The medieval studies major is interdisciplinary in nature and enables the student to develop an integrated understanding of medieval civilization through the study of its history, art, music, literature, ways of thought, and religion. Beyond its intrinsic interest, such an understanding of a premodern society provides comparisons and contrasts that shed light on modern values and assumptions, and on the origins of many modern institutions. As is the case with liberal arts majors in general, medieval studies majors finish their course of study well prepared for professional careers that require cultural awareness and critical thinking.
The Center for Medieval Studies sponsors an annual lecture series and conference, and hosts receptions and class visits to medieval exhibits and collections in the area.
For more information
MVST 1210. LITERATURE AND SOCIETY. (3 Credits)
This course explores different literary genres (such as saga and myth, romance, ballads and poetry, drama and devotional treatises) from different medieval cultural contexts (such as Icelandic society, feudal society, the clergy and urban society). The texts chosen for study, as well as the particular societal contexts, will vary from instructor to instructor.
MVST 1250. TRADITIONS OF STORYTELLING. (4 Credits)
Comparative study of traditions of storytelling, placing questions of narrative form within global cultural and historical contexts. Selections from ancient forms of storytelling will be considered alongside modern examples from European and American literature. Four-credit courses that meet for 150 minutes per week require three additional hours of class preparation per week on the part of the student in lieu of an additional hour of formal instruction.
MVST 3057. MEDIEVAL GERMAN LITERATURE: POTIONS, PASSIONS, PLAYERS, AND PRAYERS. (4 Credits)
This course will introduce students to the rich literary and cultural heritage of Medieval Germany. The texts will all be read in English translation, but we will go over some passages in their original languages in class to catch some of the flavor of the Medieval German. Topics covered will include pre-Christian charms, the epic of the Nibelungs, love poetry, and urban carneval plays. Four-credit courses that meet for 150 minutes per week require three additional hours of class preparation per week on the part of the student in lieu of an additional hour of formal instruction.
Attributes: ALC, GERM.
Prerequisite: GERM 2001.
MVST 3102. MEDIEVAL WOMEN WRITERS. (4 Credits)
Four-credit courses that meet for 150 minutes per week require three additional hours of class preparation per week on the part of the student in lieu of an additional hour of formal instruction.
MVST 3210. KING, COURT, AND CRUSADE: WRITING KNIGHTLY LIFE IN THE HIGH MIDDLE AGES. (4 Credits)
This course will view the medieval world through a lens provided by the life and writings of one man, John of Joinville (d. 1317). John was a knight, a crusader, and a close friend of King Louis IX of France (canonized as Saint Louis). He wrote a Life of Saint Louis that is rich with information about his own life, as well as the saintly king's. We will use the Life to open an examination of key themes in the knightly experience in the high middle ages, including: power, faith, the crusades, noble culture, family and social relations. It will also consider the usefulness of biography/autobiography in understanding the past.
Attributes: AHC, HIST.
MVST 3500. THE KNIGHTS OF THE ROUND TABLE. (4 Credits)
In this course, we will look for the traces of King Arthur and his Knights in modern-day London and its environs. Reading the foundational texts of Arthurian literature right where it all happened, we will be able to go to the sites and see the artifacts that remain. We will be reading excerpts from the early annals and chronicles, which laid the foundation for Arthur’s fame in history, and we will follow the exploits of some of the most prominent members of the Round Table as they were depicted in medieval literature: Sir Gawain, the ladies’ man (Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, Geoffrey Chaucer’s “Wife of Bath’s Tale), Sir Perceval, the Grail Knight (Chretiende Troyes, Perceval), Sir Tristrem, the knight who fell in love with his uncle’s wife, (Gottfried von Strassburg, Tristen and Isolde) and Merlin the sorcerer (in the modern rendition by Mary Stewart, The Crystal Cave). We are planning excursions that will take us to Winchester to have a look at the tangible, wooden, “Round Table,” Stonehenge, the mythical stone circle associated with Merlin and his craft, and Canterbury, the destination of the most important pilgrimage on English soil. In London, we will visit Westminster Cathedral, the British Library, Museums holding Arthurian artifacts, and the Crypt of St. Martin-in-the-Fields for some brass rubbing and afternoon tea. This immersion into medieval culture will allow us to read Arthurian literature in a way uniquely possible in London. Four-credit courses that meet for 150 minutes per week require three additional hours of class preparation per week on the part of the student in lieu of an additional hour of formal instruction.
