Spring 2020 Courses

All courses crosslisted with Global Medieval Studies can also be found on MyAccess. To find courses for registration, log in, go to “Schedule of Classes,” and then use the attribute menu to assist in your hunt. First, select ALL subjects in the subject menu, by hitting ctrl-A. Then, under “Attribute Type,” find and select “X-List: MVST.” Click “search,” and all crosslisted courses will appear. Please feel free to contact Global Medieval Studies if you have any questions about this process. 

And to find courses on Classy, just select “Medieval Studies” for “Department” when searching for courses. You may also select “MVST” under X-List to get the same result.

ARAB 421: Islamic Foundational Texts (TR 12:30pm – 1:45pm) – Prof. Suzanne Stetkevych

This course will focus on the close reading, translation, and literary cultural interpretation of selected passages from the foundational texts of Arab-Islamic culture: Qurʾān, Tafsīr, al-Sīrah al-Nabawiyyah, and Poetry. A focus on morphology and syntax aims at developing accuracy and precision in reading and translation, but also to develop an appreciation of their rhetorical and semantic function in the refinement of expression and meaning, whether in classical or modern Arabic. Critical readings will explore the linguistic, literary, and cultural dimensions of these formative texts.

ARTH 101: Ancient to Medieval Art (WF 11:00 am – 12:15pm) – Prof. Barrett Tileny

Major monuments of western art from the prehistoric birth of representational art through the thirteenth century, with an emphasis on ancient and medieval civilizations of Europe and the Mediterranean basin.  Seats are reserved for freshmen and sophomores.

ARTH 375: Art of the Silk Routes (MW, 11:00am-12:15pm) – Prof. Michelle C. Wang

This course focuses on the cultural heritage of the overland and maritime silk routes. The silk routes served as a conduit for commercial trade and cultural exchange between China, Central Asia, India and Southeast Asia, and Europe. In addition to mural paintings in the Buddhist cave shrines of northwestern China, we will also study portable paintings, manuscripts, textiles, ceramics, and architecture. We will put these artifacts into context by imagining how they interfaced with the rulers, monks, traders, and nomads who traveled and lived along the silk routes.

ARTH 418: Mesoamerican Art: Myth Ritual (T 2:00pm – 4:30pm) – Prof. Andrea Huezo

The course examines the arts of Mesoamerica up to the time of the European conquest. Organized chronologically, students analyze and discuss artworks associated with the major cultures of Mesoamerica, including Olmec, Maya, and Aztec. Additionally, by studying Mesoamerican codices (Mixtec, Maya, and Aztec), the course explores Mixtec mythological events and dynastic history; Maya ritual cycles concerned with religion and cosmogony; and Aztec pantheism, historical events, conquests, and daily life. While placing particular emphasis on religion, race, gender, politics, and the performative aspects of rituals, the course introduces students to the major theoretical concepts regarding Mesoamerican art and its interpretation. Open to juniors and seniors; a number of seats reserved for graduate students.

ARTH 466: The Body in Asian Art (M 2:00pm – 4:30pm) – Prof. Michelle C. Wang

It has often been assumed that representation of the human form did not play as significant a role in the development of East Asian art as it did in the Western tradition. In this seminar, we will address this issue by exploring various approaches to the issue of corporeality in the art of China and Japan that not only focus upon representation of the human body, but that also question the ways in which discourse about the body was related to larger questions about death and the afterlife, the sacred and the profane, the human and the artificial, and the articulation of national identity. Selected case studies for weekly topics may range from the famed terracotta warriors to imperial portraiture, along with an exploration of calligraphy, cyborgs, and performance art. While the course will focus primarily on premodern art, students are invited to consider issues concerning the body, gender, and personhood in modern and contemporary contexts. No prior knowledge of Asian art is required or assumed.

BIOL 269: Global History of the Plague (W 6:30pm – 9:00pm) – Prof. Timothy Newfield

This course considers the global history of Yersinia pestis, the zoonotic bacterium (a microorganism causing disease in people and other animals) that causes plague. It adopts an interdisciplinary approach to both tease out macro- and micro-histories of the three pandemics associated with the pathogen –the Justinianic Plague, Black Death, and Third Pandemic– and also to pin down transitions in plague’s past –biological, cultural, and ecological– fundamental for understanding the bacterium’s inconstant pandemicity. Students will travel considerable time and space –the sixth century to the present, Alexandria to Buenos Aires– and draw on diverse sources –like Byzantine hagiography, the New York Times, and plague-victim teeth– to engage scholarly debates, unravel plague’s complexity, and assess plague’s impact.

