Honors Colloquium 195J -01. Fall 2022

Honors Colloquium Spring 2022 

HNRS 195J--014, Special Topics in Humanities: Erotic Medieval Tales

Covid-19 UoA guidelines

All UA policies pertaining to classes in one location. For my own specifics, see below.

TOPIC: The Experience of Love and God in a Medieval Context: Entertaining and Meaningful Tales of Medieval Germany


INSTRUCTOR: Prof. Albrecht Classen, Dept. of German Studies, LSB 318, tel.: 621-1395; email: aclassen@email.arizona.edu; aclassen.faculty.arizona.edu


Office: 318 Learning Service Building

1512 E 1st St., between Vine and Cherry


As we enter the Fall semester, the health and well-being of everyone in this class is the highest priority. Accordingly, we are all required to follow the university guidelines on COVID-19 mitigation. Please visit covid19.arizona.edu for the latest guidance


CLASSROOM: via zoom, set up in D2L, or here:  

Join URL: https://arizona.zoom.us/j/85161497946

CLASS MEETING TIME: online: Fri 9:00-9:50 a.m.

OFFICE HOURS: available only online, via zoom, or email: aclassen@email.arizona.edu

zoom meetings: https://arizona.zoom.us/j/97291834166 (but email me first to arrange a meeting)



We will study a number of short verse narratives by a late medieval German author, Heinrich Kaufringer which I have translated into English to make this material available to you. Just as today, poets at that time engaged intensively with issues pertaining to love, sexuality, marriage, and adultery. Many times, communication enters the picture as a crucial topic behind the erotic. And community and compassion are not far away. We will explore a range of issues associated with love and marriage as reflected by a variety of short readings. Please contact your Honors Academic Advisor to be enrolled in the class.




Engaging with an important collection of verse narratives from ca. 1400, almost parallel to Chaucer's Canterbury Tales and Boccaccio's Decameron. We will examine how the German poet dealt with a wide range of issues in human life, commonly viewed through an erotic lens, and learn thereby critical issues of human existence throughout time.

Student Learning OUTCOME:

1. Solid understanding of the late medieval discourse on love and sexuality, 2. the ability to discuss central theses critically in class, and 3. a high level of academic writing about these narratives. 4. The final outcome will be a deep concept of profound issues in human life, here seen through a literary-historical lens.


Although it is assumed that you will attend all class meetings, you are informed hereby that excessive absences will have consequences for your grade.


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 one meeting per week will only be of profit for you if you respond to my questions and those of your classmates, come forward with your own questions, opinions, etc.



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.

For information on the University of Arizona Policy on Threatening Behavior by Students, click on this link. 


"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 treated equally and has the same opportunity. (http://diversity.arizona.edu/vision-our-campus). Fairness,justice, and transparency are the foundations of the best education.

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 journal, 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 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 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.

How to declare German Studies as your major or minor:  https://german.arizona.edu/declare

Requirements for the major or minor


3 journals: 30% each. With journal, I mean critical responses to our discussion and your reading. You should address major issues, examine the text's unique aspects and strategies, and engage deeply with the class material.

attendance and participation: 10%


I’ll collect your journals 3 times per semester. Your attendance in the colloquia is assumed; if you have to miss a meeting, please let me know in writing. Excessive, unexcused absences will result in a drop of your overall grade. More than 2 of such absences will lead to an automatic F in this course.

In specific, keep a journal (critical writing) and write ca. 200-300 words or more per week, dealing each time with the respective chapter/story that we are discussing every Friday. 

A: good journal, full critical discussion, plus questions and creative responses to the text

B: not always full amount of words, few questions, little critical thinking

C: mostly paraphrasing, too short entries, no comments of your own

D: spotty entries, misunderstandings, faulty grammar, spelling

F: few entries, short texts, no personal responses, or worse, no understanding of the text or the task


SYLLABUS: Please read each story as part of your homework before class. Much depends on the discussions in class. We might need to extend them and continue with the same story the following week. I'll adjust the syllabus accordingly.

Aug. 26: Introduction, the Middle Ages and Renaissance

https://aclassen.faculty.arizona.edu/sites/aclassen.faculty.arizona.edu/files/amt.classen2016_2.pdf (a text I have borrowed in part from Emily Amt and which I have expanded considerably.

Let's take a quick look at the text and work on these questions:

1. What major forces (political, religious, military) determined the early Middle Ages?

2. What role did the Christian Church play during the medieval period?

3. What was feudalism? (p. 5)

4. What role did cities play since the later Middle Ages?

5. Jews, crusades, cathedrals, monasticism, mysticism

6. The Paradigm Shifts in the late Middle Ages: a, b, c, d. e, f.

The history of love and sexuality through the lens of literature


Sept. 2: Each one of you has an assignment: Do a little research on one of the major literary figures from the high and late Middle Ages. Assigned on Aug. 26. Late Medieval Literature: Who was Heinrich Kaufringer. Literature and Life's Lessons. Why would we read literature? What can we get out of it? 

Sept. 9: From now on, always read the text assigned before class, beginning with: The Merchants (all texts by Kaufringer). We might continue with a discussion and move the syllabus a little, it all depends on our class. A few times throughout the semester I will attend a conference and might not be available, but I'll have specific plans on how to substitute then. Please watch the syllabus which I will adjust as the semester progresses. Enjoy.

Sept. 16: The Merchants, and The Hermit and the Angel

Sept. 23: We continue with The Hermit, and then turn to The Search, 1st journal due at 8 p.m.

Sept. 30: The Search; and time permitting: The Innocent Murderess

Oct. 7: Cont. with The Search,

Oct. 14: The Innocent Murderess

Oct. 21: Cont.: The Innocent Murderess.

Oct. 28: The Peasant who was falsely accused, and: The Cowardly Husband

2nd journal due at 8 p.m.

Nov. 4: The Peasant who was falsely accused, and: The Cowardly Husband

Nov. 11:  Veteran's Day, no class

Nov. 18: The Cowardly Husband; The Canon and the Cobbler; and perhaps also The Revenge of the Husband

Nov. 25: Thanksgiving

Dec. 2: Last day of Class: 3rd journal due at 8 p.m. The Canon and the Cobbler; The Seven Deadly Sins. Let us also review what we have learned in this course.

Please also do the online TCE (student evaluation)



Student Learning Outcomes; By the end of the semester, students will be able to engage critically with this literary master poet, Kaufringer, and to write about the central points in a critical fashion. 

Trigger Warning: These are literary narratives, and some of them contain at times troublesome issues pertaining to violence, sexuality, and crimes. If you have any problems, please let me know so that I can help you.

Possible changes: The information contained in this course syllabus, other than the grade and absence policies, may be subject to change with reasonable advance notice, as deemed appropriate by the instructor.