Fall 2022 Courses
All of the courses listed here have received approval for Global Medieval Studies (MVST) credit X-listing. My Access and Classy are not entirely up to date. The Global Medieval Studies program will ensure that you receive MVST credit for these courses.
How to find X-listed Courses:
Courses are not currently published in MyAccess or Classy. In the meantime, please take advantage of the courses listed below to aid you as you plan your schedule for the fall.
In MyAccess: Log in to MyAccess, then select the “Student Services” tab. Navigate to “Registration”, choose “Schedule of Classes” from the menu that appears, then select “Spring 2022” from the drop-down menu. Click on any subject, then hold down Ctrl + A (on PC) or Command + A (on Mac) to select all courses. Near the bottom of the page, select X-List: MVST, then press “Class Search”. The next web page should list all X-listed MVST courses.
In Classy: Go to Classy | by The Corp and select “MVST” under the drop-down menu “Cross-listed with”.
Find our course offerings for the Fall 2021 semester below.
ARAB 201: Intro to Islamic Civilization – Opwis
HALC (Humanities, Arts, Literature, Culture)
This course is designed as an introduction to Islamic civilization and thought and requires no prior knowledge of Islam or Middle Eastern History. It will focus on the political, social and religious institutions that shaped Islamic civilization as well as on the intellectual and scholarly traditions which characterized the Arab and Muslim world from the pre-Islamic time onwards. Beginning with the geographical, cultural and historical context of the rise of Islam, the life of the Prophet, the Qur’an, it will extend through the pre-modern time, with a special emphasis on texts. The readings consist of a selection of translated primary sources as well as complementary background essays. In addition to the political history of this period, we will discuss a wide range of social and cultural themes including the translation movement, science and literature, art and architecture as well as gender issues.
Section 1 meets TR from 12:30 – 1:45 pm with a discussion on Thurs. from 5:00 – 6:00 pm
Section 2 meets TR from 3:30 – 4:45 pm with a discussion on Friday from 3:00 – 4:00 pm
ARAB 303: Poetry and Performance of Empire – R 3:30 6:00 pm – Stetkevych – 41887
Poetry and the Performance of Empire aims to bring the 1500-year tradition of Arabic-Islamic poetry fully into the purview of Humanistic thought and contemporary literary and cultural ideas. It will explore celebrated Arabic poetic texts not merely as ink on paper, but as active interventions in of the social, political, and religious dimensions of society as their poets conceived, recognized, challenged and denied imperial authority, whether native or foreign. It will further seek to reveal that even the most intimate and lyrical elements of the Arabic tradition are not devoid of political dimensions and that the personal and the political are not so easily distinguishable. The course will focus on the study of selected Arabic poems, in English translation, ranging from pre-Islamic Arabic, to the classical and post-classical Islamic periods, and up through the modern neo-classical and modern anti-(Western) imperialist poetry. It will combine the close readings of poems selected poems with readings in contemporary literary critical-theoretical studies that engage Performance Theory, Speech Acts, Interarts Theory, the Rhetoric of Empire, and Post-/Anti-Colonial Theory. The course will guide students to discover through their own readings of poetry and criticism the possibilities for poetry to negotiate rank and status, to perform rituals of swearing and retracting allegiance, of submission and sedition, and to recognize or challenge political and religious claims to legitimacy. Students will present oral and written presentations for Units 1-3 (ca. 5-6 pp.) and a longer overarching presentation and essay (8-10 pp.) that combines the unit 4 presentation and final paper (10-12 pp.). An optional Arabic hour will be offered each week for those interested in further exploring and discussing the poetry texts in Arabic. Approved Elective Course for the Arabic Minor.
ARTH 101: Ancient to Medieval Art – WF 11:00 am – 12:15 pm – Tilney – 10145
This lecture course surveys the art and architecture from the Paleolithic period through the Gothic period. Within a roughly chronological structure, we will explore the art of these periods in relation to their broader cultural, intellectual, and historical contexts. In addition to emphasizing the developments that define each historical period, we will consider the aesthetic advances made with the painting materials and methods available at the time.
Students must attend the first class or second class or lose their place.
HIST 122: Art and Architecture of Medieval and Early Renaissance Italy – Oberer – 22960
Registration in the class requires department approval. Taught at Villa Le Balze in Fiesole, Italy.
