CEMERS Fall 2009 Course Offerings
MDVL 501O Medieval Colonialisms
Instructor: Marilynn R Desmond
Post-colonial theory, which is based almost entirely on modern cultures and modern
global politics, seldom addresses the culture and activities of Europe before 1492.
This interdisciplinary course will investigate the formation of colonizing discourses
and desires in medieval European cultures. In order to look at medieval Europe in
a global context, we will consider the orientalizing constructions of the crusades
and crusade literature, including the visual components of illuminated manuscripts.
We will also consider the development of extensive trade routes and the circulation
of travel literature as well as luxury objects from abroad, which shaped medieval
European perceptions/representations of and relations with other worlds. Requirements
include: one 5 page paper, one 15 page paper, and one oral report (students may select
topics for these assignments in their own disciplines, under the supervision of their
departmental advisors). Texts: Geoffrey of Monmouth, The History of the Kings of Britain,
Gerald of Wales, Journey through Wales, History and Topography of Ireland, Tales from
the Thousand and One Nights, Joinville & Villehardouin, Chronicles of the Crusades,
John Mandeville, The Travels of Sir John Mandeville, Marco Polo, The Travels, The
Alexiad of Anna Comnena. Bartlett, R. The Making of Europe, as well at texts by Chrétien,
Chaucer and Christopher Columbus.
HIST 551Q Renaissance & Reformation in 12C Europe
Instructor: Winston E Black
Renaissance and Reformation in Twelfth-Century Europe COURSE DESCRIPTION: The seminar
will focus on the idea of a ‘Renaissance’ in twelfth-century western Europe, first
popularized in the 1920s and still debated by medieval historians, as well as the
concept of a religious ‘reformation’ in the same period. In this course students will
examine the religious, literary, artistic, and scientific achievements of the ‘long
twelfth century’ (roughly 1075-1215), and discuss the concepts of ‘renaissance’ and
‘reformation’ as they have been borrowed from the Early Modern period and applied
to the High Middle Ages of western Europe. The format will be discussion and presentations,
with occasional lectures on key topics. Assessment is based on oral reports (25%),
a high level of preparation and participation (25%), and a 20-25 page research paper
(50%) on a key aspect or historiographical issue of the twelfth-century renaissance.
MDVL 561L The Sultan’s Palace
Instructor: Nancy A Um
This course will examine palaces and palatial cities of the Islamic world, including
the desert palaces of the eastern Mediterranean, the royal city of Cairo, the Alhambra
in Spain, the Topkapi Palace in Istanbul, Emperor Akbar’s palatial city of Fatehpur
Sikri in India, and the Persian palaces of the royal city of Isfahan. The course will
deal with archaeological and architectural studies, as well as an examination of some
royal accessory arts, like wall paintings, sculptural programs and carpets. Furthermore,
we will ask questions about the imperial use of administrative and residential space
and the specifics of royal ceremonial, procession and viewing. Most of the class will
be devoted to chosen historical case studies, paired with a careful consideration
of the ways in which the space of the Sultan’s Palace has been constructed through
Orientalist literature, art, and scholarship.
MDVL 561M Inventing the Middle Ages
Instructor: Barbara Abou-El-Haj
The nineteenth century is credited, only partially in jest, with inventing the Middle
Ages. This seminar will explore the modern production of the medieval past in the
context of nation-state building, in the construction of political ideology and in
the acquisition of cultural capital.
MDVL 561P The Italian Renaissance
Instructor: Dana E Stewart
Explores the major cultural trends of the Italian Renaissance, as reflected in the
plays, letters, diaries, poetry, and treatises of the time. Themes covered include
politics, art, philosophy, and religion, as well as love and the roles of women in
Renaissance culture. Authors studied include Petrarch, Boccaccio, the Humanists, Machiavelli,
Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, and Renaissance courtesans such as Veronica Franco.
Grade will be based on participation, oral reports, two tests, and short papers. Lectures
in English. Students in the Italian program will read the texts in Italian and will
have extra assignments in Italian.
THEA 572E Theatre and Music in Renaissance and Early Modern Europe
Instructor: Andrew Walkling
The aim of this course, which fulfills the Theatre degree requirement in Dramatic
Theory and Structure, is to introduce students to the role of music in early modern
theatre, and to provide a sense both of its importance to the cultural milieu of the
late Renaissance and the Baroque, and of its complexion, structure, and modes of functioning
within the drama. The class will explore primarily works produced in Italy, France,
and England between the middle of the sixteenth and the end of the seventeenth centuries,
looking at their historical and generic development, and the variety of ways in which
music was used to enhance the theatrical experience.