Spring 2014 Courses in Medieval and Renaissance Studies

Art History:

ARTH 22100-01 Introduction to the Medieval World
3 credits
INSTRUCTOR: Stephen Clancy, Gannett 117, Ext. 4-1261, clancy@ithaca.edu
PREREQUISITES: Sophomore standing.
STUDENTS: All interested students are welcome.
COURSE DESCRIPTION: The course will explore different facets of medieval life as revealed by the visual and material culture of the Middle Ages. The course will be organized by theme rather than chronology. Topics will include modern fascinations with the "medieval"; medieval maps and world views; religious functions and contexts for medieval images; visual narratives in the Middle Ages; contact and exchange between Jews, Muslims, and Christians; the visual cultures of the aristocracy and middle class; and imagery of death and mortality. The course will investigate a variety of types of objects and images (including buildings, sculpture, manuscript illumination, metalwork, and mosaics), as well as archaeological remains of medieval life.
COURSE FORMAT/STYLE: Discussion, lecture, and collaborative work.
COURSE REQUIREMENTS& GRADING: Exams and projects. Grades based on required work, with consideration given to attendance and class participation

English:

ENGL 21900-01, -02 Shakespeare
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: When Shakespeare’s fellow actors assembled Mr William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies in 1623 – arguably the most important book in the English language – they divided thirty-six plays into three broad categories.  But is Shakespeare’s complex dramatic art so easily encompassed by this tripartite scheme?  When Polonius in Hamlet separates the drama into “tragedy, comedy, history, pastoral, pastoral-comical, historical-pastoral, tragical-historical, tragical-comical-historical-pastoral” (2.2.396) one senses Shakespeare held a rather more complex view of the way genres tend to interpenetrate each other.  This course invites students to read a selection of the major plays (including Much Ado About Nothing, Othello, King Lear, and The Tempest) while engaging with critical questions about dramatic genre in the time of Shakespeare.  What ancient and medieval theories of comedy and tragedy did Shakespeare inherit—and how did he adapt them to his own purposes?  How did writing for a commercial repertory theater influence his approach to theatrical convention?  What political and philosophical concerns underlie the Elizabethan and Jacobean sub-genres of “revenge tragedy” and “tragicomedy”?  And why ultimately do Shakespeare’s unique comedies, histories, and tragedies remain so compelling to us now, four centuries after they were first staged?
COURSE FORMAT/STYLE: Discussion/lecture.
COURSE REQUIREMENTS & GRADING: active class participation, close-reading exercises, essay.

ENGL 23200-01 Medieval Literature
3 credits
INSTRUCTOR: Michael Twomey, Muller 329, Ext. 4-3564.
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 37300-01, Renaissance Drama: The Age of Marlowe
3 credits
INSTRUCTOR: Christopher Matusiak, Muller 326
ENROLLMENT: 20 per section
PREREQUISITES: ENGL-21900 or ENGL-27100
COURSE DESCRIPTION: Before his violent and mysterious death in an isolated Deptford dining room at the age of twenty-nine, Christopher Marlowe (1564-1593) wrote a sequence of shockingly experimental plays that fundamentally changed the way his contemporaries—including Shakespeare—wrote for the London stage.   This course invites students to explore this “Marlovian revolution” through the study of eight English Renaissance plays and their cultural contexts.  After familiarizing ourselves with the intellectual, religious, and political currents of Marlowe’s late sixteenth-century world, we will study four of the playwright’s major tragedies (Tamburlaine, Doctor Faustus, The Jew of Malta, and Edward II) and explore the way their formal styles and themes explode inherited theatrical conventions.  We will then turn our attention to a selection of contemporary plays bearing the stamp of Marlowe’s profound influence, including works by Shakespeare, Middleton, Rowley, Dekker, and Ford.   Warning: there will be blood.
COURSE FORMAT/STYLE: Discussion/lecture
COURSE REQUIREMENTS & GRADING: active class participation, close-reading exercises

History:

HIST 23000-01 Early Science and Medicine
3 Credits
ICC Designations: Humanities, Humanities, Liberal Arts, Theme: Inquiry, Imagine, Innovation
INSTRUCTOR: Matthew Klemm, Muller 405, Ext. 4-1306
ENROLLMENT: 27
PREREQUISITES: None.
COURSE DESCRIPTION: This course will examine science and medicine in western civilization from their roots in the ancient Near East and Greece, where the general framework of scientific and technical knowledge and practice was first articulated, until the breakdown of this system in the scientific revolution in the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries. Among other questions, we will consider definitions of "science," the ways humans understood themselves in relation to the natural world, and the relationship between scientific and religious truth in the various cultures covered in the course.
COURSE FORMAT/STYLE: Lecture and discussion
COURSE REQUIREMENTS & GRADING: grading is based on participation, essays, exams.

