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Spring 2022

MSCP 80500: Dante's Purgatorio,  Wed, 4:15 PM-6:15 PM. 3 credits, Paola Ureni.  Cross-listed with CL 88100.

This course intends to read Dante’s Purgatorio in relation to medieval intellectual debates, and with constant reference to the Inferno and anticipation of the Paradiso. The intermediate condition expressed by the second canticle involves both formal and content levels, and will be investigated according to both. The Purgatorio’s significance of rebirth and freedom from Inferno’s hopeless sinful state mirrors a sense of recovered harmony, which involves individual and non-individual dimensions, as it encompasses theological, cosmological, philosophical, and scientific discussions on different forms of harmony and balance. We will consider the intersections among these different fields of medieval knowledge. Through the study of Dante’s conception of poetic creation in the Purgatorio, we will highlight how thirteenth-century Italian poetry shares its roots and its creative moment – as well as a lexicon – with scientific investigations and philosophical discussions that range from the Aristotelian tradition to the Augustinian trend. The inclusion of a scientific approach to Dante’s text, far from lessening theological and philosophical dimensions, will allow investigating them through a particular lens. Through our reading of the Purgatorio we will explore the impact of science – even, more specifically, of medicine – on philosophical and theological debates, as well as the literary response to such discussion. Following a scientific thread intertwined with philosophy and theology, we will identify more specific themes, such as synderesis and free will, and we will investigate the role of faculties such as imagination and memory. We will explore the intersection between medicine and theology through the reading of physical and mental conditions during natural sleep, dreaming, somnolentia, as well as states of mind assimilable to different degrees of astonishments or even ecstatic states, which mark the pilgrim’s ascent of the mountain of Purgatory. Finally, besides the necessary allusions to the other two canticle of the poem, our reading of the Purgatorio will include references to other Dantean works such as the Convivio and the Vita Nova. 




HIST 74300: Gendered Justice in Europe and the Americas c.1350- 1750, Wed, 2:00 PM-4:00 PM. 3 credits, Sara McDougall.  

The course will explore the role of gender in the prosecution and punishment of crime in social and cultural context in Europe and the Americas c.1350-1750. We will examine gender and justice as it intersected with race, religion, and status, as found in the Atlantic World, and particularly the French and Iberian metropoles and colonies. Our main body of evidence will be trial records, including litigation, witness testimony, confessions, and sentences. In addition we will engage with a range of other source materials such as law codes, prison records and the writings of incarcerated persons, newspaper reports, true crime narratives, and images of alleged criminals and crime. Training in these subjects welcome but not a requirement, this will be an interdisciplinary inquiry open to graduate and professional students in the humanities and social sciences and related fields.