Thematic Minor in Medieval Studies

Mont St. Michel, BretagneThematic Minor: Medieval Studies

What does it mean?

Now you can work toward a Thematic Minor in Medieval Studies for the first time in the history of the University of Arizona! This means that you will establish a thematic focus on the Middle Ages, studying it from many different perspectives from different departments across campus, including literature, history, religion, art history, philosophy, music, and political and social sciences. Even the history of medicine and science, possibly also the history of economics and law in the Middle Ages will apply.

Why a Thematic Minor in Medieval Studies?

Well, why not? A broadly based thematic minor focusing on the Middle Ages exposes you to many different disciplines in the Humanities, Social Sciences, Art History, then in the History of Music, Architecture, Philosophy, Language, Religion, etc. You become an expert in variety of areas, and thus you will be most flexible for the future job market. Prof. Peter Capelli, in the Wall Street Journal (Nov. 15, 2013), almost had this in mind when he reflects on the need for students not to specialize too early. Medievalists (and that’s what you will become) will be well trained in critical thinking, writing, historical research, interdisciplinary approaches, and cultural awareness, and will also understand the need to know a foreign language.

Public Announcement in The Daily Wildcat (2-10-14)

Requirements: The minor must include no fewer than 18 units, of which a minimum of 9 units (3 courses) must be upper division. The remaining 9 units can be a combination of upper and lower division classes. No more than two Tier Two courses that have not been used to satisfy General Education Requirements” may be used in the minor.
Students must meet a core requirement by taking two of the following three courses: Ger/Hist 278, Hist 405A, and Ital 250A. For example: Ger 278, Hist 405A; or Ital 250A and Hist 405A. It should always be one History course and one language-culture course.

Some of the most relevant courses for the Thematic Minor are, for example:

CHN 475D      Periods in Chinese History: New Empire: 750-1350 AD
ENGL 370A    English Literature: From Old English to Renaissance Literature
ENGL 373A    British and American Literature: Beowulf to 1660
ENGL 426      Medieval English Literature
ENGL 427      Chaucer
GER/HIST 278    Medieval Answers to Modern Problems

GER 312        War, Death, and the Hero in Medieval Literature
GER 412        Tales of Love (if medieval in content)
HIST 310        The Black Death
HIST 370B     History of the Jews: The Jew in the Medieval World (to the 17th Century)
HIST 405A and B    Medieval History
HIST 414        Cultural History of Germany to 1714
ITAL 250A      Italian Literature in Translation: The Middle Ages
ITAL 431        The Divine Comedy by Dante
LAT 414          Medieval Latin
RSSS 399/499    Russian Medieval Literature
SPAN 465A  History of Spain: Classical/Medieval Spain, Prehistory to 1100AD

For a more extensive list, please see below, or see this PDF file with Course Listing.

Housing: CLAS

Justification: The premodern era is of extreme importance for everything we teach and research in the Humanities, SBS, Fine Arts, and related disciplines for its enormous impact on the modern world. The thematic minor in Medieval Studies offers students a unique opportunity to build an interdisciplinary package of 18 units to go along with a wide range of majors. As a thematic minor, this will make it possible for students to focus on a cultural-historical period from ca. 500 to ca. 1600, covering both Europe and the Middle East, including East Asia, and possibly also other continents, if appropriate courses are available. This thematic minor can also include courses on the history of science, history of medicine, and history of technology in the premodern world. Focusing on the Middle Ages for a thematic minor allows students to acquire a broad spectrum of insights into a culture and period from many different perspectives. Choosing the Middle Ages as a broadly conceived period this thematic minor makes it possible to establish a course package in which all components will complement each other meaningfully, allowing students to comprehend a whole world throughout a millennium both in Europe and in parallel societies.

