Upcoming Graduate Courses

Fall 2017 | Upcoming Courses | Past Courses

Spring 2018

MVST 5300 (4) Occitania: Language and Power                                               
Call# 34027 
(O’Donnell, Paul) F 2:00- 5:00
This team-taught interdisciplinary course introduces students to the cultural world of a medieval south: Occitania, a region defined by language stretching from the foothills of the Alps to the pathways across the Pyrenees and from the Mediterranean almost to the Loire. Students will study the Old Occitan language and its manifestations in documentary writing, historical narrative, and the poetry of the troubadours from the eleventh to the thirteenth centuries. In order to best understand the context for this literature, course topics will include urban and rural communities, gender and power, the Albigensian crusade and its aftermath, and the rise of vernacular book production.

ENGL 5210: Introduction to Old Norse Language and Literature                
Call# 32381 (Chase) R 2:30-5:00

The course will involve both an introduction to Old Norse language, and the study of representative works from a variety of genres: historical prose, saga prose, and hagiography, as well as eddic poetry (wisdom, myth, legend) and the encomiastic poetry of the skalds. Readings will be partly in Old Norse, partly in translation. We will attempt to situate the texts in their medieval cultural context (analogues in English, French, German, and Latin literature), and we will spend some time on Old Norse palaeography and codicology so that students can better appreciate their material context. There is no prerequisite for the course and no prior knowledge is assumed, but students should be aware that the course will involve language study.

HIST 8150: Seminar: Medieval England                                                               
Call# 32591 (Kowaleski) T 2:30-5:00

Students continue to work on the research project they defined in the Proseminar to this course. They also learn to design and use a computer database that includes data gathered in the course of research on the final paper, participate in seminars to improve their academic writing and public speaking skills, and familiarize themselves with professional standards for writing a scholarly article, giving a talk at an academic conference, and writing an academic curriculum vita. They complete the seminar by giving a 20-minute conference paper on their research project and writing a thesis-length original research paper that could be published as a scholarly article.

PHIL 5010: Introduction to St Thomas Aquinas                                                  
Call# 18395 (Davies) M 4:00-6:00

Aquinas is often, and rightly, taken to be a theologian who assumes that certain truths have to be revealed to us by God since we lack the ability to demonstrate them. But he also engaged in what is commonly called ‘natural theology’ — i.e. philosophical argumentation aiming to prove that there is some knowledge of God to be attained by human reason. In this course we shall be looking at Aquinas’s natural theology, chiefly as presented in his Summa Theologiae, but also as we find it in his Summa Contra Gentiles. We shall see how Aquinas approaches the notion of natural theology in general. We shall then see how Aquinas argues for certain conclusions concerning the existence and nature of God. Given the importance of natural theology for Aquinas’s philosophy as a whole, and given the fact that Aquinas draws on metaphysical notions scattered throughout his writings, the course will provide a serious introduction to Aquinas’s thinking in general. This will be primarily a lecture course, but will include class discussions. Partly to stimulate them, numerous comparisons and contrasts will be made between what Aquinas has to say and what other philosophers have argued since early modern times. The course will relate Aquinas’s natural theology to that of other thinkers, including contemporary analytical ones. This course can satisfy for either the medieval requirement or for the contemporary analytical one. This course will not require a knowledge of Latin, and it will not presuppose any previous familiarity with the thinking of Aquinas or that of any other medieval philosopher.

PHIL 5012: Introduction to St Augustine                                                               
Call# 18396 (Pini) W 12:00-2:00

This course will provide a survey of some of the key aspects of St. Augustine’s thought. Topics will include faith and reason; divine ideas; the theology of the Holy Trinity; mind; skepticism; divine foreknowledge and predestination and human free will; the problem of evil; original sin and divine grace; happiness; human history and society. These topics will be approached by studying relevant sections from Augustine’s major works. Ideally, each class will consist of an introductory lecture (first hour) and discussion on the readings (second hour). This format may vary according to what the material requires and the needs of students. Students are expected to complete the readings in advance and take an active role in the discussion.

THEO 6426: St. Augustine                                                                                            
Call# 33462 
(Lienhard) M  2:30-5:00
Jaroslav Pelikan adapts Whitehead’s remark about philosophy’s being a series of footnotes to Plato and wonders whether western theology is a series of footnotes to Augustine.  This, at least, can be said: from the fifth century until the introduction of Aristotle into Europe, western theology was a conversation with Augustine. St. Augustine of Hippo (354-430) would be important to theology if he had written only On the Trinity, or only The City of God, or only the Confessions.  But he wrote all three, and more than 120 other books besides.  When the tradition honors him, however, it honors him as the doctor gratiae, the Doctor of Grace. The goal of this course is a critical understanding and appreciation of the life, writings, and thought of St. Augustine.  The means to this goal is a guided reading and analysis of some of his writings and, secondarily, of some modern books about him.  The following works will be read in their entirety: the Confessions, On Christian Doctrine, and On the Spirit and the Letter.  The class will also read To Simplician I, selections from On the Trinity and the City of God, and passages from Augustine’s writings on the questions of original sin, free choice, grace, freedom, and predestination.  Requirements for the course are: extensive reading; insatiable curiosity; several short written assignments, class reports, a 20-page term paper, and a final examination.

