ARTH 323   “Crossroads” of Civilization:

Art of Medieval Spain

Jean French

M . . . .

4:30 -6:50 pm



Cross-listed: Medieval Studies, LAIS   A study of over thirteen hundred years of the art and architecture of the Iberian peninsula. The course will begin with a brief look at the Celtiberian culture and at the colonial activities of the Phoenicians, Greeks and Romans.  The major focus, however, will be four primary areas: Visigothic art; Al-Andalus, the Islamic art of Spain; Asturian and Mozarabic art; Romanesque art of the pilgrimage route to Santiago de Compostela.  Students will investigate the complex patterns of exchange, appropriation, assimilation and tension among the Islamic, Judaic and Christian traditions and will attempt to assess the effects of this cross-fertilization of cultures on the visual arts. The course will be conducted as a seminar and is open to students outside art history. 



HIST 140   Intro to Russian Civilization

Gennady Shkliarevsky

M . W . .

3:00 -4:20 pm

OLIN 203


Cross-listed: Medieval Studies, Russian and Eurasian Studies   This course examines the origins and evolution of Russian civilization from the founding of the first Eastern Slavic state through the eighteenth century, when Russia began to modernize by borrowing from Western culture. Among the topics to be considered are the ethnogeny of early Russians, the development of state and legal institutions, the relationship between kinship and politics, the role of religion in public and private spheres, economic organization, social institutions, family, gender relations, sexuality, popular culture, and the impact of the outside world (both Orient and Occident) upon Russian society. The sources include a variety of Russian cultural expressions (folk tales, literature, art, film, music), original documents, and scholarly texts.




Alice Stroup

M . . . .

1:30 -3:50 pm

OLIN 308


Cross-listed:  EUS; Human Rights; Medieval Studies   The cry “Plague!” has struck fear among people around the world, from antiquity to the present.  What is plague?  How has it changed history?  Starting with Camus’ metaphorical evocation of plague in a modern North African city, we will examine the historical impact of plague on society.  Our focus will be bubonic plague, which was epidemic throughout the Mediterranean and European worlds for four hundred years, and which remains a risk in many parts of the world (including the southwestern United States) to this day.  Topics include: a natural history of plague; impact of plague on mortality and socio-economic structures; effects on art and literature; early epidemiology and public health; explanations and cures; the contemporary presence of bubonic plague and fears about “new plagues.”  Readings include: literary works by Camus, Boccaccio, Manzoni, and Defoe; historical and philosophical analyses by ancients Thucydides and Lucretius; contemporary literature on history, biology, and public health.  Upper College Seminar: open to fifteen moderated students.   



LIT 204A   Comparative Literature I

Karen Sullivan

. T . Th .

4:00 -5:20 pm

ASP 302


Cross-listed:  Medieval Studies   How does a medieval or Renaissance text mean? What is the logic according to which it functions? How can we, as modern readers, enter into that logic? In this course, we will engage in a series of close readings of important texts from the twelfth to the fourteenth centuries and try to gain access to their strange textual world. We will attempt to make sense of birds who sing hymns, wolves who become human beings, suicides who become trees, a man by the name of Petrarch who fears that, because of love, he is being petrified, and a woman by the name of Ginevra who becomes a man and a counselor to the sultan. In these lyric poems, lays, romances, epics, and tales, metamorphoses are not just themes, integral to these texts’ content, but structures, integral to their form, and, as such, they lie at the heart of how these texts function. Works to be read include the Carmina Burana, the letters of Abelard and Heloise, the lays of Marie de France, Arthurian romance, Dante’s Inferno, Petrarch’s sonnets, and Boccaccio’s Decameron.



LIT 2061   Arab-American Literature

Youssef Yacoubi

. T . Th .

1:00 -2:20 pm

OLIN 205


Cross-listed: American Studies,  Middle Eastern Studies   Surveying over one hundred years of Arab-American literature, thought, art and film, this course will examine important moments in the formation and consolidation of cultural connections between the United States and the Arab world.  The aim of the course is to introduce students to the early and later works of influential Arab-American thinkers, writers, artists and public intellectuals. We will explore issues of intertextuality; stylistic appropriations of romanticism, transcendentalism, modernism, post-modernism, and themes related to diasporic expression, cultural metamorphosis and imaginative portrayals of Arab-Americans before and after the event of “9/11”. Major writers will include Gibran Khalil Gibran, Ameen Rihani, Mikhail Nuayma, Samuel John Hazo, Etel Adnan, Abinader Elmaz and Edward Said. Our analysis and discussions will be informed by the recent developments in critical/ literary theories and cultural studies. The course will be organized around four themes/ topics: Representations of the Middle East in Early American literature; Key pioneers of Arab-American exchange; Forms and modes of inscribing Arabness/ Muslimness, diaspora and worldliness; pre and post “9/11” images and imaginings.