Recent developments in our field have led to a considerable expansion of what we mean with “Middle Ages.” At all larger and smaller conferences in this field papers are accepted nowadays that easily extend far beyond the 15th century. Virtually all major research centers in this country and globally today combine the Middle Ages either with the Renaissance or with the early modern age at large (see, for instance, ACMRS at ASU). UAMARRC itself comprises, just like the Division of Late Medieval and Reformation Studies at the UA, many centuries, ca. from 700 to ca. 1650 and even beyond. All the department heads we consulted strongly welcomed our open approach, both chronologically and geographically. The Thematic Minor opens important windows into the concept of medieval as being inclusive, across cultures, languages, religions, and epochs. We have explicitly excluded courses in our list of potential courses for the Thematic Minor that intend to explore Renaissance literature, art history, philosophy, etc. as being in contrast to the Middle Ages (e.g., courses on Martin Luther and the Protestant Reformation, 16th-century artists, etc.). Otherwise, however, the intention is to allow students to gain a solid grounding in the Middle Ages and to enrich their course package with related study areas even beyond the traditional time limit of 1500. Courses dealing with culture, literature, the arts, or philosophy etc. that focus on the time of the sixteenth century and beyond but still create direct links with the Middle Ages can also be included.

There are many opportunities for students to go study abroad and acquire credits toward this Minor through other programs (Global Studies, etc.). We also hope that more and new courses dealing with the Middle Ages, such as in Art History, will become available.

Academic Advisors:

Prof. Albrecht Classen (German Studies), Chair of the University of Arizona Medieval, Renaissance, and Reformation Committee
Prof. Fabian Alfie (French and Italian)
Prof. Roger Dahood (English)

Course Options   (consult with your advisors about the appropriateness of the course selection)

Upper Division    AFAS 365     Ancient African Civilization

Upper Division  ANTH 329    Cultures and Societies of Africa    Introduction to African prehistory, social anthropology, ecology, religions, ancient and modern state formation, slavery, urbanization, and contemporary issues.
Upper Division   ANTH 334A    Mesoamerican Civilizations: Maya    The course provides an overview of Maya archaeology from the origins of agriculture through the Spanish Conquest
**Equivalent to ANTH 334A, LAS 334A**
**Course Requisites Basic archaeology course or equivalent knowledge**
Upper Division   ANTH 334B    Mesoamerican Civilizations: Mexico    The course provides an overview of Mesoamerican archaeology from the origins of agriculture through the Spanish Conquest. We will examine societies, such as Olmec, Zapotec, Teotihuacan, and Aztec.
**Equivalent to ANTH 334B, LAS 334B**
Upper Division    ANTH 426    Archaeology of Africa    Survey of the prehistory and early history of Africa, with emphasis on sub-Saharan Africa and on the last ten thousand years.
**Equivalent to AAS 426, ANTH 426**
**Course Requisites Three units of archaeology**
Upper Division   ANTH 346    Clovis to Coronado: Archaeology of the Southwest    Investigates native inhabitants of the US Southwest from its initial colonization over 11,000 years ago to the arrival of Europeans in AD 1540. Surveys past societies of the Southwest, including where they lived, their lifeways, and their material culture.
**Equivalent to ANTH 346**
Lower Division    ARH 201    Survey of Western Art in Society: Prehistory through Gothic    A survey of the art and architecture of western civilization from prehistoric cultures through the Gothic period utilizing interdisciplinary methods. The lectures will focus on the major monuments of art and will examine the relationship between the social function of art and its form and content.
Lower Division   CHN 276    History of China    Historical development of china from 750 A.D to 1900 A.D
**Equivalent to CHN 376, HIST 276**
Upper Division    CHN 331    Taoist Traditions of China    Intellectual foundations of Taoism in its two classical sources, the Lao Tzu and the Chuang Tzu, and a sampling of the varieties of religious practice which developed later.
**Equivalent to ORS 331, RELI 331**
Upper Division   CHN 475D    Periods in Chinese History: New Empire: 750-1350 AD    In-depth treatment of major pre-modern eras: New Empire, 750-1350AD
**Equivalent to HIST 475D**
Upper Division   CHN 475E    Periods in Chinese History: Late Empire 1350-1800 AD    In-depth treatment of major pre-modern eras: Late Empire, 1350-1800AD
**Equivalent to HIST 475E, ORS 475E**
Lower Division   CLAS 220    Classical Tradition I    Surveys western civilization from the Greco-Roman perspective, beginning before the Greeks and Romans, investigating the origins of their cultures, and proceeding though Greece and Rome to the Middle Ages.
Lower Division    CLAS 221    Classical Tradition II    Surveys western civilization from the Greco-Roman perspective covering the classical tradition from the Middle Ages to the present
Upper Division   CLAS 311    Athens Through the Ages    A study of Athenian topography from the Prehistoric age through the Classical times to the Byzantine and Ottoman periods and of the “rediscovery of ancient Athens” during the 18th and 19th centuries CE.
Upper Division    CLAS 312    Rome and its Reception through the Ages
Critical study of Rome and its post-classical reception from its foundation to the present, from a multitude of thematic perspectives.

