The Medieval Studies Program offers its own courses, as well as a variety of courses in other departments. For a list of Fall 2010 courses see below, and for descriptions please roll your curser over the Courses tab above and then click on Fall 2010 tab to your upper left. To see a list of the previous Spring 2010 semester course offerings, please click medievalstudies.georgetown.edu/81937.html. To see a list of courses offered in the past, please click here.
MEDIEVAL STUDIES, FALL 2010: COURSES FOR CREDIT IN THE PROGRAM
MVST-043 Knights of Old & Harry Potter, Dover
MVST-041-01 Satire and Social Criticism
MSVT-348 Senior Seminar: Thesis Research
An interdisciplinary survey course based on textual sources in Arabic literature, philosophy, and scripture designed to introduce the major aspects of Arabic and Islamic culture from the classical to the modern period. Taught in English. Knowledge of Arabic desirable but not required.
Content-based survey of Arabic literature from the pre-Islamic period to the contemporary period. The readings are selected from among the most salient literary texts of various literary periods in the Arabic literary traditions, in poetry and prose within cultural and historical contents. These two courses are taught totally in Arabic. Prerequisite: three years of intensive Arabic, or Advanced High by ACTFL standards.
This course will familiarize students with the sources, research tools and methods used in the field of Islamic Studies. We will look at the history of the discipline and survey its major areas of research, including history, language and literature, religious sciences, intellectual sciences, and social studies.
This course introduces students to hadith literature and the science of hadith. It looks at the origin, development, and criticism of the hadith literature as well as the debates surrounding its transmission, authority, and application. For this purpose we read materials in Arabic and English discussing the role and function of the hadith literature.
Major monuments of western art from the prehistoric birth of representational art through the thirteenth century, with emphasis on ancient and medieval civilizations of Europe and the Mediterranean basin. SATISFIES HUMANITIES & WRITING II
The course surveys painting, prints, and sculpture in the Netherlands, Germany, and France c. 1300-1580. This includes art produced for courts, churches, civic bodies, and private patrons among the growing middle classes in the cities of Western Europe. Rather than presuming a “Northern style” defined in contrast to the art of the Italian Renaissance, we will aim to understand regional and individual tendencies on their own terms. With emphasis on the work of major figures such as Van Eyck, Bosch, Dürer, Holbein, and Bruegel, we will consider changing circumstances of the production, function, iconography, patronage, and commerce of art in the period. As we read a range of scholarly approaches to the material, the works of art themselves will remain our prime targets of inquiry and reflection.
Besides examining the evolution of sacred and architectural space in the medieval cathedral from its early Christian beginnings, this seminar will consider the burgeoning liturgical, civic, economic and social functions of the church building in the medieval world. We will look at all aspects of the cathedral fabric–its paintings, windows, sculpture programs, statuary, furnishings, tapestries, and treasury in order to comprehend the phenomenon of the medieval cathedral.
An intensive introduction to the Latin language and the culture of the ancient Romans. Readings and composition exercises will focus on the acquisition of solid reading skills. At the same time, the study of Latin will enlarge students' English vocabulary and their understanding of the structures of their own language.
This class, for students with one year of college Latin or equivalent, combines review of Latin grammar with continuous reading of what must be Cicero's most amusing speech, the Pro Caelio. While aimed primarily to teach students practical strategies for reading Latin prose, this course also introduces the day-to-day life of late Republican Rome's high society.
Students will read selections from the Annales, paying attention to Tacitus' deployment of rhetorical devices and distinctive literary style, as well as to his 'annalistic' or year-by-year organization of his history, and to his peculiar form of moral and political criticism. In addition to readings in Latin, the course also will include discussion of modern scholarly approaches to the Annales.
Fall: Prof. Sarah McNamer This course seeks to introduce students to the vibrant, polylingual literary culture of medieval England from the eighth century to the eve of the Renaissance. Beginning with Beowulf (in the wonderful translation by Seamus Heaney), we will read both canonical and noncanonical texts, situating them in the various social, intellectual, visual and performance contexts that can restore for us a sense of their original meanings and functions. Genres will range from the familiar to the strange: we will encounter elegiac poetry, chivalric romances, a prose rhapsody, a travel narrative, miracles of the Virgin, love lyrics, a gynecological treatise, riddles, mystery plays, revelations from God, a beast fable, a bawdy fabliau and a sobering sermon on the Seven Deadly Sins. English writings will be our focus, but we will also sample (in translation) some of the abundant Latin and French texts which circulated in medieval England, in part as a reminder of the prestige these languages enjoyed and the lowly status of English during much of this period. Indeed the politics of language use will be one of our abiding concerns, as will more general questions surrounding textual production and cultural authority. Virtually all readings will be in modern English translation; we will, however, read some Old and Middle English aloud in order to experience something of the weight and music of English in its earliest days.
FALL 2010 PROFESSOR JOHN HIRSH ENGL 108 Chaucer A reading and discussion of Chaucer's great (if unfinished) master-work, the Canterbury Tales, a work of first importance to anyone who reads (or writes) narrative fiction. Students will read the work in original Middle English in which Chaucer wrote it, and discuss it in small and in large groups, focusing upon the work's narrative strategies, intellectual constructions, and artistic accomplishment. They will also write, in a variety of ways, about those aspects which particularly take their interest.