THEO 5076: Syriac Language and Literature II   
Call# 33460 (Fiano) F 9:00-11:00

This course is part of a two-semester introduction to Syriac, a dialect belonging to the Aramaic language branch. The first semester will introduce the scripts, cover grammatical foundations, and expose students from early on to the reading of texts. The second semester will be mostly spent reading Syriac literature related to the students' specific interests, but some time will be devoted to select special topics in Syriac grammar. The two semesters can be taken independently.

Langland’s Piers Plowman and the Poetry of Social Justice in Late Medieval England

Chaucer’s great contemporary, Langland, writes a different, equally brilliant and fascinating kind of verse, but is not harder to read than Chaucer.   His dream vision poem, Piers Plowman, composed, like Chaucer’s works, in late fourteenth-century London, offers ample treatment of many of the things Chaucer is often supposed to skirt or omit: social unrest, some forms of religious argument and conflict, overt politics of social justice, contemporary policy and practices regarding poverty. ‘Piers Plowman’ is, famously, one of the rebel slogans from the 1381 peasants’ uprising, and the poem has a wide social readership from manuscript into early print. This course aims to put reading the poem at its center while paying due attention to its context in other texts and the poem’s surrounding world.  The course will include an expedition to the Pierpont Morgan's exhibition, 'Now and Forever: The Art of Medieval Time'.  We will regularly practice reading in the original from the beginning: only with one’s ears and eyes right in Langland’s wonderfully supple verse and amazing metaphors can one begin really to experience one of the most fascinating and challenging of all English poems.  Whether or not you have already read some Chaucer, our persistent practice of Langland’s English should get you quite quickly into the poem.  This will not be an easy course, but it should offer some challenging early visions of social justice that can often interrogate our own society’s priorities and practices.

GERM 5001 (0) Graduate Reading in German II                                                
Call# 17960 (TBA) TF 11:30-12:45


Summer 2018

MVST 5570 (4) Medieval Monsters: Terrors, Aliens, Wonders                 
Call # TBA (Mittman, Lindquist) Session I (TBA)
This course examines the vital role played by monsters in medieval art and culture. The word “monster” evokes powerful visions of strange and unnatural creatures. Monsters and monstrosities possess a transformative power that makes them at once profoundly dangerous and utterly fascinating. More than mere figments of the imagination, monsters have played an important role throughout the history, and were central to medieval thought. The very act of visualizing monsters—giving shape to them in art and literature—constitutes an important step toward defining and therefore controlling the unknown. During the European Middle Ages, theologians accepted the supernatural character of monsters as part of a divine plan. Medieval scholars traced the meaning of the word “monster” to the Latin verbs “monstrare” (to show) and “monere” (to warn). As divine lessons, monsters provided testimony to God’s active intervention in the world. The ubiquity and variety of monstrosities in the art of the Middle Ages attest to their cultural importance and multifaceted nature. Readings will include primary sources (eg. Pliny, Isidore of Seville, Augustine of Hippo, The Book of Mandeville, The Wonders of the East, Bisclavret) and readings in monster theory and related approaches (eg. Jeffrey Cohen, Patricia MacCormack, Noël Carrol, Homi Bhabha). The course will run in conjunction with an exhibition of the same title at the Morgan Library & Museum, co-curated by Mittman and Professor Sherry Lindquist. The exhibition will feature sixty sumptuously illuminated manuscripts, as well as additional objects in other medieval media. The course will be divided into three overlapping sections, following the division of the exhibition. Some sessions will be conducted in the gallery, and the class will also visit other major collections (The Met, The Cloisters) and the conception, design, and implementation of the exhibition will be covered in the course.https://ssl.gstatic.com/ui/v1/icons/mail/images/cleardot.gif

MVST 8999 (1-4) Tutorial: Study Tour of Medieval Spain                           
Call # TBA (Myers) (TBA)

One of the great medieval pilgrimage routes, the Camino de Santiago crosses northern Spain from the passes of the Pyrenees to Santiago de Compostela. This tutorial will consider the legends of the Camino, some of its many surviving monuments, and the modern revival of the pilgrimage. The bulk of the tutorial consists of walking for two weeks as a peregrino/a from Leon to Santiago de Compostela. This class will meet periodically at Fordham before the walk to discuss reading assignments and prepare. Depending on the student's interest, the final project could involve devising a syllabus for future teaching or focus on some element of the pilgrimage and its history in the form of a journal.

LATIN 5090 (0) Latin for Reading                                                                           
Call # 10148 (Staff) Session I, MW 1-4 PM

Graduate course. This course is designed to offer graduate students a reading knowledge of Latin. No prior instruction in Latin is necessary. Open to seniors with a G.P.A. of 3.0 or better. Please consult your advisor. The charge for this course is equivalent to one graduate credit in the Summer Session.

LATN 5093 (3) Ecclesiastical Latin                                                                         
Call # 10261 (McGowan) Session II, MW 1-4 PM

Graduate course. Study of the grammatical structure, form, and vocabulary of Christian Latin, focusing on the Bible, the Church, and Medieval authors. Open to seniors with a G.P.A. of 3.0 or better. Please consult your advisor.

FREN 5090 (0) French for Reading - Taught at LC Campus                            
Call # TBA (Staff) Session I, TR 6-9 PM