Traveling to MARS: A Guide for First-Year Students
At Carleton, the Medieval and Renaissance Studies concentration serves students and faculty interested in the peoples and cultures that thrived between Late Antiquity (ca. 300 CE) and the end of the European Renaissance (ca. 1700) in Europe and the Islamic world. To begin their study of this period, interested students may enroll in introductory courses in several different departments, depending on the nature of their interests.
Arabic 185: The Creation of Classical Arabic Literature
Art History 101 & 102: Introduction to Art History
English 114: Introduction to Medieval Narrative
English 210: Medieval and Renaissance Literature
European Studies 110: The Age of Cathedrals (offered periodically)
History 100: The Age of Elizabeth I
History 100: Mapping the World
History 131: Saints, Sinners, and Philosophers in Late Antiquity
History 137: Early Medieval Worlds
History 138: The Making of Europe
History 139: Foundations of Early Modern Europe
Religion 122: Introduction to Islam
Note: If there is an upper-division course which you are interested in taking in your first year, you are encouraged to speak with the professor about your interest and preparation. You may be ready to take the course, and if nothing else, it can be the beginning of a relationship with that faculty member.
Students interested in MARS should remember that all their work in modern foreign languages (French, German, Spanish, Hebrew, Arabic, and others) as well as the classical languages Latin and Greek and Middle English can be a vital and valuable part of their study of the period, opening up doors of scholarship, travel, and engagement with primary sources. Students are strongly encouraged to use their language skills as often as possible across the curriculum; please consult the MARS coordinators if you need guidance in finding materials suitable for your level of ability.
Scholars of the medieval and Renaissance draw on a wide of disciplines for insights and approaches. Students are therefore encouraged to remember that all their course work in the social sciences, arts, and humanities can enhance their understanding of the medieval and Renaissance worlds. For example, in Introduction to Anthropology, the student might read Marcel Mauss's The Gift, which has come to play an important role in how medievalists think about all kinds of exchange in the premodern world. Hugh of St Victor, a regular canon active as a teacher outside Paris in the early twelfth century, once said: "Learn everything, and you will find that nothing is irrelevant." We agree.