MVST 3535. BUILDING THE IDEAL CITY. (4 Credits)
This course introduces students to the investigation of the role that economic concepts such as profit, work, utility, and exchange play in defining the ideal city as a realizable political project. Students will investigate ethical and economic concepts and their interrelation in the debate on the best form of State and government that developed from antiquity to modern American Utopian Communities. The course includes texts from various sources, philosophical, theological, society developed in time and influence modern political thought. The course focuses on the impact of the socio-economic doctrines of the Church in shaping the idea of a possible, realizable, ideal city.
MVST 3700. MEDICINE, MAGIC, AND MIRACLES: SICKNESS AND HEALTH IN THE EARLY MIDDLE AGES. (4 Credits)
This course provides an introduction to the systems of learned medicine of western Europe from Late Antiquity to the High Middle Ages. Using a wide range of sources, including medical texts, hagiography, liturgy, and modern scientific studies, we will explore the distinctions between medical theory and practice, the relationship of secular and ecclesiastical authorities to the compilation of medical knowledge and the fundamental question of what constitutes medicine and what does not. In addition, we will consider the changing definition of illness and health through an investigation of medieval responses to the cataclysm of the Black Death. Four-credit courses that meet for 150 minutes per week require three additional hours of class preparation per week on the part of the student in lieu of an additional hour of formal instruction.
MVST 3701. ROYAL SAINTS OF MEDIEVAL EUROPE: POLITICS, LITURGY AND GENDER. (4 Credits)
This course investigates how kings and queens became saints during the European Middle Ages, alongside broader debates about medieval notions of sanctity, gender, and power. Using varied sources including hagiography, liturgy, chronicles, and material culture, we will explore the reasons why royal saints were remembered and the ways they were venerated in the celebrations of the Church. Through a series of case studies, we will also consider the uses of royal saints as propaganda by church and secular authorities to legitimize their rule, promote ongoing Christianizing efforts, and engender zeal for the Crusades.
MVST 3800. CLOISTERS, CASTLES, AND KINGS: MEDIEVAL BAVARIA. (4 Credits)
This course will explore medieval secular and church history as it manifested itself in the literature and culture of Bavaria. Includes a study abroad component. Spring break visit to Regensburg and Munich. Four-credit courses that meet for 150 minutes per week require three additional hours of class preparation per week on the part of the student in lieu of an additional hour of formal instruction.
Attributes: ALC, COLI, GERM, MLL.
MVST 4003. WAR AND PEACE: JUST WAR THEORY. (4 Credits)
This is a Senior values seminar, usually offered in Philosophy. It is a course in applied ethics. It will involve the application of a normative ethical theory to the moral problems associated with war. Four-credit courses that meet for 150 minutes per week require three additional hours of class preparation per week on the part of the student in lieu of an additional hour of formal instruction.
MVST 4005. THE MEDIEVAL TRAVELER. (4 Credits)
This course follows the routes of pilgrims, crusaders, merchants, nobles and peasants as they charted a course for lands of promise and hoped-for prosperity. In Medieval Traveler, we will read selections from the diaries, chronicles, and historical literature written by and about travelers in the Middle Ages. We will begin and end with travelers who sought miracles, marvels, and new trading routes on the cusp of the known world. We will focus in particular on the practicalities of medieval travel, and well as the reasons for traveling: the sacred, the profane, and everything in between. This will be an interactive class, be prepared to discuss and debate issues of interest. Four-credit courses that meet for 150 minutes per week require three additional hours of class preparation per week on the part of the student in lieu of an additional hour of formal instruction.
