Medieval and Renaissance Studies Program

Coordinator: Karen Robertson (English and Women’s Studies); Steering Committee: Eve D’Ambra (Art), J. Bertrand Lott (Classics), Mark Amodio, Leslie Dunn, Don Foster, (English), Christine Reno (French), Nancy Bisaha, Mita Choudhury (History), John Ahern (Italian), Margaret Leeming (Religion);Participating Faculty: Susan D. Kuretsky, Andrew Tallon (Art), Robert D. Brown (Classics), Robert DeMaria, Zoltán Márkus (English), Roberta Antognini, Eugenio Giusti (Italian); Brian Mann (Music), Mitchell Miller (Philosophy), Lynn LiDonnici (Religion).

The interdepartmental program in Medieval and Renaissance Studies is designed to provide the student with a coherent course of study in the arts, history, literature, and thought of European civilization from the fall of Rome to the seventeenth century.

Requirements for Concentration: 12 units, including Medieval/Renaissance Culture 220, and the senior thesis. Three units, one of which is the senior thesis, must be at the 300-level. Distribution and language requirements, listed below, must also be satisfied.

Distribution Requirement: In addition to Medieval/Renaissance Culture 220 and the thesis, students should take 10 units. Two courses must be chosen from each of three groups of disciplines: Art and Music; History, Philosophy, Religion; Language and Literature. 300-level work is required in at least two departments. To determine which courses satisfy concentration and correlate requirements, students must consult with the coordinator. A partial list of approved courses is appended below; a full list appears on the program’s webpage.

Language Requirement: The major requires demonstration of competence in Latin or in at least one vernacular language besides Middle English. Competency is demonstrated by completion of at least two courses at the 200-level. Languages may include French, German, Hebrew, Italian, Latin, Old English, and Spanish.

Recommendations: Since Latin is a core skill for medieval studies, all students are strongly urged to take at least one year of Latin. Students expecting to concentrate on the Renaissance should also study Italian.

Certain courses help form a foundation for this major. A selection from these 100-level courses may be applied toward the major in consultation with the coordinator: Art 105, Classics 102, Classics/College Course 101, Italian 175, History 123, Religion 150, Philosophy 101 or 102. No more than two 100-level courses may be offered toward the major.

Correlate Sequence in Medieval and Renaissance Studies: 6 graded units are required, including Medieval and Renaissance Studies 220 or History 215 or History 225; Art 220 or 235 or the equivalent; and an intermediate level course in English or 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

116a. The Dark Ages, c. 400-900 (1)

(Same as History 116a) Ms. Bisaha

202 Thesis Preparation (1/2)

220b. Medieval/Renaissance Culture (1)

Topic for 2008/09: Women in Medieval and Renaissance Culture. Ms. Reno and Ms. Robertson.

246a. Music and Ideas I: Medieval and Early Modern Europe: (1)

The Power of Church and Court

(Same as Music 246a) Mr. Mann.

300 Senior Thesis (1)

An interdisciplinary study written under the supervision of two advisors from two different disciplines.

Approved Courses

Below is a partial list of approved courses. For current offerings and a full list of courses, please visit the Medieval and Renaissance Studies webpage on the Vassar website.

Art 220 Medieval Architecture (1)

Art 235 Renaissance Painting, Sculpture, and the Decorative Arts in Italy (1)

English 236 Beowulf (1)

English 240 Shakespeare (1)

History 225 Renaissance Europe (1)

History 315 The World of the Crusades (1)

Italian 237 Dante’s Divine Comedy (1)

Latin 301 Topics in Latin Literature (1)

Music 246 Music and Ideas I: Medieval and Early Modern Europe (1)

Religion 227 The Kingdom of God and the Empire of Rome (1)