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Reading List
Reading all or parts of the selections on this list will allow students to compare and integrate information across academic disciplines. Each reading can be used to look at problems from literary criticism, education, or history, and to discover what scholars in these and other fields are saying. Students planning to go on to graduate school in any humanities discipline will find that these topics are being addressed across fields of study. Those who are interested in being educators at any level, including elementary education, will find new ways of looking at familiar texts and events, and essential concepts for understanding how curriculum is designed and why it changes. Those simply interested in medieval or early modern topics will find fascinating articles for their bibliographies and comments to integrate into their papers. For more information regarding follow-up references, refer to the Requirements links, above. For the articles themselves, go to the Whitworth Library and sign out the xeroxed articles listed by topic and level below to read on site. We would be thrilled to add articles you suggest that answer or update these selections.

The topics are cross-disciplinary. Each question or topic includes articles at levels one through four, reflecting the amount of information you would need to understand and feel comfortable with the reading. If the information in articles at level one is new to you, you might want to start at that level. You will want to work through the articles more or less in order of difficulty, but it is your choice as to which level seems appropriate.

Topics, with readings arranged in levels one through four:

Defining the Medieval and Early Modern Periods

  1. Heather Dubrow and Frances E. Dolan, “The Term Early Modern,” Publications of the Modern Language Association of America 109, no. 5 (Oct., 1994) 1025-1027:
  2. Lester K. Little, “Cypress Beams, Kufic Script, and Cut Stone: Rebuilding the Master Narrative of European History,” Speculum 4 (2004) 909-928.
  3. See these short selections in:

    Dunn, Ross E., ed. The New World History: A Teacher’s Companion. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2000.
    Start with Dunn’s article, pp. 394-376. Read further in this volume:
    Stearns, Peter N. “Periodization in World History Teaching: Identifying the Big Changes,” pp. 362-376;
    Bentley, Jerry H. “Cross-Cultural Interactions and Periodization in World History,” pp. 376-384;
    Green, William A. “Periodizing World History,” pp. 384-393.

Reading Material and Documentary Evidence, levels 1-4

  1. Ward-Perkins, Bryan. The Fall of Rome and the End of Civilization. Oxford University Press, 2005, pp. 87-120.
    Lerner, Gerda. Why History Matters: Life and Thought. Oxford University Press, 1997, pp. 113-128.
  2. Donner, Fred M. Narratives of Islamic Origins: The Beginnings of Islamic Historical Writings. Princeton: The Darwin Press, Inc., 1998, pp. 1-31.
    Lerner, Gerda. Why History Matters: Life and Thought. Oxford University Press, 1997, pp. 146-198.
  3. Tyerman, Christopher. The Invention of the Crusades. University of Toronto Press, 1998, pp. 1-7. Armstrong, Karen.
    A History of God: The 4,000-Year Quest of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. London: William Heinemann Ltd., 1993, pp. xvii-xxiii.
  4. Bell, Catherine. Ritual: Perspectives and Dimensions. Oxford University Press, 1997, pp. 1-22.
    Haberman, Arthur, and Adrian Shubert. “The Teaching of European History: The Next Task.” Perspectives (Oct. 2005) 47-48.
    Donner, Fred M., transl. The History of al-Tabari: The Conquest of Arabia. Albany: State University of New York Press, 1993, pp. v-vi and xi-xiii.

Problems of Ethnic Identity and Nationalism, levels 3-4 only.

It will be difficult to understand this section if you are not familiar with the issues covered in the first two categories, above, or with basic questions and vocabulary in the field of gender studies (see below).

1. “The Cultural Construction of Scotland” William C. Carol, ed. William Shakespeare, Macbeth. Texts and Contexts. Bedford/St. Martin’s, 1999, pp. 271-99.

2. Rubies, Joan-Pau. “The Practice of Ethnography: Indian Customs and Castes,” in Travel and Ethnology in the Renaissance: South India Through European Eyes, 1250-1625. Cambridge University Press, 2000, pp. 201-222.

Questions of Gender and the Body

1. Sugano, Douglas I. “Apologies for the Magdalene: Devotion, Iconoclasm, and the N-Town Plays.” Research Opportunities in Renaissance Drama 33 (1994) 165-176.

4. Fenster, Thelma S. and Clare A. Lees. “Gender in Debate from the Early Middle Ages to the Renaissance.”
Matter, Ann E. “The Undebated Debate: Gender and the Image of God in Medieval Theology.”

Connections Among Literacy, Liturgy, and the Visual Arts, 4
These books are places to start on this topic, with bibliography that will take students further into the field. For all of them, students should read the introduction, and then go on to any chapters that suit their interests or the time period they have chosen to study:

  1. Level One: Peter C. Jupp and Clare Gittings, Death in England. An Illustrated History (Manchester University Press, 1999). Howard Colvin, Architecture and the Afterlife (Yale, 1991). Michael Evans, The Death of Kings. Royal Deaths in Medieval England (Hambledon Continum, 2003).

  2. Level Two: Colin Morris, The Sepulchre of Christ and the Medieval West (Oxford, 2005). Catherine Bell, Ritual. Perspectives and Dimensions (Oxford, 1997). John Dillenberger, Images and Relics. Theological Perceptions and Visual Images in Sixteenth-Century Europe (Oxford, 1999).

  3. Level Three:  Paul F. Bradshaw, The Search for the Origins of Christian Worship (Oxford, 1992). The uber-text that everyone refers to in this field is John F. Baldovin, S.J. The Urban Character of Christian Worship (no. 228 of the Orientalia Christiana Analecta series that is published by Pontificum Institutum Studiorum Orientalium in Rome, 1987).

  4. Level Four: Cynthia Werner and Duran Bell, Values and Valuables. From the Sacred to the Symbolic (Altamira Press, 2004).

Investigating the Affective in Medieval Cultures, 3-4

3. Hopenwasser, Nanda. “A Performance Artist and Her Performance Text: Margery Kemp on Tour,” in Performance and Transformation: New Approaches to Late Medieval Spirituality, ed. Mary Suydam and Joanna E. Ziegler. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1999, pp. 97-131.

4. Shuger, Debora. “The ‘I’ of the Beholder. Renaissance Mirrors and the Reflexive Mind,” in Renaissance Culture and the Everyday, ed.