ARTH 171: Buddhist Art – MW 11:00 am – 12:15 pm – Wang – 38011
SFS/CULP Humanities; SFS/RCST Asia; College/Humanities & Writing II; Core: HALC; College/SFS/REWA Area 3; Core: Theology; Diversity/Global
This course will survey the Buddhist art and architecture of Asia through selected case studies of artworks and sites in South Asia, Southeast Asia, and East Asia. Among the topics to be studied include: representations of the historical Buddha’s life, rock-cut architecture, monastic complexes, painted mandalas, Zen portraits, as well as the roles played by patronage, pilgrimage, and ritual. Our focus on the Buddhist art and architecture of Asia will allow us to think through not only the historical development of the religion and its visual and architectural forms but also issues of cross-cultural transmission. In the process, students will gain familiarity not only with the religious and historical context of the artworks and sites and with the basic iconography of Buddhist deities but also with methods of visual analysis that form the basis of art historical methodology. No prior knowledge of Asian art or religions is required or assumed.
ARTH 228-01: Northern Renaissance Art – TR 9:30 – 10:45 am – Acres – 41702
This course explores art made in the Netherlands, Germany, and France c. 1300-1575, which includes an amazing variety of work produced for courts, churches, civic bodies, and private individuals among the growing middle classes in the cities. Who paid for art? How was it produced? What roles did it play in society, politics, religion, and daily life? Why did so many new kinds of subject matter emerge in European art of this period? With an emphasis on the highly original and influential work of such leading figures as Jan van Eyck, Albrecht Dürer, Hieronymus Bosch, and Pieter Bruegel, we will consider functions, meanings, and markets of art in a period of dramatic change. Our class will make two visits to the National Gallery of Art, which has an excellent collection of major works from this period.
ARTH 259: Exchange in the Medieval World – MW 9:30 – 10:45 am – Hunt – 42092
Globalization in the medieval period casts a long shadow across art history, spanning from the rise of the Byzantine emperor Justinian (527 CE) to the Sack of Constantinople (1204 CE) and the Siege of Acre (1291 CE). During this period the transportation of material goods, circulation of artistic practices, and mobility of ideas across geographies led to networks of connectivity between Constantinople and Rome, Jerusalem to Aachen, and Granada to Cairo. This course examines how art objects (painting, sculpture, textiles, manuscripts, ivories, enamels, and relics) and architecture allow us to recover and retrace cross-cultural movements both within a European context and beyond. Students will consider issues of patronage, messaging and propaganda, race and cultural migration, trade routes and mechanisms of exchange, and the dynamic rise of artistic capitals.
CHIN 362: Intro to Classical Chinese – TR 3:30 – 4:45 pm – Kafalas – 23598
Prerequisite: -212 or permission of instructor.
Classical Chinese is the language of the bulk of the Chinese textual tradition from early historical and philosophical writings down to the early twentieth century. This course introduces the basic structures and vocabulary of that language, which still has a large influence on the formal written prose of modern newspapers and documents.
CLSS 220: Fall of Rome – MW 3:30 – 4:45 pm – Haynes – 41497
What was it like to witness the fall of Rome? How do we tell if civilization is collapsing and what insights can be applied to our own society? How does the conflict between Christianity and paganism color our interpretation of the transition from the classical world to the Middle Ages? This course will explore such questions primarily through the lens of the Roman literature of late antiquity (fourth to sixth centuries) but with an eye to the transformations that occurred in the seventh and eighth centuries, the so-called Dark Ages. Assigned readings in translation will be drawn from a host of sources ranging from well-known Church Fathers, such as Augustine and Jerome, to lesser-known secular masters such as Macrobius and Rutilius Namatianus.
ENGL 091 – History of Literature, Media and Culture I – MW 11:00 am – 12:15 pm – McNamer – 23323
This course is a foundation course for the English major. In it, we will explore a selection of early
English literary texts composed ca. 800-1800, situating them in multiple contexts – historical, cultural, material, critical – that can illuminate their meaning and significance in their own time, their legacies in later Anglophone traditions, and their resonance with present concerns. Attention to the diversity and alterity of literary modes and the nuances of historical and cultural differences will be one of our overriding aims. Students in this course can expect to achieve greater mastery in the art of close reading; to gain familiarity with major shifts in English literary history from the medieval period through the eighteenth century; to develop a rich critical vocabulary for speaking about early literature; to identify the kinds of questions and sources that can illuminate unfamiliar texts; to acquire greater skill in persuasive writing; and to develop an appreciation of the varieties of media – the oral, aural, and material dimensions — of early literary texts, and the ways digital tools can help us access these.
