- History of Bard
- Learning at Bard
- Academic Calendar
- Division of the Arts
- Division of Languages and Literature
- Division of Science, Mathematics, and Computing
- Division of Social Studies
- Interdivisional Programs and Concentrations
- The Bard College Conservatory of Music
- Bard Abroad
- Additional Study Opportunities and Affiliated Institutes
- Civic Engagement
- Campus Life and Facilities
- Graduate Programs
- Educational Outreach
- Levy Economics Institute of Bard College
- The Bard Center
- Scholarships, Awards, and Prizes
- Honorary Degrees and Bard College Awards
- Boards and Administration of Bard College
- Bard Campus Map and Travel Directions
- Bard College Contact Information
Bard College Catalogue, 2019–20
Karen Sullivan (coordinator), Katherine M. Boivin, Maria Sachiko Cecire, Jay Elliott, Marisa Libbon, David Ungvary
The Medieval Studies concentration exposes students to the civilizations of Western and Eastern Europe, the Middle East, and Northern Africa from the sixth to the 16th centuries through a range of disciplines. A broad approach is particularly appropriate to the study of medieval culture because the national and disciplinary boundaries to which the university has become habituated did not exist. French was spoken in England, Provençal in Italy, Arabic in Spain, and Latin or Greek throughout Europe. The major political organizations—the Catholic Church, the Holy Roman Empire, and the Caliphates—were transnational by definition. Fields such as literature, history, astronomy, medicine, religion, theology, and philosophy were not always considered distinct. For these reasons, students are encouraged to explore medieval culture as inclusively as people of this time would have experienced it.
Areas of Study
Students specialize in one discipline related to medieval studies, but are expected to become familiar with a variety of fields within this area. Courses cover the history and culture of the Middle Ages from Ireland, Scotland, and England to the Byzantine Empire and Abbasid and Ottoman Caliphates, and from Iceland and Scandinavia to Al-Andalus, Sicily, and Ethiopia. While the focus of Medieval Studies remains the 1,000 years between the 500s and 1500s, students may consider how the various “classicisms” of ancient Greece and Rome contributed to this period or how “medievalisms” of more recent centuries (such as those of neo-Gothic architecture of fantasy and children’s literature) have harkened back to this tradition. They may also take advantage of opportunities to study medieval languages, including Old and Middle English, Old French, Old Provençal (Occitan), Medieval Latin, and Old Norse.
Students moderate into Medieval Studies as well as a divisional program. They are expected to fulfill the requirements for both the divisional program and the concentration. In the Lower College, students take at least two semesters of a survey course in medieval studies (e.g., Art History 120, Romanesque and Gothic Art and Architecture; Art History 145, Byzantine Art and Architecture; Classics 236, The Fall of the Roman Empire; Literature 204A, Comparative Literature I; or Literature 250, English Literature I.
In the Upper College, students turn to more specialized work, taking at least three additional courses in medieval studies. At least one of those must be a 300-level course. Before undertaking research for the Senior Project, students must demonstrate reading knowledge of at least one appropriate language, either medieval or modern. In their final year, students complete a Senior Project, which combines work in the disciplinary program and in medieval studies. At least two members of the Senior Project board must be affiliated with the Medieval Studies concentration.
In addition to the survey courses mentioned above, recent courses include Early Middle Ages, High Middle Ages, The Canterbury Tales, The Book before Print, Life in the Medieval Church, The Alterpiece, Medieval Art of the Mediterranean, Arthurian Literature, and Saints’ Lives from the Middle Ages through the Reformation.