Fall 2014 Courses in Medieval and Renaissance Studies

Art History:

ARTH 23200 Architecture from Renaissance to Revolution LA FA 3b, g h
CA Perspective;
Themes: Identities; Power and Justice
3 credits
INSTRUCTOR: Lauren O'Connell, Gannett G118, Ext. 4-1377, oconnell@ithaca.edu
ENROLLMENT: 28
PREREQUISITES: Sophomore standing.
STUDENTS: Students interested in architecture, European culture and history.
COURSE DESCRIPTION: Exploration of European architecture from the fifteenth to the eighteenth centuries, focusing on its role in shaping and expressing social, religious and political identities and its status as a monumental vehicle for the assertion and contestation of power. Topics include class representation and the Florentine palazzo, Counter-Reformation church architecture in Bavaria, absolute monarchy and the French formal garden, and architectural resistance and the French Revolution. Includes close attention to elements of architectural form and structure; critical examination of concepts such as Renaissance, Baroque, Rococo and Neoclassical

English:

ENGL 21900-01, 02 Shakespeare HU LA 3a h
3 credits
INSTRUCTOR: Christopher Matusiak, Muller 326
ENROLLMENT: 20 per section
PREREQUISITES: One course in the humanities or social sciences, or sophomore standing.
COURSE DESCRIPTION: The sign of the original Globe theatre in 1599 is said to have included the Latin inscription Totus mundus agit histrionem—‘the whole world acts a play.’  The idea that every woman and man performs a part in the theatrum mundi (‘theatre of the world’) has long been central to the history of ideas, and is most famously expressed by Jaques in As You Like It: “All the world’s a stage / And all the men and women merely players.”  Central to all of Shakespeare’s plays is the question of whether the roles we occupy are primarily determined by forces larger than ourselves—scripted in advance, as it were, by Fate, biology, or ideology—or whether we become what we are largely by crafting our own performances, thereby determining our own trajectories.  This course invites students to explore the relationship between theatricality and human identity, both as dramatized on Shakespeare’s stage and as a dimension of everyday life.  Readings will include five major plays (The Taming of the Shrew, Twelfth Night, Othello, King Lear, and Antony and Cleopatra) alongside theoretical works on social performance by Baldassare Castiglione, Niccolo Machiavelli, J.L. Austin, Erving Goffman, and Judith Butler.
COURSE FORMAT/STYLE: Discussion/lecture.
COURSE REQUIREMENTS & GRADING: active class participation, close-reading exercises, essay.

ENGL 21900-03, 04  Shakespeare   HU LA 3a h
3 credits
INSTRUCTOR: Dan Breen, 302 Muller, ext. 4-1014
ENROLLMENT: 20 students per section
PREREQUISITES: One course in the humanities or social sciences, or sophomore standing.
STUDENTS: Required of English majors and some Theater Arts majors, open to all who meet the prerequisites.
COURSE DESCRIPTION: Buried deep within Shakespeare’s writing is a gnawing anxiety about the place of the past within the present.  Critics have written about this most frequently of course with respect to the history plays, and certainly the first and second tetralogies can be understood as a comprehensive if fitful dramatic attempt to wrestle with the political and cultural legacies in Elizabethan England of the Wars of the Roses.  But Shakespeare is not concerned only with national histories; the past exists in a variety of forms in his writing as a source of constant emotional and intellectual preoccupation.  The speaker of the sonnets “summon[s] up remembrance of things past”; Antony hopefully proclaims “Things that are past are done with me” in Antony and Cleopatra; and when Hamlet confronts the ghost of his father we as readers or audience members are presented with multiple pasts in a single moment: Hamlet’s recent familial history; Danish political history; and England’s own religious reformations, still in living memory in 1599.  This course will explore in a variety of different critical contexts the significance of Shakespeare’s interest in staging various pasts.  We will examine the plays and poems in terms of their concern with political, religious, intellectual, and sexual pasts, and at the beginning of the course we will also consider our own interest in Shakespeare as part of the phenomenon around which the course itself is structured.  Why do we in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries continue to turn to Shakespeare as a fragment of our cultural past?  We will read The Rape of Lucrece; Richard II; Henry V; Hamlet; Twelfth Night; and Pericles, as well as a selection of supplementary material and some of the sonnets.
COURSE FORMAT/STYLE: Discussion, with some context-setting lectures.
COURSE REQUIREMENTS AND GRADING: Two 4-5-page essays, one 2-3-page analytical exercise, a midterm and a final, and class participation.  Grading will be A-F.  Because of the discussion-oriented format, class participation will be an essential part of students’ final grades