ENGL-108-01: Chaucer and the Fourteenth Century – TR 3:30 – 4:45 pm – Hirsh – 35188
This course examines the fourteenth-century English poet Geoffrey Chaucer (c.1340-1400) as well as certain other texts, such as the romance ‘Sir Gawain and the Green Knight,’ and a number of contemporary courtly, religious and secular lyrics, and a handful of medieval ballads. Its focus is on the invention of narrative and the importance of voice in Chaucer’s brilliant CANTERBURY TALES, and it should prove of interest to anyone curious about the Middle Ages, as well as to anyone interested in writing creatively. Its two papers include a creative option, in which students compose a Chaucer-like narrative set, for example, in contemporary Georgetown, as a way of demonstrating an understanding of medieval and of Chaucerian narrative. Yes, there’s a final.
GERM 043: Witches – TR 2:00 – 3:15 pm – Weigert – 26897
This course is an entry point to the Cultural Humanities and Arts at Georgetown University. It examines the construction and representation of the witch in the context of history, literature, and film, with an emphasis on historical and cultural products from German-speaking areas and Europe more broadly. The course investigates what is clearly one of the most disturbing and inexplicable occurrences in human history. Unlike the Holocaust, to which the witch hunts are frequently compared, the persecution of witches cannot be viewed as a relatively brief and unusually violent historical anomaly, since it continued over several hundred years; the witch hunts cannot be explained in the context of national specificity since they spanned almost the entire European continent and migrated to early America; nor can these events be blamed on any single “madman.” As a historical phenomenon, the witch persecution defies simplistic explanations and thus lends itself particularly well to the kinds of investigation this course intends.
HIST 007 – 62: Intro Early Hist: Europe 1 – Brizio – 41508
Taught at Villa Le Balze.
Core: Diversity/Global, SFS/Core Macro-Integ History
This course will provide an introductory survey of European history from late Imperial Rome to the eighteenth century. The main focus will be on social and cultural developments, but political, economic, religious, intellectual, and artistic themes will also be addressed. Within these general themes, we will in particular look at the family as a social institution in which individuals, both men, and women, were legally subordinated in different ways to their father’s authority, and their social behaviors were strictly controlled. If they behaved ‘correctly’, they were given protection and freedom. The course also considers some alternative, personal, or professional life strategies, far from ‘correct’ behaviors, which evolved during these times. The aim is to introduce students to a cultural, social, and historical approach to an intriguing topic from different but interrelated points of view. The course also aims to help students think historically and understand the process of historical reasoning and analysis. The lectures will help especially with addressing the social reality of the family through the centuries. The auxiliary readings are texts of varied nature and we will try to understand how each type of text can help us analyze various historical problems. The course fulfills one of the Core History requirements for the College and the introductory-level History requirement for the SFS. Please note that, if you have received or expect to receive AP or IB credit or placement for History, you can NOT take HIST 007 for credit.
HIST 109: The Islamic World – TR 2:00 – 3:15 pm – Brown – 11480
From humble beginnings nearly 1500 years ago, to enormous power and prestige in the Middle Ages, to political decline and foreign occupation in the modern era, Islam has developed into a highly diverse, global tradition representing nearly one-quarter of the world’s population. Yet it is most widely known through caricatures of terrorists and despots. This course examines that phenomenon. It focuses on the historical development of Muslim communities and their interactions with European and other powers. It emphasizes the impact of those interactions on Islam’s ideological and political developments. The interaction between religion and politics is a major sub-theme of the course.
