Medieval and Renaissance Studies Minor
As a minor in medieval and renaissance studies, you will gain a broad understanding of the early modern world, through a study of literature, history, philosophy, art history, and music. Some topics examined include the rise of urban life, the flowering of vernacular languages and new literary genres, the growing emphasis on education and the transformation of religious doctrines and institutions. The interdisciplinary approach to this major means that you will be exposed to courses from a wide range of departments, allowing you to develop your own course of study, select a concentration of an area of particular personal interest, and work closely with faculty members from such areas. Interested students will pursue a minor in Medieval and Renaissance studies or a major in Renaissance studies under the auspices of the Interdisciplinary Project in the Humanities (IPH).
As we study some of the most influential of ancient works, we address the basic questions of liberal education. Why ought the classics be read in the first place? How is it that Western culture has come to value certain fundamental questions, even to the point of encouraging opposition? Texts include selections from the Old Testament, Homer, Aeschylus, Sophocles, Virgil, Ovid, Petrarch, Montaigne, and Shakespeare.
A selected survey of the political and moral thought of Europe from the rise of Athenian democracy to the Renaissance, with emphasis on analysis and discussion of writers such as Thucydides, Plato, Aristotle, St. Augustine, Castiglione and Machiavelli. The course aims to introduce students to basic texts in the intellectual history of Western Europe, understood both as products of a particular time and place and as self-contained arguments that strive to instruct and persuade. The texts are simultaneously used to chart the careers of such fundamental notions as liberty, virtue and justice.