CHIN 354: Reading Chinese Landscape  (TR 12:30pm – 1:45pm) – Prof. Phillip Kafalas

Starting from the basic observation that without humans there is no landscape but only land, this course examines how landscapes were constructed, represented, interpreted, and altered in pre-modern China. What makes a landscape more than just a collection of proximate objects? Course materials will include literature (landscape poetry and travel writing, much of it from the medieval period), visual arts (painting, gardens, and cityscapes), and recent essays that reexamine the intersection of Daoism and ecology, the manipulation of landscapes for geomantic or moral purposes, and the influence on landscape of cosmology, utopias, and political exile. If possible, there will also be a group visit to the Freer-Sackler gallery. All readings are in English, and there are no prerequisites.

CHIN 363: Traditions of Chinese Fiction  (TR 3:30pm – 4:45pm) – Prof. Phillip Kafalas

As it has evolved, this course has come to focus on the rich tradition of Classical Chinese tales of anomalies and marvels, with some extension into the legacy of those tales in early-modern vernacular Chinese. It thus doubles as a second-semester reading course in Classical Chinese. The bulk of the readings will range from early Chinese myths and tales of ghosts and fox spirits to more elaborate and literary medieval (Tang dynasty) tales of remarkable beings (both human and nearly so). There will also be a brief foray into seventeenth-century detective fiction. There is no textbook; texts with glosses will be selected and distributed based on the reading level of the students. There will also be a few modern secondary readings (in Chinese and/or English) for context. Prerequisite: CHIN-362 Introduction to Classical Chinese or equivalent.

CLSL 109: Medieval Latin (R 3:30pm – 6:00pm) – Prof. Dennis McManus

The topic for 2020 is the Latin Literature of slavery. From antiquity to the present day, the enslaving of human beings has been found across many races and cultures. This course will examine the Latin literature of slavery in the West from the late Roman Empire until its abolition in 19th century Europe and America. Political, religious and personal writings of both slavers and those enslaved will be read. Special attention will be given to translating a selection of the recently surfaced letters from the Jesuit archives of the Maryland Province on the sale of slaves connected to Georgetown University.

ENGL 091: Literary History I (Sections 01 and 02) – Prof. Lindsay Kaplan

Literary History I is part of a two-semester sequence that surveys Anglophone literary and cultural history. We will be reading texts from the medieval period through the eighteenth century. The course will highlight a number of critical and/or representative texts, genres, debates, developments, and crises illustrative of the time periods studied.

ENGL 104: Global Medieval Literatures (TR 9:30am – 10:45am) – Prof. Sarah McNamer

Our focus in this course on global medieval literatures will be on the cultural construction of emotion — in particular, romantic love — in the courtly literatures of medieval Europe, Persia, and Japan. Each set of texts will give rise to its own set of issues, but abiding preoccupations will include the relationship between “artificial” conventions and “real” emotion (is this a valid distinction?); the cultural construction of the desiring and desirable body; the role of women as writers, court patrons, or courtly audience; conflicting ideals of masculinity; erotic love as religious experience; love in relation to arranged marriages, incest, and polygamy; the function of “noble” emotions as a marker of aristocratic distinction; love and the poetics of public and private spaces; the place of same-sex desire in relation to heterosexual love; and the use of irony as a destabilizing challenge to the reigning amatory system. Since religious practices and belief systems strongly inflect emotional constructs in each of the three cultures we will be exploring, our work will involve attention to Christianity, Islam, Sufism, Shinto and Buddhism. All readings will be in modern English translation. European texts will include Andreas Capellanus, The Art of Courtly Love, Chrétien de Troyes’ Lancelot, the Lais of Marie de France, and Gottfried von Strassbourg’s Tristan and Isolde. Persian texts will include the Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam, Nizami Ganjavi’s Layla and Majnun and Khusrau and Shirin, and poems by Rumi and Hafez. Japanese texts will include the abridged version of Murasaki Shikibu’s The Tale of Genji, the poems of Ono no Komachi and Izumi Shikibu, and excerpts from The Pillowbook of Sei Shonagon and similar poetic diaries by women of the Heian court. We will seek to embed these literary works in a wider cultural matrix by reading extracts from additional primary sources such as chronicles and conduct books as well as brief selections from secondary sources. Methods from the anthropology and history of emotion will also guide the kinds of questions we ask about an emotion that seems so “natural”; do our literary texts from different cultures suggest, as one scholar puts it (Lutz), that “emotions are not precultural, but preeminently cultural”?

