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Jutta G. Sperling (Section 01)
(Offered as HIST 128 [EU/TC/TE/P] and EUST 128)
In about the year 1000, a new European civilization came into being. Its center of gravity lay in France, England, and Central Europe, but it preserved parts of its ancient Roman heritage and engaged with Islamic regions of the Mediterranean. In the countryside, feudalism emerged as a new legal, economic, and political system. The Catholic church consolidated itself alongside the new order and competed for dominance. But in towns and cities, burghers swore oaths to each other and established the principles of personal freedom and communal self-governance. Rapidly, new mercantile elites emerged. In this course, we will discuss the most innovative and influential scholarship on these three main aspects of medieval history and study accompanying primary records. Students will be introduced to different historical methods such as structuralism, intersectionalism, the anthropologically inflected works of the Annales school, and recent “global” approaches to Middle Ages that include Africa. Mix of brief lectures, discussion, group work, and in-class assignments. Four short papers that analyze the reading materials.
Fall semester. Professor Sperling.