Curriculum

MEDIEVAL RENAISSANCE STUDIES PROGRAM

COURSE OFFERINGS: FALL 2019 

 

Course ID: ARTH328

Title: Dining with Michelangelo: Art and Food in Renaissance Italy

This seminar will analyze the role of food in the art and life of early modern Italy. We will examine the historic and economic context of food as the basis of our investigation of its representation in paintings, sculptures, and works on paper from circa 1300 to 1800. This will entail a close look at food as subject and symbol, as well as the material culture surrounding its production and consumption. The seminar will investigate illustrated herbals and cookbooks in Special Collections, dining habits and etiquette, and food as sexual metaphor through a wide range of interdisciplinary sources; Wellesley's Botanic Gardens will grow Italian fruits, vegetables, and herbs for us to incorporate in Renaissance-era recipes.

Units: 1

Max Enrollment: 12

Prerequisites: Previous courses in European art, history, or literature recommended but not required.

Instructor: Jacqueline Marie Musacchio

Distribution Requirements: ARS - Visual Arts, Music, Theater, Film and Video

Typical Periods Offered: Every three years

Semesters Offered this Academic Year: Fall

 

Course ID: ENG213

Title: Chaucer

Feminist, misogynist, heretic, moralist, progressive, reactionary—these are some of the conflicting labels that have been applied to Geoffrey Chaucer, enigmatic father of English poetry. This course will study Chaucer in his many incarnations, as courtly love poet, religious homilist, and bawdy prankster in the Canterbury Tales and selected supplementary texts by Chaucer and his contemporaries.

Units: 1

Max Enrollment: 30

Prerequisites: None

Instructor: Lynch

Distribution Requirements: LL - Language and Literature

Typical Periods Offered: Fall

Semesters Offered this Academic Year: Fall

 

Course ID: ENG223

Title: Shakespeare Part I: The Elizabethan Period

The formative period of Shakespeare's genius: comedies such as A Midsummer Night's

Dream and Twelfth Night; histories such as Henry IV (Part I); and tragedies such as Hamlet. We will undertake detailed study of Shakespeare's poetic language and will examine the dramatic form of the plays and the performance practices of Shakespeare's time. We will also explore important themes that inform the plays, from gender relations and identities to social class and nationhood. Viewing and analysis of contemporary performances and films will be integrated into the work of the course.

Units: 1

Max Enrollment: 30 Prerequisites: None Instructor: Peltason

Distribution Requirements: LL - Language and Literature; ARS - Visual Arts, Music, Theater, Film and Video

Typical Periods Offered: Fall

Semesters Offered this Academic Year: Fall

 

Course ID: ENG 324:

Advanced Studies in Shakespeare

Special Topic for 2019-20: Shakespeare & Company 

This course will consider Shakespeare's plays in the context of other important playwrights of the time, writers who influenced Shakespeare and whom Shakespeare influenced. Sometimes the similarities between Shakespeare and his contemporaries will illustrate important historical and cultural contexts of the Renaissance theater; at other times differences will point up Shakespeare’s particular style and approach. In addition to plays by Shakespeare, students will read Marlowe, Middleton, Heywood, Massinger, Elizabeth Cary,

and Margaret Cavendish. A field trip to at least one live performance will be included.

Semesters Offered this Academic Year: Fall

 

Course ID: ENG227

Title: Milton

Milton helped set the standard of literary power for generations of writers after him. His epic Paradise Lost exemplifies poetic inspiration, sublimity, creativity, originality, and unconventionality, offering a richness of meaning and emotion that seems to provoke violently incompatible interpretations, even radical uncertainty about whether his work is good or bad. This course will focus on how this poem challenges and expands our views of God, evil, heroism, Hell, good, Heaven, pain, bliss, sex, sin, and failure in startling ways. We will consider Milton as the prototype of a new kind of poet who pushes meaning to its limit, from his early writings, to Paradise Lost, to Paradise Regain'd at his career's end, and sample the range of critical responses his poetry has elicited.

