Department of History
ETHNICITY IN THE MIDDLE AGES
Class will meet M 3:00-6:00 in CBD 212
Assignments.No other term in the whole field of social studies is more ambiguous, yet more potent, than ethnicity. Today, we speak of ethnicity as a mode of action and of representation, for the politicization of ethnic identities continues to be a defining characteristic of the early twenty-first century. Was ethnicity in the medieval past as embedded in socio-political relations as it is now? This course will focus upon the history of medieval ethnicities and, more specifically, of ethnic formation (ethnogenesis). Many modern European nations trace their origins to the Middle Ages and the medieval history plays an important role in the construction of the national image. Through reading and discussion of ethnic identity, ethno-centrism, and ethnogenesis, we will come to some understanding of ethnicity in the past, as a form of social and political mobilization.
The course has three objectives. The first is to introduce you to some of the major issues of medieval history: migration and ethnogenesis; medieval law; language and ethnic identity; kingdoms and communities; the archaeology of medieval communities. These issues should provide a broad understanding of important trends in medieval history which will enable you to formulate more specialized research projects during graduate work in European history. Such a broad understanding can also serve as the foundation for preparation in undergraduate teaching. The second objective is to present the continuing, often heated historiographic debates surrounding these issues. Students will read some "classic" texts, as well as more current literature, reflecting recent historical perspectives. The final objective will be to afford you an opportunity to develop and improve skills in bibliographic development and most important oral and written skills in the critical evaluation of historical texts.
EvaluationThere will be four review essays. Three of them will analyze the assigned readings for three of the seminar topics. You will have some choice in your selection. Each essay should be between two and four typed pages and each is worth 50 points for a total of 150. One review essay will deal with a larger body of literature and take the form of a more sustained historiographic essay analyzing at least four related texts (assigned texts may be included). This essay should be at least ten to twelve pages long, with appropriate bibliography and notes (using the Chicago Manual of Style). Within the first month of the course, you must consult with me on selection of topic and bibliography. This essay is worth 100 points. In addition, there will be two short essays focusing on the historical substance of two of the seminar's topics. You will have some choice of which two topics to select. The essay will answer a broad historical question, constructed similarly to questions found on M.A. or Ph.D. exams. Each essay is worth 25 points for a total of 50 points. You are expected to have read the assigned reading thoroughly and critically for each meeting. Before each meeting you should prepare several questions (at least three) pertaining to the text and the author. These should be submitted weekly before every meeting, via e-mail. A maximum of 50 points can be earned for this preparation and your presentation. Finally, your participation in class discussion is worth 50 points.
REQUIREDThe total number of points to be earned is 400. Your grade will be the percentage of these points that you accumulated during this course. Percentage equivalents to letter grades are as following: A=100-90; B+=89-87%; B=86-80%; C+=79-77.
Banks, Ethnicity Thomas Hylland Eriksen, "The cultural contexts of ethnic differences" (on reserve) Carter G. Bentley, "Ethnicity and practice" (on reserve) Anthony D. Smith, "National identities: modern and medieval?" (on reserve) Walter Pohl, "Conceptions of ethnicity in Early Medieval studies" (on reserve)
Curta, Making of the Slavs Dick Harrison, "Dark Age migrations and subjective ethnicity: the example of the Lombards" (on reserve) Gisella Ripoll Lopez, "The arrival of the Visigoths in Hispania: population problems and the process of acculturation," in Strategies of Distinction, pp. 153-188 Thomas Wallerström, "On ethnicity as a methodological problem in historical archaeology" (on reserve)
Kim, Aliens in Medieval Law Roger Collins, "Law and ethnic identity in the Western kingdoms in the fifth and sixth centuries," in Medieval Europeans, pp. 1-23 Wolfgang Liebeschuetz, "Citizen status and law in the Roman Empire and the Visigothic kingdom," in Strategies of Distinction, pp. 131-152 Patrick J. Geary, "Ethnic identity as a situational construct in the Early Middle Ages" (on reserve)
Matthew Townend, "Viking-age England as a bilingual society" (on reserve John Hines, "The becoming of the English: identity, material culture and language in early Anglo-Saxon England" (on reserve) Florin Curta, "Slavs in Fredegar and Paul the Deacon: medieval gens or 'scourge of God'?" (on reserve) Jorg Jarnut, "Nomen et gens: political and linguistic aspects of personal names between the third and the eighth century," in Strategies of Distinction, pp. 113-116. Patrick Amory, "Names, ethnic identity, and community in fifth- and sixth-century Burgundy" (on reserve)
Dunbabin, France in the Making Timothy Reuter, "The making of England and Germany, 850-1050: points of comparison and difference," in Medieval Europeans, pp. 53-70. Patrick Wormald, "'Engla Lond': the making of an allegiance" (on reserve) D. Zancani, "The notion of 'Lombard' and 'Lombardy" in the Middle Ages," in Medieval Europeans, pp. 217-232 Teresa Hankey, "Civic pride versus feelings for Italy in the age of Dante," in Medieval Europeans, pp. 196-216.
Geary, The Myth of the Nations Anthony D. Smith, "National identity and myths of ethnic descent" (on reserve) Herwig Wolfram, "Origo et religio. Ethnic traditions and literature in early medieval texts" (on reserve) Elisabeth A. R. Brown, "The Trojan origins of the French: the commencement of a myth's demise," in Medieval Europeans, pp. 103-118 Simon Franklin, "The invention of Rus(sia)(s): some remarks on medieval and modern perceptions of continuity and discontinuity, in Medieval Europeans, pp. 180-195 Brian Webster, "John of Fordun and the independent identity of the Scots," in Medieval Europeans, pp. 85-102.
- Berend, At the Gates of Christendom
- De Carpenter, "Minorities in medieval Spain: the legal status of Jews and Muslims in the Siete Partidas of King Alfonso" (on reserve)
- D. Hanlon, “Islam and stereotypical discourse in medieval Castile and León (social hierarchy, racial purity and dynastic rivalry in thirteenth- and fourteenth-century Spain),” Journal of Medieval and Early Modern Studies 30 (2000), no. 3, 479-504 (available online).
- S. C. Rowell, "A pagan's word. Lithuanian diplomatic procedures, 1200-1385" (on reserve)
- Leonid S. Chekin, "The godless Ishmaelites: the image of the steppe in eleventh-thirteenth-century Rus'" (on reserve)
- Bartlett, The Making of Europe
- David Harry Miller, "Ethnogenesis and religious revitalization beyond the Roman frontier: the case of Frankish origins" (on reserve)
- Paul Stephenson, "The Byzantine frontier at the Lower Danube in the late tenth and eleventh centuries" (on reserve)
- Norman J. Housley, "Frontier societies and the crusading movement in the late Middle Ages" (on reserve)
- McKee, Uncommon Dominion
- Ronnie Ellenblum, “Colonization activities in the Frankish East: the example of Castellum Regis (Mi’ilya)” (on reserve)
- Benedykt Zientara, "Walloons in Silesia in the 12th and 13th centuries." (on reserve)
- Michael Faletra, “Narrating the matter of Britain: Geoffrey of Monmouth and the Norman colonization of Wales,” The Chaucer Review 35 (2000), no. 1, 60-85 (available online)