HIST 39102-01 ST: The Protestant Revolution
3 Credits
INSTRUCTOR: Karin Breuer, Muller 418, Ext. 4-1489
PREREQUISTIES: Three courses in the humanities and/or social sciences; sophomore standing.
COURSE DESCRIPTION: This class provides an overview of the religious, political, and social history of Europe from the fifteenth to the seventeenth centuries.  We will discuss the theology of Martin Luther and John Calvin, Tudor and Stuart England, the Catholic Reformation, witch trials, and religious warfare in France, the Holy Roman Empire, and England. Counts toward the European requirement for history department majors.
COURSE FORMAT/STYLE: Primarily discussion, some lecture.
COURSE REQUIREMENTS & GRADING: Two take-home examinations, 15-page research paper, and active participation in class.

HIST 48100-01 History Seminar: European: Medieval Heresy
3 Credits
INSTRUCTOR: Matthew Klemm, Muller 405, Ext. 4-1306
PREREQUISITES: Senior standing or equivalent; permission of instructor.
COURSE DESCRIPTION: This course explores how the social, political, and intellectual efforts by churchmen to make the Catholic Church the single religious authority in medieval Europe simultaneously defined many people as heterodox, or heretics. We will examine a variety of heretical groups and the ways that they were suppressed and orthodoxy was enforced.
COURSE FORMAT/STYLE: Seminar

Jewish Studies:

JWST 33300-01 Jewish Mysticism (Cross-listed as RLST 33000-01)
3 Credits
INSTRUCTOR:  Rebecca Lesses
COURSE DESCRIPTION: This course traces the history of Jewish mysticism from its beginnings in the Bible to the 16th century flourishing of Kabbalah in Safed, northern Israel. After a brief introduction to key beliefs and practices of Judaism, the course gives an overview of early Jewish mysticism from the biblical and rabbinic periods. The course then concentrates on the medieval flowering of Kabbalah, and its further development in the 16th-century Kabbalah of Safed and Israel and 18th-century Eastern European Hasidism. We will finish with the revival of Kabbalah among Jews and non-Jews today.  The emphasis will be placed on understanding both the theoretical and experiential aspects of Jewish mysticism and on examining some of the key texts of Jewish mysticism.

Modern Languages and Literatures:

FREN 37700-01 Hic et nunc: The Humanist Spirit in 16th-Century Literature
3 Credits
INSTRUCTOR: Mark Andrew Hall
COURSE DESCRIPTION:  In this course, we will explore the literature of 16th-century France from the humanist perspective.  Our readings will focus on literature’s role in defining, defending, and developing the revival of the moral and aesthetic philosophies of classical antiquity as a means to remaking the hic et nunc (the here and now).  Reading will include whole and selected works from writers and poets such as Marguerite de Navarre, François Rabelais, Pierre de Ronsard, Joachim du Bellay, and Michel de Montaigne, among others.  [NB: Course to be conducted in French]

ITAL-37500-01 Images of Hell: Dante's Inferno
3 credits
INSTRUCTOR: Julia Cozzarelli, Muller 414, 4-3513.
PREREQUISITES: One level 3 Italian course (except ITAL-33000), or equivalent.
STUDENTS: The course is open to Italian Studies majors, Italian minors, and other interested students.
COURSE DESCRIPTION: To study Dante Alighieri's Divina Commedia: Inferno in the original Italian and to explore its lasting and profound influence on Italian literature and culture.  Students will read the Inferno and other related works from various periods.  There will also be discussions of artwork, film and other media linked to the course topic.  The themes of each canto of the Inferno will be explored in depth.
COURSE FORMAT/STYLE: This is a discussion-based course, conducted in Italian.  Student participation in all activities is essential.
COURSE REQUIREMENTS & GRADING: Attendance and participation, quizzes and papers.  Students will also lead one class discussion. Based on quizzes, papers, presentation and participation.

SPAN 45500-01 Golden Age Drama
3 credits
INSTRUCTOR: Annette Levine, Muller 414, 4-3252
PREREQUISITE: SPAN 33700 or SPAN 33800.
STUDENTS: Spanish majors and minors, and students interested in taking this course.
COURSE DESCRIPTION: In this course we will read, discuss, and analyze some of the most beautiful, easy to read plays and love poetry ever written in the Spanish language.  Before reading each play, we will view a film of the actual presentation of the play on the stage.  We will then read the play focusing on the plot, character analysis, themes, and the social, cultural and political ambiance of the time in which each play was written.  Special emphasis will be placed on the role of women, the character of Don Juan, machismo, morality, honor, justice, love, art vs. nature, the role of imitation, nobility, and the role of the artist.  In our analysis of poetry we will focus on the rhetoric and poetic language used by poets of the time and on courtly love, platonic love, sensual love, and mysticism.  This course will provide students extensive practice in speaking, reading, comprehension, and writing in Spanish.
COURSE REQUIREMENTS AND GRADING: Homework, attendance, presentations, and class participation. Class participation 25%, presentations 25%, and exams 50%.

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