Syllabus - Schedule of Classes

CLASS SCHEDULE(updated on March 19, 2020; updated on March 24 - portfolio due date; updated March 31 - refined instructions for 2nd paper, bibliography; updated on April 16 to adjust the text assignments for class today; updated again on April 23 for adjustments to reading assignments)

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. 21: We read the introductory text by Emily Amt and Classen: Historical framework, social structure, economic conditions

 

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

Questions for group work

Jan. 28: Marie de France: Bislavret

Jan. 30: Marie de France: Eliduc

Feb. 04: Marie de France: The Two Lovers, Lanval

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 

 

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.

Final discussion on the NLied. We also read: Kaufringer, "The Half Blanket," no. 21 and "The Cowardly Husband." no. 6. Please bring the text with you.

March 05: Again: "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

ALERT: March 17: class cancelled due to CoVID-19. Final discussion of the Tumbler. Then: Introduction to Boethius

Now: We skip The Tumbler so we can stay on track.

March 19; resuming our class again, but now online: Boethius, Book I. Prepare yourself also by going over the PPP on D2L: Boethius. Intro.

AGAIN: THIS IS CANCELLED TO SAVE TIME, so ignore the following: 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 .

Today: Nathan will return the first papers to me at 1 p.m., then I'll check them again. 

March 24: AGAIN, THIS ASSIGNMENT HAS TO BE CANCELLED B/C WE CANNOT EVEN MEET and work on how you can improve your papers: re-write due in class today. 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! 

LET ME OFFER INDIVIDUAL SESSIONS VIA PHONE, FB, SKYPE, ZOOM, OR EMAIL TO HELP YOU IMPROVE YOUR PAPERS.

We read today, March 24: Boethius, Book II: Questions

 

March 26: Boethius, Book III: Questions

 

March 31: Final comments on Boethius. then Sir Gawain and the Green Knight

April 02: We finish with Sir Gawain and the Green Knight. Preparation for the 2nd essay, also bibliographical work!

April 6 (Monday): 2nd essay due, online, in the Assignment box (deal with one text we have discussed since the first essay, such as  Kaufringer, Boethius, or Sir Gawain and the Green Knight

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. Or: The Value of Intergenerational Love for the Happiness of Human Society according to Kaufringer. Please, formulate your thesis differently, of course.

3. Main argument, drawing from your chosen topic. Please stay away from Marie de France for this paper 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. ALERT: DUE TO THE CHANGE TO COMPLETE ONLINE TEACHING, THIS REQU. HAS BEEN CHANGED: YOU ONLY NEED TO SEARCH ONLINE FOR THE TITLES  OF SECONDARY RESEARCH LITERATURE, TRANSLATE THOSE INTO THE FORMAT REQUIRED, AND LIST THEM AT THE END OF YOUR PAPER (5 ALTOGETHER,, MONOGRAPHS OR ARTICLES; THEY MUST BE PERTINENT).

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 one more time: Sir Gawain Talking Points, 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: 248-252: there are 11 sections. Let's divvy those up. I structure each section by giving you the first 2 -4 words of the relevant paragraph (assignment by your last names, in an alphabetical order):

1. When, in such a quantity (A-C)

2. We also ought to pay (D-F)

3. Therefore, when they read (middle of p. 250) (G-I)

4. Nor is it any less (J-L)

5. What is so amazing (M-O)

6. The reader who is eager (P-R)

7. Indeed it is established (S-T)

8. When it is clear (U-V

9. If God on occasion (W)

10. And thus he (X)

11. With these prefatory words (Y)

Then we focus on Heloise's comments (253-55); if time permits: Kaufringer: No. 7

April 21:  For contrast, we read: Kaufringer: no. 7, no. 13, no. 18

April 23: Kaufringer, no. 13. Then: We read: Dante Alighieri: Midlife Crisis, Meaning of Life, Love: We begin reading Dante's Inferno (157) Questions. (Video 1; Video 2Video 3).Life of Dante 

April 28: Dante, Divina Commedia; please watch the video 1 or 2 or 3. We discuss then the early part of the Inferno

April 30: 3rd essay due at 3 p.m., upload to Assignments in D2L (deal with two texts covered in class, one we have discussed since the 2nd essay, and one from the previous section; develop a more global thesis regarding human virtues and vices, attitudes and ideas and illuminate it with these 2 texts). 

We read: 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. Then: Heinrich Kaufringer: No. 8: The Search for the Happily Married Couple

May 05: 2nd exam (ONLINE, VIA TOPHAT). 

Extra credit option, read The Tumbler and write a critical commentary on it, ca. 800 words, up to 30 points. What would this text mean even for us today? Submit to Assignment. Due on May 6, 6 p.m.

After the exam, final reflections: What have we achieved, what have we learned? 

This will be our last class meeting; so be prepared to ask any kind of question.

May 8: deadline for the portfolio, 3 p.m. You can upload it any time earlier.

Sample of how your portfolio should look like. Alert: you cannot use the material presented here; it would be plagiarism. The bibliographical work might be more challenging, but many of your sources are online anyway. Consult with me if you have a question.

 

 

(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. (Again, due to COVID-19, not possible, cancelled).

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.