The Medieval and Renaissance Studies Minor

Medieval and Renaissance StudiesThe Medieval and Renaissance Studies minor provides an interdisciplinary opportunity for an integrated study of European cultures from the 4th to the 17th centuries. The period, which is essential to an understanding of Western society, can best be approached through a combination of several disciplines. Collaboration by the departments of English, history, and the history of art allows just such a course of study.

In the Middle Ages, after the collapse of the Roman Empire, many of the legacies of ancient Rome were adapted in response to new ideas introduced by the expanding influence of Germanic, Celtic, and Mediterranean cultures. We will focus on the socio-political, economic, and cultural interactions of these cultures throughout the medieval period, during which the linguistic and geographic patterns of Europe we recognize today emerged.

During the Renaissance (c. 1400-1650), Europe experienced a period of cultural renewal stemming from a re-interpretation of Classical ideas. Momentous changes resulted from humanism, the Reformation, the Scientific Revolution, and the Age of Exploration. We will study these historical developments as well as the dramatic transformations in arts, literature, social values, and notions of selfhood that accompanied them.
Acknowledging and questioning the differences that have traditionally been seen as separating the Middle Ages and the

Renaissance makes the examination of both periods more compelling. The Medieval and Renaissance Studies minor complements Sweet Briar College’s commitment to the liberal arts and illustrates the high level and rigorous quality of study available to its students. Also, by acknowledging a student’s concentration in this area, her chance at graduate study in one of these fields is greatly increased. Study abroad is strongly encouraged.


(18 semester hours)

Choose 2 of the following courses from each department listed below. Please be aware of possible prerequisites. At least one course must be at the 300-level in two of the three departments.

Note: If majoring in any of these departments, choose one course from the major department and at least two courses from each of the remaining departments.

ENGL 235 (3) - Shakespeare
ENGL 239 (3) - Old English Language and Literature
ENGL 315 (3) - Swords and Shield-maidens: Gender Politics in Medieval Heroic Epic
ENGL 317 (3) - History of the English Language
ENGL 319 (3) - Chaucer
ENGL 322 (3) - Romance and Renewal: Shakespeare and Elizabethan Drama
ENGL 324 (3) - Revenge and Ravishment: Shakespeare and Jacobean Drama
ENGL 340 (3) - The Sacred and the Profane in the English Renaissance
ENGL 344 (3) - Women in the Renaissance

HIST 104 (3) - Medieval Heroes: Myth or History
HIST 121 (3) - Early and Medieval Britain
HIST 127 (3) - English History, 1500-1689
HIST 143 (3) - Early Modern Europe, 1350- 1650
HIST 224 (3) - The Medieval West, 400- 1350
HIST 321 (3) - Studies in Medieval History (may be repeated if topic differs)
HIST 322 (3) - Renaissance and Reformation

History of Art
ARTH 204 (3) - The Art of Northern Europe, 1400-1600
ARTH 213 (3) - Early Renaissance Art in Italy
ARTH 214 (3) - High Renaissance and Mannerist Art in Italy
ARTH 217 (3) - European Art in the 17th Century
ARTH 235 (3) - Early Medieval Art
ARTH 322 (3) - Romanesque Art and Architecture
ARTH 336 (3) - Studies in Medieval Art and Architecture (may be repeated if topic differs)
ARTH 338 (3) - Gothic Art and Architecture
ARTH 340 (3) - Topics in Renaissance and Baroque Art
ARTH 341 (3) - Seminar: Art and Theory in Renaissance Italy (may be repeated if topic differs)
ARTH 344 (3) - Seminar: Art and Theory in Baroque Europe (may be repeated if topic differs)

Also recommended
Classical languages: Latin and Greek
Romance languages: French, German, Italian and Spanish

MUSC 327 (3) - Early Music
RELG 241 (3) - Judaism
RELG 244 (3) - Christianity
RELG 255 (3) - Islam
SPAN 326 (3) - Early Spanish Culture: Heritage and Identity