
Grounding all of these literary inquiries will be our consideration of the shaping influence of the political and social upheavals that dominated the poet’s seventeenth century: civil war, regicide, the institution of republicanism, and the attending cultural revolutions in the religious and domestic spheres.
Our course will also consider some of the strategies by which later writers both deliberately and inadvertently have bent the concerns of Milton to suit a surprising, often non-Miltonic, range of political and social agendas. Our study of Paradise Lost, for example, will be accompanied by a look at that work’s continuing influence on political philosophical theories of sovereignty and resistance, contractual models of political and matrimonial obligation, and discourses of natural slavery.
Similarly, our reading of Milton’s final literary work, Samson Agonistes, will involve an investigation of the unique role that text has played in post-9/11 conversations about religious difference, toleration, terrorism, and post-secularity.
A further goal of this course will be an investigation of the varied landscape of Milton criticism within the last fifty years. Milton’s work has always invited a surprisingly contested array of literary critical discourses, and we will want over the course of the semester to test the conceptual constraints and advantages of competing modes of critical inquiry.
We will be looking, for example, at interpretations whose theoretical foundation lies in Marxism (Christopher Hill, Frederic Jameson), psychoanalysis and queer theory (William Kerrigan, John Guillory), feminism (Mary Nyquist), and reader response criticism (Stanley Fish).
Other critics who continue to exert a radical impact—William Empson, Joseph Wittreich—will be important for our critical evaluation of contemporary initiatives within Milton studies.
HIST. 71300 - Enlightenment & Religion
GC: W, 6:30-8:30 p.m., Rm. TBA, 3 credits, Prof. Sorkin,  Cross listed with MALS 70600.
This course explores the relationship between the Enlightenment and religion. Our first session will be devoted to definitions of the Enlightenment in the eighteenth and twenty-first centuries.
We will then probe two related issues. First, how did the philosophes view religion? We will read such key thinkers as Locke, Pufendorf, Voltaire, Rousseau and Lessing on such critical issues as toleration, natural religion and the relationship between reason and revelation.
We will then shift to ask the less conventional question of the uses theologians or clergy made of the Enlightenment. In this connection we will read thinkers affiliated with movements of religious renewal such as the Anglican Moderate William Warburton, the Reform Catholic Lodovico Muratori and the maskil (Jewish Enlightener) Moses Mendelssohn.
The course will cross national borders (England, France, German states and Habsburg empire) and confessional boundaries (Protestanism, Catholicism, Judaism). Our focus will be Western and Central Europe.
P SC. 80301 - Counterrevolution from Burke to the Free Market
GC: R, 2:00-4:00 p.m., Rm. TBA, 4 credits, Prof. Robin, 
We live in a counterrevolutionary age. With the exception of the demand for LGBT rights – the one social movement of the last forty years that still retains some stamina – every struggle for greater freedom and equality has been brought to a standstill or has been put in reverse. Even Occupy Wall Street, which initially seemed so full of promise, has receded.
The scourges of the late nineteenth century – capitalism, empire, and war – remain the idols of the twenty-first. The left lacks traction, the right is in command. Despite the success of the right, its political thought remains unexplored.
This course seeks to remedy that through a close reading of the works of Edmund Burke, Friedrich Nietzsche, and Friedrich Hayek. We examine their writings as counterrevolutionary texts, designed to resist and ultimately defeat modernity’s various movements of emancipation.
A major theme of the course will be how the right has come to embrace capitalism, despite some initial opposition to it, and how and why neoliberalism has come to be the most successful counterrevolutionary movement of the past century.
PORT. 88100 - Bodily Care/Antiquity-Port Ren
GC: M/T/W/R/F, 2:00-4:00 p.m., Rm. TBA, 1 credits, Prof. Ornellas e Castro,  Open to HLBLL students only, EO permission required for all others.
SPAN. 82200 - Neostocism, Politics and the Shaping of Early Modern Minds
GC: R, 6:30-8:30 p.m., Rm. TBA, 3 credits, Prof. Schwartz,  Open to HLBLL students only, EO permission required for all others.
Neo-Stoic philosophy constituted an important component of European thought in the sixteenth and in the seventeenth centuries. It contributed to the establishment of a secular ethics, which could be formulated either as an alternative to, or support for Christian moral teaching. This philosophical theory also influenced politics in Spain, and in Europe at large, as related to the constitution of absolutist monarchies.
The purpose of this seminar will be to examine a series of works by Francisco de Quevedo, Baltasar Gracián and other writers of the Baroque that function in Neo-Stoic contexts, while reevaluating at the same time Epictetus’s and Seneca’s influence on their ideological position.
Erasmus’s and Justus Lipsius’s versions of Neo-Stoicism will be considered, as well as their role as mediators of the classics for the recreation of specific literary genres.