Introduction to Interdisciplinary Medieval Studies

Course Description: 

The course aims to provide students with an overview of recent historiographical and methodological discussions around “Medieval Studies” in general, and the term “Middle Ages” in particular, which bears relevance not only for medievalists, but also for those working on the periods preceding and following it. The class will consist of a series of six lectures by departmental faculty and renowned guests, under the common title “The Middle Ages: a period or a concept?” and each lecture will be complemented by a seminar session on the following day. The lectures, which will also constitute the Fall term Faculty Research Seminar, will discuss the issue of periodization: its advantages and pitfalls, and the place of the “Middle Ages” in this from various points of view. A common question to be addressed will be, in the face of the current trends for globalization in historical studies, if and how this concept may be broadened to other regions or continents beyond Western Europe. The problems of synchronic and diachronic comparison, as well as the challenging concept and practices of medievalism will also be discussed. Students are expected to engage critically with the lectures, and to show how their own research topics relate to these current debates.

Learning Outcomes: 

By participating in these lectures and seminar sessions, students will acquire analytical skills for an interdisciplinary approach. They will learn to engage critically with arguments presented by various lecturers and to present their research topics in relation to general trends in medieval studies. On more general terms, students will gain a deeper understanding of the complex and multi-disciplinary character of historical research.

  • Students are requested to give a 15-minute presentation in class and write a final paper on a topic to be selected after consultation with the instructors. (2500 words (+- 10%) + final bibliography).
  • General attendance is required, active participation in class discussions counts for 25%, in-class presentation for 25%, and the final paper for 50% of the final grade. Missing more than two classes will result in a failing grade.