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Autumn 2021

Autumn 2021 CMRS-Affiliated Courses

**Please note: The university again plans to implement a mix of in-person and remote coursework for the Autumn 2021 term. Updated 7/9/2021.

Autumn 2021 MEDREN Courses


MedRen 2610 - Science and Technology in Medieval and Renaissance Culture

Description: This distance learning course will use studies of objects alongside close reading of primary texts to explore the history of science and technology in antiquity and the pre-modern world. In our considerations of topics like medicine, anatomy, alchemy, cartography, navigation, natural history, mechanics, war craft, astronomy and navigation, we’ll investigate how cultural, social, and

Sciopod, Cyclops, Two-headed Pygmy, Blemmyai, Cynocephalus. From Sebastian Munster, Cosmographia (Basel: Sebastian Heinrich-Petri, 1552)

religious factors influenced the theory and practice of science. Each week, students will read translations of historical texts and scholarly resources that help reveal how the science and technology we now take for granted began with studies and discoveries long ago. Evaluation will be generated by short writing assignments, a group project, discussion boards and a final exam.

Prereq: None. GE culture and ideas course.

Class: 34090
Time: T-Th 11:10-12:30
Instructor: Sarah Neville (English)


Required Books:

  • Andrew Ede and Lesley B. Cormack, A History of Science in Society: From the Ancient Greeks to the Scientific Revolution. Vol. I. 3rd Edition. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2017. 

  • Additional texts will be available on Carmen.


MedRen 2666 - Magic and Witchcraft in the Middle Ages and Renaissance

Description: In this interdisciplinary course, students will explore the history and culture of witchcraft and magic in Europe from about 400 C.E. to 1700 C.E., including examination of its religious, intellectual, and sociological contexts. As students gain basic knowledge of the history of witchcraft and magic during these periods (both actual practice and contemporary beliefs about that practice), they will develop some ability to understand why these practices and beliefs developed as they did and what societal and cultural needs drove them.

Woodcut of witches hunching over a cauldron


Prereq: Not open to students with credit for Medieval 240. GE culture and ideas and diversity global studies course.

Class: 22815
Time: M-W-F 11:30-12:25
Room: 014 University Hall
Instructors: Sarah Iles Johnston (Classics/Comparative Studies)


Required Books: TBD


MedRen 5611 - History of the Book Studies

Description: This course will explore books from the invention of printing through the early nineteenth century (c. 1450-1820) as physical objects and consider what difference that makes for our understanding of the texts they bear and the uses to which they've been put. We will range widely in terms of genre, language, and price point, drawing extensively on the holdings of OSU's Rare Books and Manuscripts Library (in ways that are safe for the age of COVID). By the end of the course you'll understand how judging books by their covers is not only impossible to avoid, but can actually help us make sense of the many ways in which books work in and on the world. And you'll be able to share your newfound knowledge with the world by collectively acting as the curators for an exhibition in which you select, research, arrange, and showcase objects from our collections. Course requirements include a weekly object journal; a few short, informal presentations of objects from Ohio State's collections; active participation in our discussions; and a substantial contribution to a collectively curated exhibition. **PLEASE NOTE: This course will be delivered in a hybrid format. Additional details will be provided, but you should plan on synchronous course meetings at the times listed below.**

Prereq: Jr, Sr, or Grad standing, or permission of instructor. Not open to students with credit for Medieval 611.

Class: 23657 (UG section), 23658 (Grad section)
Time: T-Th 2:20-3:40
Room: 155 Macquigg Lab and ONLINE
Instructor: David Brewer (English)


Required Books:

  • Sarah Werner, Studying Early Printed Books, 1450-1800: A Practical Guide. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley Blackwell, 2019. 


MedRen 7899 - Medieval and Renaissance Colloquia

Description: MEDREN 7899 will consist of 1 credit hour per semester for attending CMRS lectures, faculty colloquia and subsequent discussions. This will amount to: 4 1-hour+ lectures by visiting professors and at least 1 internal lecture and subsequent discussion (total 3 hours per event); at least one lunch with visiting faculty member (2 hours); active involvement with MRGSA and its activities; and meetings with the Center director (one hour once per term). With permission of the Director other professional activities (such as attendance at appropriate conferences, on- or off-campus) may be substituted. **Please consult with CMRS director Chris Highley before registering, given potential deviations from the standard plan above due to the current pandemic.**

Prereq: Grad standing. Repeatable to a maximum of 3 cr hrs. This course is graded S/U.

Class: 14727
Time: generally F 4:00-6:00 (in line with scheduled lectures and faculty/student colloquia)
Room: Varies, but events are likely to be held virtually for most of the Autumn 2021 term due to continuing restrictions on in-person gatherings
Instructor: Christopher Highley (English)