ENGL 105: Medieval Women’s Lit (MW 5:00pm – 6:15pm) – Prof. Kelley Wickham-Crowley

Do these situations sound like the Middle Ages you know? A medieval girl is raised as a boy. A lady saves a knight instead of the other way round. A mother curses unsympathetic men to suffer labor pains when they are needed in battle. A medieval woman constructs a universal history entirely about women to show that misogynists lie. The roots of our modern gender expectations and debates in the West come mainly from medieval society, but you may not have realized how old some of these contentions are, and that women were actively involved in them. This course looks at the writings of medieval women and writings about them, considering the variety of cultures and cultural influences over the thousand years of the European Middle Ages. Literatures from Ireland, Wales, England, France, Germany, and Scandinavia are contextualized against and within cultural expectations of women under such influences as gender roles, religion, national identities, self identity, and mythology. Outside material on historical backgrounds and literary criticism from multiple perspectives supplement the literature read.

ENGL 304: Medieval Sexualities (MW 2:00pm – 3:15pm) – Prof. Kelley Wickham-Crowley

To what extent do social, religious, and political institutions form and deform erotic choices and definitions? This course aims to understand the variety of medieval sexualities and their impacts from a comparative sampling of varied textual types and social institutions in Irish, Welsh, English, French, and German texts. We will study depictions of sexualities and gender issues they raise, with some background on classical and medieval biological and medical texts, religious thought and law, depictions in art, and the cultural variation present across regions and periods from c. 500-1500. Students might expect, for example, to learn more of Anglo-Saxon attitudes concerning masculinity from penitentials or Beowulf, to think about the implications of Irish monastic attitudes for reading women in Irish myth, to read courtly literature through the lens of contemporary medical knowledge, or to consider the connection between prosecution of heresies and accusations of deviance. Those interested in material culture may extend their work to include art, manuscripts, and archaeological evidence. You will be expected to build up your understanding of medieval contexts and to learn to research sources in medieval studies and in the fields of sexuality and gender studies, working on a shorter paper and research during the term and culminating in a longer, final written project on a topic developed in consultation with the professor.

GERM 043-01: Witches (TR 2:00pm – 3:15pm) – Prof. Astrid Weigert

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; they 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 such then, witch persecution defies simplistic explanations and thus lends itself particularly well to the kinds of investigation this course intends. Taught in English

HIST 099 (Sections 5-8): Hist Focus: Machiavelli/Medici  – (TR 3:00pm – 3:50pm) Prof. Jo Ann Moran Cruz

This course will focus on Machiavelli’s writings within the context of the history of Florence from the early fifteenth century to Machiavelli’s death in 1527 with sessions on the afterlife of Machiavelli’s writings, and discussion on the debates over his legacy. We will look at the role the Medici played in Florentine politics, humanism, religion and art along with Machiavelli’s interactions with and responses to the Medici. Readings will include Machiavelli’s Prince and selections from his Discourses, The Art of War, his plays and his “Sermon on Penitence,” along with some of his personal and diplomatic letters. We will also look at the negative views on Machiavelli and some of the positive assessments over the centuries. Current views on Machiavelli are in flux, and this course will use the primary source readings to evaluate current debates. For College students, HIST 099 fulfills the core requirement in History for a focused study of one period or topic; these students complete the requirement by taking a broad survey. 099 should ideally be taken in one’s first or second year. Note that students who receive AP or IB credit for History CANNOT take HIST 007, 008, or 099 for credit. Please note that HIST 099 must be taken at GU and cannot be transferred.

HIST 111 (Sections 1-4): Africa I (R 6:30pm – 7:45pm) – Prof. Kathryn de Luna

This course is a general survey and explores the rich history of people living in Africa from very early times through the 19th century. We will focus our attention on several regional case studies, including the early urbanism and medieval states of the West African Sahel, equatorial societies and kingdoms of the southern savannas, the Swahili coast and its hinterland in eastern and central Africa, and the Kongo Kingdom and Atlantic slave trade. We seek to understand transformations common to early human histories, such as the emergence of food production or the rise of centralized states, as well as the situational and contingent nature of ethnicity, slavery, gender, and wealth and poverty in the African context. We will also consider social achievements particular to Africans’ history, such as the multiple inventions of heterarchical forms of governance. We will study how persistent ideas from western cultures shaped what outsiders thought they knew about Africans and their histories at the same time that we try to understand what Africans themselves thought about their own actions and those of their ancestors. We will access these histories by analyzing a range of primary historical sources: archaeological artifacts and site reports, travelers’ accounts, art, oral traditions, photographs, the reconstructed vocabulary of dead languages, and many others. For College students, HIST 111 fulfills the core requirement in History for a broad introductory survey; these students complete the requirement by taking HIST 099.