ENGL 23200 Medieval Literature HU LA 3a h
3 credits
INSTRUCTOR: Michael Twomey, Muller 329, Ext. 4-3564.
ENROLLMENT: 20.
PREREQUISITES: One course in the humanities or social sciences, or sophomore standing.
STUDENTS:  Fulfills the historical-period requirement for English majors; all interested students who meet the prerequisite are welcome. 
COURSE DESCRIPTION: The modern world was made in the Middle Ages.  Systems of law, nation-states, international trade, monetary exchange, and university education; the Christian, Jewish, and Muslim religions as we know them today; the mass-production technology of printing, and even the eyeglasses that people need in order to read the fine print—all  are medieval creations.  This course examines medieval literature both as a reflection of the culture that made the modern world, and as the originator of modern literary forms.   We will (re)discover genres and subjects that first became popular in the Middle Ages, and with which English and American writers have been working ever since:  lyric poetry, romances, ballads, tales, and fables.  The major units focus on medieval literary theory, the quest for love, the other world, the legend of King Arthur, and literary satire.   Each unit features one or more major texts:  The Tain Bo Cualinge; Njal's Saga; Sir Gawain and the Green Knight; The Death of KIng Arthur; Dante’s Inferno; selections from Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales and Boccaccio’s Decameron.
COURSE FORMAT/STYLE: Lecture/discussion.
COURSE REQUIREMENTS & GRADING:  Regular attendance and participation, two essays, several short response pieces, midterm and final exams.  A-F, based on requirements previously listed.

ENGL 41000-01 Seminar in Medieval Literature: Dante’s Divine Comedy HU, LA
3 Credits
ICC Attribute: None
Instructor: Michael Twomey, 329 Muller, ext. 4-3564
Enrollment: 10
PREREQUISITE: Minimum grade of D- in ENGL 23200 Medieval Literature; OR permission of instructor.
COURSE DESCRIPTION: We will read the entire Divine Comedy in English translation, and we will investigate the influence of Dante in English and American literature.  What this means: (1) We will study Dante in historical, social, and literary contexts; reading the Comedy for its various themes and emphases; considering the hermeneutical (interpretive) issues that Dante raises regarding language and culture. (2) We will study Dante’s influence on English and American literature via readings in texts based on Dante—for example, Tennyson’s “Ulysses” (Inferno, Canto 26) and Seamus Heaney’s Station Island (Purgatorio)—and via studies such as Dennis Looney’s Freedom Readers: The African-American Reception of Dante Alighieri and the Divine Comedy.
COURSE FORMAT: Discussion framed by regular mini-lectures.
COURSE REQUIREMENTS AND GRADING: Short response pieces on the reading—to be presented as part of class discussion; two short papers (3-5 pages) on two of the three sections of the Divine Comedy; one oral presentation on Dante’s influence on English or American literature; research paper as final project.  Grading: A-F.

History:

