Spring 2023 Courses

All of the courses listed here have received approval for Global Medieval Studies (MVST) credit X-listing. My Access is not entirely up to date. The Global Medieval Studies program will ensure that you receive MVST credit for these courses. 

Find our course offerings for the Spring 2023 semester below.

ARTH 417: Spectacle in Latin America – R – 2:00 pm – 4:30 pm – Prof. Huezo 

Diversity Global, HALC

The seminar seeks to develop new approaches to the visual and ephemeral material cultures of rituals, festivities, ceremonies, and processions that helped articulate pre-and post-conquest societies in Latin America. The course studies the evidence in codices, paintings, prints, music, dance, costume, ephemeral art, and ancient and modern rituals. Mesoamerican, Andean, and Viceregal’s understanding of existence exhibited a profound sense of the theatrical, which was inextricably linked to religious, political, and cultural spheres. By examining the evolution of spectacle in Latin America from ancient times to the present, the seminar considers definitions, source materials, and interpretative issues in the study of ritual and ceremony. The course explores how rituals create and maintain—or transform—a society’s cultural identity and social relations while investigating the inherent problems of ephemeral and often unscripted and unrecorded practices. Placing particular emphasis on social, historical, sensorial, cultural, economic, and political aspects, the course introduces students to major theoretical concepts of belonging, inclusion, and exclusion. Moreover, the seminar aims to understand identity construction while challenging the intersection of art, spectacle, memory, tradition, race, and class in Latin America.

ARTH 426: Seminar on Albrecht Dürer – T – 2:00-4:30 – Prof. Acres

The seminar explores the art of Albrecht Dürer (1471-1528) and some of the astounding range of interpretation it has attracted. Our main focus will be on the works of art themselves and the kinds of questions they provoke. Many of those questions go not only to the heart of art history as a discipline, but also to the varied kinds of work that art does in society—then and now. What did Dürer and other artists want their work to accomplish? What did it mean to their customers and publics? What different things does their work do in our time?  One of the appeals of Dürer for modern observers is the depth of his engagement with many spheres. We will, for example, consider his art with regard to religion (changing devotional currents, the fledgling Reformation); local culture (German identity, gender relations, witchcraft, humanism); international travel and ‘publicity’ (mainly in Italy and the Netherlands); reformulation of the very idea of the artist as a unique individual (via self portraiture and the distribution of monogrammed prints); and other dimensions. Two class visits to the National Gallery of Art are planned. No special knowledge of Dürer is expected or assumed.

ENG 109-01: World Literature: Premodern – MW 11:00am – 12:15pm – Prof. McNamer – CRN: 43678

Core: HALC; Diversity/GlobalThis course offers an introduction to the rich and diverse literary traditions of the premodern world during a thousand-year span of time, from about 500 to 1500 C.E.   Beginning in China and making our way to Japan, India, Persia, the Middle East, Africa, and Europe, we will read selections from works such as The Ballad of Mulan, The Tale of Genji, the Thousand and One Nights, the Shahnameh, the Kebra Nagast, the Divine Comedy, the Lais of Marie de France, and Sir Gawain and the Green Knight. We will also consider the ways that contemporary filmmakers, writers, and artists continue to find inspiration in these tales from the distant past, making them new and relevant to our times. 

HIST 332-01: Holy Pilgrimage – T – 9:30am – 12:00pm – Prof. Corcoran


The goal of this course is to introduce students to the spirituality, art, culture, and history of the phenomenon of pilgrimage in Christianity, as well as in Judaism and Islam from Late Antiquity to the present day. Pilgrimage is one of the most important aspects of religious life; indeed, in a very real sense, life itself can be considered a pilgrimage. This course explores the dynamics of pilgrimage across several different religious traditions, as well as how pilgrimage has evolved to take on meaning in secular contexts. The heart of this course will be a close look at several key pilgrimage sites and the actual pilgrims who visited these sites. By examining the central influence of pilgrimage, students will gain a broader historical understanding of the cultures of world Christianities, Judaism and Islam. No previous history knowledge is required, though a cursory familiarity with European and religious history will be helpful.

FREN 364: Love & War in Medieval France – Prof. Johnson

HIST 099 Hist Focus: Italian renaissance – TR- 3-3:50pm – Prof. Astarita

The general aim of HIST 099 is to introduce students to various elements of historical work and thinking, within the context of looking at a particular historical period, event, or theme in some depth. Though lectures and discussion will focus on particular topics, there will also be class exercises, assignments, and readings that will allow instructors and students to explore how historians identify, define, and employ primary sources of all types, how historians analyze those sources, how they formulate questions, how they engage with the work of prior historians, and how they aim to reconstruct various elements of the human experience in particular times and places.

This course includes a discussion section from 3:00-3:50 on Fridays with additional discussion sections On Fridays from 1:00-1:50pm  and 2:00-2:50pm.

HIST 334: Crime & Justice in Europe: 1300-1800 – TR – 9:30 – 10:45am – Prof. Astarita 

In this seminar course we will consider the theories and practices that shaped the justice system of (mostly western and central) Europe from the Late Middle Ages through the eighteenth century. Our focus will be on the criminal side of the justice system, with only tangential treatment of civil laws and cases. We will consider both secular and church justice.

We will start by examining the medieval situation, then examine the main commonalities and differences between the western European and English systems, and the rise of new criminal procedures starting in the thirteenth century and spreading across continental Europe by the Renaissance. Other themes will include the treatment of specific categories of crimes, and its political, cultural, religious, and other implications; the depiction of the criminal world and the justice system in European fiction; and the appearance of new ideas, and of judicial reforms, during the time of the Enlightenment. We will also study a few examples of famous and political trials from various countries.

