History of East Asia to 1800
Professor/InstructorThomas Donald Conlan, Xin Wen
General introduction to major themes in the cultural, intellectual, and institutional history of China and Japan, with some attention to Korea and Southeast Asia. Two lectures, one preceptorial.
The Origins of Japanese Culture and Civilization: A History of Japan until 1600
Professor/InstructorThomas Donald Conlan
This course is designed to introduce the culture and history of Japan, and to examine how one understands and interprets the past. In addition to considering how a culture, a society, and a state develop, we will try to reconstruct the tenor of life in "ancient" and "medieval" Japan and chart how patterns of Japanese civilization shifted through time.
The World of Late Antiquity
Professor/InstructorJack Boulos Victor Tannous
This course will focus on the history of the later Roman Empire, a period which historians often refer to as "Late Antiquity." We will begin our class in pagan Rome at the start of the third century and end it in Baghdad in the ninth century: in between these two points, the Mediterranean world experienced a series of cultural and political revolutions whose reverberations can still be felt today. We will witness civil wars, barbarian invasions, the triumph of Christianity over paganism, the fall of the Western Empire, the rise of Islam, the Greco-Arabic translation movement and much more.
Jews, Muslims, and Christians in the Middle Ages
An introduction to the history and culture of the Jews in the Middle Ages (under Islam and Christendom) covering, comparatively, such topics as the interrelationship between Judaism and the other two religions, interreligious polemics, political (legal) status, economic role, communal self-government, family life, and cultural developments. Two 90-minute classes.
The Worlds of the Middle Ages
Professor/InstructorHelmut Reimitz, Jack Boulos Victor Tannous
We will begin in 476 with the fall of Rome and will end in 1453, with the fall of New Rome (Constantinople). In between, we will trace the different trajectories that the area stretching from Iceland to Iran traveled along over the course of this fateful millennium. We will meet Northern barbarians, Arab armies, Vikings, Crusaders, Mongols, and the Ottomans; we will witness the birth of Islam and medieval Islamic civilization; Charlemagne's creation of the Western Roman empire; will see clashes between Popes and rulers and Caliphs and Muslim religious authorities. We will do all this and more, all the while asking: what were the Middle Ages?
Art and Power in the Middle Ages
In twelve weeks this course will examine major art works from the twelve centuries (300-1500 CE) that encompass the European Middle Ages. Presenting works from Europe and the Middle East, the course will introduce students to the art of Catholicism and Orthodoxy, Judaism and Islam; the great courts of the Eastern- and Holy Roman Empires, and the roving Vikings, Celts and Visigoths. Students will not only be invited to consider how art can represent and shape notions of sacred and secular power, but will also come to understand how the work of 'art' in this period is itself powerful and, sometimes, dangerous.
Music in the Middle Ages
Professor/InstructorRob C. Wegman
Major developments of Western music up to about 1400, including some of the following: the origin and growth of chant, its liturgical context and musical properties; medieval secular song; early polyphony and Parisian organum; the French ars nova and Machaut; the Italian trecento; English medieval music. Prerequisite: a year of theory or instructor's permission.
Introduction to Post-Classical Greek from the Late Antique to the Byzantine Era
Professor/InstructorMirjam Engert Kotwick
Readings will focus on historical, literary, philosophical, or religious texts with a range from the Hellenistic to the Byzantine periods. Two 90-minute seminars.
The Islamic World from its Emergence to the Beginnings of Westernization
Professor/InstructorMichael Allan Cook
Begins with the formation of the traditional Islamic world in the seventh century and ends with the first signs of its transformation under Western impact in the 18th century. The core of the course is the history of state formation in the Middle East, but other regions and themes make significant appearances. The course can stand on its own or serve as background to the study of the modern Islamic world. Two 90-minute classes.
The New Testament and Christian Origins
This course is a historical introduction to early Christian texts within and outside of the New Testament canon. We investigate how the Christian movement began, using ancient sources - Jewish, Greek, Roman, and Christian - about Jesus of Nazareth. We read the letters of the Apostle Paul and New Testament gospels, and the recently discovered gospels of Thomas and Mary. We will discuss the formation of the New Testament canon, views of Jesus, and attitudes toward gender, race and community. The course is accessible to students new to these sources, as well as to those familiar with them. Two lectures, one preceptorial.
Medieval and Renaissance Music from Original Notation
Professor/InstructorJamie L. Reuland
A "hands-on" course that explores music from before 1600 using the pedagogical methods of the period. Medieval and Renaissance techniques of sight-singing, memorization, improvisation, and harmonization will be learned. Modern computer technology will also be used to investigate the deeper mystical and philosophical content of music from this period. Two 90-minute classes. Prerequisite: ability to read modern music notation comfortably.
