Medieval Studies
Pre-Approved Courses for Fall 2021

(All courses are taught in English unless otherwise specified)


Medieval Studies

Prof. Michael Papio
Italian 297D. Introduction to the Middle Ages. TuTh 10:00-11:15

This course provides a generous overview of the European Middle Ages and features regular guest appearances by specialists in various fields and across several disciplines, including Profs. Adams (English), Lloret (Spanish), MacCarthy (Music), Sullivan (German) and others. Students will become familiar with the principle literary trends and traditions of Western Europe against the background of the fascinating historical, philosophical and religious beliefs that shaped those distant centuries. This course is a solid foundation for the Medieval Studies Certificate.

Art History

Prof. Sonja Drimmer et al.
Art-Hist 100. Survey: Ancient-Medieval Art. Multiple Sections. See Course Guide.

First half of a survey of art history from prehistoric times to the 20th century. Chronological and systematic approach; either a basis for more detailed study of individual periods in upper-level art history courses, or a solid general foundation for a heightened appreciation of the heritage of art. More professionally oriented than ART-HIST 115. Background for upper-level art history courses; required of majors. (Gen.Ed. AT, DG).

Prof. Sonja Drimmer
Art-Hist 305. Early Medieval Art - MW 2:30-3:45

Designed as an introduction for undergraduate and graduate students, the aim of this course is to provide a comprehensive survey of early medieval art and architecture from the third through the tenth centuries. This course recognizes the religious, political, and socioeconomic contexts in which medieval art and architecture were produced, and although the material is organized chronologically, lectures will emphasize key themes, including: the origins of Christian images, the changing depictions of Christ, the contested place of images in religious worship, the relationship between text and image, the role of patrons and politics, the liturgical function of the object, and the art of imperial propaganda.


Prof. Eric Poehler
Classics 380. The Ancient City. TuTh 1:00-2:15

This course explores the development and variety of ancient urban life in the Western world from its earliest formations in the Neolithic to the Medieval town.


Prof. Marjorie Rubright
English 201. Early English Literature and Culture. TuTh 10:00-11:15

The growth of English literature from the Middle Ages to the end of the 17th century, with emphasis on major writers in historical context, major works as responses to the social and political situations and revisions of earlier literary visions. This course is open to English majors and students studying at the University on international or domestic exchange.

Prof. Stephen Harris
English 313. Intro to Old English Poetry - TuTh 11:30-12:45

Old English, the bedrock of Present Day English, was the language spoken by Germanic peoples in Britain from the early 400s to 1066. In this course, you will learn the Old English language through the poetry written in it. Selections may include such diverse selections as "Caedmon's Hymn," "The Seafarer," and "Judith." A working knowledge of English grammar is recommended.

Prof. Craig Davis, Smith College
English 210. Old English. MW 9:25-10:40

An introduction to the language and literature of Anglo-Saxon England (ca. 450-1066 CE) in a series of grammar lessons and readings in poetry and prose, including the Old English translation of Bede's Latin Ecclesiastical History, the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, The Wife's Lament and The Wanderer. We will also learn the 31-character Anglo-Frisian futhorc, translating inscriptions from the eighth-century Franks Casket and Ruthwell Cross.

Prof. Craig Davis, Smith College
English 250. Chaucer. TuTh 10:50-12:05

A close reading in Middle English of Geoffrey Chaucer's Canterbury Tales (1400), a fictional 3-day pilgrimage and tale-telling contest that collects and reimagines many medieval literary genres and ideas, even while anticipating modern social values and sensibilities.


History 180. Western Sci & Tech. Multiple Sections. See Course Guide.

History 180 explores the Greek fascination with modeling the cosmos and with the nature of formal scientific explanation; the assimilation and refinement of ancient Greek science in the Islamic world; the role of Scholasticism and the medieval university in the institutionalization of scientific thought; and the creation of a new quantitative framework of experience by Renaissance explorers, engineers, artisans, mathematicians, and natural philosophers.


Prof. Michael Papio
Italian 497K: Medieval & Renaissance Short Story. TuTh 1:00-2:15

The birth of the Italian novella was one of the most significant events ever to shape the course of European literature. Although related to the fabliau and the exemplum, the novella developed a 'personality' all its own. From high tragedy to raucous ribaldry, from stories of love and adventure to tales of wit and cruelty, almost every type of literary form has been adapted to the specific exigencies of the Italian short story. In this course students will trace the evolution of the genre from its relatively simplistic beginnings in the late 13th century to the perfectly polished tales that so influenced Rabelais, Shakespeare, Cervantes and others. Students will get to know individual authors as well as a deeper understanding of several characteristic motifs and themes common to novellas such as the beffa, anticlericalism, misogyny and courtly love. Authors to be studied: Boccaccio, Sacchetti, Sercambi, Masuccio, Bandello, Giraldi Cinzio and more. Course taught in Italian. Prereq. ITAL 240 or 246.

Judaic Studies

Prof. Susan Shapiro
Judaic 101: The Jewish Experience I. TuTh 11:30-12:45

A survey of the literature and culture of the Jewish people in the formative years of its history. Emphasis on the development of Judaism in the biblical, Graeco-Roman, and rabbinic periods. Final unit treats the Jewish life cycle and the system of religious practices. (Gen. Ed. HS, DG.)

Spanish and Portuguese

Prof. Albert Lloret
Spanish 320. Literary Currents. Spain I. MWF 12:20-1:10

This course offers an introduction to the literature written in the Iberian Peninsula during the premodern period, roughly 1200-1700. We will read a selection of great texts (short stories, romances, drama, epic and lyric poetry), and will discuss them in relation to the context in which they were produced (in terms of aesthetic trends, thought, audience, related historical events, and other socio-historical conditions—including issues of gender, race, and religion). Taught in Spanish.

Prof. Albert Lloret
Spanish 497BL. Literary Currents. Spain I. MW 2:30-3:45

Love is constantly thematized in medieval and Renaissance literature. Authors try to account for what love is, what its effects are on the body and the soul, how one is supposed to obtain it and keep it, but also how and why it should be avoided. Writing about love is also questioning what is considered essentially good or bad for oneself and the community. In this course, students will explore medieval and early modern love theories and practices in a selection of Iberian texts, as they reflect on literature as a means for ethical interrogation. Taught in Spanish.