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Graduate Course Offerings for Spring 2010

MVST 0910        Maintenance                         0 credits        (Staff)
MVST 8500        Independent Research          2 Credits       (Staff)                         Call # 11550
MVST 8501        Independent Research          1 Credit         (Staff)                         Call # 11551

MVST 5205 (4) Court Culture in Medieval Iberia                         Call # 11552        (Jimenez-Belmonte)         R   2:30-5:00
This course explores the cultural, social, political and religious tensions that helped to shape medieval Iberian courtly communities from the tenth to fifteenth centuries, when  royal centralization and consolidation occurred in different religious and cultural contexts (Islamic and Christian) and political territories (Castile, Aragon). The interdisciplinary approach to this topic relies on heterogeneous sources and perspectives, including literary texts, artistic manifestations, legal codes, religious writings, and chronicles. Among the courts to be studied will be the tenth-century Omeyan court in Córdoba, the eleventh-century Muslims kingdoms of Granada and Zaragoza, the Christian courts of Alfonso X of Castile and Jaume I of Aragón and the late medieval court of Isabella and Ferdinand.

ENGL 5255 (3) Chaucer, Shakespeare and Uncertain Text        Call # 11932        (Kelemen)                T   3:30-5:30
Chaucer and Shakespeare have long provided remarkable test cases for the thorniest questions of textual criticism and editorial theory. Do we aim for a text that we can vouch for the author having written, even if it seems flawed? Or do we aim for the most aesthetically pleasing text, even if there is evidence that not all of it was written by the author? Do we try to reconstruct a version that would have been known at a particular moment in history? Or do we try to present the best surviving witness without much editorial intervention, even if that witness survives only because almost no one ever read it? Is King Lear one play or two? Does the fourth fragment of The Canterbury Tales even exist? We’ll read some Chaucer, some Shakespeare, some textual criticism, some textual theory. And we’ll learn a little paleography and bibliography, so that we can try to do a little bit of all of this — editing, criticizing, and theorizing — for ourselves.

ENGL 6222 (3) Medieval to Early Modern                                 Call # 11523        (Little)                        M   3:30-5:30
The recent re-naming of the Renaissance (as “early modern”) highlights the status of the medieval period as the time before modernity: before the modern subject/ individual, capitalism, nationhood, historical consciousness, secularism, etc. This break is even more noticeable when it comes to religion. Even if we might question Renaissance claims to newness, the novelty of the Reformation seems unassailable, a radical disruption of “tradition.” This course will explore theories about the divide between medieval and Reformation/ early modern (Burkhardt, Marx, Foucault, Tawney, Weber, the new historicists) as well as some of the recent questioning of this divide (Aers, Simpson, Duffy). We will read texts considered representative of their period, and those that seem to disrupt conventional ideas about medieval and Renaissance/ early modern: William Langland’s Piers Plowman , Chaucer’s Troilus and Criseyde, selections from medieval drama, Spenser’s Shepheardes Calender, Shakespeare’s Hamlet, and various writings of the Reformation. Throughout the course we will return to the question of the extent to which periodization is a useful tool in literary studies.

HIST 6153 (4) Medieval Economy and Society                         Call # 11545        (Kowaleski)                 M   2:30-5:00
This course explores major themes in the social and economic history of medieval Europe, including the impact of the “barbarian” migrations, technology and social change, agriculture and rural life, the commercial revolution, the Black Death, social revolts, craft guilds and the textile industry, and changing notions of poverty and charity, among other topics. The different methodological approaches to these issues will also be highlighted in examining not only “schools” of history (such as the Annales school, neo-Marxism, and prosopography) but also the contributions of other disciplinary approaches, including archaeology, demography, environmental science, historical geography, and numismatics.  The course will also include a unit on Medieval Scandinavia to coincide with the Center's annual conference on that theme.

HIST 8025 (4) SEM: Medieval Religious Cultures                         Call # 11547        (Gyug)                         T   2:00-4:30
Participants will build on the reading and topics from HIST 7025 (Proseminar: Medieval Religious Cultures) to prepare research papers based on sources and debates in the study of medieval religious cultures. Weekly readings will be selected by the participants from materials for their papers; later in the semester, they will present drafts of their own papers, and prepare critiques of others.

LATN  6521 (3) Latin Paleography                                         Call # 12103        (Clark)                         F   2:30-4:30
A study of the development of Latin handwriting from antiquity to the Renaissance. Includes a study of the manuscript as book (codicology) and as cultural artifact.  Some consideration of textual transmission and critical editing.  There will be hands-on practice in reading the various scripts.

