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GER/HIST 278 Syllabus
Ger/Hist 278, Spring 2013: Medieval Answers to Modern Problems test
INSTRUCTOR: Prof. Albrecht Classen, Dept. of German Studies, 301 Learning Services Building, Office 318; tel. 621-1395; firstname.lastname@example.org; aclassen.faculty.arizona.edu/
OFFICE HOURS: Mo and We 11a.m.-12 p.m., and any other time after appointment (but always feel free simply to stop by at my office)
Cat Botelho (email@example.com)
and Antonella Cassia (in charge of the Portfolios):
firstname.lastname@example.org (same office hours; but email her if you need some extra time)
D2L and other technical details: The D2L website (login) is:
If you have trouble with or questions about D2L, please contact: http://help.d2l.arizona.edu
If you do not check on a daily basis your d2l e-mail account (automatically assigned to you and already in place), you must set-up auto-forward to an account that you check daily. Please go to: http://help.d2l.arizona.edu/students/email#autoforward
CLASSROOM: Bio East 100. Meeting Times: TTh 11:00 a.m.-12:15 p.m.
The Middle Ages seem to be a period far away from our own times, but any close analysis indicates that the roots of the modern world reach back directly to the medieval period. Many of the questions raised then are also raised today, and we moderns are obviously still confronted with the same problems as people in those distant times were. This course does not intend to build a flimsy bridge between two cultural epochs just because historically we grew out of the older epoch. Instead, there is an understanding of fundamental links between both worlds, and we are well-advised to consider the past in order to understand the present, and hence to prepare us for the future.
This is a literature, history, and philosophy course which satisfies the requirements for General Education, Tier Two, Humanities, dealing with fundamental aspects of human culture in an interdisciplinary fashion, developing critical thinking and interpretive approaches to timeless issues in human life. We will read a range of medieval texts (historical, literary, religious, philosophical) and respond to the authors’ challenges by asking how much their perspectives might illuminate us today. There are several goals for this course: First, I expect you to learn enough about the Middle Ages at large so that you can comprehend the cultural, historical, political, and also economic aspects of the wider context relevant for our primary reading. Second, we will also examine the question what history means to us, and what premodern philosophical, literary, political, and religious texts can teach us today through a reading of a wide variety of primary texts from the Middle Ages. Thirdly, this is a writing-intensive course which requires you to respond to our texts on a regular basis (journal) and to develop an understanding of the messages from the past. Fourth, through your own research acquire basic knowledge about the art history, manuscript culture for, and research relevant of the Middle Ages.
Only one book: Albrecht Classen, Medieval Answers to Modern Problems. Revised Edition (San Diego: University Readers/Cognella, 2012). You can only acquire the book directly from the publisher: https://students.universityreaders.com/store/
How to purchase the textbook:
The required book for my GER 278 course, Medieval Answers to Modern Problems (Revised Edition), is published by Cognella Academic Publishing and distributed by University Readers, Inc. The book is now also available for purchase in digital format through the University Readers' student e-commerce store (https://students.universityreaders.com/store/). But this electronic version is only useful if this course is offered online. In the regular semester we really must have the book iin a print version n front of us.
I have developed and written this book to provide you with the best learning experience. Having relied on a variety of other textbooks in the past, I decided in 2012 to move ahead and create my own to reflect the most modern scholarship and approach to the Middle Ages. Please purchase it ASAP to stay on top of your readings. Doing so will help you be successful in this class.
The book price is $53.06, and includes readings that we will use in class daily, so you should purchase your own copy. Also, please keep in mind that our institution adheres to copyright law, so any copyrighted material should not be copied or duplicated in any manner.
To purchase the textbook, please follow the instructions below:
Step 1: Log on to https://students.universityreaders.com/store/.
Step 2: Create an account or log in if you have an existing account to purchase.
Step 3: Easy-to-follow instructions will guide you through the rest of the ordering process. Payment can be made by all major credit cards or with an electronic check.
Step 4: After purchasing, you can access your e-book by logging into your account and clicking My Digital Materials to get started on your readings right away.
If you experience any difficulties, please email email@example.com or call 800.200.3908 ext. 503.
Although it is assumed that you will attend all class sessions, you are informed hereby that excessive absences will have consequences: More than three unexcused absences lead to a drop of one grade in this course, and more than five unexcused absences will lead to an automatic grade of E (failing). If justified circumstances prevent you from attending, please inform me in writing either before or after the event, and provide satisfactory documentation (e.g., doctor’s note).
