The term "Middle Ages" prompts the question "the middle of what?" European Enlightenment thinkers gave that name to the thousand year range of ca. 500-1500 because they saw it as bridging the Classical and their own “modern” (to us, Early Modern) periods, starting with alleged “rebirth” (Renaissance) of Greco-Roman civilization. Current medieval studies have burst the bounds of Euro-centrism to involve all of Asia and much of Africa and to highlight interconnections from Ireland to Byzantium, Rome to Kyoto, Paris to Baghdad, Beijing to Cairo, and Delhi to Timbuktu in a era where text-based universal religions played an inordinate role in society and political, social, philosophical, and scientific thought.
The Medieval Studies Program at Georgetown University offers an interdisciplinary undergraduate major and minor in the College as well as Certificates in the School of Foreign Service and Business Schools. Senior majors and certificate students write a thesis, and minors also have this option. With the program director in the fall, they research chosen topics in a small seminar format that encourages a focus on methods, critical approaches, writing skills, and rhetorical options; in spring, they continue with close mentoring of the thesis writing and submission. For more information, please click on the following Program page link or on the Program tab at the top of the page.
The Medieval Studies Program empowers students as culturally literate global citizens through interdisciplinary study of cultures removed in time and space. They develop strong skills in research, analysis, critical inquiry, rhetoric, and writing, elements shared by many other fields that make up our interdisciplinary range. Our program graduates have gone on to a variety of successful post-graduate experiences including law, medical, and graduate schools, as well as jobs in the corporate and data management worlds.
The program's faculty and courses draw from more than fifteen different disciplines within the University. Our faculty offer courses in history, law, art history, archaeology, manuscript study, theology, and philosophy, as well as classical and vernacular languages and literatures. Students can expect to acquire expertise in how varied methodologies interact and intersect, creating a genuine interdisciplinary experience. Our flexibility and range are strong incentives, as is the centrality of medieval institutions to our modern world and its core issues in religion, warfare, class, gender, education, labor, trade, and finance. This impressive interdisciplinary range and ready access to faculty make Medieval Studies a rich and rewarding experience for our community of students. Summer, semester, or year abroad study can greatly enrich one’s program.
Off-campus, Washington's Dumbarton Oaks, Smithsonian Institution, Library of Congress, National Gallery of Art, the Folger Shakespeare Library, and the Freer and Sackler Galleries, offer a wealth of teaching, research, and internship opportunities. Further afield, students may wish to advantage of Baltimore's Walters Art Gallery and library, and in New York, The Pierpont Morgan Library, The Cloisters, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
In addition to our academic program, our ally the Medieval Club is a student-run society which seeks to combine the historical elements of the Middle Ages with the recreational in order to raise student interest, awareness, and knowledge about this important period.
Image Credit: Animals wrestling on the first scroll of choju-jinbutsu-giga, Kyoto National Museum.
Image Credit: Pisces - Horoscope from 'The Book of the Birth of Iskandar." WELLCOME IMAGES via Wikimedia Commons.
Image Credit: Sir Gawain and the Green Knight. Photo courtesy of the collection of the British Library via Wikimedia Commons.