Current and Upcoming Courses

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Autumn 2023 CMRS-Affiliated Courses

 

MedRen 2666 - Magic & Witchcraft

Early modern woodcut of witches and devil coming toward a woman

Description: This course will investigate the history of magic and witchcraft from late antiquity up through the eighteenth century, when the Enlightenment supposedly disenchanted the world. We’ll be particularly attentive to three questions: how people thought about magic and what it could (and couldn’t) do, how people who could supposedly cast magic were regarded and treated by those who could not, and how magic relates to the other major ways of understanding the world: religion and science. Most of us probably don’t believe (or at least completely believe) in magic, yet millions of people in the past who were every bit as smart as us did. We’ll try to understand why and how that belief might have made enough sense in their world that some of them turned to magic to improve their lives or harm their enemies and others felt so compelled to oppose magic that they were willing to hunt down and execute those they regarded as witches. Course requirements will include regular short informal writing exercises, some of which will require you to consider the beliefs and practices we’re studying as if they were your own.

Class: 35356
Time: TR 12:45 - 2:05 PM
Room: 1000 Fontana Lab
Instructor: David Brewer (English)

GE (New) Foundation: Historical and Cultural Studies course
GE (Legacy) Culture and Ideas and Diversity: Global Studies course

 

MedRen 5611 - History of the Book Studies

Class: 35354 (UG), 35355 (G)
Time: WF 2:20 - 3:40 PM
Room: TBD
Instructor: Alan Farmer (English)

 

MedRen 5631 - Survey of Latin Literature: Medieval and Renaissance

Medieval Latin Survey

Description: Intermediate Latin students will hone their translation skills while exploring major literary genres (saints' lives, travel literature, fables, schoolroom texts, poetry and more) and learning about literacy and manuscript culture in the Medieval West (circa 400-1500 CE).. 

Prereq: Latin 1103, or equiv. 

Class: 35409 (UG section), 35410 (Grad section) 
Time: TR 11:10 AM - 12:30 PM
Room: TBD
Instructor: Frank Coulson (Classics)

 

 

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 the Medieval and Renaissance Graduate Student Association 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.

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

Class: 21417
Time: generally F 4:00-6:00 (in line with scheduled lectures and faculty/student colloquia)
Room: Varies - please consult the CMRS Events page for additional info
Instructor: Christopher Highley (English)

 


Spring 2023 CMRS-Affiliated Courses

 

Spring 2023 CMRS Courses

MedRen 2211 - Medieval Kyoto: Landscapes and Portraits

A manuscript depiction of Kyoto, Japan in the Middle Ages

Description: Kyoto was the capital of Japan from the eighth to the nineteenth centuries. Today it continues to be the site of many temples, shrines, gardens, and other cultural monuments that attest to Kyoto’s enduring cultural practices and values.  UNESCO collectively recognizes seventeen “Historic Monuments of Ancient Kyoto” as World Heritage Sites.

This course specifically focuses on the city’s medieval period, from its founding in 794 to the late 16th century. This was a period in which Kyoto’s cultural identity emerged, and, in view of Kyoto as the site of national authority during this duration, the broader Japanese cultural identity.  Studying this timespan in the life of Kyoto lets us follow transformations in the lived environments of the city as it moves from imperial to shōgun military rule.  By examining literary and other works of art, we’ll also address similar cultural transformations involving aristocrats, warriors, Buddhist institutions, and merchants.  Students will have the opportunity to reflect on practices of urban historical preservation through the contemporary efforts of Kyoto’s citizens to preserve the heritage of the city.

Class: 34490
Time: TR 2:20-3:40PM
Room: Mendenhall Lab 125
Instructor: Naomi Fukumori (East Asian Languages and Literatures)

Required Texts:

  1. Clancy, Judith. Kyoto City of Zen: Visiting the Heritage Sites of Japan’s Ancient Capital. Tokyo and Rutland, Vermont: Tuttle, 2012.
  2. Dougill, John. Kyoto: A Cultural History. New York: Oxford UP, 2006.
  3. Stavros, Matthew. Kyoto: An Urban History of Japan’s Premodern Capital. Honolulu: University of Hawai‘i Press, 2014.
  4. Selected literary works, including excerpts from The Tale of Genji, The Pillow Book of Sei Shōnagon, Account of My Hut, and The Tale of the Heike

GE (New) Foundation: Historical and Cultural Studies course
GE (Legacy) Culture and Ideas and Diversity: Global Studies course

 

MedRen 2618 - Travel and Exploration: Narratives of Travel and Intercultural Contact in the Age of Discovery (CANCELLED)

map of Christopher Columubs's travels and vandalized statue of Columbus reading "Stop Celebrating Genocide"

Description: What do you know about the man who the city of Columbus is named after? This spring semester, explore the writings of Renaissance explorers like Columbus and learn how to share your findings using ArcGIS StoryMaps. This course examines how travel narratives in the “Age of Discovery” shaped Europeans’ perceptions of their own and other cultures, generated and perpetuated stereotypes, and reflected and/or challenged imperial, colonial, and nationalist discourses.

