How was it that Europe emerged from the margins of the world's stage during the period called the High and Late Middle Ages (roughly 1100 to 1500). Europeans witnessed stunning events in this period — the Norman Conquest of England, the Magna Carta, the Black Death, and the Reconquest of Spain. They saw the first signs of the Renaissance and Reformation as well as the conquest and colonization of the New World. Through close readings of primary sources, we will examine what religious, political, and cultural transformations re-made Europe. We will ask, who belonged to this emerging world and who was excluded? More generally, we will ask whether medieval Europe was on the way to becoming modern — secular and democratic — or a world so alien that it calls into question the idea of Europe altogether.
In addition to a historical introduction, this course also offers the opportunity for you to learn how to use historical sources and think critically about how history has been written.
The textbooks are William Chester Jordan, Europe in the High Middle Ages and Daniel Waley and Peter Denley, Later Medieval Europe, 1250-1550.
Students will take two quizzes, write two short essays, and take a final exam.
There are no pre-requisites for the course.
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