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Courses in ART

ART 3306: BYZANTINE AND MEDIEVAL ART

Art and architecture of the Mediterranean area and Northern Europe, beginning with Early Christian and Byzantine period (4th century AD) and concluding with the Late Middle Ages (14th century AD). Special attention is given to the religious and political context of art including Christian and Islamic influences


ART 3307: THE EARLY RENAISSANCE

Developments in the art and architecture of Italy in the 13th and 14th Centuries focused on the changing status of the artist and the political and religious role of art. Includes a workshop based on 14th century recipes for the making of art.

 

ART 3308: HIGH RENAISSANCE

Developments in the art and architecture of 16th century Italy (Leonardo, Raphael, and Michelangelo) understood in historical context. Themes include the notion of creative genius in the Renaissance; Mannerism and the Counter-Reformation; the restoration of the Sistine Chapel.

 

ART 4306: MID-RENAISSANCE

Art and architecture in 15th century Italy, beginning with developments in Renaissance Florence. The relation of humanism and science to the visual arts, patronage, and the social and historical contexts of artistic production.

 

ART 4396 | ART 5360: ART AND LOVE IN RENAISSANCE ITALY

The seminar will deal with art and the material culture related to love, marriage, childbirth, and erotica in early modern Italy. All students will be expected critically to discuss selected readings, as well as to write a research paper and make an oral presentation. Graduate students will be responsible for longer research papers and additional
assignments.

Students, on both the graduate and undergraduate level, will need to obtain permission of the instructor (Dr. Mary Vaccaro) in order to be admitted in the class.

The seminar is intended to accompany and make extensive use of an exhibition that opens at the Kimbell Art Museum in mid-March (link)


Courses in English (ENGL)

ENGL 2303: TOPICS IN LITERATURE (if topic relevant)

May include topics in film and literature, women in literature, short story, and autobiography. May be repeated for credit when content changes.

 

ENGL 2319: BRITISH LITERATURE (if topic relevant)

Recent topics of relevance:

"MONSTERS, MAGIC, & MIRACLES IN MEDIEVAL BRITISH LITERATURE

Monsters, magical items, and miraculous events sit at the center of many Medieval British texts. This class will examine the roles played by wonders and magic in several important Old English and Middle English works. We will explore how the monstrous reflects the self, how miracles test and reveal the character of saints, how wonders influence society, and how magic shapes history. All texts will be read in translation.


ENGL 3351: HISTORY OF BRITISH LITERATURE I

  English 3351 is a course about history. Our primary goal is to become acquainted with British literary history: working in roughly chronological order, we will trace a fairly standard narrative that includes many of the major figures (Chaucer, Spenser, Shakespeare, Milton, Pope) and forms (romance, fabliau,tragedy, lyric, epic) of literature written in England from the Middle Ages to the beginning of the eighteenth century. A secondary concern is with what it means to read and write about literature historically. Many of the works on the syllabus are deliberately backward-looking, the assumption being that knowledge of the past (whether personal, religious, political, or mythic) is key to understanding the present and perhaps even shaping the future. As we examine different versions and uses of history in medieval and early modern literature, we will also explore how and why these works continue to figure in the present-day project of writing history—of what we seek in the past, how we seek it, and why.

 

ENGL 4301: HISTORY OF THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE

The English language can be traced back many centuries to a form nearly unrecognizable to most modern speakers. Nonetheless, present day English still contains many significant features of its previous incarnations. This course will examine the history of English from its Indo-European roots through its medieval developments to its modern, international forms. In the process, students will also learn methods of linguistic analysis and description. No previous knowledge of Old English or Middle English is necessary.

 

ENGL 4321: MEDIEVAL BRITISH LITERATURE

Literature of England from its beginnings to the end of the 15th century.

 

ENGL 4322: SIXTEENTH-CENTURY BRITISH LITERATURE

Poetry, prose, and drama of the 16th century. The works of Spenser, Sidney, or the sonneteers may be emphasized

.

ENGL 4323: SEVENTEENTH-CENTURY BRITISH LITERATURE

Seventeenth century prose, poetry, drama. May include a study of Milton.

 

ENGL 4325:

Works of the 14th-century English poet Geoffrey Chaucer. Examination of his works, intellectual milieu, and literary influence.


English 4326: TOPICS ON SHAKESPEARE

Subjects related to William Shakespeare and his work:

SHAKESPEARE'S PLAYS AND THEIR AFTERLIFE: TEXT AND FILMS

Why have so many playwrights and film-makers around the world chosen to adapt Shakespeare for contemporary audiences and what have they sought to do with his works? In this seminar we will begin to explore the complexities of Shakespearean adaptation by reading five of his best known plays—Othello, King Lear, Hamlet, Macbeth, and The Tempest—and considering them in relation to a selection of twentieth century stage and film adaptations that engage the originals from a range of cultural and political perspectives. We will pay special attention to the cultural politics of producing Shakespeare in the twentieth (and twenty-first) century with respect to questions of race, gender, class, language, and colonialism. To what extent are Shakespeare’s plays or what some critics have called “the Shakespeare effect” problematic for these writers, and to what extent has “Shakespeare” provided a common language or meeting ground for larger cultural or political conversations?

SHAKESPEARE & FILM

“All the world is a stage, and all the men and women merely players”

Jaques, As You Like It

In the last decade or two, Shakespeare in the movies has burgeoned; the adaptations of Shakespeare as film subject are as diverse as they are popular. What makes Shakespeare so appealing to modern film audiences and how do actors, writers, and directors interpret these sixteenth and seventeenth-century texts to make them alive for us today? In this course, we will address exactly these kinds of questions. Beginning by studying three of Shakespeare's plays (Romeo and Juliet, Macbeth, and Hamlet) through textual analysis, we will then view clips from several different versions of each play: comparing Zefferelli’s elegant 1968 Romeo and Juliet with Lurhmann’s eclectic vision R + J; the humorously modernized adaptation of Morisette’s Scotland PA to Kurosawa’s Japanese classic Throne of Blood; and the beautifully rendered Kenneth Branagh’s Hamlet to Almereyda’s MTV-style film, Hamlet. Throughout the course, we will discover the kinds of performance choices actors make and why and how adaptations function for us as an audience.

SHAKESPEARE AND THE ART OF ARGUMENT

For each of the plays that we will read this semester—Richard III, Measure for Measure, The Merchant of Venice, Taming of the Shrew, Hamlet, The Winter’s Tale, and King Lear—students will have the opportunity to participate in formal debates in which they will research the argument and then present their evidence as a debater. The object of the class is to dig deeply into the fundamental questions and cruxes of these 400-year-old texts that continue to fire intellectual curiosity and debate, while honing the students own rhetorical skills.


ENGL 4344/5301: MEDIEVAL BRITISH LITERATURE: INTRODUCTION TO OLD ENGLISH

Old English was the language written and spoken in England from about 450 to 1150. Our earliest recorded literature in English is written in Old English, and is inaccessible to the casual reader since the language has changed so much in the intervening centuries. This course will provide you with all the tools to read this literature for yourself in the original. We will learn how to pronounce Old English, the relevant parts of speech, and the system of endings that were added to make words meaningful in sentences. As we progress through the language we will practice our skills by completing helpful online grammar exercises and by reading extracts from real Old English texts--including poems, histories, and saints’ lives. We will also learn much about Anglo-Saxon history and society, looking at their art, architecture, manuscripts, weaponry, jewelry, and dress. Students having completed this course will have a working knowledge not only of the language of Anglo-Saxon England but also of the culture more generally. In addition, finishing students will have an increased facility and a greater level of comfort with the grammar and function of Modern English.

 

ENGL 4386: DANTE

In depth study of The Divine Comedy and The New Life as the culminating works of the Middle Ages.

 

ENGL 4399: SENIOR SEMINAR

Capstone course for English majors. A writing-intensive, seminar-style, in-depth study of a topic. Content may consist of a figure or figures, a period, a literary movement, a thematic, or a critical theory.

 

Courses in History (HIST)

HIST 2313: HISTORY OF ENGLAND

The history of Britain from prehistoric times to 1688. The development of English laws and institutions, with special focus on the monarchy, church, and Parliament.

HIST 3376: MEDIEVAL EUROPE I

The early centuries of the medieval period saw the breakdown of the structures of the Roman Empire and the rise of new and distinctive cultures in the regions of western Europe and Byzantium. This course will follow the spread of institutional Christianity from Constantine to the early medieval papacy, the rise of the Franks and the foundation of the Holy Roman Empire, and the development of characteristically "medieval" forms of social and political organization, religion, art and architecture. Questions we will consider include those of how to define the "Middle Ages," the utility of this definition for our understanding of Europe's history, continuity versus discontinuity between Late Antiquity and the early Middle Ages, and how medieval European civilization organized itself and related to the societies on its borders.


HIST 3377: MEDIEVAL EUROPE II

The later Middle Ages was a period of both expansion and consolidation in the states and societies of Western Europe. This course will trace developments in the political, social, and cultural systems of France, Germany, Italy, and the Iberian Peninsula, as well as interactions of Europeans with the societies of Byzantium and Islam. Themes we will consider are the formation of national, religious, and ethnic identities in Europe, intellectual developments associated with universities and novel religious movements, the creation and expansion of Europe's borders, and the confrontation of Western Christianity with Islam.

