Dan Breen, Assistant Professor and Coordinator
The Middle Ages and the Renaissance witnessed some of the most significant events in western history: the fall of the Roman Empire; the establishment in Europe of the printing press; the evolution of a mercantile economy; and the Protestant Reformation. These and other social, cultural, and political developments combine to identify the medieval and Renaissance periods as fundamental to western modernity. During this long expanse of time, European and Middle Eastern thinkers began to address crucial questions in ways that still shape our daily lives. How, for example, do we worship? How ought we to be governed? How (and whom) do we love? How (and what) should we read and write?
The medieval and Renaissance studies minor aims to provide students with the opportunity to expand their knowledge of these foundational historical periods and to experience the rich diversity of thought that characterized medieval and early modern art, philosophy, and religion. By taking courses in at least three different departments, students will be challenged to think across disciplinary boundaries and to gain a broad understanding of the landscape of intellectual culture in Europe and the Mediterranean between late antiquity and the early 18th century. The medieval and Renaissance studies minor will be an excellent complement to majors in art history, English, history, French, German, Spanish, and philosophy and religious studies. It will encourage the kind of synthetic thinking that is especially important in the professional fields of education and law. Students considering graduate study in the fields traditionally associated with the humanities or the arts will also find the minor to be particularly helpful.
Students who enroll in the medieval and Renaissance studies minor will take classes in a minimum of three different departments or programs. Each class will be selected based on the interests of the individual student, after consultation with his/her adviser. These selections will be made from a list of courses maintained by the medieval and Renaissance studies program coordinator, which will be updated each semester. No more than six credits from a student's major department, or three credits from any other minor, may be counted toward the medieval and Renaissance studies minor.