Spring 2009 Graduate Courses
(as of 11-13-08)
MI 60114 - Old English Biblical Verse
T R - 3:30P - 4:45P
The Anglo-Saxons were the earliest people in western Europe to translate the Bible into their vernacular, and a substantial proportion of surviving Old English verse consists in biblical translation and paraphrase. The principal focus of the course will be the biblical poems preserved in the so-called "Junius Manuscript" (Genesis A, Genesis B, Exodus, Daniel), but these and other relevant poems will be studied in the wider context of early medieval biblical exegesis, in particular the contribution made to biblical interpretation by Anglo-Saxon exegetes such as Archbishop Theodore, Bede, Alcuin and Aelfric. Candidates for the course must already have completed English 40212 (Introduction to Old English).
MI 60146 - Early Chaucer
T R - 12:30P - 1:45P
If Chaucer had never written the Canterbury Tales, his claim upon our attention as one of the greatest poets ever writing in the English language would be secure based on the earlier works that will occupy us as readers/writers/discussants during this term: Book of the Duchess, House of Fame, Parliament of Fowls, and the magnificent Troilus & Criseyde. Additionally we will certainly read some--or all--of the short poems that--along with Canterbury Tales (which we will not read)-- comprise the Chaucer canon. No prior experience with Middle English is required. Requirements: a midterm, a final, and a term paper. Text: Larry Benson’s “The Riverside Chaucer” or any scholarly edition of the early poems named above.
MI 60151 - Censorship and Controversy in Middle English
M - 3:00P - 5:30 P
Fourteenth-century writers operated in a world fraught with political and ecclesiastical controversy, sometimes extending to censorship, yet at the same time, evidence survives of a surprising degree of tolerance for certain radical ideas. This course will examine how the major writers of late medieval England simultaneously negotiated these troubled waters, and earned or exploited tolerances extended by the authorities. English authors to be studied will include Geoffrey Chaucer, William Langland, Thomas Hoccleve, Julian of Norwich, Margery Kempe, and M.N.'s Middle English translation of Marguerite Porete. These texts will be read alongside excerpts from several Latin or Continental writers, which may include Hildegard of Bingen, Joachim of Fiore, Bridget of Sweden, William Ockham, or others, and alongside some anonymous English texts, including political lyrics, Richard the Redeless, Mum and the Sothsegger, and Wycliffite writings. Examples from articles of inquisition, statutes, legal defenses, petitions, and broadsides may also be used. The aim is to help illuminate how literary writers sought to defend or enlarge their religious or political orthodoxies in response to the challenges of the time. The course will also examine and question modern scholarly trends, especially the recent tendency to use the Wycliffite movement as a popular cultural and theoretical lens through which to understand the phenomenal rise of vernacular literature in Ricardian England. Topics to be discussed will include: reception of visionary writing, attitudes toward women's learning and preaching, controversial religious doctrines (like universal salvation, millenarianism, and intellectual freedom), and political controversies over the Commons' control of royal tyranny, the Rising of 1381, the deposition of Richard II, and the colonial suppression of Irish language and literary culture.
MI 60252 - Medieval Nobilities
Boulton, D'Arcy Jonathan
M W - 3:00P - 4:15P
This course will introduce students to one of the major areas of historical investigation in Europe since 1945: the evolution and function of the hereditary elites now generally called “nobilities.” Although alien to the culture and legal system of the United States, an elite social category of this general type dominated the economic, political, social, and cultural life of every major European people and state throughout and often somewhat beyond the agricultural or pre-industrial era of its history - most commonly to about 1918 - and may be seen as a characteristic feature of polities on the levels of chiefdom and agricultural state throughout the world. Thus some understanding of the phenomenon of nobility and its many variant forms is essential to an understanding of the history not only of Europe, but of the civilized world in general before the twentieth century. The course will begin with an examination of both medieval and modern ideas of “nobility” (which designated at once an inherent condition, a legal status, and a social category), the words employed to express those ideas, the ways in which noble status could be acquired and lost, the attributes that might be used to express it (including heraldic emblems), and the approaches taken to the whole phenomenon by social, political, constitutional, and cultural historians of various schools. It will then examine the history of a few of the numerous different nobilities that developed in the countries of Catholic Europe between 400 and 1500, and finally examine what is currently known about such themes as noble privilege, power, wealth, and influence.
MI 60279 - Medieval Legal History Seminar
T - 8:00P - 10:00P
Studies the formative period of the Anglo-American legal system using 14th-century yearbooks and other materials from the same period.
