Office Hours: Thursday 3-5 PM
Using four case studies, this course will examine a variety of ways in which medieval and early modern authors shaped the self-image of Europe by casting foreign cultures as other. We will begin in the eighth century and examine interactions between the Carolingian empire and the Scandinavian raiders and traders commonly known as Vikings. From there we will jump forward to the Crusades to look at some of the most well known encounters between the Latin West and its eastern neighbors. Moving back to Europe we will examine the complicated relationships between Christians and Jews and the practice of 'othering' that occurred as Europeans turned their gaze upon their own societies. Finally we will follow the path of European explorers in the early modern period and look at their encounters with worlds and peoples undreamed of.
As we engage with these four encounters we will discuss how we can use the texts of the past to understand not just the cultures and peoples they describe, but the hidden world of the author and the changing face of Europe across the centuries and into the modern world.
Each case study will take approximately 3 weeks and involve readings from both primary and secondary sources. In addition to short weekly or bi-weekly journal assignments there will be one book review assignment due after spring break and a final assignment that will involve creating a prospectus for an independent research project.
Books: All assigned books are available at the regular bookstores as well as on Amazon.com. There will also be copies on reserve at Moffit Library. Please bring a copy of the assigned reading for the week with you to class,.
Recommended: For those of you who do not have a strong grasp on the overall narrative and events of the Early and Central Middle Ages I suggest you take a look at the relevant events in one of two textbooks:
--Rosenwein, Barbara, A short history of the Middle Ages
D117 .R67 2002, Moffit
--Wim Blockman's Introduction to Medieval Europe 300-1550
D117 .B5413 2007, Moffit
--Nancy Bisaha. Creating East and West: Renaissance Humanists and the Ottoman Turks, (Philidelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2004). ISBN: 0812219767
--Glyn Burgess, ed. The Song of Roland (London: Penguin Books, 1990).
--Bernal Diaz del Castillo, The Conquest of New Spain, trans. John Cohen (Baltimore: Penguin Books, 1963). ISBN: 0140441239
--R. I. Moore. The Formation of a Persecuting Society, (Oxford: Blackwell, 1990). ISBN:1405129646
--Edward Peters, ed. The First Crusade: "The Chronicle of Fulcher of Chartres" and Other Source Materials, (Philidelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1998). ISBN: 0812216563
--Tzvetan Todorov, The Conquest of America: The Question of the Other, trans. Richard Howard, (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1999). ISBN: 0806131373
Further Readings: I will be providing a selection of readings each week either physically or by posting documents through b-space. For those documents posted to b-space it is your responsibility to have them available in class (a lap-top or tablet is acceptable).
Requirements --Participation (15%): Students are required to attend all class sessions unless they can present a valid (at the instructors discretion) excuse for absence and are expected to actively participate and engage in discussion with the goal of showing that they have completed the reading and actively thought about it prior to class.
--Students will be responsible for finding a time to attend Office Hours during the first two weeks of class. They will also be responsible for attending office hours to discuss their final project in March and again near the end of the semester in April.
--Short Assignments and presentations (15%): Short writing assignments (2-3 pages), Discussion Questions (2-3), and/or presentations on a reading assignment will be assigned to be completed for the next class session. Written work will be due posted to BSpace by 8 A.M. Friday morning.
--Mid-Term Assignment (30%): Book review on R.I. Moore’s The Formation of a Persecuting Society. [4-6 pages, See Handout]
--Final Assignment (40%): The final assignment will be a proposal for an original thesis/research project of the type expected of a 101 course. [12-15 pages, See Handout].
Plagiarism Policy: Plagiarism, the copying of work, the use of work without proper citation or without permission is strictly forbidden and will be dealt with severely. If you have questions about citation or proper use of another's work please come see me. I encourage students to work together if they so choose but all turned in work must be the original product of the student in question.
Library Research Session: There will be two library research sessions this semester designed to provide you with information on how to make the most of Cal’s libraries and the various available internet resources for historical research. I strongly urge you to attend one of these sessions.
Session 1: Wed, March 20th, 10 A.M. - 12 P.M. in 350 Moffitt
Session 2: Tuesday April 9th, 12 – 2 P.M. in 350 Moffitt.
Week 1 (1/25): Introductions
Week 2 (2/1): Theories of Othering
--Edward Said’s Orientalism: Introduction (pp.1-28) and Chapter 1(paying special attention to part 2, “Imaginative Geography and Its Representation”).
Moffit Reserve: DS12.S24 1978
--William Sax “The Hall of Mirrors: Orientalism, Anthropology, and the Other” BSpace
--Jennifer Mills-Knutsen, ‘Unconscious Othering, For the Someday Book, January 25, 2013, http://forthesomedaybook.wordpress.com/2013/01/25/unconscious-othering/
Assignment: 2-3 Discussion Questions
Part I - The Vikings Week 3 (2/8): The Vikings as Other
--Selections from various Carolingian Annals/Vitae
--Abbo of St-Germain-des-Prés, The Siege of Paris
--Stuart Airlie, “‘Sad Stories of the Death of Kings’: Narrative Patterns and of Authority in Regino of Prüm’s Chronicle”
Assignment: 2-3 Pages on the methods of Othering observed in the Carolingian sources. What techniques, tactics, and details do they use to shape their images of the Vikings?
Week 4 (2/15): The Vikings: Re-assessments
--Rimbert, Vita Anskarii, selections
--Guy Halsall “Playing By Whose Rules?”
--Coupland “The Vikings on the Continent in Myth and History”