Medieval Cultures

Medieval Cultures offers two distinct areas of historical focus: the Medieval and the Late Antique. The former focuses on the sixth through the fifteenth centuries, combining interdisciplinary perspectives with in-depth study of one or two related disciplines. Late Antique Cultures deals with the third through the ninth centuries, when ancient cultural forms were still in place but medieval cultures were beginning to take shape simultaneously. The first undergraduate degree of its kind in this country, Late Antique Cultures facilitates the study of human activity in all of its variety. A traditional area of study in Medieval Cultures is Western Europe, but students are encouraged to work in other cultural areas such as Byzantine, Islamic, Judaic and Slavic. The concentration serves students interested in the changing relation of cultural practices, social patterns, political and economic forms, and artistic and literary traditions in this important transitional period.

Medieval Cultures Track

 It is recommended that prospective concentrators take the introductory course, Medieval Perspectives, during their freshman or sophomore year.

Requirements

Ten courses approved by the Program in Medieval Studies, including two courses in medieval history and one 1000- or 2000-level course that uses primary texts in a medieval language other than Middle English. Interested students are invited to discuss their plans with an appropriate faculty member of the Program. A concentration proposal should be prepared in consultation with the faculty advisor and submitted to the Program Chair for approval.

Under the supervision of the director of the program, students may choose courses from the following:
The World of Byzantium
The Idea of Self
The Age of Constantine: The Roman Empire in Transition
Erotic Desire in the Premodern Mediterranean
The 1001 Nights
Captive Imaginations: Writing Prison in the Middle Ages
Matters of Romance
The Medieval King Arthur
Beowulf to Aphra Behn: The Earliest British Literatures
Prose Sagas of the Medieval North
Chaucer
Chaucer: The Canterbury Tales
History of the English Language
Sagas Without Borders: Multilingual Literatures of Early England
From Mead-Hall to Mordor: The Celtic and Germanic Roots of Tolkien’s Fiction
Quest, Vision, Diaspora: Medieval Journey Narratives
Introduction to the Old English Language
Middle English Literature
Europe in the Vernacular
Women's Voices in Medieval Literature
Medieval Manuscript Studies: Paleography, Codicology, and Interpretation
Manuscript, Image, and the Middle English Text
En Marge: Exilés et Hors-la-Loi au Moyen Age
Arts du récit, 1100-1400
Greek Literature in Italy and by Italians
Greek Erotic Literature: From Plato to the Medieval Romances
Rhetors and Philosophers: Intellectual Thought and Sophistic Style in the Ancient World
Fiction and Truth in Greek Story-telling
Greek Palaeography and Premodern Book Cultures
Toward a Global Late Antiquity:200-800 CE
Muslims, Jews and Christians in Medieval Iberia
The Medieval Monastery
History of the Spanish Language
Fifteenth-Century Sentimental Romances and Celestina
The Philosophers' Stone: Alchemy From Antiquity to Harry Potter
Christianity in Conflict in the Medieval Mediterranean
The Holy Grail and the Historian's Quest for the Truth
The Search for King Arthur
The Long Fall of the Roman Empire
The Viking Age
Living Together: Muslims, Christians, and Jews in Medieval Iberia
Crusaders and Cathedrals, Deviants and Dominance: Europe in the High Middle Ages
Barbarians, Byzantines, and Berbers: Early Medieval North Africa, AD 300-1050
Sex, Power, and God: A Medieval Perspective
Charlemagne: Conquest, Empire, and the Making of the Middle Ages
Early Modern Globalization
New Perspectives on Medieval History
Difficult Relations? Judaism and Christianity from the Middle Ages until the Present
Great Jewish Books
The Talmud
Fortunatus
Literature at the Court of Charlemagne
Survey of Late and Medieval Latin
Alcuin
Seminar: The Sixth Century
Cities: Medieval Perspectives
Muslims, Jews, and Christians in Medieval Iberia
Independent Study
Honors Thesis
Medieval Arabic Philosophy
Wealth: Religious Approaches
Christian Classics
Islam Unveiled
Islamic Sexualities
Christianity in Late Antiquity
Dying To Be With God: Jihad, Past and Present
Ancient Christianity and the Sensing Body
Pilgrimage and Sacred Travel in the Lands of Islam
Methods and Problems in Islamic Studies: Narratives
Islamic Sectarianism

Honors

This is awarded to students who present a meritorious honors thesis in addition to completing the required courses of the concentration. The thesis permits the student to synthesize various disciplines or interests, or to pursue a new interest in greater depth. To be eligible for Honors, candidates must complete a minimum of six approved courses in Medieval Studies by the end of their third year with more grades of A than B. Students should apply for admission to Honors and should meet with their faculty advisor(s) no later than spring of the junior year to plan the thesis project. Accepted candidates write the thesis in a two-semester course sequence under the supervision of a director and second reader drawn from the Medieval Studies faculty.

