History Practicum: The Crusades

HIS3942.4976 & HIS3942.4978



Dr. Nina Caputo

email: ncaputo@ufl.edu

phone: (352) 273-3379

office: 007 Keene-Flint Hall

office hours: Monday 2:00-3:00, Tuesday 3:00-5:00, or by appointment

website: http://www.clas.ufl.edu/users/ncaputo/site/index.html


TA: Rebecca Devlin email: radevlin@ufl.edu

Lecture - Tuesday 7th period (1:55-2:45) @ 105 Keene-Flint

Section 4976 - Thursday 7th period (1:55-2:45) @ 105 Keene-Flint

Section 4978 – Thursday 8th period (3:00-3:50) @ 105 Keene-Flint


The History Practicum – Purpose and structure of the class

What is history? What is the difference between popular history and professional history? What skills and resources do historians need to do their work? This class is intended to introduce students to the basic goals of historical study and to the fundamental skills necessary for historical research, analysis, and writing.

Our work this semester will be divided into two parts. Half of the class hours will focus on a specific historical theme; namely, the meaning and content of medieval history and imagery in western culture. What do we mean when we talk about “The Crusades”? How does western society understand and use the Crusades? What does this history mean to us today and why is it compelling? We will consider primary documents from the middle ages, as well as contemporary historical writing, film, literature, and political discourse. The class content is intended as an introduction to significant themes in the historiography of the Crusades, not as a comprehensive survey. During the remaining course hours you will develop the practical skills necessary for succeeding in other history classes, completing the major, and conducting historical research.

Course Format

Students will attend two classes each week: a common lecture every Tuesday at 1:55 (7th period) and a precept section (Thursdays, 7th and 8th periods). While the practicum is listed as a two-credit class, students should expect a workload comparable to that of a three-credit history class (the Department decreased the overall number of credits required for the major-from 36 to 35-to account for this.)

Attendance policy and expectations

Students are expected to attend class regularly and arrive for lecture or section promptly. A heavy penalty will be imposed on students who arrive late for class. Attendance is mandatory for all sections.  Unexcused absences will be penalized in the following manner: you will be permitted two absences in the lecture and one in the precept without penalty, every absence thereafter will lower your grade by one third.

History classes are most rewarding when students interact with the texts, each other, and the instructor on a sustained basis. Readings provide the raw material for class discussion, where much of the learning takes place.  Effective class participation is therefore essential. Students can expect a respectful atmosphere in which to express their opinions.

Late work will not be accepted without penalty.  Please make every effort to apprise the instructor of adverse circumstances that affect your ability to attend class or complete assignments on time.  Official documentation is required to excuse an absence and to schedule make-up assignments. Unless otherwise noted, assignments will be collected at the end of the precept session for which they are assigned. Do not submit your work to via email – written work must be presented in hard-copy.

In writing papers, be certain to give proper credit whenever you use words, phrases, ideas, arguments, and conclusions drawn from someone else’s work.  Failure to give credit by quoting and/or footnoting is PLAGIARISM and is unacceptable. Please review the University’s honesty policy at www.dso.ufl.edu/judicial/.

Please do not hesitate to contact the instructor during the semester if you have any individual concerns or issues that need to be discussed. Students requesting classroom accommodation must first register with the Dean of Students Office (www.dso.ufl.edu/drp/).  The Dean of Students Office will provide documentation to the student who must then provide this documentation to the instructor when requesting accommodation.

Please turn off your cell phones.  If your cell phone rings or if you spend your time texting, you will be asked to leave the class and this will count as an unexcused absence.

Required Texts – available at the University Bookstore or on-line

Mary Rampolla, A Pocket Guide to Writing in History (Bedford/St. Martins; 6th edition, 2009)

Jill N. Claster, Sacred Violence: The European Crusades to the Middle East, 1095-1396

Recommended Texts

The Oxford History of the Crusades, ed. Jonathan Riley-Smith (Oxford, 1999, 2002)

Thomas Madden A Concise History of the Crusades (Rowman and Littlefield, 1999)

Christopher Tyerman, Fighting for Christendom: Holy War and the Crusades (Oxford, 2004)

David Nicole, Saladin (Osprey, 2011)

There are also readings that are available on the internet or on the course Sakai site. You are responsible for printing those and bringing them to class. Readings can be found in the ‘resource’ folder and they are organized by week.


Research project/annotated bibliography 15%

   Precept assignments 30%

Class participation and attendance 20%

First in-class exam 15%

Second in-class exam 20%

Course schedule – subject to change

Week I    

23 August                         What is history and (why) is it important?

25 August                         Discussion: The Historian's Craft

Reading: Rampolla, pp. 1-5; Sam Wineburg, "Historical Thinking and Other Unnatural Acts"; Lynn Cheney "Politics in the Classroom"


Week II   

30 August                    Introduction to the Middle Ages: Where do the Crusades Fit?

1 September               Discussion: How to Succeed in the History Major

Reading: Claster, 3-24; Christopher Tyerman, Fighting for Christendom: Holy War and the Crusades (Oxford, 2004), 95-124

Precept assignment #1


Week III  

6 September                  The Crusading Movement: Background and Significance in Christendom

8 September                  Discussion: Defining Context

Reading: Claster, 27-59;  Pope Leo IV, Forgiveness of sins for those who die in battle; Pope John VIII Indulgence for Fighting the Heathen; Marcus Bull, “Origins” from The Oxford History of the Crusades, ed. Jonathan Reilly-Smith (Oxford, 1999), 15-34. Rampolla, pp. 6-24.