We will use both primary and secondary sources to study these issues, trends, and examples.  This course is a seminar, and thus most of our class time will be devoted to group discussions of relevant sources.  The writing assignments will give students a chance to practice various forms of academic writing.

HIST 342: The Mind of Europe – M – 2:00pm – 4:30 – Prof. Moran Cruz

History major/minor; XGovt; XCathStud; XMedievalStudies

The goal of this course is to introduce students to readings that highlight some of the most
crucial issues activating and agitating European society in the period from the fourteenth into
the seventeenth century. The course begins with the debate over papal power, out of which
developed voices critical of the church and also supportive of papal monarchy. Out of this
fierce debate rose constitutional ideas within the framework of the church, growing nation-
states, heresies, mysticism, and, by the sixteenth century, the Protestant Reformation.
Throughout the course, we will be asking questions regarding authority and power. Who has
the power? How is it legitimated? What kinds of oppression and opportunities are there,
especially for women? How do developing ideas of constitutionalism, freedom and religious
toleration influence the development of the modern European state?
This is also the period of the bubonic plague, which entered Europe in the 1340s and stayed
into the seventeenth century and a bit beyond. In the ensuing depopulation, opportunities for
women emerged, and we start to see a greater number of women’s voices in the literary,
religious and the public sphere. We will also read some of the misogynist treatises from this
period, including during the Italian Renaissance

HISTORY 343: Sex and Power, 800-1600: Women and Authority in Europe up to 1600 – Prof. Moran Cruz

Diversity-Global SFS/IHIST Core/ MVST minor or major/SFS and RCST Western

Europe/College SFS European Studies Certificate/Women and Gender Studies
Course Description: Women and Power 800-1600 examines beliefs about and the lived realities
of women in Europe between 800-1600. The course traces the power and authority of women
rulers, warriors, religious leaders and authors alongside the role of women within family
networks and among the dispossessed, servants, and the sexually exploited. It examines
theological opinions, legal codes and practices and literary representations, among other
sources, in order to address questions regarding the status of women, their power, authority
and opportunities or lack thereof. Along the way, the course will examine case studies of
particular women and selected texts written by women.
This course will focus on reading and discussion, with lectures and reports during the
first half of the class and discussions during the second half

HIST 769: Islamic Law: Women and Gender – T – 12:30 – 3:00 – Prof. Omar

This course addresses the history of Islamic law with a focus on the issues of women and gender.  We will study the history of Islamic law and gender through the lenses of different scholarly approaches and foci, including law as exegesis, law as a social construct, law as a source of identity, law as contending discourses, and law as a site of activism. Throughout the course, we will identify the various (and varying) legal doctrines as developed in works of Islamic jurisprudence as well as legal practices.  In the process of discussing what Islamic law has to “say” about women and gender issues, we will be confronting a broad range of legal doctrines and far-flung judicial practices, all of which can claim to come under the mantle of the Islamic tradition. 

SPAN 241: Spain Literature and Culture ITR – 12:30-1:45 ICC Room 206 A with Prof. Martinez

Core: Diversity/Global, SFS/CULP Humanities, SFS/CULP Core, SFS/RCST Western Europe, College/SFS/European Stud Cert, Core:HALC – Hum, Art, Lit, Cul, MSB/Humanities & Writing II

Spanish 241 is an introduction to Spanish literature from the twelfth through the seventeenth centuries and an introduction to the study of pre-modern literatures and cultures.

SPAN 529: Translation: History, Theory, Praxis – R – 3:30 – 6:00pm – Prof. Francomano

Translation is the lifeblood of literary history and study. Yet because it challenges major critical categories such as authorship, originality, periodization, and meaning itself, it provokes inquiries into many of the assumptions that guide the study of languages and literatures. Translation is also always present in contact zones.  This class will explore representative texts from the history and theory of translation dating from the first century B.C.E. to the present, with a concentration on the Mediterranean and Transatlantic contexts. This course will provide a historical overview of translation theory as a genre and the philosophies of language that undergird translation theory.

In this course, students will gain familiarity with the history of translation and critical issues in translation studies, develop a critical vocabulary for writing and speaking about translation, and continue to develop their critical thinking and writing skills.  Students will produce an original work of literary translation with an accompanying research paper.

Undergraduates will need permission to register for this course from the instructor.

THEO 240: Judaism under Crescent and Cross – MW – 2:00 – 3:15 – Prof. Ray
 Many of the defining characteristics of contemporary Jewish civilization were formed during the long Middle Ages when Jews lived under Christian and Muslim rule. This course will explore some of the central themes in the social and religious history of the Jewish people during this period, with special attention given to the complex relationship that Jews had with their host societies. Topics will include the primary points of conflict and cooperation between the three monotheistic religions, the development of Jewish self-government and communal organization, and the major currents in Jewish intellectual culture.

THEO 614:  Medieval and Reformation Theology – W – 12:30 – 3:00 – Prof. Lamm

This course is a seminar on Christian thought from the eleventh through the sixteenth centuries—i.e. the High and Late Middle Ages, the Renaissance, the Reformation, and the early modern era. Focus will be on (1) theological primary texts (both “classics” and newer candidates for the theological canon), (2) on the development of certain key Christian doctrines (the doctrine of God, Christology, soteriology, grace & freedom, sacraments), and (3) on certain religious themes (mysticism, scholasticism, authority & reform, revelation & history, tradition, and religious experience). Primary sources will be supplemented with secondary sources on Church history, thought, and practice. Special attention will also be given to issues of religious pluralism. The course is designed to help graduate students prepare for the doctoral examination in Christianity.