 

HIST 3378: EUROPE - THE RENAISSANCE

The political, social, and intellectual events of the Renaissance period. The rise of the modern state, the emergence of individualism, and the incipient secularization of politics, arts, and letters.

 

HIST 3379: EUROPE - THE REFORMATION AND COUNTER-REFORMATION

The religious reawakening and reform that swept Europe in the 16th century with its consequent religious wars. The political effects of religious reform in the remaking of European attitudes in regard to politics, society, and religion.


HIST 3383: EARLY MODERN EUROPE, 1560-1715

The major social, economic, cultural, and political developments that occurred in the major European countries from the end of the Counter-Reformation to the early eighteenth century.

 

HIST 4330: MEDIEVAL CRUSADE AND JIHAD

This course will provide a history of the crusading movement of Western Europe (ca.1095-1291 A.D.) and its impact on the civilizations of the medieval West and Middle East. Course material will address both the events and long-term legacies of the Crusades and counter-crusades (jihad) as well as the histories of the peoples and ideas involved. Students will be asked to reflect on the following questions, as presented in lectures, readings, discussions, and writing assignments: What were the motivations of the Christian crusaders? How did the Muslims and Jews of the Middle East view the Crusades, and how did they respond to them? In what ways did the prolonged contact between these two major civilizations affect the societies, religions, and economies of each?

 

HIST 4331: MEDIEVAL TRAVELERS

Exploration, survival, profit, belief: medieval people traveled for a wide variety of reasons to places both within Europe and beyond its borders. During all periods of the Middle Ages, we find evidence that pilgrims, merchants, preachers, warriors, and others left their homes and traveled to places both near and far. Some would return, and share their impressions with others by means of geographical treatises, crusade narratives, or pilgrimage handbooks. Others, such as some crusaders, merchants, and emigrants, permanently or semi-permanently relocated to a new region. In all of these cases, the act of travel involved the travelers in larger processes of interaction and exchange between cultures. In this course, we will explore the accounts of several medieval travelers with an eye to understanding how their voyages serve as examples of cultural contact, communication, exchange, or diffusion of ideas. The units will focus on different geographical regions, and what motivated people to travel to, from, or within each region.


HIST 4345: TUDOR-STUART ENGLAND, 1485-1714

The new monarchy of the Tudors; the Protestant Reformation in England; constitutional implications of the controversy between crown and Parliament; changes in family and social structures; the emergence of England as a world power.


HIST 4354: EARLY FRANCE: OLD REGIME AND REVOLUTION, 1610-1799

Society and politics from the assassination of Henry IV to Napoleon. The traditions of the French people and their kings, the splendor and misery of the Age of Louis XIV, the Enlightenment of Voltaire and Rousseau, the coming of the Revolution, the Reign of Terror, and the rise of Napoleon.


HIST 4365: HISTORY OF SPAIN AND PORTUGAL

The cultural, political and economic history of the Iberian peninsula from ancient times. The medieval epoch; the Catholic Church; the overseas empires of Spain and Portugal, and their artistic achievements. The monarchist ideal, as well as political ideologies such as liberalism, Marxism, anarchism, and fascism. Students will engage such historical Iberian issues as the Muslim hegemony, the Christian reconquista, Catholicism, overseas empires, and artistic achievements. Lectures and class discussions will analyze the Iberian past from antiquity to the 21st century.

 

HIST 4388: SELECTED TOPICS IN HISTORY

Subjects of immediate interest in the various fields of history. May be repeated for credit when the topic changes.

Recent topics of relevance:

Medieval Minorities: Persecution, Tolerance, or Co-existence? (Davis-Secord)

The status of minority populations is a hot topic in the modern world, and modern perceptions of this issue often inform our thinking about how minority groups have been treated in the past. This seminar course will provide a forum for discussion and debate about works of historical scholarship concerning Muslims, Jews, heretical Christians, and other minority groups within medieval Europe and at its borders. We will explore and contrast concepts including group identity, toleration, conversion, co-existence, and persecution. Questions that students will be asked to consider include the following: How did certain groups get chosen as minorities or "outsiders" within medieval European society? Is there one paradigm with which we should explain the status and conditions of minority groups in medieval Europe, or should each group or place be considered individually? And, should medieval Christendom be understood as a "persecuting society," or are there alternative ways to explain the negotiations between majority and minority populations during the Middle Ages?

