MEMS 2001

Discovering the Medieval and Early Modern Past

Do you want to handle thirteenth-century folios and flip through 500 year old printed books? Are you interested in discovering the cryptic meanings underlying a medieval triptych? Do you want to get to know the medieval Ottawa that few people know? In Medieval and Early Modern Studies, you come to see that medieval lives on around us!

This course introduces students to the arcane world of the medieval and early-modern past, preparing the student for more advanced interdisciplinary research in the field. Intended to show students the many resources in Ottawa for studying the medieval, early-modern, and neo-medieval, our class is focused on introducing the student to medieval and early modern history by deconstructing contemporary ideas of the Middle Ages in academic and popular representations.

This year, MEMS 2001 focuses on exploring:

  • how our contemporary popular culture (e.g. films, tv, books, graphic novels) create persuasive representations of the Middle Ages
  • how these representations are partial and often in disagreement with how scholars view the same time and culture
  • how media dating from the Middle Ages give evidence of a unique culture that both shares similarities and has great differences from our own

Among other things we will consider:

  • how we probably would not get along very well with a medieval person, were we to meet them
  • how dragons are not real and thus cannot be “medieval”
  • how medieval women led armies and inspired popes
  • how medieval people are racist, misogynist and nationalist in different ways than you would think
  • how Gothic revival architecture in Ottawa, can help us understand the medieval experience

For a detailed description and outline of the course, please consult the syllabus.