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Spring 2011


MSCP. 70100 - Introduction to Medieval Studies GC: Wednesday , 4:15-6:15 p.m., Rm. TBA, 3 credits, Prof. Head, [14187] The semester will be divided into four units of three or four weeks each. In each unit, we will pay attention to literary, historical, and art historical evidence and analysis. Provisionally these will be as follows. (1) The scope of medieval studies. We will begin by examining disciplines outside the Aholy trinity@ of literature, history, and art history. We will then consider the impact of various theoretical models on those three fields. We will end the unit discussing The Past and Future of Medieval Studies, ed. John Van Engen (1994). (2) The book. We will examine the development of the physical book (and secondarily of literacy) during the middle ages. (3) The survival and appropriation of the classical tradition. (4) Cloisters and courts as centers of cultural production. Thomas Head, Hunter College, thead@hunter.cuny.edu



MSCP. 80500 - Medieval Families GC: Thursday, 2:00-4:00 p.m., Rm. TBA, 3 credits, Prof. Burger, [14188] This course examines the wide variety of Afamilies@ structuring medieval social and cultural formations: notably extended families (organized around kinship, bloodline, and the exchange of property); spiritual families (monastic and other religious communities, spiritual marriages, the cult of the dead); and nuclear families (organized around consensual sacramental marriage and the bourgeois/gentry household). We will begin by considering how a medieval privileging of virginity and celibacy as the highest manifestations of human nature might foster alternative conceptions of family in the various communities established to foster such a spiritual life. We will examine monastic community (Aelred of Rievaulx=s Spiritual Friendship and the letters of Heloise and Abelard), anchoritic and beguine life (the Ancrene Wisse), and lay spiritual marriage (Revelations of St. Bridget of Sweden and The Book of Margery Kempe). We will also consider the threat of deformation to such spiritual family life posed by inter-religious marriage (represented in the popular romance, The King of Tars). And we will examine the complex interpenetration of living and dead family members that the development of Purgatory in late medieval culture demanded (with reference to the Middle English romance, Apollonius of Tyre). From the twelfth to the sixteenth century the married estate underwent a profound revaluation as an important sacrament of the Church. In addition, a developing market economy and wide-scale urbanization also foregrounded the growing value of the bourgeois nuclear family and household. We will examine the impact of this sacramentalization of marriage on representations of the Holy Family in cycle dramas and the visual arts and reorientations of the aristocratic family in romance (Chretien de Troyes= Eric et Enide) and conduct literature (The Book of the Knight of La Tour Landry). Using historical and anthropological analyses, we will examine the changes in dowry and other property arrangements between married couples in the later Middle Ages, as well as the changes in the material conditions of urban household life as living spaces adapted to new social and economic demands. And we will consider such texts as The Good Wife=s Guide [Le Menagier de Paris] (a conduct book written by an older merchant for his fifteen year old bride), middle class English romances such as the Tale of Florence and Chaucer=s AWife of Bath=s Tale,@ as well as Jan van Eyck=s famous depiction of a bourgeois married couple in his 1436 painting, the Arnolfini Portrait.




ART. 83000 - Visuality in Long Middle Ages GC: Tuesday, 11:45 a.m.-1:45 p.m., Rm. TBA, 3 credits, Prof. Hahn, [14225] Course open to Art History students only. Department permission required for all others. Visuality is a concept that has become important to art historians over the last twenty years. It posits that vision is a learned practice that varies in different cultures and historical periodsCa practice that >constructs= vision or >what it means to see= or what >can be seen.= Related issues include hostility toward vision or art, and attitudes toward blindness. Finally, the >visionary= or the extraordinary ability to perceive spiritual truths will be considered. This seminar will explore the theoretical scholarship (Martin Jay, Norman Bryson) and think about changes within the Middle Ages from early medieval to late medieval. Byzantium, the Northern Renaissance, and even some later Aspiritual@ art will also be considered. Bibliography will include work by Camille, Hamburger, Kessler, Nelson, Morgan, and Hahn among others. Students will choose topics that explore one or more art works within the framework of the issues raised in the class. Requirements: Students will be required to do reading, a presentation, and paper. Auditors by permission of instructor.
Preliminary reading: R. Nelson, Vision before and Beyond the Renaissance, Cambridge, 2000.


C L. 80102 - Divina Commedia/Augustinian Tr NYU: Monday, 3:30-6:10 p.m., Rm. TBA, 4 credits, Prof. Freccero, [14322]

C L. 80103 - Italian Lyric Tradition/Petrarch-Marino NYU: Wednesday, 3:30-6:10 p.m., Rm. TBA, 4 credits, Prof. Cox, [14323]

ENGL. 80700 - The Passion/The Body/The Christ GC: Thursday, 4:15-6:15 p.m., Rm. TBA, 2/4 credits, Prof. Sargent, [14167] In this course, we will look at one of the most remarkable forms of the material culture of spirituality in the later middle ages: the mapping of the passion of Christ and its sacramental simulacrum onto the body of the devout believer. Using theoretical/critical approaches drawing upon gender theory, performance theory and the Ahistory of affect@, we will talk about the cultural work that various Atexts of the passion@ performed. We will read and discuss works of guided meditation, narratives of mystical trance and ecstatic performance of the arrest, torture and crucifixion, and the public re-enactment of the passion in civic drama B as well as the parallel experience of public torture and execution. The majority of the writings that we will be studying will be in Middle English, but most are available in modern English versions as well B as well as in the original continental languages in which some of them were composed. The texts that we will be reading include the lives of three Belgian beguine mystics (Elizabeth of Spalbeek, Christina mirabilis and Marie d=Oignies), the meditations on the passion and the eucharist from Nicholas Love=s Mirror of the Blessed Life of Jesus Christ, selections from the writings of Julian of Norwich and Margery Kempe and from the late-medieval English Corpus Christi plays, as well as the abjected mirror-image of the passion in such blood-libel texts as Chaucer=s APrioress= Tale@ and the Croxton Play of the Sacrament

MUS. 87600 - Analysis of Early Music GC: Tuesday, 10:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m., Rm. GSUC3491, 3 credits, Profs. Atlas/Stone, [14304] For most of the twentieth century scholars have struggled to analyze pre-tonal music. Lacking the long history of approaches that developed over time to analyze tonal music, and absent clear understanding of what pre-tonal composers thought they were doing, modern scholars have had to invent the wheel, as it were, and make fundamental decisions, both philosophical and practical, about how to approach early music analytically. We will consider this problem both historiographically, that is, looking critically at the ways in which scholars have attempted to analyze this music in recent decades, and in a hands-on fashion in which we try to analyze the music ourselves. A fuller course description is available in the Certificate Programs Office (Room 5110).