Byzantine Portraits (Lackner)

It is always fruitful to study Byzantine history. Unlike many other states, the Byzantine Empire survived for some 1200 years. This was in large measure due to its stable foundations: its well-balanced government, its advanced social system and not least its outstanding intellectual, cultural and religious achievements. Through the centuries, the Byzantines had been blessed with truly great minds in every important field, such as history, government, law, literature, education, the fine arts, philosophy and religion. This course will examine in great detail the contributions of both men and women(!), including Eusebius, Procopius, Photius, Psellus, Anna Comnena and others. They left an enduring legacy. This enlightens and enriches also us and offers valuable lessons for becoming truly educated, and thus better students or human beings.

The City In Early Modern Europe (J. Reinhardt)

Although Europe in the early modern period was overwhelmingly rural, the role and influence of the city was nonetheless important and growing. This course will explore fundamental aspects of life in the urban setting (environmental, social, cultural, and political) and how cities confronted such challenging issues as poverty, crime, population change, and social unrest. The course will focus on the 16th-18th centuries, with examples drawn from various European cities. The city of Paris during the century prior to the French Revolution will serve as a case study.

Muslim-Christian Encounters in the Middle Ages: Conflict or Coexistence? (Davis-Secord)

This course will address relations between Christians and Muslims during the Middle Ages, ranging from political and military conflicts to commercial and cultural exchanges. In addition to general theological and cultural differences between the two civilizations, we will focus on four major geographical areas of contact: the Mediterranean Sea, Spain, Sicily and Southern Italy, and the Middle East during the time of the Crusades. Topics running throughout the course will include the following: creation, maintenance, and crossing of borders, boundaries, and frontiers; the balance between violence and cooperation; relationships between religious minorities and their dominant society; and commercial and cultural exchanges between societies. The course materials and assignments will ask students to grapple with the larger questions of how we should view the interactions of medieval Muslims and Christians and how this is related to our understanding of the Middle Ages as a whole.

Courses in Modern Languages (MODL)

FRENCH

FREN 3311: FRENCH LITERATURE AND CULTURE

The main currents of French literature, art, and thought from the Middle Ages through the 18th century in relation to French political and social history. Prerequisite: FREN 2314 with a grade of C or bettter.

FREN 4332: STUDIES IN MEDIEVAL AND RENAISSANCE CULTURE

Readings in modern French of Medieval and Renaissance French literature. Works include the adventures of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table, Gargantua, reflections on the self, friendship, education, and the "Other" in Montaigne's Essais, and the love poems of Ronsard. Emphasis on the importance of religion, the evolution and the meaning of cathedrals and monasteries, and the effect of the discovery of the "New World" on perceptions of self and of community. Prerequisite: FREN 3311 with a grade of C or better.

GERMAN

GERM 3318: SPECIAL TOPICS IN GERMAN STUDIES (if topic relevant)

German courses that may be cross-period or thematically oriented like Kinderliteratur or Film but also those courses targeted at specific groups (e.g. Business, Science, etc.). Course may be repeated for credit with departmental permission as topic varies. May be counted toward fulfilling major and/or core curriculum liberal arts elective requirements.

GERM 4321: TOPICS IN LITERATURE AND CULTURE (if topic relevant)

Topics in literary and cultural history from 750 to the present. Courses may focus on one area of the history of cultural (including literary) texts, or they may broadly survey the history of written texts in German-speaking Europe. Course may be repeated for credit as topic varies. (Strongly recommended for German and International Business majors.) No prerequisites. Students majoring in German read some texts in the original. Satisfies the core curriculum requirement in literature or as a liberal arts elective.

SPANISH

SPAN 3302: HISPANIC LITERATURE IN TRANSLATION (if topic relevant)

The works of major authors and intellectual trends of a given period. May be repeated for credit as topics or periods vary, but no more than three hours may be counted toward a degree in a modern language. Prerequisite: SPAN 2314 and six hours of English.

Courses topics have included:

CONSUMING DON QUIXOTE (in English)

Don Quixote de la Mancha is without a doubt the most read, translated, reproduced, readapted, and reenacted books of Spanish Peninsular literature. This course will engage in a critical and careful reading of this most important piece of literature through the lens of consumption. We will particularly look at the ways in which the text has been consumed (read, translated, reenacted, adapted) from its publication in 1605 through the 21st century. We will also examine the extent to which the representations of consumption in the novel (reading, re-reading, viewing, translating, eating, drinking, digesting, etc.) serve as models for reading and understanding this book. Throughout the term we will study several film adaptations, cartoons, illustrations, and paintings in order to assess the use of Don Quixote as an icon of pan-Hispanic culture.

