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Medieval Worlds

ENGL 524.301
instructor(s):
Monday 3-6:00pm

We pride ourselves on thinking “globally” and having at our fingertips information about people, places, and times. How did people before c.1600 imagine the whole world? In this course we read a variety of medieval and early modern texts that try to take the whole world into account. We will trace the geographical imaginations and cultural encounters of early writers across different genres, from maps, to Islamic, Jewish, and Christian travel narratives;  to monstrous encyclopedias and books of beasts, such as the "Wonders of the East"; to universal chronicles and Alexander romances. We will also explore different medieval systems of thinking large, such as socio-political schemes, genealogies, bibliographies, and natural taxonomies. Assignments will include oral presentations, a digital exhibit, and a final research essay.