Units: 1

Max Enrollment: 30

Prerequisites: None

Instructor: Noggle

Distribution Requirements: LL - Language and Literature

Typical Periods Offered: Fall

Semesters Offered this Academic Year: Fall

 

Course ID: ENG324

Title: Advanced Studies in Shakespeare

Topic for 2019-20: Shakespeare and Company.

This course will consider Shakespeare's plays in the context of other important playwrights of the time, writers who influenced Shakespeare and whom Shakespeare influenced. Sometimes the similarities between Shakespeare and his contemporaries will illustrate important historical and cultural contexts for the Renaissance theater; at other times differences will point up Shakespeare’s particular style and approach. In addition to plays by Shakespeare, students will read Marlowe, Middleton, Heywood, Massinger, Elizabeth Cary, and Margaret Cavendish. A field trip to at least one live performance will be included.

Units: 1

Max Enrollment: 20

Prerequisites: Open to all students who have taken two literature courses in the department, at least one of which must be 200 level, or by permission of the instructor to other qualified students.

Instructor: Sarah Wall-Randell

Distribution Requirements: LL - Language and Literature; ARS - Visual Arts, Music, Theater, Film and Video

Semesters Offered this Academic Year: Fall

 

Course ID: HIST214

Title: Medieval Italy

This course provides an overview of Italian history from the disintegration of the Roman Empire in the fifth century through the rise of urban communes in the thirteenth century. Topics of discussion include the birth and development of the Catholic Church and the volatile relationship between popes and emperors, the history of monasticism and various other forms of popular piety as well as the role of heresy and dissent, the diverging histories of the north and the south and the emergence of a multicultural society in southern Italy, and the development and transformation of cities and commerce that made Italy one of the most economically advanced states in Europe in the later medieval period.

Units: 1

Max Enrollment: 25

Prerequisites: None

Instructor: Ramseyer

Distribution Requirements: HS - Historical Studies

Semesters Offered this Academic Year: Fall

 

Course ID: HIST234

Title: The Holy Roman Empire: Religion, Politics, and Culture from Luther to Napoleon

This course traces the tumultuous history of Europe's German lands in the three centuries between the Middle Ages and the modern era, long identified with the origins of twentieth-century German militarism and anti-Semitism. We will focus on what makes this fascinating period distinctive: Germany's uniquely persistent political diversity and the religious schism that gave Germany multiple national religions. Topics include the Protestant Reformation, the Great Witch Panic, the devastating Thirty Years War that destroyed 150 years of economic growth, Prussia and Frederick the Great, the Enlightenment, the Napoleonic Wars, and the demise of the extraordinarily complex political system known as the Holy Roman Empire. Sources include treaties, treatises, literature, autobiographical texts, visual art, and music, by, among others, Luther, Bach, Lessing, Mozart, and Goethe.

Units: 1

Max Enrollment: 25

Prerequisites: None

Instructor: Grote

Distribution Requirements: HS - Historical Studies

Typical Periods Offered: Fall

Semesters Offered this Academic Year: Fall

 

Course ID: HIST279

Title: Heresy and Popular Religion in the Middle Ages

This course looks at popular religious beliefs and practices in medieval Europe, including miracles, martyrdom and asceticism, saints and their shrines, pilgrimages, relics, curses, witchcraft, and images of heaven and hell. It seeks to understand popular religion both on its own terms as well as in relationship to the church hierarchy. It also examines the basis for religious dissent in the form of both intellectual and social heresies that led to religious repression and the establishment of the Inquisition in the later Middle Ages. The course may be taken as 279 or, with additional assignments, as 379.

Units: 1

Max Enrollment: 25

Prerequisites: None

Instructor: Ramseyer

Distribution Requirements: HS - Historical Studies

Semesters Offered this Academic Year: Fall

Notes: Students who have taken the course as HIST 279 are not eligible to take the course as HIST 379.

