Fall 2015 

(updated August 12 2015)

Medieval Courses


ENG 421/MED 421   Beowulf Professor Sarah Anderson W 1:30-4:20
How does Beowulf work as a poem? In this course, we will find out, learning the poem through close study of its manuscript context and of its literary and historical milieux. We will examine its genre; sources of and analogues to it; its metrics; its place in theories of oral performance; codicological problems (e.g., why the manuscript looks as it does; how paleography helps to date the poem); and its historical and cultural settings. Tune up your harp, sharpen your wits, and find out why this poem is first in collections of English literature.

HIS 428/HLS 428/MED 428    Empire and Catastrophe Professor Teresa Shawcross TH 1:30-4:20
Catastrophe reveals the fragility of human society.  This course examines a series of phenomena – plague, famine, war, revolution, economic depression etc. – in order to reach an understanding of humanity’s imaginings of but also resilience to collective crises.  We shall look in particular at how political forces such as empire have historically both generated and resisted global disasters.  Material dealing with the especially fraught centuries at the transition between the Middle Ages and the Early Modern Period will be set alongside examples drawn from antiquity as well as our own contemporary era.

ART 430/HLS 430/MED 430     Medieval Art: Writing on the Image Professor Charles E. Barber T 1:30-4:20
This seminar investigates the presence of words on images.  It will ask how signatures, titles, epigrams, quotations, names, prayers, graffiti and other verbal traces on the surface of the work of art challenge our assumptions of representation, introducing speech acts, memorials, frames, possession, and origins into this visual economy.  Our focus will be on Byzantine art, using a range of media: icon, ivory, enamel, manuscript, architecture.  No previous knowledge of Byzantine art is necessary.  Students will be able to write on non-Byzantine topics.

GER 509/MED 509 Middle High German Literature II: Cross-Dressing and Courtship in Medieval Texts Sara S. Poor W 1:30-4:20
What can “gender trouble” in medieval romance narratives reveal about ideologies of gender?  Examining a range of behavior from outright cross-dressing (Roman de Silence) to the adoption of one or more attributes normally attributed to the opposite sex (Orgeluse in Wolfram’s Parzival), we will also engage with feminist theories of cross-dressing and gendered subjectivity (Garber, Butler, Moi).  Students will explore how fictional narratives of the past can be used to critique and historicize current theoretical models, and alternatively, how theoretical approaches can foster more nuanced readings of medieval text and context.

MUS 512/MED 512   Topics in Medieval Music – The Gothic Revolution: Music in 13th Century France Rob C. Wegman W 1:30-4:20
Introduction to the scholarship of thirteenth – and early fourteenth – century polyphony, addressing questions of transmission, notation, music theory, composition, chronology, and musical style.

HIS 544/MED 544    Seminar in Medieval History 13th C. France Professor William C. Jordan T 1:30-4:20
Reading and research seminar on thirteenth-century France.

Renaissance & Early Modern Studies



ENG 522 The Renaissance in England – The Future of the Early Modern Book Bradin T. Cormack T 1:30-4:20pm
What is the future of the monograph in early modern studies? We will consider a range of significant recent critical studies in literary studies, intellectual history, and art history, paying attention to the books’ particular critical achievements and their implications for the evolution of the field, as well as to the status of the monograph in a discipline increasingly informed by book history and the digital humanities.

NES 553 Studies in Islamic Religion and Thought Hossein Modarressi T 1:30-4:20pm
This course focuses on reading texts that are illustrative of various issues in Muslim religious thought. The texts are selected according to students’ needs.

SPA 537 Golden-Age Drama Ronald E. Surtz W 1:30-4:20pm
The growth of drama in Spain from the Middle Ages to the Baroque. Emphasis will be given to the socioeconomic and political factors that conditioned the development of the Spanish theater.