HN202-01S/03S | Spring 2021
01S TTH 9:25-10:40, Tues: Online, Thurs: Hopkins Court, Room 222
01S Enrichment Hour 1-1:50, Online
03S TTH 12:15-1:30, Knott Hall, Room B01
03S Enrichment Hour 12-12:50, Online
Plenary Seminar 3-3:50pm, Online
Dr. Jeffrey C. Witt | jcwitt [at] loyola [dot] edu | ext. 2947
Philosophy Department 050M
Office Hours: W: 1pm-4pm, Th: 3:30pm-5:30pm, F: 2pm-3pm, and by appointment
This seminar course will examine the period of history spanning from 400 to 1500 C.E., often referred to as the Middle Ages. We will examine this period from multiple dimensions, looking at the historical development of social ideas, theology, philosophy, and literature. As we will see, it is an extremely diverse period, and the seminar format will provide us with significant time to reflect and debate the ways in which this period does and does not represent a unified whole. Further, in keeping with our Messina theme, "Self and Other," this course will consider the ways different thinkers, writers, and political actors have thought about the individual and the pursuit of happiness in the context of society and the outsider. Finally, the course aims to provide space to reflect on the ways in which the Middle Ages influence and challenge our own assumptions about ourselves and our place in society.
Course Learning Aims and Expected Outcomes
Students will be able to demonstrate knowledge of principle actors, historical developments, and foundational texts from the period 400-1500 C.E.
Students will be able to examine and articulate connections between developments in medieval history, literature, philosophy, and theology.
Students will be able to converse cogently about the Middle Ages as an idea and as a historical reality.
Rosenwein, A Short History of the Middle Ages (SHMA), 5th ed. (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2018)
Augustine, The City of God (COG), trans. Marcus Dods (New York: The Modern Library, 1993)
Rule of St. Benedict (RSB) (Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press, 1982)
Two Lives of Charlemagne (TLC), trans. David Ganz (New York: Penguin, 2008)
The First Crusade: The Chronicle of Fulcher of Chartres and Other Source Material (TFC), ed. Edward Peeters (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1998)
Beowulf (B), trans. Seamus Heaney (New York: W. W. Norton, 2002)
Chrétien de Troyes, Arthurian Romances (AR), trans. William Kibler (New York: Penguin, 2004)
Julian of Norwich, Showings (S), ed. Edmund Colledge and James Walsh (Mahwah, NJ: Paulist Press, 1977)
Dante, Purgatorio (P), trans. Robert Durling (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2003)
Class involvement means, first of all, coming to class. Secondly, it means coming to class prepared. This primarily means both having read the assigned text and having the day's reading out and ready to be marked. Thirdly, it means being an active participant in the classroom. At times we will have opportunities for discussion; someone who is involved in class will be a thoughtful and engaged participant in that discussion. At other times, lectures will solicit your input and/or questions; an engaged student will bring up helpful and appropriate questions and be able to make a positive contribution when class input is called upon.
To encourage you in the above three areas. I will keep attendance throughout the course. Because I know that things come up, people get sick, and emergencies happen, I will overlook your first two absences (excused or otherwise). After two absences, every absence will affect your overall participation grade. Since our class is primarily devoted to the reading of texts, it is imperative that you have your text (including assigned PDFs available on Moodle) with you in class in a printed form that you can mark up and take notes on. Accordingly, not having the assigned reading with you will count as not being present. Inappropriate use of cell phones during class will likewise count as an absence. During on-line class meetings, unless you have spoken to me beforehand, it is expected that you keep your camera on and remain an engaged participant.
To further encourage the kind preparation that yields fruit in the classroom, we will use small reading quizzes and reading discussion boards throughout the semester.
Reading Discussion Board (10%): There will be approximately 12 available reading discussion boards. Because I know you will have busy weeks, you do not need to participate in each discussion. But throughout the course of the semester, you need to participate in 8 discussions. (But as the goal of this assignment is to help you digest and actively respond to our reading, you are encouraged to participate in any and all discussion forums).