Attributes: ENGL, GLBL, HIST, ICC, OCST, REST.
MVST 4006. DANTE'S COSMOS SCIENCE, THEOLOGY AND LITERATURE. (4 Credits)
This course investigates Dante's cosmos in the Divine Comedy through medieval science, theology, and poetry. Disentangling the context of the Comedy from Dante's encyclopedic culture through reading in the disciplines of his time will lead students to a deeper comprehension of the multidimensionality of Dante's universe than is possible through any singular disciplinary. The course will broaden students perception of the medieval cosmos in contrast with contemporary notions of cosmology. Four-credit courses that meet for 150 minutes per week require three additional hours of class preparation per week on the part of the student in lieu of an additional hour of formal instruction.
Attributes: ICC, ITAL, MLL.
MVST 4007. MEDIEVAL FOUNDATIONS OF MODERNITY. (4 Credits)
This course retraces the foundations of modern consciousness in Petrarch's works through poetry and philosophy. Students will concentrate on Petrarch's library and philosophical works to explore the passage from a medieval to a humanist vision of the self and of the world. The interdisciplinary approach of the course will provide a deeper understanding of Petrarch's ideas on the educative role of the intellectual, the crisis of scholastic thought, and the emergence of a new perception of the self. Four-credit courses that meet for 150 minutes per week require three additional hours of class preparation per week on the part of the student in lieu of an additional hour of formal instruction.
Attributes: COLI, ICC, ITAL.
MVST 4008. MEDIEVAL AUTOBIOGRAPHIES. (4 Credits)
Although writing about oneself is often considered classical or modern, and autobiography was not classified as a genre until the eighteenth century, a handful of medieval clerics, monks, mystics, nobles and merchants wrote about their own lives. These autobiographical accounts, and the conventions and societies that shaped them are the topic of the course. By asking both the questions of genre, narrative voice, subjectivity and authorship usually posed by literary analysis, and the historical questions of what such sources about past authors, audiences and the societies that read and copied the lives, the goal is to understand autobiography and the sources themselves from an interdisciplinary perspective. Four-credit courses that meet for 150 minutes per week require three additional hours of class preparation per week on the part of the student in lieu of an additional hour of formal instruction.
Attributes: HIST, ICC.
MVST 4009. MEDIEVAL JERUSALEM. (4 Credits)
What has made Jerusalem so beloved to - and the object of continual strife for – Jews, Christians, and Muslims? This course will explore the ancient and medieval history of Jerusalem, from its Jebusite inhabitants before the time of King David through Suleiman’s construction of the modern city walls in the 1540s. Students will learn to analyze a variety of literature, through which we will explore the themes of sacred space, conquest, destruction and lament, pilgrimage and religious polemic. Four-credit courses that meet for 150 minutes per week require three additional hours of class preparation per week on the part of the student in lieu of an additional hour of formal instruction.
Attributes: ICC, JWST, MEST, OCST, REST.
MVST 4100. MAKING EARLY MUSIC. (3 Credits)
Medieval and Renaissance music's fragmentary survival has inspired scholars, performers, composers, and artists to realize what remains according to varying creative urges and ideological preoccupations. This course examines the cultures of early music as well as their living legacies. Studying musical traditions 1000-1600, we build a technical vocabulary for discussing music and seek to understand how historical change affects aesthetics, music-making, and listening from 1000-2018. We also study the reception medieval music -- how it has been rejected, restored, recreated, and reimagined -- to consider how "the medieval" is historically produced. No prior musical experience required.
MVST 4654. MEDIEVAL LONDON. (0 to 4 Credits)
This course draws on material and documentary sources to explore the townscape of medieval London-its wards, streets, and buildings- and the social life of its people, including their daily routines, work, and rituals. We will examine such documentary sources as chronicles, charters, and wills, along with material evidence from human skeletons, excavated houses and churches, coins pottery and clothing.
Attributes: HIST, ICC.
