Undergraduate English Courses

358:309 Medieval English Representations of Islam and Judaism

01  MTH2  CAC  14472  GOLDSTEIN  SC-102

Medieval English Representations of Islam and Judaism

In this class, we will investigate medieval English narrative representations of encounters with the Middle East to understand the many different ways medieval Christians approach Islam and Judaism. In our exploration of these narratives, we will think about concepts such as orientalism, religious alterity, conversion, monstrosity, nationalism, internationalism, and vernacularity.  We will consider the different possible ways that issues of race, gender, and sexuality might intersect with medieval conceptions of religion. We will also spend some time contemplating whether these narratives are reflected in later 20th and 21st century western depictions of Islam and Judaism.

Most texts will be in their original Middle English, but no background in Middle English is required to take this course. We will read everything else (Old English, Latin, etc.) in modern English translation. Texts will include Chaucer’s Man of Law’s Tale and Prioress’s Tale, the Pearl Poet’s Patience and Cleanness, some anonymous romances, such as The Sultan of Babylon, The King of Tars, and Richard Coeur de Lion, the Croxton Play of the Sacrament, some medieval hagiography, and more.

Grading will consist of 3 papers, a midterm, attendance, active participation, and occasional reading quizzes.