Medieval and Renaissance Studies

Dante Alighieri


The Medieval and Renaissance periods (c. 500-1600 CE) in Europe and the Mediterranean world saw the transformation of the Roman Empire and the emergence of European nation-states; the rise of two world religions (Christianity and Islam) and the fragmentation of Christianity in the Reformation era; the rise of European exploration and imperialism from the age of the crusades to the age of discovery; revolutions in political theory, theology, and science; and unparalleled achievement in art and literature, ranging from Gothic cathedrals to the works of Chaucer, Dante, and Shakespeare.  Students exploring this period through their work in the Medieval and Renaissance Studies minor (MARS) will have the opportunity both to study the foundations of familiar aspects of modern Western culture (universities, parliamentary government, the novel) and to experience the more exotic elements of the period. 

Students pursuing the minor have the opportunity to take classes across a number of departments and programs, in order to achieve a rich and multifaceted understanding of this complex era.  At a local level, those in the minor will be able to take advantage of the vast collections of medieval and renaissance art and material culture at the Art Institute of Chicago and the Newberry Library. On an international level, those in the minor will be able to apply their course work from study abroad programs, especially the ACM’s London and Florence program. (Your MARS advisors are more than happy to talk with you about study abroad options!)

(The caption above is Dante Alighieri Reading from the Divine Comedy, painting by Domenico di Michelino, 1465; credit: Alinari-Mansell/Art Resource, New York)

Courses Offered 2015-16:

Fall 2015

Art History 211: Medieval Art  (MW 1-2:20PM)

English 210: Ancient and Medieval Literature (MWF 10-10:50AM)

English 211: Renaissance and Eighteenth-Century Literature (TR 8-9:30AM)

English 220 / Theater 236: Shakespeare (F 1-3:50PM)

English 302: John Donne (MWF 9-9:50AM)

History 205 : Medieval History (MWF 10-10:50AM)

History 322 : Roman and Medieval Christianity (WF 1-2:20PM)

Theater 230: History of Drama I, Greeks to Shakespeare (TR 2:30-3:50PM)

Spring 2016

English 210: Ancient and Medieval Literature (MWF 10-10:50AM and MWF 11-11:50AM)

English 211: Renaissance and Eighteenth-Century Literature (TR 8-9:30AM)

English 401: John Milton (MWF 9-9:50AM)

History 204: Roman History (MWF 9-9:50AM)

History 243: Crusade and Holy War in Medieval Europe  (MWF 10-10:50AM)

Medieval and Renaissance Studies News

  • Barbara Newman, an expert on medieval religious culture, discussed how today’s heart transplant patients live the literary “exchange of hearts” motif.

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