Upper Division    CLAS 306
The Emergence of Christianity    Investigates the Emergence of Christianity in the first four centuries of the Greco-Roman milieu.
Lower Division    ENGL 231    Shakespeare’s Major Plays    A close reading of six to eight plays, including a comedy, a history, a tragedy and a tragicomedy.
Upper Division  ENGL 370A    English Literature: From Old English to Renaissance Literature    A survey, with emphasis on major writers in their literary and historical contexts from Old English to Renaissance literature. **Now taught (occasionally) only at the UA-Sierra Vista
Upper Division   ENGL 373A    British and American Literature: Beowulf to 1660    A survey of British and American literature to 1660, with emphasis on major writers in their literary and historical contexts.
**Course Requisites**
Upper Division ENGL 425A    Old English: Introduction to Language and Literature    Introduction to the language and literature
**Equivalent to GER 425A, SPAN 425A**
**Course Requisites**
Upper Division   ENGL 425B    Old English    Beowulf: Study of the poem in the original language
**Equivalent to GER 425B**
**Course Requisites**
Upper Division  ENGL 426    Medieval English Literature    Survey of Old and Medieval English literature (exclusive of Chaucer), with some use of modernized or glossed versions.
**Course Requisites**
Upper Division   ENGL 427    Chaucer    The course aims to introduce students to Chaucer’s poetry though some of the most engaging and challenging of the Canterbury Tales. The class text is Geoffrey Chaucer, The Canterbury Tales: The General Prologue and Fifteen Tales (Norton Critical Edition), ed. V.A. Kolve and G. Olson, 2nd ed. (New York, 2005). The text is in Middle English with notes, glossary, and supplementary readings. Excerpts in Kolve and Olson from writings of Chaucer’s antecedents and contemporaries provide an historical and literary context, and selections of modern criticism suggest ways of approaching the primary texts. The tales have been selected to illustrate central Chaucerian themes and typical Chaucerian genres and verse forms.
**Course Requisites**
Upper Division  ENGL 431A    Shakespeare    Twelve comedies, histories and tragedies from the period 1590-1600 (including Hamlet)
**Course Requisites**
Upper Division ENGL 431B    Shakespeare    Ten comedies, tragedies and tragicomedies from the period 1601-1613
**Course Requisites**
Lower Division    FREN 284    French Theater in Translation    Representative masterpieces of French theater from its origins in the Middle Ages to the contemporary. Includes medieval religious and profane pieces, classical theater of 16th and 17th centuries, etc. Taught in English. Does not count toward fulfillment of language requirement or the major or minor in French.
Lower Division    GER/HIST 278    Medieval Answers to Modern Problems    Discussion of essential texts from the Middle Ages which offer fundamental answers, 1) such as gender, class conflicts, death, happiness, and God. 2) Gender is treated as an analytical topic. Taught in English
Upper Division   GER 301    Voices Past and Present    Expanding knowledge of the cultural history of the German speaking countries (you need to consult with your advisor about the applicability of this course).
Upper Division GER 312 War, Death, and the Hero in Medieval Literature (taught both online or face to face)
Upper Division    GER 392    Medieval Study Tour    Medieval Study Tour – Directed research; 6 credit course with practical application, study of the entire world of the Middle Ages at many different sites across Europe; summer travel course
Upper Division     GER 412    Tales of Love    Focuses on a wide range of narratives from various historical periods dealing with representations of love. Taught in German
Upper Division    GER 450    Construction of Identity    Explores constructions of personal, cultural, religious, social, gender, and national identity in German culture by looking at a variety of texts. Taught in German (depending on course material)
Lower Division    HIST 117    History of England to 1603
Lower Division    HIST 207    Games and Play in Medieval & Early Modern Europe    Games, playing, and gambling are important aspects of all cultures. They provide entertainment and recreation, but they also reflect, influence, and supply metaphors for many other aspects of life. We will explore the importance of play in shaping medieval and early modern societies by focusing on four games that have come to symbolize the era – chess, jousting, hunting, and gambling. Through our examination of these and other games, we will explore the social, political, religious, economic, legal, military, and intellectual history of medieval and early modern Europe. We will analyze a wide selection of medieval and early modern literary and historical documents and visual representations, as well as some modern literary, cinematic, and gaming reinterpretations. We will also make a trip to Special Collections to look at the UA’s collection of early printed books and manuscript facsimiles.
Upper Division   HIST 310    The Black Death    A lecture course focusing on Europe in the age of bubonic plague (from 1348 to 1720), with emphasis on changes in climate, food supplies, public health, epidemic disease, demography, and economy. The last third of the course will be devoted to the religious and artistic responses to the disaster.
Upper Division   HIST 370B    History of the Jews: The Jew in the Medieval World (to the 17th Century)    Survey of major political, socioeconomic, and cultural developments in the history of Diaspora Jewry: the Jew in the medieval world (to the 17th century).
**Equivalent to JUS 370B, RELI 370B**
Upper Division   HIST 405A    Medieval Europe    Major institutions and trends in Europe from the breakup of the Roman World to the 14th century.
**Equivalent to RELI 405A**
**Course Requisites**
Upper Division    HIST 405B    Medieval History (focus on the History of the Crusades)
Major institutions and trends in Europe from the breakup of the Roman World to the 14th century

