Spring 2013 Courses in Medieval and Renaissance Studies

The following courses being offered in the spring of 2013 will allow students to earn credit toward the minor in Medieval and Renaissance Studies.


3 credits
PREREQUISITES: ANTH 10400 (Cultural Anthropology) or ANTH 10700 (World Archaeology)
COURSE DESCRIPTION: This course will examine the archaeology of medieval Europe, roughly 500 to 1500 AD. It will focus on the material culture of northern and western Europe, but will also look at Mediterranean societies, both Christian and Muslim. The Viking World and its descendant realms will be examined as a fundamental part of the creation of later medieval Europe. Topics will include daily life, food, status, and identity in the medieval world, examining them through artifacts, built environment (including castles), and landscapes, and through patterns of trade, conflict, and other forms of interaction between societies.

*This course may count toward the minor in Medieval and Renaissance Studies with the submission of a waiver/substitution form

Art History

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.

3 credits
INSTRUCTOR: Lauren O'Connell, Gannett 118, Ext. 4-1377, oconnell@ithaca.edu
PREREQUISITES: Sophomore standing.
STUDENTS: Students interested in architecture, European culture and history.
COURSE DESCRIPTION: An exploration of European architecture from the fifteenth to the eighteenth centuries, focusing on issues of form, space, materials, structure, and representation. The course begins and ends with "rebirths" of antiquity, considering in between architectural ideas that seem to stray as far as possible from the classical tradition. Concepts such as Renaissance, Baroque, Rococo and Neoclassical will be examined, as will relevant political and religious circumstances, patronage patterns, and architectural relationships to place. Geographic focus in France, Italy, and Central Europe.
COURSE FORMAT/STYLE: Digital presentations with discussion.
COURSE REQUIREMENTS & GRADING: Grading based primarily on exams, readings, and research project.


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: Shakespeare’s plays and poems display an obsessive preoccupation with human love and desire. Again and again, the poet explores the ways in which we care for each other and the anxieties attendant on our affections, whether by dramatizing the comical infatuations of youth in As You Like It, tracing the complex lines of bisexual attraction in the Sonnets, or putting devastating pressure on the fragile bond between parent and child in King Lear. Sexual frankness remains one of the most controversial dimensions of Shakespeare’s writing; for centuries it has polarized critics into groups that either try to ignore it (as in the so-called “Bowdlerized” texts, stripped of all sexual allusions) or exaggerate it (as in the current fashion for “filthy Shakespeare”). A primary goal of our course will be to arrive at a more sophisticated position by situating the poet’s language, ideas, and artistic conventions in the uniquely sexualized historical moment that was the English Renaissance. Doing so will enable us to understand both what has changed since Shakespeare’s lifetime and what remains distinctly “Shakespearean” about our own twenty-first century attitudes to love and desire.
COURSE FORMAT/STYLE: Discussion/lecture.
COURSE REQUIREMENTS & GRADING: active class participation, close-reading exercises, formal essays, final exam.

3 credits
INSTRUCTOR: Dan Breen, 302 Muller
ENROLLMENT: 20 students per section
PREREQUISITES: One course in the humanities or social sciences, or sophomore standing.
COURSE DESCRIPTION: Poets and playwrights in early modern London were constantly using their work to explore the world outside of England. Thomas Kyd, Christopher Marlowe, and Ben Jonson set many of their plays in countries such as Spain, Portugal, the German states, and Italy, and combined popular assumptions about aspects of Continental culture with representations of English social formations, creating in the process a literary culture that was consistently preoccupied with the subjects of nationality, ethnicity, and religion. Shakespeare was himself deeply implicated in this literary culture, and his comedies, tragedies, and romances demonstrate a remarkable fascination with the European, African, and Middle Eastern countries that line the seacoast of the Mediterranean. In this course, we will examine six of Shakespeare’s plays beginning with the perspectives provided by the settings of each. How, for instance, does the setting of Antonio’s bond and Shylock’s trial shape our understanding of the strikingly unconventional Merchant of Venice? What is the nature of the relationship between ancient Rome and Egypt that Shakespeare constructs in Antony and Cleopatra? What kinds of dramatic advantages or disadvantages does a setting in the Mediterranean afford? So that we will be better able to address these questions, we will read a selection of late sixteenth- and early seventeenth-century travel writing in order to get a fuller sense of the various perspectives on Mediterranean countries available to Shakespeare and his audiences, as well as a selection of Shakespeare’s sonnets.
COURSE FORMAT/STYLE: Discussion, with some context-setting lectures.
COURSE REQUIREMENTS & GRADING: Two 4-5-page essays, one short response paper, a midterm and a final, and class participation. Because of the discussion-oriented format, class participation will also be an essential part of students’ final grades. Grading will be A-F based on the above requirements.