HIST 140: Charlemagne to Napoleon: HRE (TR 9:30am – 10:45am) – Prof. Amy Leonard

In this course, we will examine various aspects of the Empire’s history and culture. This will include investigation of individual figures, such as Charlemagne and Martin Luther, exploration of specific conflicts, such as the Investiture Controversy and the Thirty Years’ War, and a look at more general questions, such as German identity and its supposed “Special Path” that some say led to Hitler and the Nazis. We will look at religious belief and change, warfare, and witchcraft. As part of this exploration, we will also engage with a variety of themes and different types of historical writing, both primary and secondary. By the end of the semester, you will not only know more about the Holy Roman Empire and its long, complicated history, you will also know more about the craft of writing history and working with a variety of historical sources.

HIST 232: History-Legend in Medieval Britain (TR 6:30pm – 7:45pm) – Prof. Jo Ann Moran Cruz

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 340: Saints & Society – (TR 3:30pm – 4:45pm) Prof. David Collins

Major Themes: Martyrdom: Dying for the Faith, Desert Fathers and Mothers: Being Countercultural, Monasticism: Institutionalized Counterculture, Royalty: Paying for Holiness, the Crusades: Killing for the Faith, Blood Libel: Jews and Medieval Christianity, Relics: Trading in Body Parts, Pilgrimage: Rituals and the Saints, Sanctity and Insanity, Canonization and Law, Transformations: Renaissance/Reformation/Counterreformation, Contemporary Issues

HIST 449: Food: Rome to Industrial Age (TR 2:00pm – 3:15pm) – Prof. Susan Pinkard

Before the middle of the 19th century, all food consumed by humans was organic and most of it was local, too. Crops were grown without synthetic fertilizers or pesticides according to traditional techniques that became increasingly refined over time. Animals were raised on pasture or roamed free in forests eating diets they had evolved to digest. Wild harvests of foraged plants, game, and fish were crucial to diets. Due to the costs and difficulties of transportation most foodstuffs were consumed in the vicinity where they were produced. Despite these circumstances—and in some cases because of them—European foodways between late antiquity and the Industrial Revolution were full of diversity and innovation. The migrations of peoples, the obligations imposed by different religious traditions, evolving theories of diet, health, and disease, and the global exchange of plants and animals spread new ideas about what to eat and how to cook. The decline and subsequent rebirth of urban life encouraged new habits and patterns of consumption. The hierarchical pomp of court society provoked a reaction that valued simplicity in cooking and convivial informality at mealtimes. By the beginning of the 19th century, the work schedules, living arrangements, and class divisions characteristic of industrial society were beginning to redefine habits of cooking, eating, and drinking in Europe and in North America, too. Please note that the timeframe for History 449 ends in 1860, the point at which the fundamental systems for producing, distributing, and consuming food began a profound transformation thanks to the development of industrial technology. The story of that transformation from 1860 to the present is the subject of a companion course, History 335, Food: The Industrial Age, which is offered in alternate years with History 449. NOTE: Students have to have completed the core hist requirements before taking this class.

IDST 007: The City of Florence – (TBA) Prof. Tina Fallani

This course is taught at Villa Le Balze in Fiesole, Italy Students may enroll by application only. Please visit studyabroad.georgetown.edu to apply and to get further information.

INAF 243/JCIV 241: Kabbalah in Its Contexts – (TR 3:30 – 4:45) Prof. Ori Soltes

This course will address the question of what “mysticism” is, how it differs from “normative” religious experience, and therefore how Jewish, Christian and Muslim mysticism differ from (and are rooted in) normative Judaism, Christianity and Islam. It will also address the question of how Jewish, Christian and Muslim mysticism differ from and share common ground with each other.

