Texas Tech University

MRSC Classes

seven liberal arts

Spring 2021


MRST 5301 Methods in Medieval and Renaissance Studies (John Beusterien).
Wednesdays 2-5pm. Modality: hybrid.
NOTE: MRST 5301 is required for the Grad Certificate in Med-Ren Studies.
The course provides a multi-disciplinary introduction to the study of medieval and early modern Europe. It encourages students to reflect upon the common problems scholars of the pre-modern past encounter in their work, and the research methodologies they deploy to address these problems. Guest speakers representing core disciplines associated with the Medieval and Renaissance Studies Center at TTU, including history, art history, literatures & languages, and music will give students a chance to learn in more detail how study of the medieval and early modern centuries works in practice. Course assignments will be geared towards introducing students to resources available at TTU for the study of medieval and early modern Europe, and towards getting students to apply the methods they encounter in readings and discussions to their own work. MRST is offered each spring semester, and is the required cornerstone course for the Graduate Certificate in Medieval and Renaissance Studies.

ARTH 5320 Pilgrimage and the Cult of Saints and Relics (Janis Elliott).Tuesdays 3-6pm. Modality: hybrid.
In the Middle Ages, the bodies of the Christian saints and martyrs were believed to hold the power to heal and to absolve sins. People endured arduous pilgrimages believing that proximity to the sacred relics of the saints would benefit them in this life and the next. Pilgrimage was a dominant metaphor for the liminality of human existence. The market for relics to sustain the pilgrimage enterprise generated the imaginative use of the bodies, whole or fragmented, of holy men and women. This course will investigate the culture, geography, and the social and architectural infrastructure of pilgrimage and the artworks generated by the cult of saint and relics throughout the Middle Ages, c. 300-1400 CE. Students will study the tombs, the statues, the churches, the reliquaries, and other evidence of the art and material culture of pilgrimage sites across Europe. Students will have the opportunity to handle medieval manuscripts in facsimile at the Southwest Collection.

ENGL 5303 Beowulf (Brian McFadden).
Tuesdays 2-5pm. Modality: online.
Note: ENGL 5301 (Old English Language) is a prerequisite for ENGL 5303.
This course will be an in-depth translation and analysis of Beowulf, the first major epic poem in the English language. Topics to be discussed: early medieval English conceptions of monstrosity and Otherness; Germanic social structure as depicted in the poem versus the realities of early medieval English society; the role of women in the poem and women in early medieval English society; the tension and accommodation between Christian and Germanic elements in the poem; the paleography and codicology of the text and the application of digital technology, especially the online Electronic Beowulf project at the University of Kentucky, to the study of the poem and the Beowulf manuscript (London, British Library, Cotton Vitellius A.xv).  Requirements: leading one online class discussion; one 20- to 25-page seminar paper; weekly translation and reading in Old English. Texts to be announced but will probably include Mitchell and Robinson's edition of Beowulf, Klaeber's Beowulf Fourth Edition by Fulk, Bjork, and Niles, The Beowulf Reader (ed. Bjork and Niles) and A Critical Companion to Beowulf (Orchard).

ENGL 5305 Studies in Shakespeare:Laughter in the Dark: The Problem of Shakespearean Comedy (Matthew Hunter).
Wednesdays 6-9pm. Modality: hybrid.
Comedy has long been thought of as the genre of happy endings, but in Shakespeare's hands, it is anything but. The wished-for conclusion to Shakespearean comedy sees voices silenced, marriage enforced, and the vulnerable rudely banished from a world that carries on without them. If comedy, as Lauren Berlant and Sianne Ngai have maintained, "has issues," then Shakespearean comedy has too many issues to name. Or perhaps it is just we who have too many issues with it. In a world full of problems, how can we see Shakespeare's comedies as anything other than a repository for our discontents? This course introduces students to Shakespeare's dramaturgy by considering the poetics, performance, themes, norms, and problems of his comedies. Our approach will literary historical, but our readings will cut across disciplines and modes: works from philosophy, sociology, and aesthetics will supplement our conversations about the uneasy laughter that Shakespeare's comedies continue to produce.

HIST 5349 Early Modern European History
Mondays 6-9pm. Modality: tba

MUHL 5322 Intro to Early Music Performance Practice (Angela Mariani).
T-TH time TBA. Modality: online.
The purpose of the Introduction to Early Music Performance Practice course is to assist music performers, scholars, and ensemble directors who would like to learn about the use of period instruments, original sources, and musical techniques contemporary to medieval, Renaissance, Baroque, and even early Classical musics. The course will introduce students to the basic principles of historical performance practice, an approach to early western music repertoires that emphasizes the use of period instruments (such as baroque violin, harpsichord, etc.); the study of a given piece of music within its original historical, social, and cultural performance context, through examination of scores, practical or theoretical treatises, or other evidence contemporary with the era of the music's composition; and the use of the above tools and information to create engaging, creative performances of early music for today's audiences. MUHL5322 will be conducted as a combination seminar / lecture class, which will include lecture, readings, in-class activities and discussion, web-based activities, and individual presentations.