Small class sizes and lots of personal interaction with faculty who are experts in the field are hallmarks of New College’s Medieval and Renaissance Studies AOC, which features a wide variety of courses. We focus on the critical period in Western history between the end of antiquity and the birth of modernity.
Situated between the end of antiquity and the birth of modernity, the medieval and Renaissance period is one of the most significant in Western history. This critical period marks a time of vast and exciting transformations that saw the creation of many of the institutions and habits upon which our modern world and worldview rest.
From the writings of St. Augustine, St. Francis, Thomas Aquinas, Chaucer, Milton, Spenser and Malory to explorations of Renaissance and Reformation Europe, troubadour love poems and the historical implications of the Black Death, New College’s Medieval and Renaissance Studies AOC offers the breadth and depth you would expect from one of the country’s leading liberal arts colleges. Thanks to our growing program in Chinese Language and Culture, you have the opportunity to expand your study of the period to Asia as well as Europe.
The exciting transformations of the Middle Ages and Renaissance sparked the creation of many of the institutions and habits upon which our world and worldview rest. Study of the period provides students with the valuable perspective on the contemporary world that can best be acquired at a distance.
In some cases, students pursue their interests in the medieval and Renaissance periods in concentrations such as Literature or History. The interdisciplinary approach of the Medieval & Renaissance Studies AOC, however, recognizes that the modern division into academic disciplines does not always 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.
You will also enjoy small classes and plenty of individualized attention and mentoring from our faculty, all of whom are experts in their fields and who hold PhDs from such leading graduate institutions as Oxford, Princeton, Yale and UCLA. In fact, our faculty within Medieval and Renaissance Studies is so strong that one faculty member was recently awarded a Mellon Foundation Post-Doctoral Rome Prize while another earned an Excellence in Teaching Award from the American Philological Society.
A Program Rich in History
Perhaps nothing better symbolizes the importance and rich history of our Medieval and Renaissance Studies program than the Biennial New College Conference on Medieval & Renaissance Studies. First held in 1978, the conference covers all aspects of the Middle Ages and Renaissance. Spread over three days in March on even-numbered years, the conference typically features more than 130 presenters and more than 300-350 attending scholars from throughout the United States, Europe and other parts of the world. Encompassing European and Mediterranean history, literature, art, and religion from the fourth to the 17th centuries, the conference’s broad historical and disciplinary scope makes it particularly hospitable to interdisciplinary work, and it is internationally recognized as one of the preeminent venues for researchers working in Italian medieval and Renaissance studies. Students are able to attend the conference and its sessions for free.
Many of our alumni have gone on to prestigious graduate schools such as University of Oxford, UNC at Chapel Hill and NYU. They are studying everything from Viking legal codes to manuscript digitization and more.
Students in our Medieval & Renaissance Studies AOC 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
At least three classes or tutorials should be in one of these four areas in order 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, as well as at least 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. As with all AOCs at New College, a senior thesis is required.
Here’s a list of recent course offerings in Medieval & Renaissance Studies:
Chaucer: Imaginary Persons and Narrative Form
The Gothic Cathedral
The History of Music in the Middle Ages and Renaissance
Imagining and Reimagining Early England
Medieval Philosophy and Religious Thought
Renaissance and Reformation Europe
Twelfth Century Renaissance
The World of Saint Francis
For detailed requirements, check out our General Catalog.
For a complete list of courses, click here.
Michelle DiPietro is an English teacher at academia Sprach- und Lernzentrum in Switzerland. She earned her bachelor’s degree from New College and her master’s degree in medieval studies from the University of Oxford. She is working on a contribution to a forthcoming academic volume on medievalism and modern digital gaming, and is a CELTA-certified English language teacher. At New College she served as co-editor of GOUIE literary magazine and the New College AcademicJournal. She has also taught SAT preparedness to high school students and gave presentations on the academic writing process at conferences in the U.S. and Ireland. She founded the Galway, Ireland, chapter of National Novel Writing Month in 2009 and led weekly motivational writing groups for the marathon writing event. She has experience with special collections and rare books libraries, archives and museum collections. Michelle is a wonderful example of the breadth of opportunities offered at New College and the incredible achievements our students accomplish while working closely with faculty.
New College is proud of our many gradautes in Medieval & Renaissance Studies. Here is a look at what some of them are up to these days:
• Cindy Hill Ford is an attorney and owner of a private law practice in Sarasota. She earned her master’s degree from Oxford and her law degree from Florida State University.
• Diane Kamer is senior e-commerce and SEO copywriter at Hanesbrands Inc.