3 credits
INSTRUCTOR: Michael Twomey, Muller 329, Ext. 4-3564
PREREQUISITES: One course in the humanities or social sciences, or sophomore standing.
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: epic, saga, romance, tragedy, and tale. Major texts: Beowulf; Njal’s Saga; Chrétien de Troyes’ Lancelot; Sir Gawain and the Green Knight; The Vulgate Cycle’s Death of King Arthur; Dante’s Inferno; Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales and Troilus and Criseyde.
COURSE FORMAT/STYLE: Lecture/discussion.
COURSE REQUIREMENTS & GRADING: Regular attendance and participation, two essays, several short response pieces, midterm and final exams; A-F grading.

3 credits
INSTRUCTOR: Christopher Matusiak, Muller 326
ENROLLMENT: 20 per section
COURSE DESCRIPTION: Before he died violently and mysteriously in a tavern at the age of twenty-nine, Christopher Marlowe (1564-1593) wrote a sequence of shockingly experimental plays which fundamentally altered the way his contemporaries – including Shakespeare – wrote for the London stage. This course invites students to explore the cultural impact of this “Marlovian revolution” by reading four of the playwright’s major tragedies – Tamburlaine Part 1, Doctor Faustus, The Jew of Malta, and Edward II – alongside selected plays bearing the stamp of their profound influence, including the anonymously authored Arden of Faversham, Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice, Middleton and Rowley’s The Changeling, and Ford’s ’Tis Pity She’s a Whore. Warning: there will be blood.
COURSE FORMAT/STYLE: Discussion/lecture.
COURSE REQUIREMENTS & GRADING: active class participation, mid-term paper, final paper.


INSTRUCTOR: Matthew Klemm, Muller 405, Ext. 4-1306
PREREQUISITES: One course in the humanities or social sciences; sophomore standing.
STUDENTS: All are welcomed; this is not designed for History majors, exclusively. Students in the Park School, majors in Art, Literature, Philosophy, and Art History, for example, have found this course useful in their majors. It is not necessary to have had previous, college level, history courses to understand the material, and to do well in the course.
COURSE DESCRIPTION: This course offers a survey of political, religious, and cultural developments in the western world, c. 300-1400. The primary theme will be the formation of a distinct European culture from a blend of Classical, Christian, and Germanic elements. Thus we will explore each of these elements individually before looking at how they contributed to new medieval mentalities. We will also devote considerable attention to the interactions between Europe and the larger Mediterranean world.
COURSE FORMAT/STYLE: Lecture and Discussion.
COURSE REQUIREMENTS & GRADING: is based on participation, essays, and exams.

Modern Languages and Literatures

3 credits
INSTRUCTOR: Julia Cozzarelli, Muller 428, 4-3513
PREREQUISITES: Two courses in the humanities.
STUDENTS: Open to students from any discipline of the College, including Italian majors and minors and other interested students. Course counts towards Italian minor and Italian Studies major.
COURSE DESCRIPTION: To give an overview of the masterpieces of Italian literature, from the Middle Ages through modernity, by reading and discussing selections from poetry, plays, short stories and novels. Works include: those that established Italian as a written language (Dante, Petrarca, Boccaccio); core Renaissance texts (Machiavelli, Ariosto); 17th and 18th-century works (Galileo, Goldoni); and selections from texts forming the basis of modern Italian fiction (Manzoni, Pirandello, Calvino). The course aims to expose students to these important works while also inspiring discussion and critical thought, and to give the students a greater understanding of the history and culture of Italy. Texts are read and discussed in English.
COURSE FORMAT/STYLE: The course is structured around readings and classroom discussions supplemented by brief lectures. All activities in English.
COURSE REQUIREMENTS & GRADING: Course packet is required, with other materials supplied by instructor. Class participation by students is integral to the nature of this course. Written and spoken homework assignments given in addition to reading. Grade based on class participation in discussions, presentations, compositions, homework and papers.




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