Information for First-Year Students

At Carleton, the Medieval and Renaissance Studies program supports 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 with both curricular offerings and and extracurricular activities. 

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.

Introductory Courses

Arabic 185:  The Creation of Classical Arabic Literature

Art History 100: Renaissance, Revolution, and Reformation: The Life and Art of Albrecht Durer

Art History 101 & 102: Introduction to Art History

Classics 124: Roman Archaeology and Art 

English 114: Introduction to Medieval Narrative

English 125: Norse and Celtic Mythology 

English 210: Medieval and Renaissance Literature

European Studies 111: Age of Cathedrals

History 100: Disease and Its Consequences in the Middle Ages

History 100: Migration and Mobility in the Medieval North

History 131: Saints, Sinners, and Philosophers in Late Antiquity

History 133: Crisis, Creativity, and Transformation in Late Antiquity

History 137: Early Medieval Worlds

History 138: Crusades, Mission, and the Expansion 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.

Language Study

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. Knowledge of another language is a treasure and a gift. We encourage all students to use their languages as much as possible.

Other Courses

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. 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. Departments with particularly strong connections to Medieval and Renaissance Studies are Anthropology, Archaeology, Art History, Classics, English, History, Middle Eastern Studies, Philosophy, Religion, Sociology, and many foreign language and literature departments.