The course will follow a two-fold path. One will be conceptual: we will be constantly asking how what we are reading, talking and thinking about is specific or not specific to what Jewish or Christian or Muslim mysticism is. The other will be historical: all three mystical traditions undergo centuries of development and part of grasping them is seeing how they change even as they remain consistently focused on the same essential issues. And those issues, not unique to mysticism or to these three types of mysticism, but uniquely addressed by each of them, include: why are we here? what, if anything, created us? for what purpose, if any? how can we know what It/He/She is and wants of us? how can we grasp that Other without losing hold of ourselves? and so on…

ITAL 460: Dante  (MW 2:00pm – 3:15pm) – Prof. Francesco Ciabattoni

From Dante’s spiritual crisis and descent into the pit of hell, this class covers all three canticas of the Divine Comedy. The pilgrim is lost in the forest of sin, signifying the crisis of entire humankind. Aided by Latin poet Virgil, he will have to rationalize his attitude towards the 7 deadly sins (lust, gluttony, wrath, pride, greed, sloth, envy) before ascending the mountain of Purgatory and be purified to soar to Heaven, where he will meet his beloved Beatrice, lost many years before. From here Beatrice will take him up through the nine heavens to the vision of God.

Personal and civic responsibilities, governmental accountability, church-state relations, economics and social justice, literary and artistic influences, benefits and limitations of interdisciplinarity–these are some of the themes that will frame our discussion of the Divine Comedy. Course is conducted in Italian.

ITAL 361: Monsters and Monstrosity in Medieval Italy (TBA) – Prof. Francesco Ciabattoni

Who is a monster? What defines monstrosity in our culture and in earlier times? Monsters represent complete alterity and challenge the basic notion of self and identity within any given cultural paradigm. Encompassing literature, visual arts, music and other media, this course explores how the notion of monstrosity and complete alterity changed in Italian culture from antiquity to the modern day. If in the classical era monstrosity was essentially seen as a marvel and a transgression of the natural order, today it has become a form of demonization of the Other, seen as the antagonist. Monsters provide a critical lens through which one can look at human nature and monstrosity can be seen as a paradoxical theology capable of subverting established assumptions. As writer Giorgio Manganelli (1922-1990) said, “Non v’è salvezza al di fuori del mostruoso” (“There is no salvation beyond the monstrous”). Course conducted in Italian. Readings in English and Italian.

MVST 349: MVST Thesis Seminar (M 2:00pm – 4:30pm) – Prof. Laura Morreale

Description TBA.

SPAN 241-01: Spain Literature & Culture I (TR 11:00am – 12:15pm) – Prof Martina Thorne

This course will take a journey through Spanish literature, from its very beginnings through the end of the 17th century, with the aim of understanding how literature serves as a vehicle for culture and to gain familiarity with various works of art from the diverse literary, artistic, and cultural movements across this time period. We will read a variety of texts, both canonical and popular (oral legends, poetry, stories, and theater). We will also consider examples of later film and text that attempt to represent the premodern world, to see how literary themes and techniques of the past relate to contemporary culture. Throughout the semester, we’ll discuss the ways to approach the literatures and cultures of the premodern past.

Este curso hace un recorrido panorámico de la literatura española desde sus comienzos hasta finales del siglo XVII, con la intención de apreciar cómo la literatura sirve de portadora de la cultura y dar a conocer varias de las obras representativas de los diversos periodos y movimientos literarios, artísticos y culturales de la época. Leeremos para ello textos de variada índole, tanto canónicos como populares, (leyendas orales, poesía, narrativa y teatro). También consideraremos ejemplos narrativos/cinematográficos que intentan representar el mundo pre-moderno para ver cómo los temas y técnicas literarias provenientes del pasado se relacionan con la cultura contemporána. A lo largo del semestre discutiremos las formas de aproximarse a la literaturas y culturas del pasado pre-moderno.

THEO 043: Augustine’s Confessions (MW 3:30pm – 4:45pm) – Prof. Tarmo Toom

This is a course on a masterpiece in world literature, on a late 4th-century text of Augustine. We will read closely the whole Confessions in which Augustine tells his story in the form of sequential conversions to the quest of wisdom (Cicero), Manichaeism, skepticism, neoplatonic philosophy, and Catholic Christianity. The Confessions is the history of the schooling of the author’s heart in the love of God, which is presented simultaneously as a narrative, introspection, theological reflection, philosophical scrutiny, and prayer.

