Spring 2021 Undergraduate English Courses

358:309 Race and Religious Difference in Medieval Culture


Race and Religious Difference in Medieval Literature, 1040-1500

Race is rightly understood as mainly a modern category, but some of the roots of modern notions of racial identity and especially modern forms of racism lie in the European Middle Ages. This course will examine these notions as they are reflected in medieval literary tradition, concentrating mainly on later medieval England. As medieval notions of racial identity were inextricably linked with the problem of religious difference or inquiry will focus on two areas in particular: 1) Saracens, and other depictions of Islam; 2) depictions of Jews and Judaism. Primary texts will include:

King Horn
Sultan of Babylon
Siege of Milan
Ralph the Collier
Siege of Jerusalem
Geoffrey Chaucer, “Man of Law’s Tale”; “Second Nun’s Tale”
Croxton Play of the Sacrament
William Langland, Piers Plowman (selections).

This course will be asynchronous. Requirements will include one paper and on-line exercises.