GER/HIST 278 Syllabus

Ger/Hist 278, Spring 2020: Medieval Answers to Modern Problems (updated on March 16, 2020; updated on April 30, for the extra credit)

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Comments by previous students

This course can count toward the Cultural Minor in German Studies or toward the THEMATIC MINOR IN MEDIEVAL STUDIES

The German Studies Major and Minor


The University of Arizona’s Department of German Studies offers a major (B.A.) and a minor in German Studies, with two possible tracks (language and culture). For more information on the German Studies major and minor, see

German Studies majors have pursued careers in a wide variety of fields, including engineering, business, government, medicine, law, education, and social services. German Studies has many double majors, who combine German Studies with majors in a wide range of fields, in order to receive a comprehensive undergraduate education and to stand out when applying for jobs or graduate studies.

If you are interested in declaring a German Studies major or minor, you are encouraged to contact the German Studies Director of Undergraduate Studies, Dr. Albrecht Classen at You also can contact the College of Humanities Advising Office, at

or: click on:


Prof. Albrecht Classen, Dept. of German Studies, 301 Learning Services Building, Office 318; tel. 621-1395;


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, email me, call me to make sure that I am in)

Grader: Nathan Payne (for office hour, contact him via email, here linked).

For appointments with your Grader you could also contact the Dept. of German Studies (tel.: [520] 621-7385), or call your Professor at (520) 621-1395. 

Office hours: LSB 301 Th 12:30-2:30


D2L  and other technical details: The D2L website (login) is:

If you have trouble with or questions about D2L, please contact:
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:
CLASSROOM:  Haury 216

Meeting Times: TTh 9:30 a.m.-10:45 p.m. 

Tips on best learning practices

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. We will examine historical, literary, political, religious, and didactic documents in our search for how people in the past approached their problems and what solutions they found. 

Here is a useful quote from Livy (64 BCE - 12 or 17 C.E.): 

“The study of history is the best medicine for a sick mind; for in history you have a record of the infinite variety of human experience plainly set out for all to see: and in that record you can find for yourself and your country both examples and warnings: fine things to take as models, base things, rotten through and through, to avoid.” – Livy

Student Learning Outcomes:
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 of 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.

Third, this is a writing-intensive (according to Gen.Ed. requirements) 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, writing a specific minimum of words.

Fourth, through your own research acquire basic knowledge about the art history, manuscript culture, and research relevant to the Middle Ages (this is very similar to point 1); 

Fifth, you will gain deep insights into fundamental issues of human life and acquire insights into ways how thinkers and writers in the past dealt with critical issues in all existence, offering thereby some answers even for us today.

For the General Education Writing Guidelines and Principles at the UA, see this link

Diversity: "We seek to create the comprehensively engaged university with the expectation that everyone will make a contribution to inclusive excellence. Diversity and inclusiveness are core values for the University of Arizona and offer a competitive advantage in attracting faculty, staff, students and their partners. Moreover, diversity allows the institution to prepare students to be leaders in global contexts." It is my personal goal to provide an all-inclusive classroom where everyone is equally respected and receives the same treatment and dignity, and has the same opportunity. (

Accessibility and Accommodations
At the University of Arizona,we strive to make learning experiences  as accessible as possible. If you anticipate or experience barriers based on disability or pregnancy, please contact the Disability Resource Center (520-621-3268, to establish reasonable accommodations.  


Two books:

1. Albrecht Classen, Medieval Answers to Modern Problems. Second Edition (San Diego: University Readers/Cognella, 2017). We will use only that edition, please. The publisher and I have worked long and hard during the Fall semester 2016 to revise and update this book. I believe you will enjoy it.

Hello students,

The required course material for GER / HIST 278 is now available for purchase. Medieval Answers to Modern Problems (Second Edition) is published and distributed by Cognella, Inc.

Cognella is committed to publishing affordable learning materials for students, so when you purchase directly through their student store, you’ll always receive the lowest price possible. Purchasing directly from the publisher is also a safe and effective way for you to receive everything you need for the term. 

For print textbooks purchased from the Cognella student store, you’ll also receive a PDF file of the first 30% of the material so you can begin reading and studying right away. Ebooks will be immediately available upon purchase.

Purchase your course material here:

This course material includes information that we will reference and use in class regularly, so please purchase your own copy. Please keep in mind that our school is strict about copyright law and course material should never be copied or duplicated in any manner.