PHIL 5010 (3) Introduction to Aquinas                                Call # 11662        (Klima)                        R   12:00-2:00
This course provides a systematic, introductory survey of Aquinas's philosophical thought. After briefly placing his life and works in their narrower as well as broader historical context, we shall start the systematic survey of Aquinas's philosophy by taking stock of the basic concepts and principles of his hylomorphist metaphysics. On this basis, we can move on to his philosophy of God, and philosophy of human nature (including his philosophy of mind and epistemology), which will provide the metaphysical foundations for a brief discussion of his ethics and philosophy of law. Throughout these discussions, we are going to confront Aquinas's ideas with criticisms coming from medieval as well as modern philosophers.

PHIL 5012 (3) Introduction to Augustine                                 Call # 11663        (Cullen)                 M   11:00-1:00
At the age of nineteen a young man living in Roman north Africa discovered philosophy.  The world has never been the same since.  While the world of the late Roman Empire—a world known for its decadence and brutality—teetered on the brink of collapse all about him, this teenager gave himself wholeheartedly to the pursuit of wisdom; he developed into one of greatest philosophical geniuses of all time--a genius who did more to shape the thought and culture of the next millennium of history than perhaps any other single individual. This course is a survey of the philosophy of this singularly influential intellectual—Augustine of Hippo. The course will begin by engaging the philosophical currents that shaped Augustine, especially the Neo-platonism of Plotinus.  It will then move on to examine Augustine’s own account of his life and his intellectual struggles, especially with the cosmic dualism of Gnostic Manicheanism and the denial of knowledge in ancient skepticism.  Special attention will be given to Augustine's philosophy of mind and his doctrine of illumination.  A major goal of the course will be to situate Augustine's thought in the context of central debates in ancient metaphysics and natural theology.  The last section of the course will focus on Augustine’s theocentric ethical and political ideas and how they reshaped the ancient polis.

PHIL 6505 (3) Medieval Philosophical Theories of the Fall         Call # 11666        (Pini)                         T   4:30-6:30
This course will be devoted to the study of some medieval interpretations of the Christian doctrine of the Fall of the devil and, secondarily, of Adam and Eve. The focus will be philosophical rather than purely historical or theological. The main issue we will be dealing with is what became known, in modern times, as the problem of radical evil. What is the motive for Lucifer’s and Adam and Eve’s choice to sin? Can a rational agent choose evil for evil’s sake? More in general, what are the motives for doing morally wrong actions? For a medieval thinker, the Fall was the ultimate test a philosophically sound theory of moral agency had to pass. In this course, we will consider some of the main arguments and conceptual tools that were originally developed in order to account for the Fall but eventually induced philosophers to reformulate some of the basic elements of moral agency in general. A connected issue we may take into account is that of the consequences of the Fall, with particular attention to the problem of the limits of the intellect (both theoretical and practical). We will be reading passages from the works of four major thinkers, i.e. Augustine (354¬–430), Anselm of Canterbury (ca. 1033–1109), Thomas Aquinas (ca. 1225–1274) and John Duns Scotus (ca. 1266–1308). All texts will be read in English translation.

THEO 6466 (3) Medieval Hagiography                                 Call # 11584        (Tilley)                         M10:30-1:00
This course surveys methods for researching and writing about as well as evaluating the religious functions of stories of holy people. The course begins with a look at contemporary saint-making and then surveys classic works on hagiographic methods. After these explorations the course studies examples primarily from late antiquity and the Middle Ages, applying the methods of the first part of the course. Requirements include book reports, seminar leadership, a mid-term paper using primary sources and illustrating hagiographical method on a person not canonized (yet?), and a final paper in the student's own field of interest. Students in history, fine arts, literature, theology, etc. are welcome.

THEO 6311 (3) The Early Papacy                                         Call # 11583        (Demacopoulos)         F   11:45-2:15
This course is designed as an investigation into the historical, theological, and individual forces that shaped the early papacy from approximately the first through the eighth centuries.  With the instructor providing short weekly lectures, students will take turns directing conversations about primary and secondary readings.  Special attention will be devoted to applying new theoretical methods of interpretation (such as discourse analysis and post-colonial theory) to traditional papal sources.  Through these methods, students will be encouraged to reevaluate both the claims of Roman ecclesiastical prestige and the extent to which those claims were accepted by non-Roman Christians in this period.  The final 30 minutes of every class will devoted to Latin translation (this is a requirement for PhD students studying Early Christianity; alternative projects will be assigned to other students).

FREN  5090 (0) French for Reading                                       Call # 12868        (Harris)                 T    4:15-6:45    
GERM 5002 (0) German for Reading II                                 Call # 12871        (Hafner)                TF 11:30-12:45


Last modified: April 13, 2010
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