Fall 2019

Medieval Europe in a Mediterranean Context (500–1500)

Listed in: History, as HIST-126


Jutta G. Sperling (Section 01)


[EUP/TC/TE] This course seeks to re-Orient our understanding of the European Middle Ages. We will trace the emergence of a distinctly new – European – culture and society after the fall of the Roman Empire that preserved parts of its Latin heritage but also engaged with Islamic regions of the Mediterranean. Its centers of gravity lay in France, England, and the Holy Roman Empire, but also in the Mediterranean, where ancient Roman cities began to thrive again. On the basis of primary sources and historical literature, we will investigate key phenomena such as the emergence of the feudal order; urbanization and self-government; sea-trade with the Levant; the emergence of vernacular literature; the Arabic “renaissance” and convivencia; Catholicism and female religious movements; the persecution of Jews and other “Others;” companionate marriages and patriarchal kinship; the revival of art and architecture; encounters with Africa and Asia. Mix of brief lectures, discussion, group work, and in-class assignments. The writing assignments will consist of papers that analyze the reading materials and that will help students develop an academic-style writing that observes the principles of detail, differentiation, debate, and documentation.

Fall semester. Visiting Assistant Professor Sperling.


Transnational or World Cultures Taught in English


2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2019