Upper Division   HIST 407A    Intellectual History of Medieval Europe: High Medieval Europe    Major medieval cultural and intellectual trends: High Medieval Europe.
**Equivalent to RELI 407A**
**Course Requisites**
Upper Division    HIST 409    The Reformation    The Reformation in thought and action both from the perspective of its religious origins and of the political and social conditions. Analysis of its impact on sixteenth century Europe including the spread of Protestant reformation and its companion movement, counter-reformation.
**Equivalent to RELI 409**
Upper Division   HIST 414    Cultural History of Germany to 1714    The political, social, economic and cultural history of Germany from the late Middle Ages to about 1800
**Corse Requisites**
Upper Division  HIST 421    History of Russia: Early Period    Political, socioeconomic, and cultural history of Russia in medieval and early modern times      Upper Division HIST/MENAS/GWS 445, Women in Islamic History
Upper Division   HIST 454    The Spanish Inquisition    The Inquisition in Spanish, European & ethnic history; it’s bureaucracy and procedures; it’s festivities, it’s victims, New and Old Christians; and witches. Social, economic, and demographic context.
**Equivalent to JUS 454, ORS 454, RELI 454**
Upper Division   HIST 465B    History of Spain: Early Modern Spain, 1100 to 1700    This course examines the Iberian Peninsula during the Renaissance and Reformation. The rise of Spain as a Mediterranean, then an Atlantic political and economic power, primarily under the Trastamaras and Habsburgs, will be studied along with the social and cultural factors that contributed to Spain’s rise as a World Empire.
Upper Division  HIST 472    History of Medieval India    Survey of Indian history from the 7th century to 1750
**Equivalent to MENA 472, NES 472, ORS 472**

HIST/MENAS 479/579
HIST 383, Religion and State in Islam

Lower Division    ITAL 250A    Italian Literature in Translation: The Middle Ages    This course on Italian literature of the Middle Ages will focus primarily upon the major literary and intellectual currents of the fourteenth century. In addition to investigating the evolution of ethics, esthetics, and epistemology in medieval Italy, we will look specifically at the following topics: love in medieval literature, epic and allegory in the Middle Ages, the role and representation of women in medieval culture, idealism versus pragmatism, the changing face of the hero, and the function and nature of literary hells. Analysis and discussion of assigned texts will be supplemented by lectures, reports, and slide presentations on related aspects of medieval Italy, including its history, politics, economy, and non-literary art forms (painting, sculpture, architecture, and music). Course requirements include short oral and written assignments, one 5-8 page paper, a midterm, and a final exam. The class will be conducted in English and fulfills the General Education requirement in Literature.
Lower Division    ITAL 250B    Italian Literature in Translation: The Renaissance    Taught in English
Upper Division    ITAL 431    The Divine Comedy by Dante    This course examines Dante’s masterpiece, “The Divine Comedy”, the poet’s life and other works. The primary focus is on “The Divine Comedy” and its influence on European literature and culture. Other texts will be included
Upper Division   ITAL 496A    Topics in Advanced Italian Studies    Study Abroad – An in-depth study of an aspect of Italian literature or culture. Variable topic course. May be repeated for credit as topic changes.