 

SPAN 4310: TOPICS IN PENINSULAR SPANISH LITERATURE AND CULTURE TO THE EIGHTEENTH CENTURY

Topics may include: Medieval Spanish literature and culture, Golden Age Spanish literature and culture, or any particular movement, genre, work or author prior to the eighteenth century. May be repeated for credit when content changes. Prerequisite: SPAN 3315 with a C or better.

Courses topics have included:

SHORT STORIES AND TALL TALES OF MEDIEVAL AND EARLY MODERN SPAIN (in Spanish)

This course examines the issues surrounding authorship, readership, and theatricality in the fables, myths, legends, ballads, and miracles from Medieval and Early Modern Spain. It focuses on the ways in which these stories are written and re-written to distinguish the identities of social, political and religious groups, as well as to define individuals and their codes of behavior. Readings include selections by Alfonso X, Gonzalo de Berceo, don Juan Manuel, María de Zayas and Cervantes, among others, as well as modern incorporations of fables and storytelling in films such as Shrek and El laberinto del fauno (Pan’s Labyrinth).

CONSUMING DON QUIXOTE (in Spanish)

Don Quixote de la Mancha is without a doubt the most read, translated, reproduced, readapted, and reenacted books of Spanish Peninsular literature. This course will engage in a critical and careful reading of this most important piece of literature through the lens of consumption. We will particularly look at the ways in which the text has been consumed (read, translated, reenacted, adapted) from its publication in 1605 through the 21st century. We will also examine the extent to which the representations of consumption in the novel (reading, re-reading, viewing, translating, eating, drinking, digesting, etc.) serve as models for reading and understanding this book. Throughout the term we will study several film adaptations, cartoons, illustrations, and paintings in order to assess the use of Don Quixote as an icon of pan-Hispanic culture.

 

SPAN 4313: TOPICS IN HISPANIC CULTURE (if topic relevant)

Among the topics are Spanish or Latin American music, television, radio, film, and literature as culture. May be repeated for credit as topic changes. Prerequisite: SPAN 3315 with a grade of C or better. Offered as MAS 4313 and SPAN 4313; credit will be given for MAS 4313 or SPAN 4313 but not both in a given semester.

 

SPAN 4330: TOPICS IN SPANISH LINGUISTICS (if topic relevant)

Topics may include: Spanish phonetics and phonology, morphology, syntax, semantics, lexicography, history of the Spanish language, Old Spanish, Spanish sociolinguistics, as well as the application of any theoretical approach to the study of the Spanish language, excluding the study of either peninsular or American Spanish dialectology. May be repeated for credit when content changes. Prerequisite: SPAN 3319 with a grade of C or better.

 

Courses in Latin (LATN)

LATN 1441 & 1442: (Intensive Beginning Latin Levels I and II)

Latin is one of the most important languages for Western Culture: it is a significant root of the vocabulary and structure of Romance languages and English, and the Roman culture surrounding the language has remained influential on human thought for two thousand years.  This class will introduce the students to the fundamentals of the Latin language and prepare them to begin reading original Classical texts.


 
LATN 2313 & 2314 (Intensive Beginning Latin Levels III and IV):

This class will continue the process begun in LATN 1441/42, teaching the remaining grammatical essentials of Latin and then moving to reading original Classical Latin texts.

 

LATN 4391 (Conference Course):

The phrase “medieval Latin” covers an amazingly wide array of time periods, genres, and geographical locations.  It applies to philosophical treatises written in Italy in the fifth century, letters written in northern Europe in the ninth century, and saints’ lives written in England in the fifteenth century.  As a result of this abundance, each instance of this course will be forced to touch upon only a small number of important texts and authors from the medieval period.  This course will concentrate on short sections of these texts, spending several weeks with each in order to become familiar with these major texts and authors and in order to introduce the students to the highlights of Medieval Latin.

 

Courses in Philosophy(PHIL)

PHIL 3302: HISTORY OF PHILOSOPHY: ROMAN AND MEDIEVAL PHILOSOPHY

Post-Aristotelians (e.g., the later Stoics, the Epicureans, Neo-Platonists); philosophy of the early Church Fathers through Aquinas and later Scholastics.

 

PHIL 3303: HISTORY OF PHILOSOPHY: RENAISSANCE AND EARLY MODERN EUROPEAN PHILOSOPHY

The philosophical views of Galileo, Newton, Bacon, and Hobbes, the Continental Rationalists and British Empiricists, and a brief introduction to the philosophy of Immanuel Kant.

 

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Medieval and Early Modern Studies