DISCUSSIONS, ACADEMIC BEHAVIOR, EXPECTATIONS:
Please treat each other with respect and tolerance. People do have different views and opinions, but all these can only contribute to the rich learning experience I hope you all will have in this class. You are strongly encouraged to participate in class as much as possible. The two class meetings per week will only be of profit for you if you respond to my questions and those of your classmates.
See the Pledge which is required for attending this course.
For information on the University of Arizona Policy on Threatening Behavior by Students, click on this link. [download PDF]
CELL PHONES and all other electronic gadgets: You are not allowed to have your cell phones etc. on during class because a ringing will disturb everyone strongly. Either turn them off or mute them. All other electronic gadgets not pertinent to this class, such as iphone, ipads, etc., must also be off. They must all be put away. No playing around with texting, etc., openly or secretly. I need your full attention, and you are in class in order to learn and study, not to communicate with people on the outside.
Are you this nerd or are you a mature adult? See this video
SPECIAL NEEDS: Students with disabilities who require reasonable accommodations to participate fully in course activities or meet course requirements must register with the Disability Resource Center. (http://drc.arizona.edu/). Students need to submit appropriate documentation to the instructor if they are requesting reasonable accommodations.
If you use secondary material for your papers, make sure that you indicate clearly where you took it from. Plagiarism and cheating violate the Code of Academic Integrity. For further information, see:
Do not ever copy from the work produced by your classmates or by other students who might have taken this course in previous semesters. If you receive help in writing your papers, make sure that the final outcome still represents your own work. You can discuss your papers with your fellow students, but at the end they need to consist of your own ideas and words! Be advised that the Web is a great search
If there is any doubt in your mind whether you might commit plagiarism, see:
Plagiarism and the Web
If you commit plagiarism, you could either receive a 0 on your specific assignment, or an F for the entire course. Depending on the gravity of the case, you might even be expelled from the University. Every plagiarism case must be reported to the Head of my depart., to the head of your dept., and to the Dean of Students.
Help with writing: The Writing Skills Improvement Program offers a number of valuable workshops at 1201 E. Helen Street. Please consult with them if you have a need to improve your writing skills (no walk-ins). For perhaps more immediate help, see the Writing Center (walk-ins allowed). Tel.: 621-5849
Writing Center: The Writing Center is a free resource for UA undergraduate and graduate students as well as faculty and staff. At the Writing Center, a trained peer consultant will work individually with you on anything you're writing (in or out of class), at any point in the writing process from brainstorming to editing. Appointments are recommended, but not required. For more information or to make an appointment, visit their website at http://thinktank.arizona.edu/programs/thinktank/services/writing, stop by at Nugent Building, main level, or call (520) 626-0530.
GRADING: (1000 points total)
1. 3 in-class exams (100 points the first, 150 points the second, 250 points the third = 500 points): always bring a blue book for the exam. We always will have essay questions.
2. 3 essays (70 points for the first, 100 points for the second, and 130 points for the third, which will replace the final) = 300 points. Ca. 500 words for the first, 1200 words for the second essays, 1600 words for the third, 1.5 spacing, font 12 pts. Times Roman, margin 1" on all sides. Always write down on the top right: your name, student ID, and word count. For rubrics, see below.
3. Portfolio. See below (200 points)
Topics: I will give you a selection of possible topics for each paper. You need to correlate what the individual author has to say to issues of our present age. Be careful, however, to address those modern issues quickly and without subjective evaluations (as much as that might be possible).
Each essay will be graded as follows:
Must be typed, with at least 1" margin on all sides, at least 12 points letter size. Bring the print-out to class when paper is due. Submit also in electronic form to the dropboxes in D2L, though only the paper copy will count. Keep in mind that each paper will be automatically examined as to the degree of similarities with other papers (turnitin software!). When there is suspicion of plagiarism, I will call you in for a conference, and the consequences for plagiarism might be very harsh. Do not write your paper together with a classmate, though you can, of course, discuss the topics with him/her. If you copy from another paper/chapter/article in print or online, without acknowledging the author and without indicating the extent to which you have copied by means of quotation marks and references, you commit plagiarism.
Thesis: Concisely developed, clear concept, well formulated (avoid paraphrase!) - 1st paper: 10 pts., 2nd paper: 20 pts.; 3rd paper 40 pts. Always provide a title that captures your thesis.
