Spring 2015 

Medieval Courses


CLA 320/HLS 320/MED 320/GSS 320 Topics in Medieval Greek Literature: Abused, Repentant, Transvestite, Holy Women in Byzantium
Professor Emmanuel C. Bourbouhakis
TTH 1:30-2:50
In this course we will read a selection of stories about a new social and religious figure, the female saint. Translated from medieval Greek, these “Lives” of holy women from the later Roman and Byzantine world combine social realism (wives fleeing brutal husbands, girls escaping prostitution, women disguised as monks in order to gain entry into male preserves) with a Christian idealist piety. We will attempt to understand how such literature evolved and why the figure of the female saint escaping the plight of her gender resonated in Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages.

GER 321/MED 321 Topics in Medieval German Literature: Before Gender: Cross-Dressing and Sex in Medieval Romance
Professor Sara S. Poor
TTH 1:30-2:50
A young Arthurian knight loses honor because he enjoys having sex with his wife. The Grail King is wounded near fatally in the genitals while trying to win the “wrong” woman. Young kings dress up and act like women in order to woo their prospective brides. This course will explore what it meant to be men and women in love (with each other or with God) in some of the most spectacular literary works of the German Middle Ages. The larger context for our discussion will be a more nuanced understanding of the history of sexuality. Readings and discussion primarily in modern German, some readings and discussion in English.

SPA 538/COM 538/MED 538 Seminar in Golden-Age Literature: Bodies of Evidence: Case Studies from Spain and the New World
Professor Marina S. Brownlee
M 1:30-4:20
Bodies of evidence, bodies of knowledge, the body politic, bodies — inviolate to mutilated, saintly to criminal – are figured in Medieval and Early Modern Hispanic literature in ways that reveal not only cultural paradigms, myths and obsessions, but also some widely divergent cultural inscriptions involving marginal social groups, the history of the senses, sexuality and gender. The relationships between bodily and cognitive systems will form the basis for our analyses of such texts and authors as: El Cantar de mio Cid, “Libro de buen amor”, “Celestina”, “Don Quijote.”