After the fall of the Roman Empire, three main cultural elements--classical, Christian and barbarian--blended to form a distinctive European civilization, in the face of recurring invasions and economic stagnation. In other words, early medieval Europe started out multicultural. This course will study how these elements influenced and were influenced by each other in the process of producing an entirely new cultural synthesis by the year 1000. The class emphasizes active learning. Along with traditional lectures, there will be both discussions and structured exercises, with a focus on analyzing primary sources in their historical context. Fall.
The study of Irish history often focuses on the question of what it means to be Irish. This course will engage directly with that question by surveying Irish society and culture from pre-Christian times down to the end of the old Gaelic order in 1607. We will examine Celtic society--its social structure, laws and literature--and then trace its impact on the Christianization of Ireland. We will look at the effect on Ireland of invasions by the Vikings and the Normans, and the establishment of English rule in Ireland. The class emphasizes active learning. Along with traditional lectures, there will be both discussions and structured exercises, with a focus on analyzing primary sources in their historical context. Instructions for in-class discussions and debates will be given in advance. Participation in class discussion is strongly encouraged and constitutes 15% of the course grade. There will also be extensive use of visual materials, including slides, maps and videos.
The course is a survey of the history of North Africa and the Western Mediterranean from the Arab conquests to the final expulsion of the Moriscos in 1609. It examines the political, economic, and cultural events and conditions that led to the autonomous development of Muslim polities in Iberia, Sicily, and North Africa; their relations with Europe, West Africa, and the larger Muslim world; and their internal socio cultural features. The course will focus on the processes of Arabization and Islamization in the Western Mediterranean; the establishment of Muslim rule in Sicily and Spain; the patterns of regional trade and commerce; the role of religion in warfare and colonization; the Christian Reconquista and rise of the "Berber" empires; and Maghribi responses to the regional Ottoman Iberian contest.
The objective of this course is to explore the medievalism of J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter novels. To do this we need to go back to their medieval antecedents in the 12th-15th centuries, which will allow us to contrast and compare the old and the new. We will read masterpieces of imaginative storytelling from French, German, and English medieval literature in addition to selected Harry Potter volumes, but we will also consult Plato and Joseph Campbell. The old and the new are linked thematically in that they are all narratives about growing up and finding one’s identity: a complex, mysterious, and sometimes arduous process that the hero/heroine experiences as a magical world where the natural laws governing human existence are suspended, the unexpected is bound to occur, and marvels are reserved for the chosen few. The readings and discussion are in English.
This course will examine the question of the meaning of human freedom on the basis of careful reading of major portions of Dante Alighieri's La Divina Commedia. The study will be an integrated approach that draws together elements from the disciplines of literature, psychology (especially the theories of Jung), philosophy, and theology. Based on an analysis of the text and discussion of selected critical literature, students will be asked to reflect on Dante's interpretation of the nature of freedom, how it functions in the formation of personal identity, and the role of imagination in the formation of culture and worldviews. In this context we will discuss the specifically Christian and medieval character of Dante's imagination as well as the problem of finding appropriate metaphors to situate these issues in the transformed historical context of contemporary life. The basic assumption of the course is that Commedia, while framed in terms of the fourteenth-century medieval culture, can speak vividly and directly to modern readers in terms of human experiences which are universal and fundamental, regardless of differences in time and place. Fall.
Gomez-Lobo / Henninger
The course will be an in-depth survey of ancient and medieval philosophy, beginning with the pre-Socratic philosophers and ending with figures of the fourteenth century. The first part of the course, dealing with ancient Greek philosophy, will be taught by Professor Alfonso Gomez-Lobo. We will begin by examining the origins of philosophy, the religious background in ancient Greece, and after an exploration of the pre-Socratic philosophers, we will read selected key texts of the Sophists, Socrates, Plato and Aristotle. The second half of the course will be taught by Professor Mark Henninger. In this medieval part of the course we will examine the relations of philosophy and theology, along with logic and the sciences as conceived by the medieval thinkers. Then we will examine the problem of universals, various problems in cognitional theory, the metaphysics of substances and hylomorphism and finally we will look at the medieval formulation of issues dealing with free will.
Detailed study of the diachronic processes responsible for the transformation of spoken Latin into Old and Modern Spanish. Texts & Readings: Paul M. Lloyd. Del latín al español. Madrid: Gredos, 1993. Rafael Lapesa. Historia de la lengua española. 8ª o 9ª edición. Madrid: Gredos, 1980 o 1981. Assignments & Expectations of Students: A midterm exam, a final exam, and a short paper. What Students Should Know: The course is given in Spanish. Some knowledge of linguistics is required.
This course is an introduction to Islam the religion. We will first consider the life and character of the prophet Muhammad and various Muslim and non-Muslim perspectives on the figure of Muhammad. We will then overview Muslim ritual and communal life, Islam’s beliefs and ethical teachings, and Muslim approaches to moral decision-making and the struggle to live and publicly represent the religion in society today. All along, we will attempt to trace connections between the Qur’an (and Hadith) and the various topics covered in class.
This course examines the history and development of Christian thought during its first millennium - from the end of the first century and the organization of early Christian communities, through the alliance between church and empire in the early fourth century and the fall of the Roman empire, to the Carolingian court in the ninth century and the spread of Christianity beyond the borders of the former empire, and ending with the schism between the Eastern and Western churches in 1054. Major issues include the question of theological sources and canonicity, the doctrine of God, Christology, the Trinity, human freedom, heterodoxy, ecclesiology, and ritual. Central focus will be on primary texts, read with an eye toward their historical, cultural, and geographical contexts.