MVST 4998. STUDY TOUR: MEDIEVAL SPAIN. (4 Credits)
One of the great medieval pilgrimage routes, the Camino de Santiago crosses northern Spain from the passes of the Pyrenees to Santiago de Compostela. This study-tour will consider the legends of the Camino, some of its many surviving monuments, and the modern revival of the pilgrimage by walking for two weeks with the peregrinos/-as from Leon to Santiago de Compostela. This class will meet periodically at Fordham before the walk to discuss reading assignments and prepare. A journal is required at the end of the course. Fees and travel costs not included. Four-credit courses that meet for 150 minutes per week require three additional hours of class preparation per week on the part of the student in lieu of an additional hour of formal instruction.
Attributes: ICC, LALS.
MVST 4999. INDEPENDENT STUDY. (1 to 9 Credits)
Courses in Other Areas
The following courses offered outside the program have the MVST attribute and count toward the Medieval Studies major and minor:
|AFAM 3150||CARIBBEAN PEOPLES AND CULTURE||4|
|AMCS 3535||BUILDING THE IDEAL CITY, ETHICS AND ECONOMIC FOUNDATIONS OF REALIZABLE UTOPIAS||4|
|ANTH 3111||NEW WORLD ARCHAEOLOGY||4|
|ANTH 3339||IRISH AND MEXICAN MIGRATION: NEW YORK FOCUS||4|
|ARHI 2320||THE FALL OF ANCIENT ROME: A MATERIAL CULTURE INVESTIGATION||4|
|ARHI 2340||EARLY MEDIEVAL ART||4|
|ARHI 2360||ILLUMINATED MANUSCRIPTS||4|
|ARHI 3315||THE CITY OF ROME||4|
|ARHI 3350||AGE OF CATHEDRALS||4|
|ARHI 4210||OUTSIDERS IN MEDIEVAL CULTURE||4|
|COLI 3535||BUILDING THE IDEAL CITY, ETHICS AND ECONOMIC FOUNDATIONS OF REALIZABLE UTOPIAS||4|
|ENGL 1200||CHAUCER, SHAKESPEARE, MILTON||3|
|ENGL 3010||ENGLISH LITERATURE: BEOWULF TO 1660||4|
|ENGL 3031||MEDIEVAL MONSTERS||4|
|ENGL 3100||MEDIEVAL LITERATURE||4|
|ENGL 3102||MEDIEVAL DRAMA||4|
|ENGL 3103||EARLY ENGLISH DRAMA||4|
|ENGL 3109||ARTHURIAN LITERATURE||4|
|ENGL 3111||MEDIEVAL ROMANCE||4|
|ENGL 3113||INTRODUCTION TO OLD ENGLISH||4|
|ENGL 3115||MEDIEVAL WOMEN WRITERS||4|
|ENGL 3120||DREAMERS AND VISIONARIES IN MEDIEVAL LITERATURE||4|
|ENGL 3121||THE PEARL POET AND HIS BOOK||4|
|ENGL 3125||BEOWULF IN OLD ENGLISH||4|
|ENGL 3127||DREAMS IN MIDDLE AGES||4|
|ENGL 3131||MEDIEVAL TOLERANCE AND INTOLERANCE||4|
|ENGL 3132||MEDIEVAL CHIVALRY||4|
|ENGL 3134||LOVE IN THE MIDDLE AGES||4|
|ENGL 3135||MEDIEVAL LITERATURE: 1000-1330||4|
|ENGL 3136||MEDIEVAL MYSTICS||4|