HIST 122: History of China I – TR 9:30 – 10:45 am – Spendelow – 11486
Core: Diversity/Global; SFS/CORE History: Early Reg; MSB/IB Area Course
The course is introductory, has no prerequisites, and assumes no prior knowledge of China or its language. The organization of the course is basically chronological, but within that framework we will be approaching China from a wide range of viewpoints, taking up political, economic, social, religious, philosophical, and artistic developments. In this fall semester, we will cover the formation of China’s social, political, and intellectual culture and its development through various dynastic regimes, up through the end of the Ming Dynasty in the late 16th century. In addition, in this semester we will explore the historical roots of several claims made by the People’s Republic of China in the 21st century, including linkages with Xinjiang, Central Asia, and Tibet; the “Silk Road” origins of the 2013 “One Belt, One Road” project, and China’s aspirations for a blue-water navy. The course has two basic goals: (1) to present a basic introduction to the traditions and legacies of the history and culture of China, including conflicting, even contradictory, interpretations of these traditions/legacies; and (2) to use the specific study of China as a means for developing more general skills in the discipline of historical analysis.
HIST 124: History of Japan I – TR 2:00 – 3:15 pm – Spendelow – 40213
Core: Diversity/Global; SFS/CORE History: Early Reg; MSB/IB Area Course
This course begins a two-part sequence offering a general history of Japan from the earliest records of Japanese civilization through to the present. The course is introductory, has no prerequisites, and assumes no prior knowledge of Japan or its language. The organization of the course is basically chronological, but within that framework we will be approaching Japan from a wide range of viewpoints, taking up political, economic, social, religious, philosophical, and artistic developments. In this fall semester, we will cover the formation of Japan’s social, political, and intellectual culture, including the formation of Japan’s distinctive identity and the tensions between centrifugal and centripetal forces. We will also examine changes in Japan’s relationship to East Asia and, by the 16th century, the rest of the planet. The course ends with the collapse of the last of the shogunal/military governments in the 1860s, paving the way for Japan’s “modernization” in the 19th and 20th centuries.
The course has two basic goals: (1) to present a basic introduction to the traditions and legacies of the history and culture of Japan, including conflicting, even contradictory, interpretations of these traditions/legacies; and (2) to use the specific study of Japan as a means for developing more general skills in the discipline of historical analysis.
HIST 145-62: Early Renaissance Italy – Brizio – 42100
Offered in the Fall at the Villa in Fiesole, Italy.
The fall of the Western Roman Empire in 476 represents a crucial watershed in the history of European civilization. Nevertheless, the patrimony of ideas of pagan antiquity survives and continues to inspire political and religious beliefs. The course starts with a brief survey of the principal events which shaped this complex period in order to introduce some of the key lines of the cultural history of the Middle Ages. A great transformation was later represented by the phenomenon of the re-birth of cities. In fact, around the eleventh century, demographic and economic factors produced a real urban revolution in some areas of Europe, and this turning point actually represents the transition from the feudal system to the late Medieval civilization. The course analyzes the society, politics and culture of medieval Italy, focusing mainly on cities from the eleventh to the fifteenth century. The structure of the city-state republic, the family, the daily life, the economy, the religious beliefs and practices, the world of the marginal and the mentality of the people will all be discussed in the effort of reconstructing the features of medieval urban civilization. Particular emphasis will be given to the city of Florence in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries. The complex city universe expresses itself through peculiar art and architecture (cathedrals, fresco cycles, city walls and gates, public palaces, altarpieces, market squares and monasteries) which will be studied in order to reconstruct the material environment and the ideological aspects of late Medieval and early Renaissance Italian civilization.
HIST 160-01-06: Middle East I – T 9:30 – 10:45 am – Agoston – 28496
Core: Diversity/Global; SFS-Q/Core Regional History I; SFS/CORE History: Early Reg; SFS/CORE Macro-Integ History; MSB/IB Area Course
The core requirement in History for COLLEGE students is as follows: 1 HIST Focus course: HIST 099, any section. Please note that HIST 099 must be taken at GU. 1 introductory History survey: 007, 008, 106, 107, 111, 112, 128, 129, 158, 159, 160, 161, 225, or 227. Note that students who receive AP or IB credit or placement for History CANNOT take HIST 007, 008, or 099 for credit and should instead complete the requirement with courses in the 100-499 range. Through lectures, readings, class discussion and audio-visual material, this course examines the history of the Middle East from the late sixth to the late seventeenth centuries. The lectures focus on broader topics, such as the emergence of Islam; the history of major Middle Eastern empires; changing geo-strategic and cultural conditions; and the evolution and functioning of classical and medieval Muslim institutions. Discussion sections will enable students to deepen their knowledge regarding local diversities within the unifying systems of Muslim beliefs, law, and administration; the material and intellectual exchanges and interactions between the Muslim world and non-Muslim communities and polities; and Muslim reactions to the Crusades and the Mongol invasions. Some seats have been reserved for first years.