Argument: Good use of original text to illustrate the thesis; complex argument based on a solid knowledge of the text; convincing organization. 1st paper: 40 pts., 2nd paper 50 pts.; 3rd paper 60 pts. If you do not engage with a critical secondary source at all, loss of 15 points, if only fleetingly or superficially, loss of 10 points.
Conclusion: Convincing connection with the thesis, good summary of the argument, final comment on the outside source (negatively or positively), concise formulation; 1st paper 10 pts., 2nd paper 20 pts.; 3rd paper: 20 pts.
Outside Sources: For the 2nd paper, you must engage with one pertinent outside source, i.e., a critical study of recent vintage (not from prior to 1970!). Bring in the author's opinion and use it either to support your own argument or demonstrate why you believe that that other opinion misreads the text. For the 3rd paper, you must engage with at least two secondary sources.
Format: Write down your first last name, SI, class, instructor, term, year on the top of your paper. Next follows the title. Next the thesis in bold.
At the end of your paper write a statement and sign it that this is your own piece of work and that you did not receive outside help.
Stylistics: 10 points for each paper: Correct use of grammar and diction, sophisticated use of vocabulary, complex sentence structure.
LENGTH: first paper should consist of ca. 1/3 p. for thesis and 1/3 page for conclusion, with ca. 1 pages for the main body of arguments (ca. 500 words); double that for second paper (1200 words), and ca. triple for third paper (1600 words).
Always submit a hard copy and upload a version to the dropbox on D2L! You must do both!
Bibliography: See, for instance, my Handbook of Medieval Studies, ed. A. C. (Berlin and New York: De Gruyter, 2010). Familiarize yourself with the various research sources in our library (MLA, JSTOr, etc.). Your outside sources do not necessarily have to engage with the same text, but they must focus on medieval culture at large. The studies that you will consult cannot be from prior to 1960.
Essay 1 should focus on one primary text only. Discuss Boethius, Hildebrandslied, or Nibelungenlied, bringing out a key element or message, argue about it, and reach a conclusion. No outside source required for this essay; instead work on how to establish a thesis and how to support it with solid evidence drawn from the primary text. Essay 2: one outside source; Essay 3: two outside sources!
Ex. for a Thesis for Paper One: As Boethius illustrates, misfortune is a misnomer as it proves to be a real test of friendship. Or: The Hildebrandslied argues that the traditional value of heroic honor has a devastating effect on all of society..
How to cite your secondary sources :
Trumpener, Katie. "Memories Carved in Granite: Great War Memorials and Everyday Life." PMLA 115 (2000): 1096-103.
Hanks, Patrick. "Do Word Meanings Exist?" Computers and the Humanities 34 (2000): 205-15.
Kurlansky, Mark. Salt. A World (New York: Scribner's, 2001).
"Selected Seventeenth-Century Events," Romantic Chronology. Ed. Laura Mandell and Alan Liu. 1999. U of California, Santa Barbara. 12 November 2003 <http://english.ucsb.edu:591/rchrono/>. (last accessed on Month, date, year)
You must use this format! Otherwise loss of points.
3. Portfolio: 200 points: Focus on one of the texts we discussed in class and explore its cultural-historical context.
A. Find a relevant image (painting), must be at least 800 dpi (scan, photograph, etc.). First step: identify your text, determine the time period. Go to the library, find a book dealing with the history of art of that period. Search for the image there. Only then: search in ARTstore, on the library webpage, search for a relevant book on art history, identify a contemporary image, scan it in, take a photo, etc. (20 pts)
B. Image of a relevant building reflecting the specific time period, language, and culture (provide an image, again, min. 800 dpi). The image can be scanned from a book using the UA Libraries book scanner, copy and pasted from ARTstor or other library source or from the Web. Provide information on the artist, title, date and where you got the image from. (20 pts)
C. Identify where the manuscript of your text is currently housed, in what library, and under what call number. Best might be, go to Dictionary of Literary Biographies, online, or consult the Dictionary of the Middle Ages, or the Lexikon des Mittelalters (all in the Reference Area) (30 pts). Otherwise, search for the critical edition of the text and identify at least one major manuscript listed there.
