Medieval & Renaissance Studies
This interdisciplinary program is focused on the critical period in Western history between the end of antiquity and the birth of modernity. The medieval and Renaissance period is a period of vast and exciting transformations which saw the creation of many of the institutions and habits upon which our world and worldview rest. Study of the period will provide students with the valuable perspective on the contemporary scene which can only be acquired at a considerable distance. The biennial New College Conference on Medieval and Renaissance Studies held every two years on campus offers students the opportunity to hear the most recent work in a variety of fields, encounter a broad range of critical methods, and gain valuable insight into the study of the past.
In many cases, students will be best served by pursuing medieval and Renaissance interests in concentrations such as Literature or History. An interdisciplinary approach, however, recognizes that the modern division into academic disciplines does not adequately reflect European culture during the period, when theology might be argued in verse, or in painting, and when history, literature and religion were inextricably entwined.
Students are encouraged to seek both a broad historical and cultural knowledge of the period as a whole and knowledge in depth of some important segments of it, by taking appropriate courses and tutorials. To ensure breadth, students must take at least one Medieval/Renaissance class in each of the following areas: (1) art history/music, (2) history, (3) literature, (4) philosophy/religion. At least three classes or tutorials should be in one of the four areas, to provide the student with a disciplinary “base.” Students should also take at least two courses in related fields such as classical antiquity, early Judaism and Christianity, Byzantium, classical Islam or the 17th Century. Students must take three semesters of a foreign language. Normally, this will be Latin, but for some programs, at the sponsor’s discretion, another language might be substituted. Finally, a senior thesis in some area of Medieval and Renaissance Studies is required.
For program requirements, click here for the General Catalog.
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