Medieval and Renaissance Studies

Coordinator: Karen Robertson (English and Women's Studies); Steering Committee:Nicholas Adams (Art), Mark Amodio, Leslie Dunn, Don Foster (English), Nancy Bisaha, Mita Choudhury (History), Christine Reno (French), John Ahern (Italian), Marc Epstein (Religion); Participating Faculty. Eugene A. Carroll, Susan D. Kuretsky (Art); Robert D. Brown (Classics); Robert DeMaria, Eamon Grennan, Ann Imbrie, James P. Saeger (English); Patricia Kenworthy (Hispanic Studies); Eugenio Giusti (Italian); Brian Mann (Music); Mitchell Miller (Philosophy); Betsy H. Amaru, Lynn R. LiDonnici (Religion).

The interdepartmental program in Medieval and Renaissance Studies is designed to provide the student with a coherent course of study of the arts, history, literature, and thought of European civilization from the fall of Rome to the seventeenth century. The student is expected to elect work above the introductory level in each of the three groups of disciplines listed below. In the senior year each student is expected to complete advanced courses in at least two departments and write a long paper on a subject that is interdisciplinary in nature. Furthermore, each student is expected to show competence in at least one vernacular language (besides Middle English) or in Latin by completing courses at the intermediate level. Students expecting to concentrate on the Renaissance should acquire a reading knowledge of Italian. Students interested in Medieval and Renaissance Studies should contact the coordinator or one of the members of the participating faculty soon after arriving at Vassar. Finally, in order to gain an understanding of the common philosophical and religious assumptions of the periods, students should take some of the following courses:

History 215 Medieval Civilization (1)

History 225 Renaissance Europe (1)

Medieval/Renaissance 220 Medieval/Renaissance Culture (1)

Philosophy 101 History of Western Philosophy I (1)

Political Science 170 Political Theory (1)

Religion 150 Western Religious Traditions (1)

In fulfillment of the program each student should elect at least 12 units from the list below, including Medieval/Renaissance Culture and at least three courses from each group of disciplines, and complete a senior essay.

Correlate Sequence in Medieval and Renaissance Studies: 6 graded units from the list of approved courses are required, including Medieval and Renaissance Studies 220 or History 215 or History 225; Art 220 or the equivalent; and English 220 or English 230-231 or the equivalent in a foreign language. These courses should be taken early in a student's career. 100-level work cannot be included in the sequence and at least 1 unit must be at the 300-level. The courses selected for the sequence must form a unified course of study and a written proposal articulating the focus of the sequence must be submitted to the correlate sequence adviser for approval prior to declaration.


Course Offerings

220a. Medieval/Renaissance Culture (1)

(Same as Women's Studies 220) Topic of 1999/2000: Women in Medieval and Renaissance Culture. An interdisciplinary introduction to women in European culture, twelfth through sixteenth centuries. Close scrutiny of primary sources, including major literary texts. Some consideration of historiographical and theoretical issues. Ms. Robertson and Ms. Reno.

300. Senior Thesis (1)


Approved Courses


Art and Music

Art 220a. Romanesque and Gothic Architecture (1)

Art 221b. The Sacred Arts of the Middle Ages (1)

Art 230a. Northern Renaissance Painting (1)

Art 235a. Early Central Italian Painting and Sculpture (1)

Art 236b. Later Central Italian Painting and Sculpture (1)

[Art 270a. Renaissance Architecture] Not offered in 1999/00. (1)

[Art 271b. Early Modern Architecture] Not offered in 1999/00. (1)

Art 320b. Seminar in Medieval Art (1)

Art 331a. Seminar in Northern Art (1)

Art 332b. Seminar in Italian Renaissance Art (1)

Music 232a. Studies in Music of the Medieval/Renaissance Period (1)


History, Philosophy, Religion

Classics 218b. Republican Rome: From the Foundation through the Age of Augustus (1)

Classics 219b. The Roman Empire: From the Julio-Claudian Era Through the Fall (1)

[Classics 381b. Crosscurrents: (Multi)cultural Interaction in the Ancient Mediterranean] (1)
Not offered in 1999/00.

History 215a. Medieval Civilization (1)

History 225a. Renaissance Europe c.1300­c.1525 (1)

History 315b. Crusades (1)

History 331a. Women and Gender Early Modern Europe (1)

Religion 220a. Text and Tradition (1)
Topic for 1999/00: Adam and Eve

Religion 225a. The Hebrew Bible (1)

[Religion 227b. The New Testament and Early Christianity] (1)
Not offered in 1999/00.

[Religion 243a. The Islamic Tradition] (1)
Not offered in 1999/00.

[Religion 246b. Jewish Politics and Religion] (1)
Not offered in 1999/00.

Religion 320a. Studies in Sacred Texts (1)

Topic for 1999/00: The Matriarchs and TheirSisters

Religion 346b. Studies in Jewish Thought and History (1)
Topic for 1999/00: Portraits of BiblicalWomen


Language and Literature

Africana Studies 203a The Origins and Development of Islamic Literature (1)

Classics 300a. Seminar in Classical Civilization (1)
Topic for 1999/00: Model Lives: Greek and Roman Biography

English 220a. Old English (1)

English 223b. Beowulf (1)

English 230-231. Development of English Literature to the Close of the Eighteenth Century (1)

English 262a. Chaucer (1)

English 263. Middle English Literature (1)

English 264. Renaissance Drama (1)

English 265-266. Shakespeare (1)

English 267a and b. Shakespeare (1)

English 363b. Studies in Medieval Literature (1)
Topic for 1999/00: The Sword and the Rose.

English 365b. Studies in Renaissance Literature (1)
Topic for 1999/00: Identity, sex, soul, power: Renaissance Subjectivities.

English 366a. Women in the Renaissance (1)

English 368b. Milton (1)

English 380a. Oral Theory: From Spoken Word to Written Page (1)

English 385. The History of Reading (1)

French 230. Medieval and Early Modern Times (1)

[French 332b. Literature and Society in Pre-Revolutionary France] (1)
Not offered in 1999/00.

Hispanic Studies 226a. Medieval and Early Modern Spain (1)
Topic for 1999/00: Desire and Despair in Early Modern Spain

Hispanic Studies 250a. A New World: America and Spain (1)

[Italian 175b. The Italian Renaissance in English Translation] (1)
Not offered in 1999/00.

Italian 220. Italian Civilization: Interpreting the Texts (1)
Not offered in 1999/00.

[Italian 237b. Dante's Divine Comedy in Translation] (1)
Not offered in 1999/00.

[Italian 238a. Dante's Divine Comedy in Translation] (1)
Not offered in 1999/00.

Italian 242. Boccaccio (1)

[Italian 330a. The Italian Renaissance: Epic, Fiction, Letters, Memoirs] (1)
Not offered in 1999/00.

[Italian 331a. The Italian Renaissance: Poetry, Theatre, Politics, and Ideology] (1)
Not offered in 1999/00..

[Italian 337b, 338a. Dante's Divine Comedy] (1)

Not offered in 1999/00.

Latin 105a-106b. Elementary Latin (1)

Latin 215a. Republican Literature (1)

Latin 220b. Literature of the Empire (1)

Latin 301b. Topics in Latin Literature (1)
Topic for 1999/00: The Latin Love Elegy

[Latin 302a. Vergil] (1)

Not offered in 1999/00.

Latin 303a. Tacitus (1)

[Latin 304a. Catullus and Cicero] (1)
Not offered in 1999/00.