ANCIENT AND MEDIEVAL CIVILIZATION/HUMANITIES 101A and 101B

Fall Semester 2010

Professor George Dameron (Department of History); Library 306 (x2318)

Personal web page: http://academics.smcvt.edu/gdameron/

Office Hours:   Monday, 8:30-9:30, Wednesday, 9:30-11:30, and by appointment

 

 

Interior of the Abbey of Pontigny, France (Photo:  George Dameron) Copyright 2006

 

COURSE DESCRIPTION:

Humanities 101 is an interdisciplinary, 4-credit writing-intensive course that fulfills any one of the three humanities liberal studies requirements (literary studies, historical studies, or culture and civilization).  It is a companion course to Humanities 102 (Modern Civilization).  Humanities 101 surveys issues and problems in pre-modern European intellectual and cultural development by focusing on some of the most influential, well written, and provocative texts from Antiquity and the Middle Ages (c. 500 BCE-1400 CE).

 

GOALS OF THE COURSE:

The purposes of this interdisciplinary course are as follows: 1) to improve and enhance critical thinking and writing, 2)  introduce students to some of the most significant and influential texts in European culture in the pre-modern period, 3) explore selected intellectual and cultural issues associated with the ancient and medieval periods, 4)  stimulate student interest in the study of Antiquity and the Middle Ages, 5) explore and examine how Roman, Christian, Germanic, Celtic, and Islamic traditions interacted to produce a distinctive culture in Europe during the Middle Ages; 6) require students to produce a short research paper, 7) explore and compare the principal religious traditions of the period (Greco-Roman, Christianity, Islam), and 8)  fulfill one of three Liberal Studies Requirements (culture and civilization, historical studies, and literary studies).  

 

COURSE FORMAT:

Class meetings will focus on the discussion of assigned texts (both in hard copy and online).   Students will take turns bringing questions to the class for discussion.  The course will rely on a eCollege Web site.  Accompanying the course is a list of study questions, which will be posted at the eCollege site. 

 

COURSE REQUIREMENTS:

         Attendance and participation in discussions (20% of final grade).  

         Focus papers (10% of final grade) and quizzes (10%) will alternate every Friday.  All focus papers will be typed, one-page, and handed in during class.  The lowest quiz score will be dropped.  Students can choose to skip one focus paper without affecting their grade adversely. 

         One hour examination (October 4 ; 10% of final grade).  It will focus on objective and essay questions. 

         A research paper (20%), due November 17, 7-9 pages, excluding footnotes and bibliography.  Late papers will be penalized half a letter grade for every day they are late.  Students will choose from a list of topics associated with the stories of Marie de France (to be distributed shortly after the October  examination).

         Final Exam on Wednesday, December 15 (Hu 101A) or Friday December 17 (Hu 101B)  ( (30% of final grade).  It will also focus on objective and essay questions.

         Except for compelling personal and medical reasons, no make-ups or late submissions will be allowed. 

 

THE HUMANITIES PROGRAM CONCERT SERIES

Pending funding, the Humanities Program will sponsor a Humanities Program Concert Series at the College.  We are hoping for a November concert.  I will encourage you to attend the free concert if you can.  Attendees from my classes will receive credit for one focus paper.

 

eCOLLEGE

eCollege is web based course management system that we will use for this course.   Accessible through eCollege are the syllabus, announcements about upcoming events, any documents or texts, study questions, and any other communication that I deem important to the management of the course.   The URL location for eCollege is www.smcvtonline.org, and you should place it in your Favorites folder.   Students can access eCollege by using their Login ID (the Mikenet name) and College ID#, which functions as the password.

 

PROFESSOR DAMERON’S WEB SITE

At my personal web site students will find another online copy of the course syllabus.   My web site also includes links to some of the most important internet sites associated with Medieval Studies.  Sometime during the semester, the Medieval Studies Minor will launch its own Web site.

 

ACADEMIC INTEGRITY POLICY AND COURSE ASSIGNMENTS:

Plagiarism is a serious academic offense.  According to the Academic Integrity Policy of Saint Michael’s College 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."  The penalties for plagiarism can range from receiving a failing grade for the plagiarized assignment to receiving a failing grade in the course.  In some cases plagiarism can result in suspension or expulsion from the college. 

 

THE 2010 PHI BETA KAPPA VISITING SCHOLAR LECTURE

Students will attend the evening lecture (tentatively planned for November 17 or 18) by the 2010-2011 Phi Beta Kappa Visiting Scholar, Dr. Michael McCormick (History Department, Harvard University).  The lecture title will be announced soon.  Attendance at the lecture is required, and there will be no class scheduled for the day of or the day before the lecture.

 

DOCUMENTED LEARNING DIFFERENCES

Students with documented learning difference should speak with me about any appropriate accommodations that are needed for the completion of assignments.   Special documentation of such needs should be obtained through the office of the Coordinator of Academic Compliance (Ms. Toni Messuri).

