Spring 2015 - Undergraduate Course Descriptions

Rodriguez, James
Discipline and Number
AHST 3320 Section 001
MW Time 2:30 PM - 3:45 PM
Course Title
Art in the Age of the Crusades

Description of Course:


In this course, our task is to inquire into the Crusades of the eleventh, twelfth and thirteenth centuries. Preserved artifacts--or "art"--will serve as the crux of our lectures, discussions and individual inquiries and NOT merely as illustrations to the lectures.

In the first half of the term, we will follow the First Crusade of 1096, discuss what art objects and influences the first generation of Crusaders encountered and brought back with them to Europe, then, along with the Second Crusade of 1148, return to the Holy Land. In the term's second half, we will look at relations between Christian- and Muslim-ruled territories in the thirteenth-century eastern Mediterranean, as well as the creation of numerous "Jerusalems" throughout Europe through the media of architecture, painting, sculpture and stained glass.

This course asks the following questions: What art did Crusaders themselves create, what did they adopt from the art around them, and what did they maintain of the art they knew from home? How might art produced by and for participants in the Crusades add to, confirm or nuance our understandings of relations between Western Christians, Eastern Christians and Muslims in these centuries? Is there any definable "Crusader art," and if so, does it bespeak conquest, or assimilation, or acculturation, or something else? Above all, we will attempt to gauge the extent to which art can pave a dependable path into Crusades studies.

Required Texts:

The Oxford Illustrated History of the Crusades, ed. J. Riley-Smith (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1995)
Other assigned readings will be available on McDermott LIbrary reserve.

Course Requirements/Evaluation Criteria:

Students are expected to attend every lecture and to complete all assigned readings. The course will require the completion of two papers (the first, a formal analysis of a medieval art object; the second, a longer research paper of that same object), as well as two exams, including a midterm exam and a final exam. The syllabus will include a list of medieval art objects (some locally accessible in Dallas) from which students may choose their paper topic.

© The University of Texas at Dallas School of Arts and Humanities.
No part of this website can be copied or reproduced without permisssion.