If you need any help ordering from the Cognella student store, email or call 858-552-1120 x503.

2nd book: A. Classen, Love, Life, and Lust in Heinrich Kaufringer’s Verse Narratives (Tempe, AZ: ACMRS, 2014, now in its 2nd ed., 2020; please purchase only that one); available at the UA Bookstore

I have selected both textbooks for this class because I have developed them specifically for our purposes and deem them to be the best and most cost-effective class material. There are no other comparable textbooks available, in print or digitally. If I asked you to purchase the original texts in English translation (if available in the first place), the costs would be much higher. A lot of work has gone into the creation of both textbooks over the years, both in their 2nd ed. by now. I do receive nominal royalties as compensation for my editorial work and for my translations. 

3. Top Hat (also required)

We will be using the Top Hat (this is our unique link for this class Spring 2020: learning management system in class.  You will be able to submit answers to in-class questions using Apple or Android smartphones and tablets, laptops, or through text message.  

You can visit for the Student Quick Start Guide which outlines how you will register for a Top Hat account, as well as providing a brief overview to get you up and running on the system.  An email invitation will also be sent to your school email account (if you don't receive this email, you can register by visiting our course website See also this link.

Top Hat will require a paid subscription, and the standard pricing for the most cost-efficient option is $48 for 12-months of unlimited access (I am sorry for the extra charge, but I cannot help it; it's a very good product and worth every penny, I believe. Here is a link for the price breakdown). For a full breakdown of all subscription options available please visit I am aware of the additional cost, but virtually all my previous students have agreed completely that this Learning Management System has proven to be highly effective and productive in their studies and learning process.

-Access code 


Join code: 919581

Although it is assumed that you will attend all class sessions, you are informed hereby that excessive absences will have consequences. We will use the tophat LMS to check your attendance. 10% of your grade will reflect your attendance, and 10% your active participation along with your homework which I will check through Top Hat. So, this amounts to 20% of your overall grade!


The UA’s policy concerning Class Attendance, Participation, and Administrative Drops is available at

The UA policy regarding absences for any sincerely held religious belief, observance or practice will be accommodated where reasonable:

Participating in the course and attending lectures and other course events are vital to the learning process. As such, attendance is required at all lectures and discussion section meetings. Absences may affect a student’s final course grade. If you anticipate being absent, are unexpectedly absent, or are unable to participate in class online activities, please contact me as soon as possible. To request a disability-related accommodation to this attendance policy, please contact the Disability Resource Center at (520) 621-3268 or If you are experiencing unexpected barriers to your success in your courses, the Dean of Students Office is a central support resource for all students and may be helpful. The Dean of Students Office is located in the Robert L. Nugent Building, room 100, or call 520-621-7057.

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.

The University of Arizona is committed to fostering a learning, working, and living environment free from all forms of discrimination, including harassment. The University’s Nondiscrimination and Anti-harassment Policy prohibits discrimination and harassment on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, religion, age, disability, veteran status, sexual orientation, and gender identity. The policy also prohibits retaliation for opposing discriminatory conduct, filing a discrimination-related complaint, or participating in the investigation of a discrimination-related complaint.
For definitions of discrimination, harassment, and retaliation, please see the University's Nondiscrimination and Anti-harassment Policy here or visit the Office of Institutional Equity website.

The UA Threatening Behavior by Students Policy prohibits threats of physical harm to any member of the University community, including to oneself. See

Classroom behavior: Are you this nerd or are you a mature adult? See this video (facetious)

Accessibility and Accommodations

Our goal in this classroom is that learning experiences be as accessible as possible. If you anticipate or experience physical or academic barriers based on disability, please let me know immediately so that we can discuss options. You are also welcome to contact the Disability Resource Center (520-621-3268) to establish reasonable accommodations. For additional information on the Disability Resource Center and reasonable accommodations, please visit

Code of Academic Integrity 

Required language: Students are encouraged to share intellectual views and discuss freely the principles and applications of course materials. However, graded work/exercises must be the product of independent effort unless otherwise instructed. Students are expected to adhere to the UA Code of Academic Integrity as described in the UA General Catalog. See

The University Libraries have some excellent tips for avoiding plagiarism, available at

Selling class notes and/or other course materials to other students or to a third party for resale is not permitted without the instructor’s express written consent. Violations to this and other course rules are subject to the Code of Academic Integrity and may result in course sanctions. Additionally, students who use D2L or UA e-mail to sell or buy these copyrighted materials are subject to Code of Conduct Violations for misuse of student e-mail addresses. This conduct may also constitute copyright infringement.

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 tool, but never, never copy from there without identifying very clearly what you used.  At this point the scholarly value of web-based material still is not totally reliable, and the chances that you might stumble upon a most dubious webpage with untrustworthy information are very high.  When you quote from a secondary source, clearly identify the quote and tell the reader in a footnote where you quoted from.  Every year more than 100 students at the UA are caught having committed the crime of plagiarism, resulting in penalties that could be as severe as expulsion from the University!  You are smart enough not to copy from other people.

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 my dept., and to the Dean of Students.


UA Nondiscrimination and Anti-harassment Policy

Required: The University is committed to creating and maintaining an environment free of discrimination; see

Our classroom is a place where everyone is encouraged to express well-formed opinions and their reasons for those opinions. We also want to create a tolerant and open environment where such opinions can be expressed without resorting to bullying or discrimination of others.

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, stop by at Nugent Building, main level, or call (520) 626-0530.

How to avoid logical fallacies in your arguments

GRADING: (100% total)
1. 2  in-class exams (10% for the first, 10% for the second exam = 20%): We will use the Tophat LMS, relying on multiple-choice answers. The second exam will be more comprehensive, including the historical components once again.
2. 3 essays (6for the first, 10% for the second, and 19% for the third) = 35%. Ca. 500-700 words for the first, 1200-1400 words for the second essays, 1600-1800 words for the third, 2 pt. 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: 25%. See below (100 points)

4. Attendance (10%) and Participation (10%): a total of 20% (checked with Top Hat)

Topics: I will give you a selection of possible topics for each paper, but feel free to come up with your own (consult with me). I would discourage you from pursuing a perspective comparing past with modern issues, as much as the entire course is concerned with that because it is very difficult to pinpoint easily what those issues really might be in the present time. 

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 the paper is due. Submit also in electronic form to the assignment box in D2L in time before the due date, though only the paper copy will count for the grading. Keep in mind that each paper will be automatically examined as to the degree of similarities with other papers by yourself, your classmates, published studies by scholars, and online material (turnitin software!). You will always receive an automatic confirmation from assignment that you have submitted your paper. Make sure to keep that alert as proof that your submission has worked well. If your paper is not in the dropbox, I cannot help you, and you will lose all your points. When there is suspicion of plagiarism, I will call you in for a conference, and the consequences of 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, or with one of the preceptors. 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. Even if you quote and indicate so, limit this to a minimum because only your own work/words will count.

Thesis: Concisely developed, clear concept, well-formulated (avoid paraphrase!) -  20 pts. Always provide a title that captures your thesis. Keep the thesis statement in bold.

Argument: Good use of original text to illustrate the thesis; complex argument based on a solid knowledge of the text; convincing organization; engage with one outside source: 50 pts. If you do not engage with a critical secondary source at all, loss of 10 points, if only fleetingly or superficially, loss of 5 points. There are very simple ways of referring to an outside source: While, whereas, although, even though, in contrast to, following x's argument, according to, regarding this issue, x has claimed, etc. 

Conclusion: Convincing connection with the thesis, good summary of the argument, final comment on the outside source (negatively or positively), concise formulation; 20 pts.


Outside Sources: Each time you must engage with at least one pertinent outside source, i.e., a critical study of recent vintage (not from prior to 1980! and it must be an article or chapter in a scholarly book dealing with the Middle Ages and then specifically with your topic). This must be a solid piece of scholarship, published in a reputable journal, edited volume, or the like (no webpage articles, unless it's an online journal by its own right). 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. Loss of points if no source used, or if inappropriate. Pertinent means that the scholar writes about the text you are discussing. You can lose up to 10 points if this does not happen systematically in your paper. Mostly, this will show in the argument! Include the full bibliographical information of your source at the end of your paper! You must also list at least 4 other relevant studies in that bibliography, either books (monographs) or collected volumes, or articles and chapters in books. So, always a bibliography of 5 titles, one of which you identify as the one source that you have engaged with.

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: 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. 500-700 words); second paper (1000-1500 words), and ca. triple for third paper (1000-1500 words). If you fall considerably short of the expected number of words, deduction of up to 10 points.

Again: Always submit a hard copy and upload a version to the assignment page on D2L! You must do both! We will grade only the hard copy, while the electronic version serves only to check your work regarding plagiarism issues. 

