First Year Seminar (FS 117A)

Spring Semester 2011

Joan of Arc


George Dameron

Library 306 x2318

Office Hours: 

Mondays, 9-11; Wednesdays, 2:30-3:30 and by appointment (x2318)




Purpose and Goals:




How this Course Works



As you know, all St. Michael’s students must demonstrate entry-level writing proficiency prior to graduation. “Entry-level” writing proficiency means, simply, the ability to write a short, cohesive persuasive essay with a few or no surface errors that interfere with comprehension. The initial assessment of your writing falls to me, as your FS instructor, and I will certify you as soon as you demonstrate proficiency in any of your writing assignments. If I wish to obtain a second opinion about your writing, in February I will ask you to take a short writing assessment, which two other faculty will review. If they feel your writing needs work, I will refer you to the writing proficiency coordinator, who will give you several options for achieving proficiency.  They may include getting a designated writing coach or taking a writing course in the fall. Of course, if your writing improves after February, I can still certify you proficient then. Note: If you would like some additional help with your writing right away, contact Elizabeth Inness-Brown, director of the Writing Center ( She can set you up with a designated coach for one or two meetings a week. The Writing Center is also available, drop-in or by appointment, to all students; visit Library 119 to check it out.  Usual hours in the past are Sunday through Thursday late afternoons and evenings.



The use of laptop computers is welcome, but students can only use them for class use, specifically for note-taking.  Use of computers during class for purposes other than those related to the course can result in the loss of the privilege to use them. 


The student is responsible for familiarizing herself or himself with the Academic Integrity Policy of the College.   Violations of academic integrity (plagiarism, multiple submission, unauthorized assistance, interference, interference using information technology) can result in sanctions ranging from failure for the assignment, failure of the course, the obligation to repeat the assignment with a lower grade, or dismissal from the course.  The Judicial Review Board may impose other sanctions as well.  Plagiarism is a serious academic offense.   According to the Policy on Academic Integrity included in the Student Handbook and Code of Conduct and posted online, plagiarism is the presentation  of “another person’s ideas as your own, by directly quoting or indirectly paraphrasing, without properly citing the original source. This includes inadvertent failure to properly acknowledge sources.”   



Students with learning differences (documented by the Office of the Coordinator of Academic Compliance, Ms. Antonia Messuri) are eligible for appropriate accommodations. Please see me early in the semester if you require any accommodation.


Books for Purchase:


Diana Hacker, A Pocket Style Manual, 5th edition (Bedford St. Martin’s 2009)


Daniel Hobbins, The Trial of Joan of Arc (Harvard 2007).  ISBN-10: 0674024052


Regine Pernoud, Joan of Arc:  Her Story (1999 Palgrave Macmillan) ISBN 0312227302


George Bernard Shaw, Saint Joan (GBS Books 2010)


Larissa Taylor, The Virgin Warrior:  The Life and Death of Joan of Arc (Yale 2010)  ISBN-10: 0300168950 ISBN-13: 978-0300168952



In Addition, on eCollege and/or Library Reserve:

·         Christine de Pisan, “The Tale of Joan of Arc,” in Selected Writings of Christine de Pizan, ed. Renate Blumenfeld-Kosinski (1997).  On reserve.

·         Barbara Rosenwein, “Catastrophe and Creativity (c. 1350-c.1500),” in A Short History of the Middle Ages, 305-348.

·         William Shakespeare, “Henry VI, Part 1” (available as an electronic resource through the library catalog and on course reserve at the Circulation Desk in William Shakespeare, The Complete Works (2006).

·         Susan Mosher Stuard, “The Dominion of Gender, or How Women Fared in the High Middle Ages,” in Becoming Visible:  Women in European History, edited by Renate Bridenthal et al., 3rd edition  (Boston, 1998)  (chapter 5), 129-150.

·         André Vauchez, “Joan of Arc and Female Prophecy in the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Centuries,” The Laity in the Middle Ages:  Religious Beliefs and Devotional Practices, edited and introduced by Daniel Bornstein (Notre Dame:  University of Notre Dame, 1993), 255-264.  On eCollege.


Class Schedule (Focus Papers Due in Class Every Friday Except in Weeks When Formal Papers on Due)


Week One:  Kolbert’s Field Notes from a Catastrophe


Week Two:  The World Into Which Joan Was Born


Week Three:  The Mission and the Siege of Orleans


Week Four:  Coronation and Intrigue


Week Five:  Joan as Prisoner and Defendant


Week Six:  The Preparatory Trial


Week Seven:  The Ordinary Trial


Week Eight:  The Trial for Relapse, Aftermath, the “Poitiers Conclusions”


Week Nine (no class/spring recess)


Week Ten:  Vindication and Her Legacy


Week Eleven:  Images and Portraits of Joan after her Death


Week Twelve:  Joan in Renaissance Drama


Week Thirteen:  Joan in Twentieth Century Film and Drama


Week Fourteen:   Joan in Twentieth Century Film and Drama


Week Fifteen:  Joan in Twentieth Century Film and Historiography


Week Sixteen:  Summing Up