JUS 370B: Medieval and Early Modern Jewish History)

JUS 435/535: Jewish Mysticism: History and Principal Phenomena
Upper Division    LAT 403    Late Antique Literature
Selections from genres and/or authors, both Christians, non-Christians from the late antique period.
Upper Division    LAT 414    Medieval Latin    Survey of Latin literature during the thousand years between the end of the classical period and the beginning of the Renaissance
Lower Division    MENA 277A    History of the Middle East    Middle East history from the rise of Islam to the Turkish conquest of Constantinople, 600-1453
**Equivalent to HIST 277A, NES 277A, NES 477A, RELI 277A**

Upper Division MENA 488    History of Byzantium
Political, social and cultural history of Byzantium from A.D. 325 to 1453, including Byzantine legacy in Europe and the Middle East.
Upper Division   MUS 330A    History of Western Music    Detailed study of the history of music in Western civilization from its origins to 1750, including music from the medieval, Renaissance and Baroque periods. **Course Requisite MUS 220B**
Upper Division  MUS 430    Music in the Renaissance    Provides a comprehensive survey of European art music composed between 1400 and 1600, a period of time often referred to as the musical “Renaissance.”
**Course Requisite MUS 330A with a passing grade of “B” or higher**
Upper Division   MUS 435    Music in the Middle Ages    Provides a comprehensive chronological survey of European art music composed during the Middle Ages (c. 800-1400 C.E.). Students will become acquainted with a wide variety of vocal and instrumental music from this period through score study and listening assignments.
**Course Requisites: Pass MUS 330A with a grade of “B” or higher**
Music Ensemble    MUS 200Q/400Q    Collegium Musicum    Ensemble devoted to the performance of early music, medieval to the Renaissance
Upper Division   NES 485A    History of the Iranian Plateau: Authority, Religion, and Literature, 633-1501    This course examines the history of the Iranian plateau from the rise and spread of Islam until the establishment of the Safavid Empire (1501). Thematically, it focuses on the impact of geography and the environment on social and political history; the conversation and Isalmicization of local populations; the proliferation of communities and institutions of Islamic knowledge; the development of Persian Sufi literature and brotherhoods; state legitimization through the patronage of literature, court chronicles, and art; the rise of Shi’i messianic movements; and the role of women at court and in society
Upper Division   RELI 314    The English Reformation    An examination of the English Reformation and its place in English history
Upper Division    RELI 361    Celtic Spirituality
Concentrating mostly on early Celtic Christianity and its later struggles with Roman Christianity, this class examines art, literature and theology from the myths of the ancient Celts to the revivals of the present day.

Upper Division  RSSS 399/499    Russian Medieval Literature    Independent Study
Upper Division  RELI 407A    Intellectual History of Medieval Europe: High Medieval Europe    Major medieval cultural and intellectual trends: High Medieval Europe
**Equivalent to HIST 407A**
**Course requisites**
Upper Division    SPAN 400    Major Works in Spanish Literature    Introduction to Spanish literature from the Middle Ages to the contemporary period
Upper Division    SPAN 430    Spanish Civilization    Spanish milieu; geographical, political, and cultural aspects of Spanish civilization
Upper Division  SPAN 465A    History of Spain: Classical/Medieval Spain, Prehistory to 1100AD    This course explores the formation and development of the Iberian Peninsula from the earliest settlements through the Roman Period, the Islamic conquest, and the early Re-conquest. It will survey the political, social, cultural, and economic factors that combined to give the Iberia Peninsula its distinctive characteristics
**Equivalent to HIST 465A**

All course descriptions have been taken verbatim from departmental webpages, U of A online course catalog & online course description page under student registration.