Assignments include a presentation, an essay, and an ArcGIS StoryMap.

Class: 34488
Time: TR 11:10AM-12:30PM
Room: Baker Systems 148
Instructor: Lisa Voigt (Spanish and Portuguese)

Required Texts:

  1.  Mancall, Peter C., ed.  Travel Narratives from the Age of Discovery: An Anthology. Oxford Univ. Press, 2006.
  2. Endo, Shusaku. Silence. Trans. William Johnston. New York: Picador, 2016.

GE (New) Foundation: Historical and Cultural Studies course
GE (Legacy) Culture and Ideas and Diversity: Global Studies course

 

MedRen 2666 - Magic & Witchcraft

Early modern woodcut of witches and devil coming toward a woman

Description: This course will investigate the history of magic and witchcraft from late antiquity up through the eighteenth century, when the Enlightenment supposedly disenchanted the world. We’ll be particularly attentive to three questions: how people thought about magic and what it could (and couldn’t) do, how people who could supposedly cast magic were regarded and treated by those who could not, and how magic relates to the other major ways of understanding the world: religion and science. Most of us probably don’t believe (or at least completely believe) in magic, yet millions of people in the past who were every bit as smart as us did. We’ll try to understand why and how that belief might have made enough sense in their world that some of them turned to magic to improve their lives or harm their enemies and others felt so compelled to oppose magic that they were willing to hunt down and execute those they regarded as witches. Course requirements will include regular short informal writing exercises, some of which will require you to consider the beliefs and practices we’re studying as if they were your own.

Class: 28737
Time: TR 9:35-10:55AM
Room: Hagerty Hall 180
Instructor: David Brewer (English)

GE (New) Foundation: Historical and Cultural Studies course
GE (Legacy) Culture and Ideas and Diversity: Global Studies course

Required Texts:

Kiekhefer, Richard. Magic in the Middle Ages. 3rd ed. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2021. ISBN: 9781108796897

Copenhaver, Brian P. The Book of Magic: From Antiquity to the Enlightenment. London: Penguin Classics, 2017. ISBN: 9780141393148

Levack, Brian P., ed. The Witchcraft Sourcebook. 2nd ed. London: Routledge, 2015. ISBN: 9781138774971

 

MedRen 5695 - Foodways of Medieval and Early Modern Europe and the Mediterranean

Medieval manuscript of farmer with horse plowing and two crows

Description: Students will research the foodways of medieval and early modern Europe and the Mediterranean from multiple disciplinary perspectives, especially through literary and historical texts, archaeological evidence, folkloric and anthropological lenses, manuscripts and early printed books, hands-on re-creations of recipes and technologies, and the methods of experimental archaeology. Students will regularly present primary and secondary sources to the seminar. For those who are registered under the MedRen call number, the final research project may take the form of a scholarly paper, an online exhibit, or the documentation and sharing of a re-creation of a recipe or a food-related technology. The seminar experience will be enriched by guest speakers, a session in the Instructional Kitchen in the Ohio Union, and potentially field trips. (Any enrichment events that take place outside the scheduled class time will be optional.)

Readings will be made available on Carmen or through OSU Libraries. As of now, there is no plan to have students registered under the MedRen call number purchase any required textbook.

Class: 25782
Time: T 4:10-6:55PM
Room: Denney Hall 206
Instructor: Leslie Lockett (English)

 

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 the Medieval and Renaissance Graduate Student Association 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.

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

Class: 25779
Time: generally F 4:00-6:00 (in line with scheduled lectures and faculty/student colloquia)
Room: Varies - please consult the CMRS Events page for additional info
Instructor: Christopher Highley (English)


Autumn 2022 CMRS-Affiliated Courses

**Please note: CMRS plans to once again implement a mix of in-person and remote coursework for the Autumn 2022 term. Updated 6/24/2022 (list is subject to change).

 

 

Autumn 2022 CMRS Courses

MedRen 2215 - Gothic Paris: 1100 - 1300

Notre Dame Cathedral after fire

Description: An introduction to arts, architecture, poetry, history, music, theology, foods, fashions, and urban geography in Paris 1100-1300, the age of Gothic cathedrals and the rise of the university.