Week IV  

13 September                  The Crusading Movement: Response to an Islamic Threat?

15 September                  Discussion: The Art of Summary

Reading: Pope Gregory VII Call for ‘Crusade’; 1064 Pilgrimage; Thomas Madden, “The Call” in Thomas Madden A Concise History of the Crusades (Rowman and Littlefield, 1999), 1-14;


Week V   

20 September                  The Call to Crusade: The Council of Clermont

22 September                  Discussion: Analysis and reconstruction based on primary sources

Reading: "How To Read A Primary Source", by Mark Kishlansky; The Council of Clermont, Five versions; Rampolla, 20-37

Precept assignment #2

Week VI  

27 September                         The Peoples Crusade

29 September                        Rosh ha-shannah, no classes


Reading: Claster, 34-80;  Peter the Hermit: Three Versions; The Crusaders Journey to Constantinople; Rampolla, 39-57.


Week VII 

4 October                         The Enemy Within: The Crusaders and the Jews

6 October                         Discussion: Reading and Analyzing Secondary Sources

Reading: Solomon ben Samson: The Crusaders in Mainz; Emico and the Slaughter of the Rhineland Jews; Jeremy Cohen, “A 1096 Complex? Constructing the First Crusade in Jewish Historical Memory,” Medieval and Modern” in Jews and Christians in Twelfth-Century Europe, ed. Michael Signer and John Van Engen (Notre Dame, 2001), 9-26; Robert Chazan, “The First Crusade as Reflected in the Earliest Hebrew Narrative” in Viator, vol. 29 (1998): 25-38; Rampolla, 58-65.

Precept assignment #3



11 October                      The Kingdom of Jerusalem

13 October                       Discussion: Preparing for history exams

Reading: Claster, 80-118; Crusaders’ Letters; Nikita Elisséeff “The Reaction of the Syrian Muslims after the Foundation of the First Latin Kingdom of Jerusalem” in The Crusades, ed. Thomas Madden (Blackwell,1988), 221-232; Usmah Ibn Munqidh, Autobiography, Excepts on the Franks; William of Tyre, Godfrey of Bouillon Become Defender of the Holy Sepulcher; Rampolla, 80-118

Precept assignment #4


Week IX  

18 October                       In class Midterm Exam – bring blue books!

20 October                       The Second Crusade

Reading: Claster 131-161

Week X   

25 October                       Crusades in the Twelfth Century

27 October                       Discussion: What is a Usable Past?

Reading: Claster, 163-195; William of Tyre, Latin Disarray; Roger Hoveden, The Fall of Jerusalem; Pope Eugenius III, Call for the Second Crusade; Bernard of Clairvaux, Apologia for the Second Crusade; Thomas Madden, “The Rise of the Latin Kingdom in Jerusalem and the Second Crusade” in A Concise History of the Crusades (Rowman and Littlefield, 1999), 39-63; Rampolla, 66-84


Week XI

1 November                     The Crusading Orders

3 November                     Discussion: Library sessions meet in front of the circulation desk in Library West

ReadingBernard of Clairvaux In Praise of the New Knighthood; Tom Licence, “The Military Orders as Monastic Orders” in Crusades 4 (2005) 39-53; Rampolla, 92-128

Week XII

8 November                   Finding Heretics in Christendom

10 November                 Discussion: Formulating research questions

Reading: Norman Housley, “Crusades against Christians: Their Origins and Early Development, c. 1000-1216” in The Crusades, ed. Thomas Madden (Blackwell,1988),71-97; Accusations against the Albigensians;

 Precept assignment #5


15 November                   The Fourth Crusade: West versus East

17 November                   Discussion: The Crusades Today – (Why) Is History Important?

Reading: Claster,201-235; Robert of Clari, The Capture of Constantinople; Nicetas Choniates, The Sack of Constantinople; Pope Innocent III, Reprimand of Papal Legate; Thomas Madden, “Outside and Inside the Fourth Crusade” in International History Review 17:4 (1995), 726-743.

Precept assignment #6

Week XIV

22 November                   The Reconquista

25 November                   Thanksgiving – no classes!

Reading: Claster, 267-300


Week XV

29 November                     Holy War and Just War

1 December                     Discussion: Medieval Holdovers: The Crusades in Hollywood

Reading: Rodney Stark, God’s Battalions: The Case for the Crusades (Harper Collins, 2009), 1-9

Precept assignment #7

Week XVI

6 December In class Midterm Exam – bring blue books!


                Grading Scale:

A = 100-92.5                 C = 77.4-72.5

A-  = 92.4-90                C- = 72.4-70

B+ =89.9-87.5               D+ = 69.9-67.5

B = 87.4-82.5                D = 67.4-62.5

B-   = 82.4-80               D- = 62.4-60

C+ = 79.9–77.5              Fail = Below 60