Rachel Fulton
Department of History
The University of Chicago

Winter 1998


The purpose of this colloquium is to introduce students to a range of topical and methodological issues current in the historiography of medieval Europe. The topics for this quarter will include the definition of medieval studies as a field of inquiry and the analytical limits of this periodization; the applicability of the category "popular" to the study of medieval religion, including in particular problems of heresy and persecution; the structure of medieval society and the validity of the concept "feudalism"; and the interaction of oral and literate communities during the eleventh- and twelfth-century "rebirth of literacy" (the phrase is Brian Stock's).

The Middle Ages as an Historiographical Problem (Weeks 1-2)

January 5

  • Partner, Nancy. "Making Up Lost Time: Writing on the Writing of History," Speculum 61/1 (1986): 90-117.
  • Speigel, Gabrielle M. The Past as Text: The Theory and Practice of Medieval Historiography. Baltimore, 1997.
  • Stock, Brian. Listening for the Text: On the Uses of the Past. Baltimore, 1990.

January 12
  • Van Engen, John. "The Christian Middle Ages as an Historiographical Problem." American Historical Review 91 (1986): 519-552.
  • Van Engen, John, ed. The Past and Future of Medieval Studies. Notre Dame, 1994.
  • Damico, Helen, and Joseph B. Zavadil, eds. Medieval Scholarship: Biographical Studies on the Formation of a Discipline. Volume 1: History. New York, 1995.
  • Bloch, R. Howard, and Stephen G. Nichols, eds. Medievalism and the Modernist Temper. Baltimore, 1996.
  • Kammen, Michael, ed. The Past Before Us: Contemporary Historical Writing in the United States. Ithaca, 1980.
  • Cantor, Norman. Inventing the Middle Ages: The Lives, Works, and Ideas of the Great Medievalists of the Twentieth Century. New York, 1991.

Heresy as "Popular Religion" (Weeks 3-4)

January 19

  • Le Roy Ladurie, Emmanuel. Montaillou: The Promised Land of Error. Trans. Barbara Bray. London, 1978.
  • Boyle, Leonard E. "Montaillou revisited: Mentalité and Methodology." In Raftis, J.A, ed. Pathways to Medieval Peasants, pp. 119-140. Toronto, 1981.
  • Davis, Natalie Zemon. "Les conteurs de Montaillou," Annales: ESC 34 (1979): 61-73.
  • R. Rosaldo. "From the Door of His Tent; the Fieldworker and the Inquisitor." In Clifford, J. and G.E. Marcus, eds., Writing Culture; The Poetics and Politics of Ethnography. Berkeley and Los Angeles, 1986.
  • Ginzburg, Carlo. "The Inquisitor as Anthropologist," in Clues, Myths, and the Historical Method. Trans. John and Anne Tedeschi. Baltimore, 1989.
  • Bourdieu, Pierre. Language and Symbolic Power. Trans. Gino Raymond and Matthew Adamson. Cambridge, Mass., 1991.

January 26
  • Grundmann, Herbert. Religious Movements in the Middle Ages. Trans. Steven Rowan. Notre Dame, 1995.
  • Schmitt, Jean-Claude. The Holy Greyhound: Guinefort, Healer of Children since the Thirteenth Century. Trans. Martin Thom. Cambridge, 1983.
  • Moore, R.I. The Origins of European Dissent. Toronto, 1994.
  • Lambert, Malcolm. Medieval Heresy: Popular Movements from the Gregorian Reform to the Reformation. 2nd ed. Oxford, 1992.
  • Klaniczay, Gábor. The Uses of Supernatural Power: The Transformation of Popular Religion in Medieval and Early Modern Europe. Ed. Karen Margolis, trans. Susan Singerman. Princeton, 1990.
  • Gurevich, Aron. Medieval Popular Culture: Problems of Belief and Perception. Trans. János M. Bak and Paul A. Hollingsworth. Cambridge, 1988.

