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History 113, The Middle Ages and the Formation of Europe
Event Type: COURSE AND REGISTRAR INFORMATION
 
Sunday, January 27, 2013
12:00 AM - 11:59 PM
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Announcements
Contact:
Gigi St. Peter
Department:History
Instructor:  Professor Jonathan Elukin
Days/Time:  MW  1:15-2:30 pm
Classroom:  TBA
 
There are many Middle Ages. The Renaissance condemned the period for forgetting the glories of antiquity. The Reformation indicted medieval Christianity for corrupting the true meaning of Scripture. The Enlightenment disparaged what it saw as the superstition and irrationality of medieval men and women. On the other hand, the romantics of the nineteenth century imagined the unity, spirituality and order of the Middle Ages as a refuge from the disruptions of the industrial revolution. Modern scholarship inherited these various visions, and until very recently, imagined the Middle Ages to be a time of violence, a time of stagnation before the fundamental revolutions of modernity. We need first to understand the Middle Ages on its own terms. To that end, in this course we will explore the formation of the structures of power, religion, and culture that developed after the fall of the Roman Empire. These include lordship, chivalry, religious authority and kingship. In doing this, we will discover a medieval Europe, characterized by dynamism, expansion, experimentation, and innovation, which gave birth to the modern world. Finally, we will explore the afterlife of the Middle Ages. How was this multifaceted world perceived and distorted in succeeding centuries? Why did this period exert such a powerful hold on later cultures and societies as they tried to understand their own times? Why do we continue to look to the Middle Ages to fill our own genre literature, political rhetoric, movies, and video games? What role does the medieval past play in our own self-definition? 
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