MI 60300 - Early Medieval Philosophy
T R - 12:30P - 1:45P
The course will provide an introduction to philosophy in the period before the translation movement of the twelfth century and the rise of Aristotelianism in the universities (including the contributions of such major figures as Augustine, Boethius, Eriugena, and the "School of Chartres"). The arrangement will be predominantly thematic rather than chronological. We will consider such topics as: 1. the legacy of ancient philosophy, 2. the relation between theology and philosophy, 3. the relations between the trivium, quadrivium, and philosophy, 4. the genres of philosophical writing (treatise, dialogue, letter, etc.), 5. the influence of earlier medieval philosophical doctrines in the later Middle Ages and the Renaissance. Knowledge of Latin will be useful but not absolutely necessary, since many of the texts are also available in translation. Requirement: one final paper of ca. 20 pp.
MI 60325 - Anselm and His Biographer
T R - 11:00A - 12:15 P
The course will be of a philosophical-theological, historical, and literary-philological nature. It will also have two more specific aims: 1. to introduce the philosophical work of Anselm of Canterbury, and investigate some of its sources and influences during the Middle Ages, and 2. to pursue Latin readings in works by Anselm himself, and in works by other medieval writers about Anselm. One session of each week will be devoted to Latin reading. Students will be required to prepare a Latin text for oral translation and be prepared to comment on philological issues. Texts will be distributed in advance by the instructor. The second session of the week will be devoted to lectures on Anselm and his milieu by the instructor, although students will be required to make a short oral presentation on a topic of their choice but approved by the instructor towards the end of the semester. Requirement: competence in Classical Latin (intermediate or advanced level).
MI 60426 - Patristic Exegesis
M W - 8:00A - 9:15A
This course will be an examination of traditions of biblical interpretation in the early Church. Since the greatest proportion of exegetical literature in the early Church was homiletic, this course will also entail an examination of traditions of preaching. We will devote considerable attention to ancient allegorical schools of interpretation (Origen), to reactions against it (“Antiochene” exegesis), and to Western exegetes (Augustine, Gregory the Great). We will also look at the uses of the Bible in ascetical literature (desert Fathers and Mothers, etc.).
MI 60553 - Dante II
T R - 12:30P - 1:45P
An in-depth study, over two semesters, of the entire Comedy, in its historical, philosophical and literary context, with selected readings from the minor works (e.g., Vita Nuova, Convivio, De vulgari eloquentia). Lectures and discussion in English; the text will be read in the original with facing-page translation. Students may take one semester or both, in either order.
MI 60583 - King Arthur in European Literature
M W - 1:30P - 2:45P
We will read representative works chosen from the major medieval European literary traditions, including, for example Latin (Geoffrey of Monmouth), English (Lawman, Malory), French (Chrétien de Troyes, the Vulgate Cycle), Spanish (La Tragédia de Lançalot, Tristán), German (Hartmann von Aue, Gottfried von Strassburg), and Italian (La Tavola Ritonda, Tristan Panciatichiano).
MI 60601 - Ovid
Bloomer, W. Martin
M W - 1:30P - 2:45P
This advanced course provides an introduction to the poetry of the prolific author Ovid. It explores the creative history of the one writer who can truly be called a poet of the Augustan Age through close reading of passages from his love poetry (the Amores and the Ars Amatoria, a handbook on seduction), his great mythological poem, the Metamorphoses, and the poems written after Ovid was exiled by Augustus to a remote spot on the shores of the Black Sea (the Tristia and Epistulae ex Ponto). Special attention is paid to the contexts in which Ovid composed his works, and current and traditional interpretations of his poetry are considered.
MI 60632 - Medieval Latin Survey
M W - 11:45A - 1:00P
The aim of this course is to experience a broad spectrum of medieval Latin texts. Readings representative of a variety of genres (literary and subliterary), eras, and regions will be selected. Students planning to enroll in this course should be completing "Introduction to Christian Latin Texts" or they must secure the permission of the instructor. Those with interests in particular text types should inform the instructor well in advance so they can try to be accommodated.
MI 60700 - Introduction to Medieval Art
M W - 11:45A - 1:00P
This course will introduce the visual arts of the period c. A.D. 300 to c. A.D. 1300. In the course of the semester, we shall devote much time to considering the possibility of a history of medieval art, as the objects and practices of the Middle Ages will be shown to make our assumptions about the nature of art history problematic. Working from individual objects and texts we will construct a series of narratives that will attend to the varieties of artistic practices available to the Middle Ages. From these, it will be shown that art was a vital, complex, lucid, and formative element in the societies and cultures, both secular and sacred, that shaped this period.
MI 60784 - Vocal Sacred Music II
T R - 2:00P - 3:15P
Vocal Sacred Music II is devoted to Renaissance polyphony (ca. 1400-1600). The course will cover matters of liturgy, performance practice, musical forms, notation, sources, and major composers. The course is open to upper-class music majors and graduate students in the Medieval Institute and Master of Sacred Music Program.
MI 60807 - Machiavelli's Political Thought
M W - 1:30P - 2:45P
“Machiavellian” politics are usually understood to be manipulative and self-interested, if not simply evil. Yet Machiavelli himself was a loyal officer of the Florentine Republic. How did he get his reputation? What sort of politics did he actually recommend? We will read his two most comprehensive works, The Prince and his Discourses on Livy, in an attempt to find out.
MI 63291 - Medieval Trade and Traders
R - 2:00P - 4:30 P
This graduate seminar examines the history and historiography of merchants and their commercial affairs in the Mediterranean World and Europe from Late Antiquity, through the so-called “Commercial Revolution,” into the later medieval period. We will consider both primary sources (written and material) and secondary literature.
MI 63402 - Historical Theology Seminar: Medieval Theology
R - 9:30A - 12:15P
Seminar on a selected theological topic in the medieval period.
MI 63562 - Petrarchism in Print
W - 3:00P - 5:45P
This course will examine the phenomenon of Italian and (to a lesser extent) European Petrarchism (as well as anti-Petrarchism) as it relates to print culture. Extensive use will be made of holdings in Special Collections, where some class time will be spent each week. A reading knowledge of Italian is essential.
MI 63611 - Constantine and Julian
T R - 5:00P - 6:15P
This advanced seminar in ancient history and literature examines the lives and reigns of the fourth-century Roman emperors Constantine and Julian. Constantine was a pivotal figure in world history, the founder of a new dynasty of rulers in a centuries-old empire facing many challenges, and the first Roman emperor to embrace and promote Christianity. His rule changed the complexion of the ancient world. His descendant Julian reigned only for a short time, but he is remembered above all for the concerted effort he made to return Rome to its traditional religious orientation. He failed in his attempt, in part because of his premature death, but as the last pagan emperor of Rome he remains a figure of almost mythological status. The course investigates the principal features of the history of these two rulers, political, military, socio-economic and religious. A principal theme is the question of how historical experience can be recovered. Readings from original sources (in English translation) are studied in conjunction with documentary and iconographic evidence. The course also considers how modern historians, biographers, and novelists have recreated these compelling figures.
MI 63637 - Sententia et Sapientia
Bloomer, W. Martin
M - 4:05P - 6:35 P
Latin literature provided an authoritative source of wisdom from antiquity through the Middle Ages and the early modern era. Commentators sought to explain, amplify, abbreviate, correct, Christianize, and bowdlerize what was for them an authoritative account of the conduct of life and the forms of communication. This course introduces students to this literary culture. Students will learn how these texts were copied and commented upon. Students will be introduced to and practice bibliographic and paleographical research methods as well as literary criticism and history. Thanks to the support of the Delmas Foundation and the Graduate School, during March break, seminar members may conduct research, under the guidance of the instructor, at the Herzog-August-Bibliothek in Wolfenbüttel, Germany. This seminar is intended as a workshop in research methods during which students will learn how to design, prepare, and complete a research project involving manuscript evidence. Some experience with Latin paleography is desirable but not required. Competence in Latin or a basic knowledge of Latin and competence in a medieval or early modern vernacular language are required.
MI 63691 - Greek Christian Hymnody
F - 9:30A - 12:00P
In this course students will examine Christian hymnody from its antecedents in Hellenic and Semitic hymn forms; e.g., Homeric Hymns, psalms and canticles from the Septuagint to the emergence of later hymnodic genres, such as the mature troparion, kontakion, and canon. Students should have a sound reading knowledge of Greek (at least four semesters), an acquaintance with Scripture, and a basic knowledge of theology.
MI 66020 - Directed Readings-Grad
Offers graduate students a possibility, normally in their second or third year, to work closely with a professor in preparing a topic mutually agreed upon. Student and professor must sign a form that records the readings.
MI 67002 - 2nd-Year Research Tutorial II
Second-year graduate students in Medieval Studies produce a substantial, original research paper based on the intensive program of reading in primary sources (preponderantly in the original language) and scholarly literature undertaken with a teacher in the previous semester. Alternatively, by permission of the Medieval Institute's director, students may use the tutorial to expand and polish a paper prepared originally for a previous research seminar.
MI 77001 - Field Examination Preparation
Constable, Olivia Remie
Offers students a possibility, normally in their second or third year, to work closely with a professor in preparing for one of their field examinations.
MI 77002 - Dissertation Proposal Prep
Offers students the opportunity to work with their adviser in preparing their dissertation proposal.
MI 88001 - Resident Dissertation Research
Independent research and writing on an approved subject under the direction of a faculty member.
MI 88002 - Nonresident Dissertation Research
Required of nonresident graduate students who are completing their theses in absentia and who wish to retain their degree status.