June 4-20, 2006

Dr. George Dameron (Professor of History)/x2318; 802-324-5841 (cell)

Dr. Terryl Kinder (Distinguished Professor of Fine Arts and member of the Faculty of Formation, Cistercian Order of the Strict Observance, USA)/x2683



Pontigny (Photo George Dameron) Copyright 2006


Course Description and Goals


This 200-level three-credit course will offer students an intensive and interdisciplinary exposure to the culture, and society of one of the most important and influential regions of medieval Europe, Burgundy.  The course will offer a topical approach to the study of the history, the religion, the architecture, and the art of medieval Burgundy, with an emphasis on the twelfth and thirteenth centuries. 


Students will be based at Pontigny, the site of the largest and most important Cistercian abbey in the region and the place where the Society of Saint Edmund was founded in 1843.  Also the burial site of Saint Edmund of Abingdon, Pontigny has deep and lasting connections to Saint Michael’s College.  The course will combine assigned readings, written assignments, tours to specific medieval sites, lectures by Drs. Dameron and Kinder, and presentations by local scholars and guides arranged by Dr. Kinder.  Students will have the option of adding a one-credit Applied Language Component to the normal three credits offered by course.


The goals of the course are the following:  1) to offer the student an in-depth and on-site exposure to the historical, architectural, artistic, and religious development of a specific region of medieval twelfth and thirteenth century Europe (Burgundy); 2) to help student understand the complex interactions between society and culture (in particular, the interplay between religious ideas and the arts and architecture), 3) to expose the student to the deep institutional and cultural ties between the abbey of Pontigny and the mission and foundation of Saint Michael’s College, 4) to offer a rich study abroad experience to students who are hesitant about studying in a non-English speaking environment, 5) to afford the student the opportunity of producing a substantial paper based on research conducted in Europe, 6) to allow the student to fulfill a Liberal Studies Requirement (Religious Studies, Culture and Civilization), a 200-level History course, and a requirement for the Medieval Studies Minor, and 7) to enhance and deepen the ability of the student to think and write critically and analytically in the are of the humanities.


Course Requirements


The requirements for this 3-credit course are the following:


Reading List


Students are required to read selections from two books before departure.  The first two are paperbacks.  Students will bring Bull and The Rule of Saint Benedict with them to Pontigny:




Other readings that will be placed on reserve or available in the reference section of the library may include the following:








Tuesdays:  February 28, March  21, April 4, 2006

6pm-6:50pm/JEM 378


February 28 (Tuesday):  Course Logistics and Introduction to Medieval France (Politics, Economy, Society, Culture:  Focus on Religion, Castles, Daily Life)

Reading Assignment:

·        Medieval France:  An Encyclopedia (on library reserve):  “Castles,” “Capetian Dynasty,” “Church”

·        Judith Bennett and C. Warren Hollister, Medieval Europe:  A Short History (on reserve):  pp. 277-286


March 15:  Saint Michael’s College Non-program Study Abroad Application Due


March 21 (Tuesday):  Course Logistics (continued, including assistance filling out forms) and Introduction to Medieval Burgundy (Politics, Economy, Society, Culture:  Religion, Castles, Daily Life)

Reading Assignment: 

Distribution of question for 2-3 page focus paper (due third pre-departure meeting)


April 4 (Tuesday):  Course Logistics (continued) and Introduction to Medieval Pontigny

(Politics, Economy, Society, Culture:  Religion, Castles, Daily Life)

Reading Assignment:


April 21 (Friday):  Final Payment ($1800.00) for course due:  Professor Dameron, Library 306, x2318


June 4:  Departure

Reading Assignment (please read by day of departure):


A Tentative Itinerary (subject to change; final itinerary will be distributed to students upon arrival at Pontigny)


June 4-20, 2006


Day 1              Departure from Burlington to Paris (June 4, 2006):

                        Air France 0337 Boston-Paris           5:30 pm departure/6:15 am arrival

                        **meet 1:30 pm at meeting point, Logan Airport**


Part 1:  In Portigny


Day 2              Arrival in Pontigny by mini-bus


Day 3              Pontigny


Day 4              Auxerre


Day 5              Pontigny


Day 6              Noyers, Flavigny, Fontenay (Montbard)


Day 7              Druyes-les-Belles-Fontaines, Guedelon


Day 8              Pontigny


Day 9              Vézelay, Bazoches, Quarré-les-Tombes, La Pierre-qui-Vire


Day 10            Pontigny


Day 11            Beaune, Tournus, Cluny, Citeaux


Day 12            Pontigny


Day 13            Dijon


Day 14            Dijon


Day 15            Departure from Paris (June 20, 2006)

                        Air France 0332         Paris-Boston                          

                        Departure 1:15 pm/Arrival 3:00 pm



A Comprehensive List of Sites that May Be Visited:


Asquins (hamlet below Vézelay, where St Bernard preached the Second Crusade)

Auxerre (city: w/cathedral & bishop’s palace; parish churches; municipal library

             w/medieval manuscripts; medieval houses

Avallon (city on a hill; parish church of St-Lazare famous for its sculpture; city gates)

Bazoches (13th c. château, remodeled by Vauban; parish church; other regional châteaux)

Beaune (city: late medieval hospice; church of Notre-Dame w/Mary Tapestries)

Chablis (free town; vineyards; parish churches)

Cluny (largest Benedictine abbey in Christendom; now mostly destroyed)

Dijon (city: capital of medieval Burgundy)

Druyes-les-Belles-Fontaines (12th c. château)

Flavigny (high town; abbeys; Carolingian crypt; magnificent late medieval carved

            choir stalls in parish church; town with Chocolat was filmed)

Fontenay Abbey

Guedelon (château being built using medieval methods & tools)

La Pierre-qui-Vire  (modern Benedictine Abbey)

Noyers-sur-Serein (walled town)

Pontigny Abbey

Quarré-les-Tombes (medieval parish church, collection of Merovingian sarcophagi)

St-Amand-en-Puisaye (fortified tower, recently excavated)

Tonnerre  (city: Fosse Dionne = prehistoric well; medieval hospital; abbey; churches)

Vézelay (Benedictine abbey & town on a hill)