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There and Back Again: Travelers and Traveling through the Middle Ages and Beyond

Semester and Year SP 2019
Course Number IDSEM-UG1624
Section 001
Instructor Andrew Romig
Days MW
Time 3:30 PM - 4:45 PM
Units 4
Level U
Requirement   HUM, PREMOD, EARLY



The image of the medieval world as dark, backward, and stagnant has for too long held sway over our modern popular conceptions of the era. In this course, we will investigate the ways in which the Middle Ages were actually a period of vast movement, migration, and pilgrimage. We will study the “discovery” of North America by Scandinavian sailors five centuries before Columbus. We will explore the colonization of the New World by European powers in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. And throughout, we will ask how we can better understand the history of identity formation, orientalism, and imperialism in the pre-modern era. We will delve into the questions, the conflicts, and the painful changes that these travels and encounters fomented both within European society and without. Readings may include the  Confession of St. Patrick , Bede’s  Ecclesiastical History of the English People ,  The Thousand and One Nights , the  Saga of Eirik the Red , Marco Polo’s  Division of the World , Mandeville’s  Travels , Dante’s  Divine Comedy , Chaucer’s  Canterbury Tales , Christine de Pizan’s  Book of the City of Ladies , More’s  Utopia , Bartolomé de las Casas’  Short Account of the Destruction of the Indies , and Françoise de Graffigny’s  Letters from a Peruvian Woman .


All Syllabi

Course Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)