Course Details

HIST 135: Making and Breaking Institutions in the Middle Ages: Structure, Culture, Corruption, and Reform

From churches and monasteries to universities, guilds, and governmental administrations, the medieval world was full of institutions. They emerged, by accident or design, to do particular kinds of work and to benefit particular persons or groups. These institutions faced hard questions like those we ask of our institutions today: How best to structure, distribute, and control power and authority? What is the place of the institution in the wider world? How is a collective identity and ethos achieved, maintained, or transformed? How does the institution as a material community relate to the institution’s mission and culture, the institution as a concept/ideal? What characterizes good and bad leadership? Where does corruption and abuse of power come from and what motivates and advances reform? This course will explore these questions through discussion of case studies and primary sources from the medieval world as well as theoretical studies of these topics.
6 credits; HI, QRE, IS; Not offered 2023-2024