Spring 2014

The World of Medieval Europe

Listed in: European Studies, as EUST-120  |  History, as HIST-120


Jesse W. Torgerson (Section 01)


 [EUP] European Medieval history usually begins with clean-cut Roman legionnaires failing to fight off hairy Germanic warriors. It then follows a meandering storyline featuring castles, bishops, and knights to end with the Fall of Constantinople or Christopher Columbus sailing over the Western horizon. In this course these significant characters and scenes will appear, but in the context of a different story. Our study of a diverse and disparate past will present a case for why the Middle Ages matter by actively framing individuals in their society and in their landscape. In order to do so we will pursue a variety of topics including the rise and fall of literal and metaphorical cities: from Rome to London, and from Augustine’s City of God to Christine de Pizan’s City of Ladies. Our investigation will reveal medieval answers to some of the most basic human questions: where, why, and who, am I (or are we)? Such universal questions will render the Middle Ages accessible, yet also indicate just how very strange, how very far away, and how very long ago the Middle Ages are. Assignments will focus on short critical papers. Two class meetings per week.

Spring semester. Visiting Professor Torgerson.


2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2014, Fall 2020, Fall 2021