Students will:
1. be introduced to some of the main currents of medieval culture in Western Europe through the study of Paris, 1100-1300, gaining deeper historical and cultural appreciation and dispelling some misconceptions.
2. learn to recognize major characteristics of the “Gothic” style in art and architecture.
3. study the formation of the first major Western university, and use the methods of organization and analysis which developed there (and form the basis of analytical methods today).
4. study a crucial growth period of one of the world’s enduring cities, examining the complex web of economic, commercial, political and social forces which contributed to that growth, with the ultimate goal of gaining the ability to transfer that cultural analysis to other times and places.
5. read authentic primary texts in translation, with the goal of appreciating some of the stylistic features and extracting some knowledge of contemporary daily life and ideology.

Assignments: midterm & final exam, partly student written; short quizzes to process readings; a project researching and experiencing/ recreating something related to medieval Paris. 

Class: 34993
Time: WeFr 11:10AM-12:30PM
Room: 129 Mendenhall Lab
Instructor: Kristen Figg (CMRS)

Required Books

  • Letters of Abelard and Heloise, Betty Radice and M. T. Clanchy. Penguin Books (2013);
  • Honeysuckle and the Hazel Tree : Medieval Stories of Men and Women, Patricia Terry. University of California Press (1995);
  • Paris, 1200, John W. Baldwin. Stanford University Press (2010).

GE culture and ideas and diversity global studies course. **NEW: GE foundation historical and cultural studies course.**

 

MedRen 5610 - Manuscript Studies 

Medieval Manuscript with an illustrated bird

Description: This course introduces students to the pre-print culture of the European Middle Ages and trains them in the fundamental skills required to read and understand handwritten books, documents, and scrolls from ca. 500-1500 AD.  Students will work with manuscripts held in the OSU library’s Special Collections and will benefit from numerous guest lectures.  Knowledge of Latin and other medieval languages is NOT a prerequisite for enrollment.

Class: 34984 (UG); 34985 (G)
Time: TR 12:45-2:05PM
Room: 150A Thompson Library
Instructors: Leslie Lockett (English) and Eric Johnson (University Libraries) 

Required Books

  • Introduction to Manuscript Studies, Raymond Clemens and Timothy Graham, Cornell University Press (2007).

Summer 2022 CMRS-Affiliated Courses

**Please note: CMRS plans to once again implement a mix of in-person and remote coursework for the Summer 2022 term. Updated 2/15/2022 (list is subject to change).


Spring 2022 CMRS-Affiliated Courses

**Please note: CMRS plans to once again implement a mix of in-person and remote coursework for the Spring 2022 term. Updated 12/20/2021 (list is subject to change).

Spring 2022 MEDREN Courses

 

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

Woodcut of witches hunching over a cauldron

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.

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

Class: 23336
Time: T-Th 2:20-3:40
Room: 220 Sullivant Hall
Instructor: Michael Swartz (Near Eastern Languages & Cultures)

Required Books: Kors, Alan Charles and Edward Peters, eds. Witchcraft in Europe, 400-1700: A Documentary History. 2nd ed. Philadelphia: U. Penn Press, 2000.

 

MedRen 3194 - Group Studies: Robin Hood (CANCELLED - PLAN TO SCHEDULE IN 2022-2023 AS REGULAR COURSE OFFERING)

Robin Hood course Poster

Description: This course introduces students to key texts, documents, and other artifacts that are the traces of the medieval and Early Modern Robin Hood tradition, as well as the research skills, scholarly methods, and interpretive frameworks required to make sense of them. Through readings of both primary and secondary materials, weekly writing, discussions, interpretive exercises, explorations of key library and internet resources, and other activities, students will strengthen a wide array of core abilities required for humanistic study of pre-modern cultures. Because Robin Hood was widely known throughout the British Isles starting in the late-medieval era and continuing through to the present, traces of the tradition survive in an unusually diverse array of genres and media that were shaped by almost every sector of society. Making sense of each artifact and then synthesizing those insights into an understanding of the phenomenon can make use of all the practices that medieval and early modern study employs across the various disciplines that comprise it. Further, because Robin Hood survives as a widely known figure in our own time, study of the early tradition provides a privileged opportunity to examine the ongoing influence of early English history.