Topics in Medieval and Early Modern Spanish Culture
Poetry, prose, and drama of the Golden Age. Readings might include the works of authors such as Garcilaso, Saint Theresa, Saint John of the Cross, Góngora, Quevedo, Lope de Vega, and Calderón. Two 90-minute classes. Prerequisite: a 200-level Spanish course or instructor's permission.
Intensive study of the Inferno, with major attention paid to poetic elements such as structure, allegory, narrative technique, and relation to earlier literature, principally the Latin classics. Course conducted in English in a highly interactive seminar format. Prerequisites: One 200-level ITA course or permission of instructor required.
In this class we will examine the history, function, theory and meaning of the icon. We will also examine the icon's influence upon the discourses of Modernism. A more practical aspect of this class is that participants in the course will work with the Princeton University Art Museum's icon collection and with its collection of icon painter's preparatory drawings. The class will provide participants with a broad grounding in questions pertaining to the icon.
The Literature of Medieval Europe
An introductory survey of major representative Latin and vernacular texts in modern English versions, including hagiography, romance, lyric and philosophical poetry, allegory, religious and secular prose, and drama. Special attention will be paid to Christian transformations of classical traditions and to the emergence of the Continental vernaculars of the late Middle Ages. Lecture and preceptorials.
The Medieval Period
Professor/InstructorD. Vance Smith
A study of the Middle English texts that span the period from the Norman Conquest to the Tudor Renaissance, with attention paid to Middle English as a language. Readings will be chosen from verse romance, drama, political and religious writings, romance and/or lyric. One three-hour seminar.
The Old English Period
Professor/InstructorSarah May Anderson
An intensive introduction to the English language spoken and written in the British Isles approximately 500 to 1100 C.E., leading to a critical survey of the literature. Attention is paid both to linguistic questions and to the cultural context of such poems as Beowulf and the Dream of the Rood. Two 90-minute seminars.
Arts of the Medieval Book
Professor/InstructorBeatrice Ellen Kitzinger
This course explores the technology and function of books in historical perspective, asking how illuminated manuscripts were designed to meet (and shape) cultural and intellectual demands in the medieval period. Surveying the major genres of European book arts between the 7th-15th centuries, we study varying approaches to pictorial space, page design, and information organization; relationships between text and image; and technical aspects of book production. We work primarily from Princeton's collection of original manuscripts and manuscript facsimiles. Assignments include the option to create an original artist's book for the final project.
A study of Chaucer's art with reference to the intellectual, social, and literary conventions of the Middle Ages. The course introduces the student by this means to the characteristically medieval aspects of Chaucer's poetry. Two 90-minute seminars.
Topics in Medieval Greek Literature
Professor/InstructorEmmanuel C. Bourbouhakis
The subject of this course will be medieval Greek Romantic fiction. We will read translations of the four surviving novels written in twelfth-century Constantinople in a bid to answer questions about the link between eroticism and the novel, truth and invention in the middle ages, who read fiction and why, and what role, if any, did the medieval or Byzantine Romances have in the story of the European novel. Above all, we will seek to recover some of the pleasure felt by the medieval readers and audiences of these novels.
Topics in German Medieval Literature
Professor/InstructorSara S. Poor
Exploration of German medieval literature. Topics may include medieval German Arthurian literature and the relationship between gender and power in the medieval epics.
The Formation of the Christian West
A study of the emergence of a distinctive Western European civilization out of Christian, Greco-Roman, and Germanic institutions and ideas from the decline of the Roman Empire to about A.D. 1050. Two lectures, one preceptorial.
The Civilization of the High Middle Ages
Professor/InstructorWilliam Chester Jordan
An analysis of typical institutions, social and economic structures, and forms of thought and expression from about 1050 to about 1350. Emphasis is placed on the elements of medieval civilization that have influenced the subsequent history of European peoples. Two lectures, one preceptorial.
The Crusades were a central phenomenon of the Middle Ages. This course examines the origins and development of the Crusades and the Crusader States in the Islamic East. It explores dramatic events, such as the great Siege of Jerusalem, and introduces vivid personalities, including Richard the Lionheart and Saladin. We will consider aspects of institutional, economic, social and cultural history and compare medieval Christian (Western and Byzantine), Muslim and Jewish perceptions of the crusading movement. Finally, we will critically examine the resonance the movement continues to have in current political and ideological debates
Everyday Writing in Medieval Egypt, 600-1500
This class explores medieval Islamic history through everyday documents from Egypt: letters, decrees, contracts, court records, and accounts. We will read a wide range of documents in translation, learn to understand them, and use them to evaluate politics, religion, class, commerce, material history, and family relationships in Egypt from just before the Islamic conquests until just before the Ottoman era. We will also consider documents themselves, as historical artifacts and as historical evidence. Why did medieval people produce and preserve written records? And what does history look like when told through documents?