Spring 2011 - Undergraduate Course Descriptions
Description of Course:
This course is an introduction to the society and culture of Western Europe from the twelfth to the fifteenth centuries. This period is one of dynamic growth and saw the development of many key characteristics of modern “western civilization.” The twelfth century was a period in which constitutive elements of antecedent civilizations (primarily Classical, early Christian and Germanic) became fully integrated in the west. Just as the thirteenth century saw a “flowering” of medieval culture in Europe, so the fourteenth was a period of crisis and disintegration in philosophy, religion, politics, and society. Nominalism, The Great Schism, the Hundred Year’s War and the Black Death, however, gave rise to traditions and institutions which still inform the west today and define its unique culture. Evident also in these centuries are diverse paths of development in the west. While “gothic” culture flourished in northern Europe, the medieval city-states of northern and central Italy were creating different political and aesthetic traditions. By the late fourteenth century, Italy was ready to reevaluate the legacies of Greece and Rome. As a consequence, by the close of the fifteenth century, cultural, intellectual and political forces were in motion that would ultimately splinter Christendom and bring to a close this “Age of Faith.”
The course will focus on three general topics: (1) the social and economic developments that contributed to the emergence and unique character of this period; (2) political thought and experience in the realms of both Church and State; and (3) intellectual and religious currents Emphasis will be placed on primary sources.
Course Requirements/Evaluation Criteria: