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Aug. 10, 2020 Update Fordham Forward, the plan to resume in-person teaching and learning on Aug. 26, is available below, along with extensive resources for students, parents, faculty, and staff. Full Details

Graduate Courses

The wide variety of research interests among the faculty participating in the Center for Medieval Studies results in an array of courses available to graduate students in the program. Find out more about current course offerings below as well as upcoming and past courses from the links on the left.

Notice: The Modern Languages and Literatures Department administers Foreign Language Proficiency Assessments for enrolled, degree-seeking graduate students who have a foreign language proficiency requirement as part of their degree program. The assessments are offered as an alternative to coursework (5090 and 5001-5002 reading courses) for those students who have reading proficiency in a language but may not have a documented means of showing it.

Assessments are offered in French, German, Italian and Spanish (they may also be offered in Arabic, Mandarin Chinese and Russian, depending on availability). Assessments are offered twice each semester and once in the summer. Please contact Ms. Maria Totino at or 718-817-2651 for further information.

Fall 2020 | Upcoming Courses | Past Courses

MVST 5080 (4) Interdisciplinary London: Med Mss, Sources, Methods
CRN 44133 (Kowaleski) W 12:00-2:30

An introduction to methodologies in Medieval Studies through a focus on the primary sources and material culture of medieval London. The course will center on how an interdisciplinary approach that draws on a range of sources (textual, visual, and material) and methods (employed in archaeology, digital humanities, history, literary studies, and paleography/codicology) can enrich our understanding of one medieval place and its people. Training in paleography is an important element of the course.

ENGL 5111 (3) Race, Religion, and Monstrosity in Medieval Literature
CRN 43446 (Yeager) T 11:00-1:30

The medieval taste for the exotic has introduced many audiences to a range of monstrous beings, from ferocious giants and dog-headed men to the peace-loving sciapod. Medieval studies of monstrosity have often been linked solely to the theorize the different human "races" found there. Yet the medieval language of monstrosity was not always limited to travel narrative, nor to the pejorative, for it was used to describe heros, saints, even the Chistian deity in far more familiar contexts than many would imagine. In this course we will examine the discourse of monstrosity as a complex critical lens through which premodern writers asked important questions of race, religion, civic virtue, human morality. We will read from Pliny, Augustine, the Beowulf Manuscript, medieval romance, and Mandeville's account.

ENGL 5112 (3) Medieval Time Travel
CRN 44721 (Albin) M 2:30-5:00

“If I woke up tomorrow in the Middle Ages...” Why wait until tomorrow? The medieval may be much sooner than you think—it might even be now. Post-historicism, queer temporality, deconstructionist historiography, and affect studies have all revealed the creative intellectual promise of time bending back on itself, especially when brought to bear on texts, objects, spaces, and cultures that occupy the shadowy middle span between modernity and antiquity. In this course, we will build multidirectional conversations among medieval sources and modern theorists that ask how we come in contact with the temporal fullness of the Middle Ages, how the medieval irrupts in the now, and how we and our medieval interlocutors meet across centuries in the flesh of our lived experience. Topics in primary sources include medieval theories of time, ghost and undead narratives, liturgy, civic drama, musical notation, meditations on the life of Christ, and song, lyric, and performance. Theorists/critics may include: Henri Bergson, Alain Corbin, Margreta de Grazia, Jacques Derrida, Carolyn Dinshaw, Michel Foucault, Bruno Latour, André Lepicki, Carrie Noland, Rebecca Schneider, Eve Sedgwick, Michel Serres, Diana Taylor, Nicholas Watson, Siegfried Zielinski. We will read texts in Middle English; no former experience with the language is required.

