The Medieval World (HIST*2200) | College of Arts

The Medieval World (HIST*2200)

Code and section: HIST*2200*01

Term: Fall 2017

Instructor: Mary Ann Gonzales


Course Synopsis:

Much of our modern cultural and social practices originate from the Middle Ages. In popular culture, the medieval world has inspired novels including The Lord of the Rings by J. R. R. Tolkien and A Song of Ice and Fire by George R. R. Martin. However, the legacy of the Middle Ages goes beyond fantasy and fiction. Unknown to most, we interact with medieval innovations by performing common and mundane tasks, such as silent reading. In his Confessions, St. Augustine recalls observing St. Ambrose in astonishment because he was able to read silently. Texts were traditionally written without word division. Documents looked like this becausetheyweremeanttobereadaloud. Eventually, word separation became common practice in medieval texts but not for a few centuries after Augustine’s life. To learn more about medieval culture, join the course.

During the semester, we will look at major cultural developments in topics, such as religion and learning. We will also discuss major social crises, such as the Great Famine and the Black Death. Through these themes, we will learn about the responses of medieval people (great figures and common people) to these circumstances. Throughout the course, you will read historical texts in translation in order to obtain an informed view of how medieval people understood their world. From this activity, you will develop your own analysis of a medieval document of your choice and discuss what the text reveals about medieval culture.

Methods of Evaluation and Weights:

•    Document Studies: 10%
•    Midterm: 20%
•    Primary Source Analysis Outline: 15%
•    Primary Source Analysis Final Paper: 25%
•    Final Exam: 30%

Texts and/or Resources Required:

Rosenwein, Barbara.  A Short History of the Middle Ages.  Fourth Edition.  Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2014.
Rosenwein, Barbara H. (ed).  Reading the Middle Ages: Sources from Europe, Byzantium, and the Islamic World.  Second Edition.  Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2013.

*Please note:  This is a preliminary web course description only.  The department reserves the right to change without notice any information in this description.  The final, binding course outline will be distributed in the first class of the semester.