Online databases: Modern Language Bibliography, Iter, International Medieval Bibliography, Regesta Imperii, JSTOR, etc.


There is a very large bibliography and a collection of valuable articles available in my Handbook of Medieval Studies, ed. A. C. (Berlin and New York: De Gruyter, 2010; online, in our library under Articles and Databases). See now also my Handbook of Medieval Culture, ed. A.C. (Berlin and Boston: Walter de Gruyter, 2015), available in hard copy in the reference library. You can, for instance, quote individual articles from both reference works. Moreover, familiarize yourself with the various research sources in our library (MLA, JSTOr, etc.).  Your outside sources have to engage with the same text you are working with. The studies that you will consult cannot be from prior to 1960.

If you use an article in either reference work, then that would be your secondary source because the individual articles here are fully-fledged independent articles. Otherwise, do not cite, for instance, from the Dictionary of the Middle Ages or Lexikon des Mittelalters; both are very valuable, but they are really just that, dictionaries, and the short pieces just digest our knowledge. Never use an article on Wikipedia.

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. - this is a journal article - please pay attention to the details!

Hanks, Patrick.  "Do Word Meanings Exist?"  Computers and the Humanities 34 (2000): 205-15 - journal article.

Kurlansky, Mark. Salt: A World (New York: Scribner's, 2001). - this is a monograph, that means, a single-authored book

"Selected Seventeenth-Century Events," Romantic Chronology.  Ed. Laura Mandell and Alan Liu. 1999. U of California, Santa Barbara.  12 November 2003 <;. (last accessed on Month, date, year) - this is an online source

You must use this format! Otherwise loss of points.


3. Portfolio: 25%: Focus on one of the texts we discussed in class and explore its cultural-historical context. You are required to create one folder with all material in it, such as a PDF, which you then upload as one file to D2L! (new)

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. Provide information on the artist, title, date and where you got the image from. I need you to consult library resources, and embed the artist in his/her time. Specify what the author of your study has informed you about (so, the picture itself 10, the background information 5 pts, for a total of 15 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. You are required to do a little more research on the building, so a simple copy and paste process is not good enough here. I would prefer if you copied the image from a printed source. (Same here: background: 10, picture itself 5 pts, for a total of 15 pts)

C. Identify where the medieval manuscript of your text is currently housed, in what library, and under what call number. In many cases, there are at least 4-8 manuscripts, and in that case I expect you to list at least 4. In very rare cases is there only one manuscript. We hardly have the medieval writers' autographs, but you can always identify one of the early manuscripts of their text. Do not confuse this with the call numbers used in the modern libraries. An edition or translation of the works by Marie de France might have a call number such as PQ 480 (such as in the UoA Library), etc., since that's what we might have in the library. The call number for the medieval manuscript would be something very different, identifying the original Old Anglo-Norman text where it is kept in what library in the world. Each critical edition of the original text, and often also the English translations, contain, in the introduction, a clear reference to the original manuscript, with the exact call number. A useful search tool online 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, now, on the 3rd floor behind the elevators) (10 pts). Otherwise, search for the critical edition of the text and identify at least one major manuscript listed there. If confused, check out the critical edition and bring it to me, so that I can help you with that. German texts are particularly easy, I can point out a relevant web page where you can search well.

D. Create a bibliography using, as your starting point, a relevant monograph held in the library (nothing earlier than 1980). Put the bibliographical information of this book on the top of the page. Identify the major references in the book, that is, in the foot- or endnotes, or then in the bibliography. That means: Identify which sources your author uses most commonly. Once you have realized that, put together this 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. However, you must copy either a direct quote used by your primary author or his/her comments about the studies. Simply put, just a bibliography of the 5 most commonly cited secondary sources, and indicate how your primary author referred to those previous studies. Use the MLA style, as outlined above (10 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. (10 pts) (nothing prior to 2000, please)

For D and E you are required to identify those titles and to list them alphabetically. But still, provide the full bibliographical information according to the MLA model. And copy a statement/quote.

F. Identify one modern study specifically dealing with your text, not older than ca. 1980 (if you have a question, please ask me), provide the bibliographical information, and write a critical summary: What does the author say or argue about. Ca. 500-700 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, but it must consist of at least 10 pp.), along with the critical summary. (30 pts) Do not use a monograph since this is far beyond the scope of this assignment unless you use a chapter from it. This mean, you detail what the author has argued, and you try to evaluate its relevance or whether it convinces you or not. This must be a different article from the one you might engage with in your papers.