 

Course ID: HIST379

Title: Heresy and Popular Religion in the Middle Ages

This course looks at popular religious beliefs and practices in medieval Europe, including miracles, martyrdom and asceticism, saints and their shrines, pilgrimages, relics, curses, witchcraft, and images of heaven and hell. It seeks to understand popular religion both on its own terms, as well as in relationship to the church hierarchy. It also examines the basis for religious dissent in the form of both intellectual and social heresies that led to religious repression and the establishment of the Inquisition in the later Middle Ages. This course may be taken as HIST 279 or, with additional assignments, as HIST 379.

Units: 1

Max Enrollment: 25

Prerequisites: Normally open to juniors or seniors who have taken a 200-level unit in history and/or a 200-level unit in a relevant area/subject.

Instructor: Ramseyer

Distribution Requirements: HS - Historical Studies

Semesters Offered this Academic Year: Fall

Notes: Students who have taken the course as HIST 279 are not eligible to take the course as HIST 379.

 

Course ID: MUS200

Title: Music History I: Musicke's Recreation - Studies in Renaissance Music with an Emphasis on Performance

This hands-on history course explores the way music permeated private lives in Renaissance Italy and England. Students will learn to play the viola da gamba as they study topics of artistic patronage, immigration, and the advent of music printing. Beginning at the Mantuan court of 1500, topics of study will include primary sources which elucidate the social milieu and habits of music-making of the well-educated, exemplified by Isabella d'Este, the quintessential Renaissance woman. We will study Franco-Flemish and Italian song repertory as we trace the travels of some of the best composers of the Renaissance and show how musical forms took on national characteristics as they crossed the Alps. While some experience playing string instruments is recommended, singers, keyboardists, and players of other instruments will be welcomed. This course meets three times a week.

Units: 1

Max Enrollment: 18

Prerequisites: MUS 100

Instructor: Fontijn, Jeppesen

Distribution Requirements: ARS - Visual Arts, Music, Theater, Film and Video

Typical Periods Offered: Fall

Semesters Offered this Academic Year: Fall

 

Course ID: PHIL200

Title: Philosophy and Witchcraft

A study of the philosophical, social, cultural, and political beliefs that led to the belief in witchcraft in early modern Western Europe and North America, and how these beliefs led to the violent persecution of over 100,000 people between 1400 and 1700. The analysis of this historical event engages several different areas of philosophy: metaphysics, morals, epistemology, standards of evidence, and gender theory. Topics include: magic and religion, the nature of evil, sexual politics, the politics of torture, skepticism, and contemporary witches.

Units: 1

Max Enrollment: 30 Prerequisites: None Instructor: Walsh

Distribution Requirements: EC - Epistemology and Cognition; REP - Religion, Ethics, and Moral Philosophy

Typical Periods Offered: Fall

Semesters Offered this Academic Year: Fall

 

Course ID: PHIL300

Title: Seminar: Philosopher Misfits, Philosopher Queens

What counts as philosophy? Who counts as a philosopher? The traditional answers to these questions exclude many texts and many thinkers from the category of "the philosophical." In this course, we will challenge the traditional answers and seek to expand our understanding of the vehicles for philosophical expression, and the kinds of people who count as philosophers. The central philosophical question that will be our focus is: what is human nature? Treating this question will involve discussions of gender, class, education, and freedom. We will engage with the writings of women and non-Western thinkers, and study non-traditional philosophical texts like personal essays, poetry, and novels. Authors include Murasaki Shikibu, Christine de Pisan, Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz, Mulla Sadra, Michel de Montaigne, and Margaret Cavendish.

Units: 1

Max Enrollment: 16

Prerequisites: One previous course in philosophy or by permission of the instructor.