What does a full credit discussion forum participation look like? To get credit you need to participate at least twice in any given discussion, either by introducing a new topic/thread posing a question for the class or responding to a peer's original post or another response. To encourage interaction, discussion boards will be limited to 3 topic threads; after 3 threads have been initiated, you can then ONLY respond to an existing thread or another person's response. A general guideline for a good question or response is that it should be "substantive" "interesting" and "relevant". Make sure to clearly explain the substance of the issue ("substantive"), show us its significance ("interesting"), and show us how it connects to the reading or previous discussion ("relevant"). While I'm not looking for an exact word count, you will need enough words to say something "substantive". This will usually take at least 100 to 200 words. Posts substantially below this threshold or that do not extend the conversation will not receive full participation credit. In other words, avoid posts that simply say "I agree with what you said" or "I like what you said". (Full credit is marked as a "93"; partial credit is marked as an "80") Finally, discussion board posts will close at 9am the day of the assigned class discussion. So please do not wait until the last minute. To have a vibrant discussion, we will need topics and threads to be initiated before the discussion board deadline.
Reading Quizzes (10%): To help push you and hold you accountable for the readings and plenary lectures there will be 10 quiz opportunities throughot the semester Again, I know that you will sometimes have busy weeks or unexpected life events will arise, thus you do not need to do all 10 quizzes. You are expected to complete 8 quizzes throughout the course of the semester. If you do more than 8, I will count your highest 8 and drop your lowest 2. Quizzes will only be open until 9:25/12:15pm (i.e. the start of class) the day of the assigned class discussion. After that, the quiz will close.
Paper 1 (20%) (4-5 pages)
Paper 2 (20%) (4-5 pages)
Mid Term Exam (20%)
Final Exam (20%)
Final Grade Distribution
93% A, 90% A-, 88% B+, 83% B, 80 B-, 78% C+, 73% C, 70% C-, 68% D+, 60% D
Honor Code and Plagiarism: Students are expected to follow the university's honor code: "The Honor Code states that all students of the Loyola community have been equally entrusted by their peers to conduct themselves honestly on all academic assignments. Our goal is to foster a trusting atmosphere that is ideal for learning. In order to achieve this goal, every student must be actively committed to this pursuit and its responsibilities, and is therefore called to be active in the governing of the community’s standards. Thus, all students have the right, as well as the duty, to expect honest work from their colleagues. From this, we students will benefit and learn from the caring relationships that our community trustfully embodies. The students of this University understand that accepting collective and individual responsibility for the ethical welfare of their peers exemplifies a commitment to the community. Students who submit materials that are the products of their own mind demonstrate respect for themselves and the community in which they study. These students possess a strong sense of honor, reverence for truth, and a commitment to Jesuit education. Accordingly, students found violating the Honor Code will be reprimanded appropriately in the belief that they will, with the support of their peers, learn from the mistake. This Code not only requires students to understand the ideals of truth and personal care as the two strongest educational factors expressed in cura personalis, but also calls them to demonstrate a general concern for the welfare of their colleagues and for the University." See the honor code for further information. https://www.loyola.edu/academics/honor-code.
Title IX Loyola University Maryland is committed to a learning and working environment free from sexual and gender-based misconduct, including sexual harassment, sexual verbal abuse, sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, stalking, and sexual exploitation. Reports of such offenses are taken seriously, and Loyola encourages students experiencing sexual misconduct to report the incident in accordance with the University’s policy on Reporting Misconduct (PDF) (pages 36-37). Loyola is also committed to an environment free of other forms of harassment and discrimination. For information about policies and reporting resources, please visit harassment and discrimination policy (PDF).
Remember that while you have five teachers, I have more than 70 students. Thus, while I'm eager to connect with you, I can do this best by enforcing a few procedures.
For questions about the course, both content and procedure questions, please use our moodle help discussion board. Using this system will help ensure that I see and respond to your email. It will additionally ensure that others who have similar questions can also receive an answer. So, if you send me a direct email about course content and procedure, I will politely ask you to ask it again via our moodle "help" discussion board and I will be eager and glad to respond.
For other issues, I will be glad to discuss these with you. But I would ask that you use our office hours booking service and reserve a time slot to discuss it with me. We can generally always communicate better when we speak in person and this is an opportunity for me to get to know you better. This also helps me manage my time and provide you with the best response I can. So again, if you send me a direct email, I'll will be glad to discuss it with you, but I will often direct you to the booking system so that we can schedule a chance to talk about the issue.
**This is a tentative schedule, subject to revision depending on our progress and extenuating circumstances**
Tue Jan 19 - "Introduction" to City of God, ix-lvii (Moodle).
Thu Jan 21 - Augustine, City of God (COG), Book 2, pp. 40-73; SHMA, Chapter 1 (first half), pp. 1-24.
