Medieval & Early Modern Studies offers a multidisciplinary approach to European cultures and civilizations from late antiquity (ca. 500) to the beginning of the Enlightenment (ca. 1750). The major incorporates materials and methodologies from the fields of English, history, art, music, philosophy, religion, classical studies and foreign language. Students in the program have considerable flexibility in the design and focus of their courses of study.
I. MEMS 200
II. Core courses: five courses including HIST 105 and 106, and three courses focused in the time frame or on MEMS theory, one each in Music, Art & Art History and literature in any language
III. Cluster courses: four courses on a topic decided in consultation with a MEMS advisor, in more than one department and including courses above the 100 level
IV. Senior research: MEMS 490
Through careful planning students can complete a double major in MEMS and another field (Art History, History, Music, Religion, various languages) within a standard four-year program.
- MEMS 200
- 4-course cluster: four courses on a topic decided in consultation with a MEMS advisor and approved by the MEMS coordinator, in more than one department and including courses above the 100-level. Three of the courses should provide a significant component of material relevant to the medieval era, while the fourth course must be concerned primarily with the early modern era
- HIST 105 (Medieval Europe)
Early Modern Option:
- MEMS 200
- 4-course cluster: four courses on a topic decided in consultation with a MEMS advisor and approved by the MEMS
- coordinator, in more than one department and including courses above the 100 level. Three of the courses should provide a significant component of material relevant to the early modern era, while the fourth course must be concerned with the medieval era.
- HIST 106 (Early Modern Europe to 1799)
Students choose an advisor from participating faculty. The advisor's responsibility will be to ensure that the student's "cluster courses" have an appropriate depth and academic level; i.e., a cluster cannot be composed of four courses at the 100-level, or four courses from one department. The advisor will also guide the student in developing the cluster with an eye toward The Senior Experience (MEMS 490, see below).
Suggested curricular flow through the major
There is no standard “path” through the Medieval & Early Modern Studies major. MEMS 200, Discourse and Methods in Medieval & Early Modern Studies, is the introductory methods course, but, from there forward, students find their own directions. For this reason, it is especially important that interested students contact professors in the program to discuss their interests and seek advice. Please contact the Medieval & Early Modern Studies Chair for guidance.
Honors in MEMS is a semester-long independent study (MEMS 490) undertaken by a senior MEMS Major on a focused research topic. Students who plan to pursue MEMS in graduate school are particularly encouraged to apply. An honors project can help a student develop valuable research skills for graduate work, as well as demonstrate to prospective graduate programs an ability to pursue in-depth research.
Junior Majors in the MEMS program may apply to attempt to earn Honors. Departmental (or Program) Honors is the highest award a department/program at Dickinson can bestow. The receipt of honors is recorded on the graduate's diploma. It is achieved only under the following conditions:
1. A minimum GPA of 3.4 in MEMS coursework at the time of application (this is a college-wide standard for "departmental" honors). Consideration of a lower GPA must have the support of the MEMS faculty, and approval from the College Committee on Academic Standards (APSC).
2. During the spring of the Junior Year, by the Friday a week after the last day of classes, each applicant submits a 2-3 page proposal (double spaced) accompanied by a 1-2 page preliminary bibliography. The proposal outlines an independent research project that shows exceptional promise and sophistication. The student electing to pursue MEMS honors must do so as a MEMS 490 Senior Project, which will be graded and counted towards graduation regardless of whether Honors is awarded or not. The proposal should be submitted to the MEMS coordinator/chair, and should include the name(s) of the advisor(s). The MEMS coordinator/chair then circulates the proposal among the MEMS faculty for approval prior to the end of spring exams.
3. If the student's proposal is accepted by the MEMS faculty, the student is identified as a Candidate for Honors. Each Candidate will work with a Departmental advisor (and at least one other MEMS faculty, as appropriate) during the fall or spring semester of Senior year, and will produce a research paper.
4. At a designated time during the end of the semester in which the student is enrolled in MEMS 490 (and no later than the last day of classes), each candidate will submit a final paper, at least 30 pages in length (and no more than 50), which is bound and kept on file in the College Archives. Following submission of the revised paper, at the latest, three (3) additional and appropriate MEMS faculty are asked by the thesis advisor to serve as readers, and given sufficient notice and time to read and critique the paper. The student and readers then meet, and the student is expected to present, discuss, and defend his/her work.
N.B.: it is the responsibility of the student's principal advisor to enlist the readers, and to organize the oral defense, both in a timely manner; however, the readers alone will decide whether to grant honors or not.