Literacy (Weeks 5-6)

February 2

  • Stock, Brian. The Implications of Literacy: Written Language and Models of Interpretation in the Eleventh and Twelfth Centuries. Princeton, 1983.
  • McKitterick, Rosamond, ed. The Uses of Literacy in Early Medieval Europe. Cambridge, 1990.
  • McKitterick, Rosamond. The Carolingians and the Written Word. Cambridge, 1989.
  • Thompson, J.W. The Literacy of the Laity in the Middle Ages. New York and London, 1939 and 1960.
  • Sharpe, Richard. "Latin in Everyday Life." In Mantello, F.A.C., and A.G. Rigg, eds. Medieval Latin: An Introduction and Bibliographic Guide. Washington, D.C., 1996. pp. 315-341.
  • Bauml, Frank. "Varieties and Consequences of Medieval Literacy and Illiteracy." Speculum 5 (1980): 237-265.
  • Reiter, Eric. "The Reader as Author of the User-Produced Manuscript: Reading and Rewriting Popular Latin Theology in the Late Middle Ages." Viator 27 (1996): 151-169.

February 9
  • Clanchy, Michael T. From Memory to Written Record, England 1066-1307. 2nd ed. Oxford, 1993.
  • Moore, R.I. The Formation of a Persecuting Society: Power and deviance in Western Europe, 950-1250. Oxford, 1987.
  • Biller, Peter and Anne Hudson, eds. Heresy and Literacy, 1000-1530. Cambridge, 1994.
  • Murray, Alexander. Reason and Society in the Middle Ages. Oxford, 1978.
  • Southern, R.W. The Making of the Middle Ages. New Haven, 1953.

Memory (Weeks 7-8)

February 16

  • Carruthers, Mary. The Book of Memory: A Study of Memory in Medieval Culture. Cambridge, 1990.
  • Coleman, Janet. Ancient and Medieval Memories: Studies in the Reconstruction of the Past. Cambridge, 1992.
  • LeGoff, Jacques. History and Memory. Trans. Steven Rendall and Elizabeth Claman. New York, 1992.

February 23
  • Geary, Patrick. Phantoms of Remembrance: Memory and Oblivion at the End of the First Millennium. Princeton, N.J., 1994.
  • Remensnyder, Amy. Remembering Kings Past: Monastic Foundation Legends in Medieval Southern France. Cornell, 1995.
  • Remensnyder, Amy. "Legendary Treasure at Conques: Reliquaries and Imaginative Memory." Speculum 71/4 (October 1996): 884-906.
  • Head, Thomas. "Art and Artifice in Ottonian Trier." Gesta 36/1 (1997):65-82.
  • Heffernan, Thomas. Sacred Biography: Saints and their Biographers in the Middle Ages. New York and Oxford, 1988.

"Feudal" Society (Weeks 9-10)

March 2

  • Bloch, Marc. Feudal Society. Trans. L.A. Manyon. 2 vols. 1961.
  • Duby, George. The Chivalrous Society. Trans. Cynthia Postan. London, 1977.
  • Ganshof, F. L. Feudalism. London, 1961.
  • Brown, Elizabeth A.R. "The Tyranny of a Construct: Feudalism and the Historian of Medieval Europe." American Historical Review 79 (1974): 1063-1088.

March 9
  • Reynolds, Susan. Fiefs and Vassals: The Medieval Evidence Reinterpreted. New York and Oxford, 1994.
  • Magnou-Nortier, E. "Feudalism in crisis. An exposition of Susan Reynolds's thesis as stated in 'Fiefs and vassals', followed by a discussion." Revue Historique 296 (Oct-Dec. 1996): 253-348.
  • "Debate: The 'Feudal Revolution." Comments by Dominique Barthélemy and Stephen D. White. Past and Present 152 (August 1996): 196-223.
  • Cheyette, Fredric. Review of Fiefs and Vassals by Susan Reynolds. Speculum 71/4 (October 1996): 998-1006.

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