Some seats in this class are reserved.
HIST 171: History of Russia I – TR – 11:00 am – 12:15 pm – Afinogenov – 11505
Core: Diversity/Global; SFS/CORE History: Early Reg; College/SFS/European Stud Cert; MSB/IB Area Course; College/SFS/REWA Area 3
The Slavs, Origins of Russia, Kyiv, the Mongol period, Muscovy, Imperial Russia to 1825 with special attention to autocracy, serfdom, foreign policy, the Orthodox Church, Westernization, society, culture, and the birth of the revolutionary movement.
HIST 230: Europe After Rome – TR 3:30 – 4:45 – Newfield – 32436
Profound political, cultural and environmental transformations occurred in Europe between the fourth and the tenth centuries CE. As the Roman Empire gave way to “Dark Age” kingdoms, the ways of life of ordinary people and elites, within and beyond Rome’s former limits, forever changed. This course draws upon traditional historical sources as well as the material record (bones, buildings, soils and trees) to delve into the human and natural processes that defined the era. Diverse topics are addressed, from saints and popes to barbarian migrations and recurrent plague, to multiculturalism and Christianization, to climate change and economic fragmentation. Although focused on Europe, the course also considers connections with Rome’s Byzantine and Muslim heirs.
HIST 232: History and Legend in Medieval Britain – MW 5:00 – 6:15 pm – Cruz – 41785
This course looks at the wide sweep of British history through legend; it also asks questions as to why some figures become legendary and others do not. The semester begins with the Druids and their legends and ends with King Richard III (his life, legend and the recent discovery of his remains). It focuses on modern and medieval views of legendary figures while also tracing whatever contemporary historical evidence there is for the person behind the legend. The legends examined in this course include King Arthur, King Alfred, Thomas Becket and legends of saints, Robin Hood and outlaw legends, Braveheart (William Wallace) and Richard III. Final papers can focus on legends from other cultures, depending on one’s interest.
HIST 300: History of Emotions and Senses – R 5:00 – 7:30 pm – De Luna – 41790
From raging medieval European kings and falling in love in medieval Japan to tasting God and smelling race and “feeling cool” in twentieth-century America, this seminar explores scholarship on the senses and emotions from a range of world regions and time periods in order to explore basic questions about the relationship between the mind and the body, the individual and society, biology and culture. This seminar is intended for history majors. However, students in psychology, cognitive science, anthropology, sociology, economics, and political science will have something to learn from how historians study the relationship between the experience and standards of feeling in particular historical contexts and the motives and actions inspiring historical transformations in experiences of the body.
HIST 339: Eternal City: A History of Rome – TR 9:30 – 10:45 am – Astarita – 41793
“What is all history, but the praise of Rome?” – Petrarch, c. 1370 This seminar class focuses on the history of the city of Rome, from its foundation in ancient times through its contemporary role as the capital of Italy. Each week we will focus on a different period, and examine the history of the city, in terms of both the life of its population and the development of city buildings, neighborhoods, and structures. We will discuss political, economic, social, cultural, religious, intellectual, and other changes, with a special focus on the architecture and urban structures of the physical city itself. Rome is a place, but it is also an idea. Therefore, though the history of the city and its people will be our main focus, we will also discuss the image of Rome, the perception of the city by outsiders, its broader role in European and western culture, and the legacy of its history as the seat of antiquity’s greatest empire, the main center of western Christianity and of global Catholicism, and the capital of a modern European nation-state. Please note however that this class will not offer an overall history of antiquity, of the papacy, or of the Christian church in general (or of modern Italy per se). The course aims thus to allow for a close analysis of specific themes and topics and of how they developed over a significant span of time. The course also has a methodological aim: to introduce students to the advanced use of primary sources and to further their understanding of historical thinking and analysis. Both class discussion and writing assignments will push students to hone their critical reading, writing, and analytical skills. In particular, we will try to understand how to read textual, visual, and other sources with an awareness of historical context and with attention to the specifics of genre, authorship, and audience.
