History 364 (201) Europe in the Late Middle Ages
From a world of peasant communities dominated by a small aristocratic landed elite, Europe after 1000 underwent a variety of intense alterations. Population grew, cultivated area increased, and urbanization and innovative commerce restructured economic and social life. Through local agricultural projects, incorporated towns, organized universities, political representative bodies, centralized monarchies, and the international institutions of the Roman Catholic Church, Europe began self-conscious and deliberate expansion. When disasters struck in the fourteenth century, this society painfully recovered through innovative responses that once more reshaped its civilization. Europe in the Late Middle Ages examines various aspects of these transformations through selected primary and secondary sources. Attention will be given to medieval historiography – how our understanding of the Middle Ages has changed over time, in particular regarding the crusades, the medieval family, and socio/political organization. Assigned readings most weeks include a survey text, scholarly journal articles, and primary sources. The class meets twice a week, incorporating both lectures and discussions. Final grades are based on the essays and written assignments (about 50%), class activities and participation (about 10%), a midterm quiz and a final exam (about 40%).