Tue Jan 26 - Augustine, City of God (COG), Book 19, pp. 669-709.
Thu Jan 28 - "Introduction to the Rule of St. Benedict" (RSB); Rule of St. Benedict (RSB); SHMA, Chapter 1 (second half), pp. 24-37.
Tue Feb 2 - Isabelle Cochelin, "When the Monks were the Book" in The Medieval Bible as a Way of Life ed. Susan Boyton and Diane Reilly, pp. 61-83 (Moodle); Joseph Lynch, "Monastic Life: The Twelfth Century" in The Medieval Church: A Brief History, pp. 197-215 (Moodle).
Thu Feb 4 - "The Siege of Constantinople: Easter Chronicle", pp. 55-59 (Moodle); "The Quinisext Council", pp. 60-62 (Moodle); "The iconoclastic argument: The Synod of 754", pp. 62-66 (Moodle); SHMA, Chapter 2, 41-80.
Tue Feb 09 - Malise Ruthven, Islam in the World, "Muhammad the Model," pp. 26-79 (Moodle).
Thu Feb 11 - "Muhammad's words in the Hadith: Al-bukhari, On Fasting," pp. 147-151 (Moodle); SHMA, Chapter 3, pp. 81-111.
Tue Feb 16 - The Life of Charlemagne (TLC), "General Introduction," pp. ix-xx and “Introduction,” pp. 3-13; Einhard, The Life of Charlemagne (TLC), pp. 15-44.
Thu Feb 18 - The First Crusade (TFC), "Introduction," pp. 1-24 and Part I, "Pope Urban II at the Council of Clermont," pp. 25-46; SHMA, Chapter 4, pp. 113-151.
Tue Feb 23 - The First Crusade (TFC), Part II, "The Chronicle of Fulcher of Chartres, Book I," pp. 47-101; SHMA, Chapter 5 (first half), pp. 161-184.
Thu Feb 25 - The First Crusade (TFC), Part III.1-6, "Peter the Hermit and the 'Crusade of the People'," pp. 102-150.
Tue Mar 02 - Review day. (Paper 1 Due).
Thu Mar 04 - Midterm Exam
Tue Mar 9 - Beowulf (B), "Introduction" and Text, pp. 3-40.
Thu Mar 11 - Beowulf (B), pp. 41-78.
Tue Mar 16 - Chretien de Troyes, Arthurian Romances (AR), "Introduction," pp. 1-22 and "The Knight of the Cart," pp. 207-250; SHMA, Chapter 6, pp. 207-232.
Thu Mar 18 - Chretien de Troyes, Arthurian Romances (AR), "The Knight of the Cart" (AR), pp. 251-294.
Tue Mar 23 - Richard Southern, "The Tradition of Thought" in The Making of the Middle Ages, pp. 170-218 (Moodle); Philipp Rosemann, "From Story to System" in Peter Lombard, 8-33 (Moodle); SHMA, Chapter 5 (second half) 188-203; SHMA, Chapter 7 (first half), pp. 251-282.
Thu Mar 25 - Aquinas, Treatise on Happiness, Questions 1 and 5 (Moodle); Dante, De Monarchia III.16, pp. 91-94 (Moodle).
Tue March 30 - Spring Break
Thu Apr 01 - Spring Break
Tue April 06 - Dante, Inferno, Canto 1-2 (Moodle); Dante, Purgatorio (P), Cantos 1-10; SHMA, Chapter 7 (second half), pp. 282-300.
Thu April 08 - Dante, Purgatorio (P), Cantos 11-20.
Tue Apr 13 - Dante, Purgatorio (P), Cantos 21-33.
Thu Apr 15 - John Kelly, The Great Mortality, c. 1, pp. 1-27 (Moodle) and c. 3, pp. 53-77 (Moodle) SHMA, Chapter 8 (first half), pp. 301-323.
Tue Apr 20 - Julian of Norwich, Showings (S), Revelation XIV, pp. 248-304.
Thu Apr 22 - Chaucer, Canterbury Tales (CT), "The Pardoner’s Tale," pp. 329-341 (Moodle).
Tue Apr 27 - Chaucer, Chaucer, Canterbury Tales (CT), "Prioress's Tale", p. 354-360 (Moodle); SHMA, Chapter 8 (second half), pp. 323-343.
Thu Apr 29 - Review day. (Paper 2 Due)
Final Exam - 01S, Tue May 11 (9:00am) / 03S, Thu May 13 (9:00am).