HIST 360: Islam and War – W 9:30am – 12:00 pm – Agoston – 35872
Core: Diversity/Global, SFS/IHIS Core, SFS/IPOL Security Studies, SFS/RCST Middle East, College/SFS/REWA Area 2, X-List: MVST
This course examines Islamic warfare from the earliest Muslim conquests through WWI. After discussing classical Islamic conceptions of war and peace, the course examines the early Muslim conquests, the Crusades, the Mongol invasion of the Islamic world, and the wars of the Mamluk, Ottoman, and Safavid Empires. In the second part of the course, we consider topics such as land, naval, and siege warfare, military manpower and military slavery in Islam, war financing, military technology, weapons and tactics, logistics and provisioning, fortresses and border defense, and the impact of war upon societies. The last phase of the course studies military modernization attempts of the Ottoman Empire and Egypt in the nineteenth century, and the ultimate defeat of modernized Muslim armies by the combined forces of ethnic nationalism and Great Power imperialism. In this section, we also consider the increased destructiveness of modern warfare for non-combatants and the displacement of civilian populations.
MVST 348: Senior Seminar: Advanced Research in Global Medieval Studies – F 1:00 – 4:00 pm – Mcnamer – 41697
In this seminar, we will investigate key methods, issues and approaches to advanced undergraduate research in Global Medieval Studies. Our scope will include Europe, Asia, Africa, and the Americas, ca. 500-1500 C.E. Topics will include matters related to periodization, historiography, and terminology; the circulation of material and written evidence; tensions between the global and the local; language, communication, contact and exchange between cultures; and literary and artistic expression and adaptation. Since material culture is a key component of the course, we will get out into the city to explore relevant collections in DC museums, including the Smithsonian museums, the National Gallery, and Dumbarton Oaks. The course is required for majors in Global Medieval Studies. It is also open to seniors minoring in Global Medieval Studies. Short assignments will culminate in a substantial research paper required of all participants. For majors opting for the thesis track, this research paper can serve as the foundation for the senior thesis, which they will complete in the spring by enrolling in MVST 349.
Readings will include selections from Whose Middle Ages? Teachable Moments for an Ill-Used Past (Albin et al., 2019), Global Medieval Contexts 500-150: Connections and Comparisons (Klimek et al., 2021), The Global Middle Ages: An Introduction (Heng, 2021), and Toward a Global Middle Ages (Keene et al., 2019).
This is a Senior Seminar, designed for seniors majoring or minoring in Global Medieval Studies. Permission of the instructor is required for any other interested students. Fulfills the requirement for Diversity: Global
HIST 441: Medieval Cooking in America – TR 2:00 – 3:15 pm – Pinkard – 41803
The title “Medieval Cooking in America” might seem to be oxymoronic since everyone knows that the Americas were settled by Europeans long after the end of the Middle Ages. However, it conveys an important point about the transfer of cultural knowledge in the early modern world. The foodways that Old World people brought to the New remained embedded in ideas and practices that were already established in African and European cultures centuries before 1492. When New World crops such as maize, chilies, tomatoes, beans, and sweet potatoes arrived in the Old World they created some new options for cooks, but they were used in traditional ways. Transformative change came only when African and European foodways came into direct contact with each other and with the culinary traditions of Native Americans. In time, distinctive approaches to cooking, eating, and drinking emerged from these interactions which involved the exchange of agricultural methods, technologies, and tools as well as cooking equipment, culinary techniques, and, of course, recipes. In this class we will investigate this complex development of American cuisine through the study of material culture and also of ideas and social practices that influenced what, how, and with whom Americans cooked and ate. The focus will be on Anglophone North America from the early seventeenth century to the middle of the nineteenth century, when new technologies for processing, preserving, and cooking food disrupted older patterns. There will also be forays into the early modern food cultures of Francophone North America and perhaps Mexico and the Caribbean too.