Interested students should contact the concentration advisor for further details or consultation (863-1994).

Late Antique Cultures Track

Requirements:

One course in Roman history:1
Roman History I: The Rise and Fall of an Imperial Republic
Roman History II: The Roman Empire and Its Impact (recommended)
One class in medieval history1
One course at the advanced level (numbered at least 1000) in one approved language 11
Six other courses drawn from appropriate offerings and with the approval of the concentration advisor. These courses should support a concentrational area of special interest. 6
Total Credits9
1

The language in most cases will be Latin, but students will present different competencies and interests; other languages, such as Greek, Hebrew, or one of the medieval vernaculars can be substituted for Latin, with the approval of the concentration advisor and in conjunction with a clearly articulated program of study.

Under the supervision of the director of the program, students may choose courses from the following:
The World of Byzantium
The Idea of Self
The Age of Constantine: The Roman Empire in Transition
Erotic Desire in the Premodern Mediterranean
The 1001 Nights
Captive Imaginations: Writing Prison in the Middle Ages
Matters of Romance
The Medieval King Arthur
Beowulf to Aphra Behn: The Earliest British Literatures
Prose Sagas of the Medieval North
Chaucer
Chaucer: The Canterbury Tales
Sagas Without Borders: Multilingual Literatures of Early England
From Mead-Hall to Mordor: The Celtic and Germanic Roots of Tolkien’s Fiction
Quest, Vision, Diaspora: Medieval Journey Narratives
Introduction to the Old English Language
Middle English Literature
Europe in the Vernacular
Women's Voices in Medieval Literature
Medieval Manuscript Studies: Paleography, Codicology, and Interpretation
Manuscript, Image, and the Middle English Text
En Marge: Exilés et Hors-la-Loi au Moyen Age
Arts du récit, 1100-1400
Greek Literature in Italy and by Italians
Greek Erotic Literature: From Plato to the Medieval Romances
Rhetors and Philosophers: Intellectual Thought and Sophistic Style in the Ancient World
Fiction and Truth in Greek Story-telling
Greek Palaeography and Premodern Book Cultures
Toward a Global Late Antiquity:200-800 CE
Muslims, Jews and Christians in Medieval Iberia
The Medieval Monastery
History of the Spanish Language
Fifteenth-Century Sentimental Romances and Celestina
The Philosophers' Stone: Alchemy From Antiquity to Harry Potter
Christianity in Conflict in the Medieval Mediterranean
The Holy Grail and the Historian's Quest for the Truth
The Search for King Arthur
The Long Fall of the Roman Empire
The Viking Age
Living Together: Muslims, Christians, and Jews in Medieval Iberia
Crusaders and Cathedrals, Deviants and Dominance: Europe in the High Middle Ages
Barbarians, Byzantines, and Berbers: Early Medieval North Africa, AD 300-1050
Sex, Power, and God: A Medieval Perspective
Charlemagne: Conquest, Empire, and the Making of the Middle Ages
Early Modern Globalization
New Perspectives on Medieval History
Difficult Relations? Judaism and Christianity from the Middle Ages until the Present
Great Jewish Books
The Talmud
Fortunatus
Literature at the Court of Charlemagne
Survey of Late and Medieval Latin
Alcuin
Seminar: The Sixth Century
Cities: Medieval Perspectives
Muslims, Jews, and Christians in Medieval Iberia
Independent Study
Honors Thesis
Medieval Arabic Philosophy
Wealth: Religious Approaches
Christian Classics
Islam Unveiled
Islamic Sexualities
Christianity in Late Antiquity
Dying To Be With God: Jihad, Past and Present
Ancient Christianity and the Sensing Body
Pilgrimage and Sacred Travel in the Lands of Islam
Methods and Problems in Islamic Studies: Narratives
Islamic Sectarianism

Honors

When in Late Antique Cultures, these are awarded to students who present a meritorious honors thesis in addition to completing the required courses of the concentration. Application for admission to honors should be made in the spring of the junior year, by which time honors candidates must have completed a minimum of six approved courses in Late Antique Studies. Accepted candidates write the thesis in a two-semester course sequence (MDVL 1990) under the supervision of a director and a second reader to be determined in consultation with the advisor.