 

REQUIRED TEXTS FOR PURCHASE IN THE COLLEGE BOOKSTORE:

 

Humanities 101A and 101B

 

 

ONLINE READINGS:

         Gregory of Tours (d. 594), History of the Franks (“Vase of Soissons,” “Conversion of Clovis”); History of the Franks (“Killing of Ragnachar,” “Death of Clovis”)

         Einhard, Life of Charlemagne and The Wars of Charlemagne (Internet Medieval Sourcebook)

         Boccaccio, Introduction to The Decameron

         Petrarch, The Ascent of Mount Ventoux

         Ibn Ishaq (d. 773), Selections from the Life of Muhammed

         The Qu’ran (surahs 1 and 47)

 

 

CLASS SCHEDULE

August 30

         Orientation to course

         Sappho, “Invocation to Aphrodite” (in-class reading and discussion)

 

CLASSICAL ANTIQUITY (500 BCE-600 CE)

 

September 1, 3 (focus paper)

Plato, The Apology (in Last Days)

 

September 6, 8

Plato, Symposium

 

September 10 (quiz), 13, 15

Plato, Phaedo

 

September 17 (focus paper)

Res Gestae (Internet Ancient History Sourcebook) and Tacitus, Germania (Internet Medieval History Sourcebook)

 

September 20

Virgil, Books 1 and 2

 

September 22

Virgil, Books 3 and 4

 

September 24 (quiz)

Virgil, Books 5 and 6

 

September 27

Virgil, Books 7 and 8

 

September 29

Virgil, Books 9 and 10

 

October 1 (focus paper)

Virgil, Books 11 and 12

 

October 4

Hour Examination

 

October 6

The Gospel of Saint Mathew (use a personal Bible or one in library)

 

October 8 (quiz)

The Passion of Saints Perpetua and Felicity

 

October 11

No class

 

LATE ANTQUITY (200-600)

 

 

October 13

Augustine, Books 1 and 2

 

October 15 (focus paper)

Augustine, Books 3 and 4

 

October 18

Augustine, Books 5, 6

 

October 20

Augustine, Books 7, 8

 

October 22 (quiz)

Augustine, Book 9

 

October 25

The Rule of Saint Benedict (c. 530); Gregory of Tours (d. 594), History of the Franks (“Vase of Soissons,” “Conversion of Clovis”); History of the Franks (“Killing of Ragnachar,” “Death of Clovis”)

 

THE EARLY MIDDLE AGES (600-1000)

 

October 27

Ibn Ishaq (d. 773), Selections from the Life of Muhammed

The Qu’ran (surahs 1 and 47)

 

October 29 (focus paper)

Einhard, Life of Charlemagne and The Wars of Charlemagne (Internet Medieval Sourcebook)

 

 

THE LATER MIDDLE AGES (1000-1400)

 

November 1

Abelard, Historia calamitatum (Letter 1)

 

November 3

The Personal Letters:  Heloise (Letter 2) and Abelard (Letter 3)

 

November 5 (quiz)

The Personal Letters:  Heloise (Letter 4) and Abelard (Letter 5)

 

November 8

The Lais of Marie de France, lays 1-4

 

November 10

The Lais of Marie de France, lays 5-8

 

November 12

The Lais of Marie de France, lays 9-12

 

November 15

Dante, The Inferno, cantos 1-9

Introduction to Web site (in class):  The World of Dante (canto 5)

 

November 17

No class because students will attend Phi Beta Kappa Scholar Lecture Nov. 18

 

**November 17:  Research Paper on Marie de France Due (My Office, Library 306)**

 

**November 18** (Thursday evening)

Phi Beta Kappa Visiting Scholar Lecture (7:00 pm, McCarthy Arts Recital Hall)

“Climate Change and the Fall of the Roman Empire:  An Interim Report”

(Dr. Michael McCormick, Department of History, Harvard University)

 

November 19

Dante, cantos 10-18

In class:  The World of Dante  (particular focus:  canto 10)

No quiz (students will write briefly what main idea they took from lecture)

 

November 22

Dante, cantos 19-24

In class:  The World of Dante  (particular focus:  24)

 

November 23-28

Thanksgiving Break

 

November 29

Dante, cantos 25-30

In class:  The World of Dante  (exploration of Canto 28)

 

December 1

Dante, cantos 31-34

In class:  The World of Dante  (exploration of Canto 34)

 

December 3 (focus paper)

Dante:  general discussion

Focus paper assignment using The World of Dante:

         Read introductory remarks at Inferno site,

         Pick one canto,

         Locate that canto on one of the maps at the site (print, if possible, and attach to focus paper),

         Choose two categories (people, places, creatures, structures, images, or music),

         Pick one item from each of the two categories, and

         Write the focus paper on the two items from the two categories, describing their roles or meaning in the canto you have chosen

 

December 6

Boccaccio, Introduction to The Decameron

 

December 8

Petrarch, The Ascent of Mount Ventoux

 

December 10 (focus paper)

Conclusion and summary of course

 

FINAL EXAM: 

         Humanities 101A (Wednesday, December 15, 1-3:30)

         Humanities 101B (Friday, December 17, 1-3:30)