IDST: Ignatius Seminar: Science and Religion – MW 3:30 – 4:45 pm – Collins – 34327
Georgetown University College of Arts & Sciences First-Year Students Only
Science and religion have played powerful roles in shaping Western civilization: unparalleled resources – human, financial, and natural – have been invested in each of them, and they can be associated with many of the West’s proudest accomplishments and cruelest wrongdoings.
Taken together, science and religion conventionally conjure up images of conflict. They are envisioned as rival forces, associated with contending institutions and serving opposing interests. Historical controversies over the structure of the cosmos and modern-day debates over the science curriculum in U.S. high schools are offered in support of the conclusion that science and religion exist in an unrelenting state of warfare. The aim of this course is to test that generalization by examining the actual history, focusing on key episodes in which scientific and religious interests have intersected from Antiquity to the Present.
History is littered with vibrant discussions about such problems. Our goal is to get caught up in the vibrancy as we work to understand the concerns, confusion, and curiosities of these historical moments. We will be looking at case studies focusing on particularly “hot” historical debates. After laying the groundwork in the debates of Antiquity and the Middle Ages, we will turn to the 16th– and 17th-century controversy over heliocentricism. By studying the actual hearings and trials, we will try to figure out how solid a win these were for scientific truth over religion’s superstitions. Regardless of what they achieved, they hardly ended the debates, and by the end of the semester, we will have also considered controversies in our own day over the origins of the cosmos and life, and yet newer questions – about the environment, for example – that the religiously and scientifically minded have a lot to say about … sometimes in conversation, sometimes in rivalry. Our task is to make sense of it.
PHIL 235: Medieval Ethics – TR 9:30-10:45 am – Williams – 42604
Given their broadly shared theological outlook, one might expect that medieval writers on ethics were content mostly to restate a bland sort of orthodoxy. In fact, though, they differed sharply on such central topics as the nature of goodness and badness, happiness, the relationship between morality and God’s will, free choice and the structure of human action, and virtues. This course is a survey of ethical thought in the Latin-speaking West from the late fourth century through the early fourteenth century, focused on exploring and understanding those debates through a reading of foundational texts, many of which continue to exert an influence on contemporary ethical thought. Authors to be studied include Augustine, Boethius, Anselm, Abelard, Thomas Aquinas, John Duns Scotus, and William of Ockham.
SPAN 241: Spain: Literature and Culture I – TR 12:30 – 1:45 pm – Borowitz – 15294
Prerequisite: SPAN-102, SPAN-104, or SPAN-110 with a grade of B+ or higher or placement exam.
This class examines the act of crossing boundaries in the literature of the Iberian Peninsula during the Middle Ages and the Siglo de Oro (13th-18th c.). We will read poems, stories, novels, and plays alongside biographies, autobiographies, hagiographies, and religious and political treatises. In our class discussions, we will consider how writers in these centuries play with, challenge, and cross boundaries of various kinds—geography, law, morality, gender, and genre—in their texts. What do they gain, and what do they risk, in doing so?
THEO 281-01: History of Christian Thought I – MW 9:30 – 10:45 am – Lamm – 41690
Normally, at least two other courses in Theology, but this can also serve as a second required Core theology class with permission from the professor.
This course investigates the history of Christian thought and practice during the first millennium of Christianity. As a seminar, we will build an intellectual community that engages issues and texts in a thoughtful and deliberative manner; we will also support one another in realizing the Jesuit ideal of eloquentia perfecta, which means eloquence in persuasive speech and writing produced for the common good. The focus is on primary texts and on the development of certain key Christian doctrines (e.g., Christology, the Trinity, grace and freedom, sacraments, and ecclesiology) in relation to the historical and cultural context. Primary sources will be supplemented with readings from secondary sources about the history of the church. About half of the course will be a seminar and the other half lecture. The course is designed so that students will have ample time to spend reading the lecture’s primary texts. For Medieval Studies: this course offers a mini-course on Augustine of Hippo (3 weeks); it traces the spread of Christianity in the early Middle Ages; and it studies theology produced at the court of Charlemagne. Requirements: two mid-term examinations, one seminar presentation, and a final examination. Prerequisites: This is an advanced class. At a minimum, students need to have successfully completed their two-course Core requirement for Theology. This course also counts in the SFS CULP program, Medieval Studies, and Catholic Studies. (Students wanting to take this course as the second Core Course requirement may petition Prof Lamm.)