|ENGL 3140||MYTH OF THE HERO: MEDIEVAL MEMORY||4|
|ENGL 3834||HISTORY OF THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE||4|
|ENGL 4005||THE MEDIEVAL TRAVELER||4|
|ENGL 4110||SEMINAR: LANGLAND'S PIERS PLOWMAN & THE POETRY OF SOCIAL JUSTICE IN LATE MEDIEVAL ENGLAND (Pre-1800)||4|
|ENGL 4141||DEATH IN THE MIDDLE AGES||4|
|ENGL 4148||MEDIEVAL DRAMA IN PERFORMANCE||4|
|ENGL 5210||INTRO OLD NORSE LANG & LIT||3,4|
|ENGL 5261||MALORY: CULTURES OF THE C15||3|
|ENGL 6223||MEDIEVAL ENGLISH MONASTERIES||3|
|ENGL 6224||FRENCH OF ENGLAND: TEXTS AND LITERACIES IN A MULTILINGUAL CULTURE||3|
|ENGL 6231||LATE MEDIEVAL WOMEN||3|
|ENGL 6235||MEDIEVAL TRAVEL NARRATIVE||3|
|FREN 3100||MEDIEVAL FRENCH LITERATURE||4|
|FREN 3150||MEDIEVAL SAINTS AND SINNERS||4|
|GERM 3057||MEDIEVAL GERMAN LITERATURE: POTIONS, PASSIONS, PLAYERS, AND PRAYERS||4|
|HIST 1300||UNDERSTANDING HISTORICAL CHANGE: MEDIEVAL||3|
|HIST 1750||UNDERSTANDING HISTORICAL CHANGE: ISLAMIC HISTORY AND CULTURE||3|
|HIST 1850||UNDERSTANDING HISTORICAL CHANGE: JEWS IN THE ANCIENT AND MEDIEVAL WORLD||3|
|HIST 3010||EUROPE IN CRISIS: 1880-1914||4|
|HIST 3011||BYZANTIUM AND THE WEST||4|
|HIST 3012||MEDIEVAL FRANCE||4|
|HIST 3013||HISTORY OF AMERICAN FOOD||4|
|HIST 3201||AGE OF CATHEDRALS||4|
|HIST 3205||MEDIEVAL MEDICINE||4|
|HIST 3207||LATE MEDIEVAL RELIGION AND SOCIETY||4|
|HIST 3208||THE MEDIEVAL OTHER||4|
|HIST 3210||KING, COURT, CRUSADE: WRITING KNIGHTLY LIFE IN THE HIGH MIDDLE AGES||4|
|HIST 3211||MEDIEVAL SIN, SINNERS, AND OUTCASTS||4|
|HIST 3220||MEDIEVAL HOLLYWOOD||4|
|HIST 3260||MEDIEVAL IRELAND TO 1691||4|
|HIST 3270||THE CRUSADES||4|
|HIST 3301||WOMEN IN THE MIDDLE AGES||4|
|HIST 3305||MEDIEVAL WARFARE||4|
|HIST 3700||SICKNESS AND HEALTH IN EARLY MA||4|
|HIST 4007||MEDIEVAL AUTOBIOGRAPHIES||4|
|HIST 4654||MEDIEVAL LONDON||4|
|HIST 4701||SEMINAR: 12TH CENTURY RENAISSANCE||4|
|HIST 4998||STUDY TOUR: MEDIEVAL SPAIN||4|
|HIST 5202||MEDIEVAL INTERFAITH RELATIONS||4|
|HIST 5506||EUROPEAN NATIONALISMS AND EARLY MODERN (JEWISH) HISTORY||4|
|HIST 6077||THE ANGEVIN EMPIRE||4|
|HIST 6133||MED REL INSTITUTIONS||4|
|HIST 8056||SEM: MED POLITICAL CULTURES||4|
|HIST 8070||MEDIEVAL INTELLECTUAL CULTURES||4|
|HIST 8150||SEM: MEDIEVAL ENGLAND||4|
|HPRH 1051||MEDIEVAL LITERATURE AND ART||3|
|HPRH 1052||MEDIEVAL PHILOSOPHY AND THEOLOGY||3|
|HPRH 1053||MEDIEVAL HISTORY||3|