• Joseph Murphy serves in the foreign service at the U.S. Embassy in Pretoria, South Africa.
• Michelle Ippolito earned her MBA from New York University and is a costing administrator for ActiveCore Technologies.
• Bill Rosenberg received his M.A. in anthropology from NYU and is currently acomputer networking consultant in the Dallas/Fort Worth area.
Sample of Graduate Schools Attended by NCF Students in Medieval & Renaissance Studies
• Oxford University
|Each academic experience builds toward your senior thesis project. It’s required for graduation, and our students tell us that while it’s demanding, it’s also one of the most rewarding experiences of their lives. Here are some thesis projects in Medieval & Renaissance Studies:
“Rex Perpetuus Norwegiae: Lingship and Conversion in Eleventh-Century Norway” by Danielle Fasig
“Romanization and Reform: Liturgy as a Mechanism of Change in Leon-Castile in the Eleventh and Early Twelfth Centuries” by Crawford J. Bennett, Jr.
“For the Love of the Gods: The Rhetoric and Reality of Religious Authority in Late Antiquity” by Christopher Koel Blexrud
“Bohemond and The Byzantines: The Political Career of Bohemond of Taranto, 1096-1108” by Kate Weber
“Imagining Heaven and Earth: Cosmology and the Irish Tradition in Saltair Na Rann” by Michelle DiPietro
“Jordanes’ Getica: Groundwork for a New Translation” by Danielle Reid
“Reconsidering Humanism: The Life and Works of Poggio Bracciolini” by Stefanie Simoniello
“Imagery of Adam and Eve from Early Christian Art through the Reformation: The Purpose and Justification of Religious Art throughout the Middle Ages” by Gail Walton
“Joan of Arc and Medieval Traditions of Combative Women: Martyrs, Secular Heroines, and Crusaders” by Colleen Beck
“The Development of Irish Monasticism in the Fifth and Sixth Century” by Diana Gordic
“Eye Imagery in the Poetry of John Donne” by Cindy Ann Hill
“The Redemption of the Magdalene: An Erotic Approach to God” by Vicki Marie Petrick
“The Tournament in History, in Literature, and as a Social Ritual” by William Tyler Bevington, Jr.
“Conquest and Rule of Valencia by El Cid and Jaime I” by Margareta S. Knauff
“Boccaccio, Chaucer, and Christine de Pizan: Three Medieval Views of Women” by Rebecca Shepardson
“Parzival and the Grail” by Michael G. Christy
“St. Foy of Conques: A Study of the Cult of a Saint in Medieval France” by Michelle Ippolito
“Love and War in Medieval Spain: Muslim and Christian Modes of Perception in the Courtley Tradition” by Ramon Mujica
“The Celts: A Cultural Study” by William Abe Rosenberg
“The Medieval English View of Death” by Elizabeth Joyce Rubin
“The Thomistic Idea of Law: A Study of the Interaction of Philosophy and History in the Thirteenth Century” by Ruth Dreessen
“Two Medieval Women: The Transformation of Courtesy from an Aristocratic Ideal in the Courts of Eleanor of Aquitaine to a Social Ethic in the Poetry of Christine de Pisan” by Alyson R. Haley
“Erasmus’ Relationship with Late Medieval Culture” by Diane Scaro
The Jane Bancroft Cook Library at New College is home to a broad assortment of books, scholarly journals, national and international databases, and other print and electronic media related to Medieval and Renaissance Studies and is available to students throughout the year. Of particular interest to medieval and Renaissance scholars, in recent years the library has received a number of manuscript leaves dating from the tenth to the sixteenth centuries, including a sixteenth-century manuscript prayer book, thanks to the generosity of Lawrence Schoenberg and Barbara Brizdle of Longboat Key, Florida.
New College Medieval & Renaissance Studies students have free access to the Ringing Museum of Art, which is located next door to campus. The museum offers 21 galleries of European paintings as well as Cypriot antiquities and Asian, American and contemporary art. It also features an extensive collection of pre-modern European art and has recently hosted exhibits on Veronese, Rubens and other artists of the medieval and Renaissance periods.
The Biennial New College Conference on Medieval & Renaissance Studies draws top scholars in history, literature, art history, philosophy and other fields from across the U.S. and throughout the world. Students have the opportunity to meet one-on-one with the scholars and attend the conference presentations.
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Anemoi (“The Winds”) is New College’s journal of pre-modern studies. Students participate as editors, reviewers and contributors with content covering the classical, medieval and early modern periods.