Instructor: Walsh

Distribution Requirements: EC - Epistemology and Cognition

Semesters Offered this Academic Year: Fall

 

Course ID: REL216

Title: Christian Thought and Practice 100-1600

From the church of the martyrs to Medieval Christendom and the 16th-century reformations, Christians debated questions still asked today: who is Christ, and why does he matter? What is good, and what is evil? Do we will freely? Is our reason trustworthy? What do the Scriptures mean? Do mystics help us know God? We will read autobiographies, saints’ lives, letters, visionary literature, and theology. We will study Benedictines, Franciscans, Jesuits, crusades, pilgrimages, art, and music. Material will be from the Catholic, Orthodox, Protestant, and Reformed traditions. Authors will include Augustine of Hippo, Thomas Aquinas, Catherine of Siena, Martin Luther, and John Calvin. 

Units: 1

Max Enrollment: 25 Prerequisites: None Instructor: Elkins

Distribution Requirements: REP - Religion, Ethics, and Moral Philosophy; HS - Historical Studies

Typical Periods Offered: Fall

Semesters Offered this Academic Year: Fall

 

Course ID: REL226

Title: The Virgin Mary

The role of the Virgin Mary in historical and contemporary Christianity. Topics include Mary in the Bible, early Christian writings, devotion to her in the Middle Ages, her role in Islam, artistic productions in her honor, debates about her body and her power, and her "appearances" at Guadalupe, Lourdes, and Fatima, and in the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries. Attention also to the relation between concepts of Mary and attitudes toward virginity, the roles of women, and "the feminization of the deity."

Units: 1

Max Enrollment: 25 Prerequisites: None Instructor: Elkins

Distribution Requirements: HS - Historical Studies; REP - Religion, Ethics, and Moral Philosophy

Typical Periods Offered: Every other year; Fall

Semesters Offered this Academic Year: Fall

 

Course ID: ITAS 263

Title: Dante's Divine Comedy

(Taught in English)

The course offers students an introduction to Dante and his culture. The centrality and encyclopedic nature of Dante's Divine Comedy make it a paradigmatic work for students of the Middle Ages. Since Dante has profoundly influenced several writers of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, knowledge of the Comedy illuminates modern literature as well. This course presumes no special background and attempts to create a context in which Dante's poetry can be carefully explored.

Semesters Offered this Academic Year: Fall

Tuesday & Friday | 12:45 pm - 02:00 pm

OTHER:

The Collegium Musicum

The Wellesley College Collegium Musicum specializes in the performance of Western music from the Middle Ages to the early nineteenth century. This ensemble of singers and instrumentalists is open to Wellesley College students, faculty, staff, and members of the local community. The Collegium is also frequently joined by guest artists, who enrich the ensemble for special projects. Members of the Collegium enjoy the use of an extensive collection of historical instruments. Separate consort instruction is available in viola da gamba and Renaissance wind instruments for both beginning and advanced players on a fee basis ($300 for the 2019-20 academic year).

 

The course catalog lists all courses offered in Medieval/Renaissance Studies with the ME/R prefix, regardless of semester.

The course catalog also lists courses for credit toward the Medieval/Renaissance Studies major, regardless of department. The courses listed below are those offered with the ME/R prefix this semester.

Current Courses in Medieval Renaissance Studies

 

Fall 2018 - 1 Credit Courses for the Medieval/Renaissance Studies Major

(courses that count for Med/Ren credit, but that are part of other departmental listings)

Course Name Course Title Credits Professor(s)
ARTH 224 Art, Patronage and Society 1 Jacqueline Musacchio
ENG 213.01 Chaucer 1 Cord Whitaker
ENG 316 Seminar: Public Writing on Poetry 1 Kathryn Lynch
FREN 210 Middle Ages Enlightenment 1 Hélène Bilis
HIST 213 Conquest and Crusade 1 Valerie Ramseyer
HIST 222 Barbarian Kingdoms 1 Valerie Ramseyer
HIST 352 Seminar: History of Mental Health 1 Simon Grote
MUS 200  Music History I: Musicke's Recreation - Studies in Renaissance Music with an emphasis on Performance 1

Claire Fontin/Laura Jeppesen

REL 226 The Virgin Mary 1 Sharon Elkins
SPAN 308 Masculinities in Medieval and Golden Age Spanish Literature 1 Carlos Ramos