|ITAL 3010||POLITICS AND POETRY IN THE MIDDLE AGES: THE RISE OF VERNACULAR CULTURE IN THE MEDITERRANEAN||4|
|ITAL 3011||DANTE AND HIS AGE||4|
|ITAL 3012||MEDIEVAL STORYTELLING||4|
|ITAL 4006||DANTE'S COSMOS: MEDIEVAL SCIENCE, THEOLOGY, AND POETRY IN THE DIVINA COMMEDIA||4|
|ITAL 5090||ITALIAN FOR READING||0|
|LATN 1001||INTRODUCTION TO LATIN I||3|
|LATN 1002||INTRODUCTION TO LATIN II||3|
|LATN 1501||INTERMEDIATE LATIN I||3|
|LATN 2001||LATIN LANGUAGE AND LITERATURE||3|
|LATN 3061||CHRISTIAN LATIN||4|
|MLAL 3010||POLITICS AND POETRY IN THE MIDDLE AGES: THE RISE OF VERNACULAR CULTURE IN THE MEDITERRANEAN||4|
|MLAL 3057||MEDIEVAL GERMAN LITERATURE: POTIONS, PASSIONS, PLAYERS, AND PRAYERS||4|
|MLAL 3535||BUILDING THE IDEAL CITY. ETHICS AND ECONOMICS FOUNDATIONS OF REALIZABLE UTOPIAS||4|
|MLAL 3800||CLOISTERS, CASTLES, AND KINGS: MEDIEVAL BAVARIA||4|
|MUSC 3110||MUSIC BEFORE 1600||4|
|PHIL 3350||PROBLEMS IN METAPHYSICS||4|
|PHIL 3552||MEDIEVAL PHILOSOPHY||4|
|PHIL 3557||CONFESSIONS OF AUGUSTINE||4|
|PHIL 3570||BEAUTY IN THE MIDDLE AGES||4|
|PHIL 3591||MEDIEVAL POLITICAL PHILOSOPHY||4|
|PHIL 3910||SHAKESPEARE AND AQUINAS||4|
|PHIL 4473||WAR AND PEACE: JUST WAR THEORY||4|
|PHIL 5001||INTRODUCTION TO PLATO||3-4|
|PHIL 5009||INTRO TO ARISTOTLE||3-4|
|PHIL 7080||MEDIEVAL VIEWS ON COGNITION AND CERTAINTY||3|
|SOCI 2420||SOCIAL PROBLEMS OF RACE AND ETHNICITY||4|
|SOCI 3418||CONTEMPORARY IMMIGRATION IN GLOBAL PERSPECTIVE||4|
|SOCI 4970||COMMUNITY SERVICE/SOCIAL ACTION||4|
|THEA 4148||MEDIEVAL DRAMA||4|
|THEO 1050||SYRIAC LANGUAGE AND LITERATURE I||3|
|THEO 3102||BOOK OF GENESIS||4|
|THEO 3200||INTRODUCTION TO NEW TESTAMENT||3|
|THEO 3310||EARLY CHRISTIAN WRITINGS||3|
|THEO 3314||ST. AUGUSTINE OF HIPPO||3|
|THEO 3316||BYZANTINE CHRISTIANITY||3|
|THEO 3320||AUGUSTINE, AQUINAS, AND LUTHER||3|
|THEO 3330||MEDIEVAL THEOLOGY TEXTS||3|
|THEO 3332||CHRISTIANS, MUSLIMS, JEWS IN THE MEDIEVAL PERIOD||3|
|THEO 3340||CHRISTIAN MYSTICAL TEXTS||3|
|THEO 3345||THE BOOK OF REVELATION||3|
|THEO 3620||GREAT CHRISTIAN HYMNS||3|
|THEO 3711||SACRED TEXTS OF THE MIDEAST||3|
|THEO 3715||CLASSIC ISLAMIC TEXTS||3|
|THEO 3847||LATINO/A THEOLOGY||4|
|THEO 5075||SYRIAC LANGUAGE AND LITERATURE I||3|
|THEO 5076||SYRIAC LANGUAGE AND LITERATURE II||3|
|THEO 5401||INTRODUCTION TO ISLAM||3|
|THEO 6445||AFFECT, EMOTION, AND RELIGIOUS EXPERIENCE||3|
|THEO 6465||ASCETICISM & MONASTICISM||3|
|WGSS 3341||RACE, SEX, AND SCIENCE||4|