HIST 6133 (4) Medieval Religious Institutions
CRN 43650 (Mueller) R 5:30-8:00

Today, the Catholic Church appears as a hierarchical entity united under the supreme leadership of the pope. This is in contrast with the situation in the Middle Ages, when people made careful distinctions between monks, nuns, canons, secular priests, minor and major orders, cardinals, lay brothers and sisters, and a multitude of other clerics. Committed to their respective ranks and vocations, churchmen and churchwomen often found themselves competing with one another. In so doing, they were less likely to submit to papal authority than to enlist it for their own purposes. The seminar will examine these groups, their institutional identities, and typical conflicts of interest. The institutions of the medieval church-male and female monasteries, cathedral chapters, parishes, religious orders, dioceses, the papacy and other bodies-maintained their own two identities and pursued their own ends. The church they formed was not monolithic: medieval religious institutions were often in competition with one another for reasons both secular and religious; and, unlike modern church, religious institutions played a role in government and were the sole providers of many social services. Through consideration of medieval sources and modern studies, the course will examine the institutions that formed the medieval church, their histories, identities and members, their conflicts, and their relations to society. Four-credit courses that meet for 150 minutes per week require three additional hours of class preparation per week on the part of the student in lieu of an additional hour of formal instruction. 

HIST 7056 (4) PSM: Medieval Political Cultures
CRN 43207 (Paul) T 2:30-5:00

This course, the first part of a two-semester proseminar/seminar sequence will introduce students to recent debates and different approaches to cultures of power and political processes in western Europe in the central middle ages. Among the many topics we might consider are lordship, status and authority, political assembly and consultation, courtliness and persuasion, rulership and sanctity, and the rise of accountability. Students will become familiar with a wide range of source material, from diplomatic and documentary collections to historical narratives and courtly literature. With this solid foundation in the current historiography and available research tools, students will be expected to identify a suitable topic for a sustained research project. Completing this project will be the objective of the seminar course to be offered in the Spring. Four-credit courses that meet for 150 minutes per week require three additional hours of class preparation per week on the part of the student in lieu of an additional hour of formal instruction.

PHIL 5010 (3) Introduction to Aquinas
CRN 43196 (Davies) R 4:30-6:30

This course will be a general introduction to Aquinas's philosophical thinking. We shall pay special attention to his philosophy of God. We shall also turn to what he says about questions such as the scope of human knowledge, the nature of the human being, and the nature and significance of human action. As well as being expository, the course will consider the cogency of Aquinas's position on various topics. It will also try to relate what Aquinas says to what other philosophers, especially modern philosophers, have had to say. The course will not presuppose any previous detailed knowledge of Aquinas on the part of students.

THEO 6195 (3) Inventing Christianity: Apostolic Fathers, Apologists, Martyrs
CRN 43187 (Welborn) R 9:00-11:30

A seminar on the literature produced by Christ believers during the second and third centuries CE—the so-called “Apostolic Fathers,” defenses of Christian faith and life, and accounts of the deaths of martyrs. The course seeks to comprehend the diverse ways in which Christian identity was shaped and to reconstruct the social experience of the early Christians.

CLAS 6535 (3) Introduction to Digital Literary Studies
CRN 43832 (Burns) R 6:30-8:30 pm

This graduate seminar introduces students to the digital tools, resources, and methods used in producing publishable data-driven scholarship in classical philology and literary criticism. The course provides a forum for students to develop hands-on skills in computer programming for literary studies (using Python), focused primarily on string manipulation, text mining and analysis, and data visualization, and with a strong emphasis on research design, reproducibility and replicability, and changing modes of scholarly communication in the Humanities. The course culminates in a series of Digital Classics "case studies," through which students will be invited to use the skills acquired in the course to reproduce landmark data-driven studies in Classics by N. A. Greenberg, D. Packard, D. Clayman, and the Tesserae Project, among others. The course has no prerequisites and is open to students with no prior programming experience. While the case studies will be drawn largely from scholarship in Classics, the training acquired in the class will be useful to any GSAS student at Fordham working with digitized corpora and textual data. Moreover, students will have the opportunity to work on material in Latin, Ancient Greek, English, and/or, with the permission of the instructor, another language of their own choosing. This course will be taught at Lincoln Center.