D. Create a bibliography using, as your starting point, a relevant monograph held in the library (nothing earlier than 1980). Put the bibliographical information on top of the page. Identify the major references in the book, that is, in the foot- or endnotes. Identify which sources your author uses most commonly. Establish a list of 5 major titles to which the author has regularly referred to (not prior to 1960). I do not expect you to engage much with them, since this is only a bibliographical exercise, but feel free to read deeper. (40 pts)
E. Create a bibliography using, as your starting point, an online bibliographical database (MLA, Iter, IMB, etc.), consisting of at least 5 major studies pertaining to your primary author/poet. (20 pts) (nothing prior to 2000)
For D and E you are only required to identify those titles and to list them alphabetically.
F. Identify one modern study on your text, not older than 1980, provide the bibliographical information, and write a critical summary: What does the author say or argue about. Ca. 500 words. This pertains to a short article, perhaps also to an independent chapter in a book (but it must be a brief and concise study standing on its own. Include a copy of that article or chapter into your portfolio (hence a short study, please), along with the critical summary. (60 pts) Do not use a monograph since this is far beyond the scope of this assignment.
Print out the images, establish separate files in your folder, give each file the appropriate title. Submit the portfolio any time throughout the semester, but not later than April 25in class (Please note change of due date!). Put all your material in a decent folder, identify it by your name, SI, class, email, and date.
G. For expedient library research, see this tutorial.
H. Before you submit the portfolio, you are invited to consult with the special grader for the portfolios, Antonella Cassia (firstname.lastname@example.org). She can help you verify whether you got a good image of a painting, or a building, check on the bibliography, and review perhaps whether your critical summary is good enough. She will be available especially Mondays and Wednesdays from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. in our Dept. of German Studies, or by appointment.
I. Put the entire portfolio into a appropriate folder, create subcategories, provide a table of contents, print out the various bibliographies, print the images, and submit the critical summary. 10 pts for mechanics, organization, stylistics, etc.
LATE SUBMISSION: Papers must be submitted on time, late submissions are not permitted (except with valid excuse).
EXTRA CREDIT: see below
Jan. 10, 2013: First Day of Class: Welcome and Introduction. Ddownload the pledge form, read it, sign it, and bring it to your instructor latest by Tue.
Let us discuss specifically what 5 of the most prevalent topics have always been for people throughout time. These will then be dealt with throughout the class looking at them through a variety of lenses
Jan. 17: Read my article in excerpts, focus especially on: Early and Late Middle Ages: Classen
Jan. 24: Boethius, Book II See also the PDF (by now redundant)
Jan. 29: Boethius, Book III
Jan. 31: Father-Son Conflict, Loyalty, Honor, Death
Feb. 5 Hildebrand
Feb. 7: Love and Death, Revenge, Loyalty, Hatred
Feb. 12: Nibelungenlied: 14-23; 1st exam: essay questions reg. the historical time frame, Boethius, Hildebrandslied, and Nibelungenlied. You must bring blue books for the exam. Write down the question first, then think about your possible answer, and only then put down your answer (you must write legibly!).
Feb. 19: Nibelungenlied: 36-39
Feb. 21: Quest for the Self
Feb. 26: Our Lady's Tumbler
Feb. 28: Love, Marriage
March 5: Marie de France: Were-Wolf; Eliduc
March 7: 2nd exam
March 19: Good Government
Charlemagne's economic planning and John of Salisbury: The Nature of a True Prince
March 21: Faith, Belief, Superstition
March 26: Walther von der Vogelweide: poems, 219ff.; 2nd essay due in class (deal with one text we have discussed since the first exam)
March 28: Otto of Freising: A Philosophy of History; and: Frederick II and the Heretics
April 02: Rationality, Critical Thinking
April 04: Abelard, 205-208
April 09: Completion of Abelard: Heloise's comments, and Roger Bacon
April 11: Roger Bacon: new text, please read online by clicking on the link to the left.
April 16: Midlife Crisis, Meaning of Life, Love
April 18: Dante Alighieri : Questions. (Video 1; Video 2)
April 23: Women's Rights and Equality, Self-Determination, Independence
April 30: 3rd exam (last day of class)
May 3, 1-5 p.m.: Extra credit opportunity: Attend one or two lectures during my conference on "Mental Health, Spirituality, and Religion," Student Union, Rincon Room, write a short paper of ca. 500 words, summarizing the speaker's findings, and submit by May 6, 4 p.m. to my office in 318 LSB or up front, 301 LSB. You must have signed in (see me). You can come on Fri afternoon, or any time on Saturday. Up to 30 points.
Possible Changes: The information contained in the course syllabus, other than the grade and absence policies, may be subject to change with reasonable advance notice, as deemed appropriate by the instructor.