THEO 050: Intro to Islam (MW 12:30pm – 1:45pm) – Prof. Mehmet S Sayilgan

This course aims to provide a comprehensive introduction to Islam, its history, diversity, beliefs, and practices. While the first part introduces the traditional narrative of Muhammad’s life and context, the second part concentrates on the foundations of Islam such as the Qur’an, legacy of Muhammad, and Sharia or Islamic Law. In the last part, we will study various aspects of the tradition including theology, rituals as well as jihad and women in Islam.

THEO 056: Tibetan Buddhism (MW 2:00pm – 3:15pm) – Prof. Brandon Dotson

This course offers a survey of Tibetan and Himalayan Buddhist traditions from the 8th century to the present day. In addition to introducing the main schools of Tibetan Buddhism and the Bön religion, we will consider their interactions with Tibetan popular religious practices. We will work from translations of Tibetan sources, such as the medieval hagiography of the 11th-century Tibetan saint Milarepa, but will also read contemporary ethnographies of Tibetan Buddhist communities. By the end of the course, we will be familiar with the the broad outlines of Tibetan Buddhist traditions as approached from historical, philosophical, and anthropological perspectives.

THEO 077: Christian Mysticism (MW 2:00pm – 3:15pm) – Prof. Stephen Fields

This course examines the nature and development of spiritual consciousness. It uses class Christian texts, film, and “practical” exercises. It explores the paradoxical nature of mysticism by focusing on how and why it challenges the “normal” categories for perceiving and interpreting reality. The course surveys some of mysticism’s principal types and discusses its multi-disciplinary structure (ie, philosophical, theological, psychological). Readings deal, among others, with Ignatius Loyola, Edith Stein, Gregory of Nyssa (a 4th century theologian), William James, John of the Cross, Plato.

THEO 120: Icons & Idols (MW 2:00pm – 3:15pm) – Prof. Rosanne Morici

This course explores a number of historical periods that have been deemed iconoclastic, or particularly hostile to images: Byzantine Iconoclasm; the Protestant Reformation; the French and Russian Revolutions; and the Iconoclasm of Modern Art. What is the meaning of this hostility? Why have religious and political groups alike battled so violently to control the construction and consumption of visual images? Why are pictures so powerful? This course examines the terms of these debates over images, explores what’s at stake in the practices of destruction, preservation, and veneration of images, and considers how the multiple motivations for these practices (political, psychological, aesthetic) intersect with religious ways of being in the world.

THEO 136: Women Mystics (MW 3:30pm – 4:45pm) – Prof. Julia Lamm

Some of the earliest books authored by women were so-called “mystical” texts written in Europe in the Middle Ages. They are amazing feats of rhetoric, beauty, power, and protest. This course focuses on five medieval Christian women mystics: Hildegard of Bingen (German, 1098-1179), Hadewijch of Antwerp (Dutch, early 13 th century), Marguerite Porete (French, d. 1310), Julian of Norwich (English, ca. 1343-1416), and Teresa of Avila (Spanish, 1515-1582). Our analysis of each mystic will be threefold: (1) we will begin with her historical, cultural, and political context; (2) we will consider the theological content of her writings and examine her methodology; and (3) we will undertake a comparative study in which we consider such issues as religious authority, gender, rhetorical strategies, and the role of physicality and the senses in mysticism. We will also look at women “mystics” from the 20th and 21st centuries, comparing them with their medieval counterparts and asking how mysticism is related to activism. The course takes an interdisciplinary and cross- disciplinary approach and so should help deepen or broaden knowledge of students interested in theology and religion, history, literature, languages, music, visual arts, women and gender studies, sociology, psychology, spirituality, and/or political theory.

THEO 167: Intro to Buddhism (MW 11:00am – 12:15pm) – Prof. Brandon Dotson

This course offers an introduction to Buddhism and its various historical and cultural contexts. We examine the foundational doctrines taught by the Buddha, and the manner in which these were transmitted orally and in writing. We also consider the transmission of Buddhism to various countries across Asia and in the West, attending not only to doctrine, but to practice, to processes of reception and adaptation, and to various local traditions. At the end of the course, we will be familiar with the history of Buddhism, including details of its various traditions (e.g., Tibetan Buddhism, Zen), texts, and axial figures.

* Students must write a paper on a medieval topic to achieve Global Medieval Studies credit. 

This list contains the currently approved MVST classes for Fall 2020 and is subject to change. If you believe another class should count towards MVST credit, please email Professor Sarah McNamer at medievalstudies@georgetown.edu to discuss its inclusion.