Class: 36789
Time: synchronous meetings on Zoom Th 3:55-5:15; other discussions, recorded lectures, etc. delivered asynchronously online.
Room: ONLINE
Instructor: Henry Griffy (Distance Education and E-Learning)

Required Books: TBD

 

MedRen 4504 - The Arthurian Legends

Arthurian Legends

Description: In this asynchronous online course, we will explore together the wondrously rich and complex Arthurian tradition that flourished during the Middle Ages. We will encounter the wild and crazy heroes of Welsh romance and the earliest incarnations of characters who remain a part of our popular culture, such as Merlin, Lancelot, Gawain, Guinevere, the Lady of the Lake, and Morgan le Fay. Though our focus is medieval texts, we will also look at the ongoing modernization of Arthurian characters, stories, and themes in literature, games, and film, and we will explore the use of Arthurian materials in contemporary conversations about race, gender, sexuality, and a host of other issues. 

The structure of this course mimics the common structure of Arthurian romance: Arthur’s champions set out from Camelot on some quest and have a series of adventures.  After they “achieve” their quest, they return to Camelot and share their experiences.  Each week of this course you will embark on a quest, which you will achieve by mastering the readings and video lectures, then taking a quiz and completing a series of challenges—you may be sent on a fact-finding or artefact-gathering mission or you may be asked to solve a puzzle based on the readings.  You will always be asked to reflect, in a paragraph or two, on an interpretive crux raised by the week’s reading and to share your reflections with your fellow questers.  These weekly quests will constitute the bulk of your grade.  For your final project, you will put your knowledge of the medieval Arthurian tradition in conversation with a contemporary work of Arthuriana.

Prereq: 6 cr hrs in literature.

Class: 34208
Time: N/A
Room: ONLINE
Instructor: Karen Winstead (English)

 

Required Books: The Romance of Arthur, ed. Norris J. Lacy and James J. Wilhelm

ONE of the following: Legendborn, a novel by Tracy Deonn (2020); Sword Stone Table: Old Legends, New Voices, a collection of short stories, edited by Swapna Krishna and Jenn Northington (Vintage Books, 2021); Arthurian Things: A Collection of Poems, by Melissa Ridley Elmes (Dark Myth, 2020).

 

MedRen 5631 - Survey of Latin Literature: Medieval and Renaissance

Medieval Latin Survey

Description: Intermediate Latin students will hone their translation skills while exploring major literary genres (saints' lives, travel literature, fables, schoolroom texts, poetry and more) and learning about literacy and manuscript culture in the Medieval West (circa 400-1500 CE).. 

Prereq: Latin 1103, or equiv. 

Class: 34327 (UG section), 34329 (Grad section)
Time: W-F 12:45-2:05
Room: 359 Hagerty Hall
Instructor: Leslie Lockett (English)

Required Books: None. Students might need to print out a packet of readings that will be posted on Carmen.

 

MedRen 5695 - Advanced Seminar: Neighborhood, Space, and Urban Identity in Shakespeare's London

City London

Description: This seminar is an interdisciplinary course that examines the growth of London in the period after the Reformation and its distinctive institutional and cultural spaces. We will use a variety of primary documents, including maps, plays, pamphlets, and parish records to explore the ways in which Londoners made sense of their urban surroundings and brought the sprawling metropolis under control. We will look at important sites of cultural production like the Bankside theater district, as well as the Inns of Court (London’s legal quarter), and St Paul’s Cathedral where the book trade was centered and where crowds heard the land’s best preachers.  We will also spend time in Cheapside (the commercial center of the City), on the Strand (the spacious thoroughfare that linked London to Westminster and that became a byword for wealth and fashion), and in the open spaces on the fringes of the city that attracted serving women, apprentices, and the destitute.

Throughout the semester we will work closely throughout the semester with the online Map of Early Modern London: https://mapoflondon.uvic.ca/ This fantastic resource is organized around a highly detailed, zoomable, sixteenth-century map of the city.  Students will have the chance to write entries for the placeography and make other contributions which could potentially be published on the site.

Students will come away from the course with a vivid sense of London’s cultural topography in this period, especially its defining cultural spaces and their communities of writers, actors, and audiences.

Prereq: 6 credit hours in MedRen at the 2000 level or above. Repeatable to a maximum of 9 cr hrs.

Class: 19870 (Grad section), 19871 (UG section)
Time: T-Th 11:10-12:30
Room: 455 Hagerty Hall
Instructor: Chris Highley (English)

Required Books: None

 

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: 19867
Time: generally F 4:00-6:00 (in line with scheduled lectures and faculty/student colloquia)
Room: Varies, and some events may be held virtually due to the ongoing pandemic
Instructor: Christopher Highley (English)