Introduction to Medieval Studies

This is a small introduction to my medieval history course along with the entire set of twenty lecture videos I’ve created to cover the timeline from roughly 300 AD (with occasional dips back to earlier periods as necessary) through to the Spanish expansion into the new world, starting, obviously, in 1492 – so we end in 1500, conveniently cutting off things like the Reformation that I cover in Early Modern Europe.  I offer this course more or less every two years at Marlboro in the fall semester.  We spend time discussing primary sources, looking at how historians create historical arguments, and talk about the general developments and trends in Medieval Europe.  Additionally, we talk a little bit about why the medieval period is such a popular source for contemporary culture in both film and books (the Lord of the Rings has made a great many people study medieval history in college…)

The course is divided into four sections.  In each section we start at the beginning of the period and go chronologically up to 1500 using a different historical lens.  The sections are roughly Political History, Religious History, Economics and Daily Life, and then a section in which I leave time open for students to choose their own topics.  These topics can be either areas that we covered but not in enough detail, or questions about which we didn’t discuss at all – generally there are more options to choose from than we have time.  For the first three of these sections, I have recorded the majority of the lectures that I offer.  Sometimes I still give them in class because I think there’s a difference between a live lecture and an edited recorded file on the internet, but this gives us a lot of flexibility for our in class work.  Below there are links to each of the three sections with lectures and the videos are presented chronologically on the individual pages.  If you would like to know more about the syllabus or have questions about studying or teaching history, feel free to contact me.

In the course itself, students write several papers, culminating in a research prospectus.  I have a short version of these assignments posted here.



I) Political History

II) Religious History

III) Economics and Daily Life