Submit the portfolio in electronic form any time throughout the semester, but no later than May 1, 4 p.m. Appearance, format, style: 10 pts. Now, since 2018, you can simply upload the entire file to D2L, under assignments

G. For expedient library research, see this tutorial.

H. Before you submit the portfolio, you are invited to consult with the grader or the instructor. We 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. 

I. Put the entire portfolio into an appropriate folder, create subcategories, provide a table of contents and submit the critical summary. 10 pts for mechanics, organization, stylistics, etc. (but now all digitally, upload to D2L)

K. For specific grading rubrics, click here
L. Submit the portfoilo to the D2L Assignment page (deadline: April 30, 1 p.m.).
M. Please note, the entire portfolio is an exercise in how to do basic research, how to connect with the cutting edge research, how to trace the original source, and also how to make an impressive case with your portfolio. Form and content must correlate! This is a crucial step toward professionalization in any study field.
LATE SUBMISSION: Papers must be submitted on time, late submissions are not permitted (except with a really valid excuse).
You will be responsible for checking your D2L account as to your grades. Please report immediately to me if a grade is missing after the paper or exam has been returned. Missing points for attendance or participation must be reported within 3 days after that specific class. I cannot help you with that at the end of the semester. You will have 10 days max. after the paper grade has been uploaded to D2L to verify or question the grade.
Top Hat

We will be using the Top Hat ( classroom response system in class.  You will be able to submit answers to in-class questions using Apple or Android smartphones and tablets, laptops, or through text message.  

You can visit for the Student Quick Start Guide which outlines how you will register for a Top Hat account, as well as providing a brief overview to get you up and running on the system.  An email invitation will also be sent to your school email account (if you don't receive this email, you can register by visiting our course website

Top Hat will require a paid subscription, and the standard pricing for the most cost-efficient option is $48 for 12-months of unlimited access. For a full breakdown of all subscription options available please visit


(Note: You just need to replace "XXXXXX" with your 6 digit course join code: 645180). 

EXTRA CREDIT: see below
Jan. 16, 2020: First Day of Class: Welcome and Introduction.  

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. 23: Continuation with Amt/Classen: literature, religion, education, Jewish-Christian relations

Jan. 28: Marie de France: Guigemar, Bislavret

Jan. 30: Marie de France: Equitan, The Two Lovers

Feb. 04: Marie de France: Eliduc, Les Fresne

Feb. 06: Father-Son Conflict, Loyalty, Honor, Death

The Song of Hildebrand (55-56)
Feb. 11: 1st exam: multiple choice questions reg. the historical time frame, Marie de France, Hildebrandslied, all on tophat
Feb. 13: Hildebrand, cont., and, for a contrast, Kaufringer, no. 21
Feb. 18: We begin with our preparations for the portfolio. Please go to the library and bring a single-authored book on some of the texts we have or will discuss with you to class today. Everyone with a name ending on A-C: Boethius (or medieval philosophy); ending on D-G: Nibelungenlied; ending on H-N: Marie de France; ending on O-R: Sir Gawain and the Green Knight; S-T: Abelard, ending on U-W: Heinrich Kaufringer; ending on X-Z: Dante. Try to find a monograph of recent vintage (not prior to 1970, or so).  We'll read for today: Nibelungenlied:1-15
Feb. 20: Nibelungenlied: 16-22
Feb. 25: Nibelungenlied  23-30 

Feb. 27: Nibelungenlied 31-39

March 03: 1st essay due in class: write either on Marie de France, Hildebrandslied, or Nibelungenlied. I can give you theses options, or you can choose your own. Please pay attention to the instructions above.

March 05: Kaufringer: The Cowardly Husband. Then: Our Lady's Tumbler. As background, if you wish, see, for instance, Le Thionet (photos) Le Thionet (video I, with speaker) (video II, only music in the background) (video III, with Gregorian chant). You may read this article: A. Classen, "The Human Quest for Happiness and Meaning"  in Athens Journal of Humanities and Meaning,
Spring break March 7-15
March 17: Final discussion of the Tumbler. Then: Introduction to Boethius. First paper will be returned.
March 19: Boethius, Book I.
Homework assignment: Find a recent critical study on Boethius, either online (in a journal) or in the library (paper copy), read it and summarize it critically. Please report back to the class what the individual scholar's contribution was on March 19 
March 24: Boethius, Book II: re-write due today.
March 26: Boethius, Book III
March 31: Sir Gawain and the Green Knight
April 02: 2nd essay due in class (deal with one text we have discussed since the first essay, such as one or two lais by Marie de France, the NL, or Our Lady's Tumbler. We are reading: Sir Gawain, and Kaufringer, no. 1 (contrastive approach). 

