Robin Chapman Stacey Office Phone: 543-9418
Office Hours: Monday Smith 106
10:30-12 Winter quarter, 2004
HIGH MIDDLE AGES
The period 1000-1300 is generally considered the high point of the medieval era in western Europe. This was the age of cathedrals, of scholasticism, chivalry and castles—and the period in which the great nation states of western Europe first took shape. Many of the modern world’s great universities were founded in this era; philosophers like Thomas Aquinas and Bonaventura built upon the learning of the ancient world to construct theological systems of immense complexity. However, despite the magnitude of such achievements, this was also a period of hardship, war and poverty, an age that witnessed manifestations of social and religious intolerance on a scale not previously known in the western European realms. In this course, we will look at all aspects of this particular era of the middle ages, exploring not only the “good” and the “bad,” but the manner in which “good” and “bad” were related to one another, even fed off one another, in the period under examination.
A good imagination is one of the historian’s most valuable tools, and another of the priorities of this class is to afford you the opportunity to hone your skills of imaginative analysis by working with primary sources in a variety of venues. (Primary sources are sources written at or near the time of the events they describe.) Students will be asked to read and discuss one or more primary texts every week. Participation as demonstrated by consistent attendance at lectures and active involvement class discussion is highly valued in this class, a fact that is reflected in the high percentage assigned to this component in the calculation of the final grade. In addition to our in-class consideration of the primary materials, two primary source-based papers are required: the first an exercise designed to put your reading and argumentative skills to work in deciphering two short accounts of the same event; and the second a short research paper that requires you to integrate your own interpretation of a given text with that of a professional historian who has written on the subject.
The textbook for this class is Edward Peters, Europe and the Middle Ages. There are currently two editions for sale in bookstores real and virtual across the country. We are using the fourth edition in this course, which I’ve also asked be placed on OUGL Reserve.
Schedule of class meetings: HSTAM 332
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