5. Immediately following the oral defense, the three readers confer and decide whether or not to award Honors. Honors are not awarded automatically, and are awarded only when there is a consensus or majority vote among the three (3) MEMS readers.
Opportunities for off-campus study
Dickinson Study Abroad programs provide MEMS students with the opportunity for intensive academic experience in several Dickinson-sponsored sites:
- Bologna, Italy
- Bremen, Germany
- Mendoza, Argentina
- Norwich, England
- Toulouse, France
- Málaga, Spain
There are many programs, lectures, residencies, and activities co-sponsored by MEMS and participating academic departments. Students should consult the College Calendar for these events throughout the academic year, as well as the website for MEMS and participating departments.
200 Discourse and Methods in Medieval & Early Modern Studies
Sophomore methods course for the major in Medieval & Early Modern Studies. This is a team-taught, interdisciplinary course, with topics and faculty rotating among the participating departments. Each course will be offered under the umbrella of a single topic, such as a city, a subject, an idea. An introduction to critical and historical methods and discourses within the discipline of Medieval and Early Modern Studies, including reading, critique, research, and interpretation.
490 The Senior Experience
Senior Projects and Research in Medieval & Early Modern Studies. Seniors in the major will work independently with a director and a second faculty reader (representing another discipline in the major) to produce a lengthy paper or special project which focuses on an issue relevant to the cluster of courses taken previously. Under the direction of the program coordinator, students will meet collectively 2 or 3 times during the semester with the directors (and, if possible, other MEMS faculty) to share bibliographies, research data, early drafts, and the like. This group will also meet at the end of the semester to discuss and evaluate final papers and projects.
Prerequisite. 200; four-course "cluster."
Core and Cluster Courses
ARTH 101 Introduction to the History of Art
ARTH 102 Introduction to the History of Art
ARTH 205 Topics [Michelangelo: Man and Myth]
ARTH 300 Italian Renaissance Art 1250-1450
ARTH 301 Italian Renaissance Art 1450-1563
ARTH 391 The Arts in Late Gothic Europe
CLST 100 Greek and Roman Myth
ENGL 101 Topics [Shakespeare's Comedies; Shakespeare's Tragedies; Medievalism from J.R.R. Tolkien to Game of Thrones]
ENGL 345 Early Modern Women Writers [MEMS 200 in Spring 2009]
ENGL 350 Studies in Medieval Literature [Chaucer's Women]
ENGL 352 Renaissance Lyric Poetry
ENGL 354 English Literature, 1660-1798: Plagues, Petticoats, Poems & Plays
ENGL 359 Special Topics in Literature before 1800 [Medieval and Renaissance Romance]
ENGL 390 Chaucer
ENGL 392 Shakespeare: Politics and Culture
ENGL 394 [Revolutionary] Milton
FREN 352 Classical Theatre and Social Myth
FREN 361 French Literature in the Renaissance
GRMN 240 German Cultural History I
HIST 105 Medieval Europe
HIST 106 Modern Europe to 1815
HIST 121 Middle East to 1750
HIST 130 Latin American History I
HIST 213 The Crusades
HIST 222 Feudal Europe
HIST 223 Renaissance Europe
HIST 228 Italian History from the Middle Ages to the Enlightenment
HIST 243 English/British History I [55BC to 1688]
HIST 247 Early American History
HIST 253 History of Russia I
HIST 311 Studies in American History (Violence and Colonialism)
ITAL 301 The Discourse of Love
ITAL 322 Dante's Divine Comedy (in English)
ITAL 400 Boccaccio's Decameron
JDST 216 Kabbalah [crosslisted as RELG 260]
LATN 234 Ovid
LATN 242 Early Christian Latin
MUAC 101 History of Music I [antiquity to ca. 1750]
MUAC 351 Italian Madrigal and Poetics
MUAC 352 J.S. Bach
[MUEN 009-01 Dickinson Collegium]
PHIL 202 Philosophy in the 17th and 18th Centuries
PHIL 242 Medieval and Renaissance Philosophy
RELG 212 History of Christianity I [1st-14th centuries]
RELG 214 History of Christianity II
RELG 259 Islam
RELG 312 Eastern Orthodox Christianity
SPAN 310 Medieval Iberian Texts and Literatures
SPAN 311 Studies in Pre-Columbian and Colonial Texts
SPAN 320 Spanish Golden Age Texts
SPAN 380 History of the Spanish Language
SPAN 410 Cervantes' Don Quixote