Format and requirement, once again: 

1. Title, which should represent your thesis in a nutshell. Ex.: The Meaning of True Happiness in Boethius (very broad, of course)

2. Thesis, put it in bold within the introductory paragraph.  Ex.: Whereas most people search for happiness in material conditions, B. argues that true happiness rests in the striving for self-sufficiency as a natural instinct in all beings. Please, formulate your thesis differently, of course.

3. Main argument, drawing from your chosen topic. I would suggest to stay away from Marie de France b/c some of you dealt with her lais already in paper 1. Here you also must incorporate the insights of some scholar who addressed the text/s you are dealing with. Either agree or disagree with him/her. Use phrases such as: Whereas..., while... According to, As x opines, observes, avers, posits, claims, argues, etc.

4. Reach a Conclusion, which ought to correspond to your thesis statement. 

5. Bibliography: cite the one source you have consulted, plus 4 other pertinent studies.

6. Observe the word limit; make sure that you do not quote excessively from the main text, summarize the main point. When discussing the outside source, use formulas such as: Whereas, while, although, in correspondence with, drawing from, etc. etc.

April 07: We are reading: Sir Gawain, and Kaufringer, no. 1 (contrastive approach). 

April 09:  Continue with Kaufringer no. 1. What do we make out of this story for us today? Is there no clear human justice? We also read: Abelard, 247-248
April 14: Rationality, Critical Thinking: Abelard, 249-252
April 16: Completion of Abelard: focusing on Heloise's comments (253-55); Kaufringer: No. 7; 2nd paper is returned today
April 21:  For a contrast, we read: Kaufringer: no. 13, no. 18
April 23: If you want to rewrite your second essay, it will be due on this day, in class. Bold all changes and submit both the old and the new version (staple both together). Only the second grade will count, so watch it, it could go up (I hope so), or down! We read: Dante Alighieri: Midlife Crisis, Meaning of Life, Love: We begin reading Dante's Inferno (139) Questions. (Video 1; Video 2; Video 3).Life of Dante 
April 28:  Roger Bacon: new text, please read online by clicking on the link to the left. I have also edited the text for you. Click here. We also read: Heinrich Kaufringer, no. 4
April 30: 3rd essay due in class (deal with one text only covered in class since the 2nd essay). You must be present in class to submit the essay! We read: Heinrich Kaufringer: No. 8: The Search for the Happily Married Couple; No. 25: Seven Deadly Sins
May 4: Deadline for portfolio, submit online, 1 p.m.  Sample of how your portfolio should look like. Last day of class. We'll read: Kaufringer: No. 6: The Cowardly Husband; No. 14: The Innocent Murderess; No. 29: Fight over Love and Beauty.
Final reflections: What have we achieved, what have we learned. 
May 05: 2nd exam
Cancelled: Extra credit: attend any of the sessions in the conference "Freedom, Slavery, and Imprisonment in the Middle Ages and the Early Modern Age," Fri or Sat., May 1-2, but sign in, please. You will be welcome to attend the conference as long as you want.  Write a brief summary of ca. 500 words and submit to me in my office as a printed copy on Mo, May 4, latest at 4 p.m. No late submissions!  Up to 30 extra points.
But here is the alternative, only Spring 2020: Read "The Tumbler and write an extra essay of ca. 800 words about what this simple man truly achieved and what his efforts might signify even for us, whether we are Catholic or not.  Due on May 6th, 5 p.m., in the assignment.

The Program (to be updated)

Students are responsible for picking up their graded papers either in class or from the dept. within max. 10 school days after they have been returned officially in class. Similarly, students are responsible for checking on their grades posted on D2L. After 10 school days no further review is possible. I cannot guarantee that your papers will be waiting for you weeks after the deadline. Submission to assignment on D2L is not a substitute for the hard copy.


Subject to Change Statement

Information contained in the course syllabus, other than the grade and absence policy, may be subject to change with advance notice, as deemed appropriate by the instructor.

Final Grade Review: If there might be a problem with your grade, you can ask me for a review until May 14, 12 p.m. Beyond that, there will not be any opportunity to revisit your grade.



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