HIST 20400-01 Jews in the Ancient and Medieval Worlds LA HU 1 G H
3 CREDITS (CROSS-LISTED COURSE)
INSTRUCTOR: Rebecca Lesses, Muller 307, Ext. 4-3556
ENROLLMENT: 20
PREREQUISITES: One course in the humanities or social sciences
STUDENTS: Open to all students interested in history
COURSE DESCRIPTION: This course is an introduction to Jewish history and the varieties of Jewish cultures and religious traditions in the ancient and medieval worlds. We will explore Jewish history from the period of the Second Temple (sixth century B.C.E.) to the Expulsion from Spain in 1492. The first part of the course will cover ancient Jewish culture and civilization in Palestine, the Mediterranean basin, and Mesopotamia, exploring such issues as Jewish responses to foreign domination (by the Persian, Greek, and Roman empires), Jews and other cultures (Egyptian, Greco-Roman, Persian), Judaism and Christianity, the rise of rabbinic Judaism and rabbinic culture. In the second part of the course, we will discuss the development of Jewish civilization in Spain, Italy, and northern Europe, Jews under Islamic rule, Jews under Christian rule, medieval Jewish philosophy and mysticism, medieval antisemitism and expulsions from Western Europe and Spain.
COURSE OBJECTIVES: To learn how ancient and medieval Jewish history is important for understanding what is going on today – among Jews, Christians, and Muslims
To know the history of their early relations
To understand how Judaism has been changed by interactions with other groups of people and religions/philosophies (e.g., the encounter between Jews and Greek thought)
To know how much has changed over the centuries of Jewish history (e.g., Jewish-Muslim relations today in the Middle East are very different from what they were in the High Middle Ages).
To learn how to engage in critical thinking about the historical sources of Jewish history, how to use textual and material culture sources together, and to exercise our creative imagination about how people lived in the past.
NOTE: This course is cross-listed with JWST 20100 Jews in the Ancient and Medieval Worlds. Students cannot register for JWST 20100-01 if they are registered for HIST 20400-01.
COURSE FORMAT/STYLE: class discussions, lectures, student presentations, and films
COURSE REQUIREMENTS & GRADING: attendance and participation, short analysis papers, class presentation, midterm and final exam, and short research paper. Grading: A-F.

Jewish Studies:

JWST 20100-01 Jews in the Ancient and Medieval Worlds LA HU 1 G H
3 CREDITS (CROSS-LISTED COURSE)
INSTRUCTOR: Rebecca Lesses, Muller 307, Ext. 4-3556
ENROLLMENT: 20
PREREQUISITES: One course in the humanities or social sciences
STUDENTS: Open to all students interested in history
COURSE DESCRIPTION: This course is an introduction to Jewish history and the varieties of Jewish cultures and religious traditions in the ancient and medieval worlds. We will explore Jewish history from the period of the Second Temple (sixth century B.C.E.) to the Expulsion from Spain in 1492. The first part of the course will cover ancient Jewish culture and civilization in Palestine, the Mediterranean basin, and Mesopotamia, exploring such issues as Jewish responses to foreign domination (by the Persian, Greek, and Roman empires), Jews and other cultures (Egyptian, Greco-Roman, Persian), Judaism and Christianity, the rise of rabbinic Judaism and rabbinic culture. In the second part of the course, we will discuss the development of Jewish civilization in Spain, Italy, and northern Europe, Jews under Islamic rule, Jews under Christian rule, medieval Jewish philosophy and mysticism, medieval antisemitism and expulsions from Western Europe and Spain.
COURSE OBJECTIVES: To learn how ancient and medieval Jewish history is important for understanding what is going on today – among Jews, Christians, and Muslims
To know the history of their early relations
To understand how Judaism has been changed by interactions with other groups of people and religions/philosophies (e.g., the encounter between Jews and Greek thought)
To know how much has changed over the centuries of Jewish history (e.g., Jewish-Muslim relations today in the Middle East are very different from what they were in the High Middle Ages).
To learn how to engage in critical thinking about the historical sources of Jewish history, how to use textual and material culture sources together, and to exercise our creative imagination about how people lived in the past.
NOTE: This course is cross-listed with HIST 20400 Jews in the Ancient and Medieval Worlds. Students cannot register for HIST 20400-01 if they are registered for JWST 20100-01.
COURSE FORMAT/STYLE: class discussions, lectures, student presentations, and films
COURSE REQUIREMENTS & GRADING: attendance and participation, short analysis papers, class presentation, midterm and final exam, and short research paper. Grading: A-F.

Music:

MUTH 25500 History and Literature of Music I LA HU 3b g h
Survey of music from the early Christian era to the mid-18th century, focusing on origins and evolution of musical styles, forms, and genres. Social and cultural contexts are examined in relation to musical materials and their application within specific repertoires. Prerequisites: Any MUTH course. 3 credits. (S)

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