Kershaw, Paul

Anglo-Saxon England

HIEU
3141
Undergraduate
Spring
2017

This course traces the social, political and cultural history of early England and its Celtic neighbours across seven hundred years, from the departure of the Roman legions in the late fourth century through to England’s two conquests in the eleventh century, firstly by Knutr (Canute) of Denmark in 1016, and - more famously - that by the Norman Duke William 'the Bastard' in 1066. The centuries between these two dates witnessed rich cultural and political developments, and the emergence, in the form of Old English, of one of Europe’s most extensive post-Roman vernacular literatures.

 

Subjects addressed by this class include: the gradual emergence of the early Anglo-Saxon kingdoms from the post-Roman ‘Dark Ages’ of AD 400-600; the rise of several dominant kingdoms in the course of the seventh and eighth centuries, notably Mercia and Wessex; Anglo-Saxon belief; the historical writings of Bede; the reign of Alfred ‘the Great’; the Viking wars; the gradual emergence of a unified English state over the course of the later ninth and tenth centuries and its eventual conquest; varieties of Anglo-Saxon culture; manuscript production; social organization; law and dispute settlement; issues of trade and England's contacts with the wider world.

 

Students will write two essays of 2000 words. There will be two lectures and a discussion section each week, a mid-term and a final exam. This class cannot be taken for C/NC.

 

In addition to a course pack of readings set texts will include:

 

Bede. Ecclesiastical History of the English Church and People, translated by R. Collins and J. McClure (Oxford University Press, 2000).

 

Asser's Life of Alfred and Other Contemporary Sources, translated by S. D. Keynes & M. Lapidge (Penguin, 1984).

 

The Anglo-Saxon World. An Anthology, edited and translated by K. Crossley-Holland (Oxford, 1999).

Course Instructor: 
Maximum Enrollment: 
60
Course Type: 
Discussion Sections: 
3

Seminar in Pre-1700 European History

Warfare & Society (CE600-1000)
HIEU
4501
Undergraduate
Spring
2017

This class explores the nature of warfare, its place in, and effects upon, the societies of the post-Roman Mediterranean from c. 600 to 1000 CE. These centuries witnessed the terminal phase of the great struggle of Antiquity between Rome and Persia, the emergence of Islam and its profound reshaping of the post-classical world, as well as the formation of numerous ‘barbarian’ successor kingdoms in the west. Topics to be addressed include: military organization, the ideals and realities of battle, the imagery and literature of warfare and martial values, changing technology.

The major work of the course will be a 25-30 page research paper (approximately 7,500 – 8,000 words) using primary sources (in translation) and drawing upon secondary scholarship. Students will also deliver two oral reports (one on the research underway), produce a research bibliography, and be consistently engaged participants in class discussion.

Course Instructor: 
Maximum Enrollment: 
15
Course Type: 

Birth of Europe

HIEU
2061
Undergraduate
Fall
2016

This class covers the period from the third to the thirteenth centuries, moving from a Mediterranean world dominated by the Roman empire to one characterized by complex interactions (military, economic, cultural, scientific) between multiple kingdoms, communities, faiths and systems of belief.  Political, social and institutional developments will be addressed; literature, art, philosophy, and religion will also receive attention.

Intended as an introduction to the medieval period, no prior knowledge is expected.

We begin with the terminal phases of the ancient world. We end at a time when many of the formative elements of the world we live in today have come into existence. How can we understand the historical processes that led from one to the other? How did life, thought and belief change in these centuries? ‘The Birth of Europe’ is not simply a chance to study the foundational phase of European history it also affords students the opportunity to investigate a crucial phase of world history, the legacies of which continue to shape the world today.

In Fall 2015 subjects discussed will include:

• The ‘Fall of Rome’ and its causes.

• The barbarian peoples who would reshape the Roman West and, in turn, be reshaped by it.

• The earliest post-Roman kingdoms and the creation of new forms of political life.

• The development of late antique forms of Christianity, its growth as a sanctioned religion from the fourth century on and the  varieties of medieval Christianity, orthodox and otherwise.

• The rise of Islam, the end of the Persian empire and the seventh- and eighth-century reconfiguration of the Mediterranean world.

• The formation and fragmentation of the Carolingian empire.

• The Vikings and their Legacy.

• The Byzantine empire and the Transformation of the Eastern Mediterranean.

Students will read some of the most important (and interesting) sources for the Middle Ages in translation.

Fall 2015 will see the introduction of a substantial number of new readings including extracts from first-hand accounts of medieval life written by, amongst others, a tenth-century Arab traveller, an eleventh-century Byzantine princess, and participants in the wars of the Crusades.

Reading will not exceed 100 pages/week.

Students will take two exams, write four short (1000 word) response papers, attend twice-weekly lectures and a weekly discussion section. This class cannot be taken for C/NC.

Course Instructor: 

Introductory Seminar in Pre-1700 European History

The Viking World
HIEU
1501
Undergraduate
Fall
2016

This class is a seminar for first-year undergraduates intended to introduce them to the social, cultural and political history of the Viking World(c. AD 700-1250).  Drawing upon archaeological, anthropological and literary studies alongside historical scholarship, this class explores the ways in which "the silver seekers from the North" travelled, traded and transformed the world around them, and were in turn themselves transformed. 

Course Instructor: 

Tutorial in Anglo-Saxon History

HIEU
9031
Graduate
Spring
2016

This course is designed to introduce graduate students to the study of Anglo-Saxon England from the fifth to the eleventh centuries, its historiography and the range of methodologies and disciplinary approaches applies to its analysis.  The class is not intended to be axhaustive.  It is meant to be timely and comprehensive.  Social and cultural change (and the material evidence for such change), the interactions of local and central authority, and the relationship between economic, social and political history will all recur as issues to be discussed.  So, too, will the question of historians' attempts to address the problems of complexity and variation when addressing the development of post-Roman societies in the British Isles.

The central focus of the course is tutorial conversation.  In addition, each student will submit three papers of 1,000 to 1,500 words each addressing the subject and attendant reading(s) for a particular week and develop a critical bibliography to be presented formally and discussed in class. 

It can rightfully be said that the primary medium for scholarship on late Antiquity and the early Middle Ages is the article, essay or book chapter.  This disciplinary characteristic is reflected in the weekly reading assignments.  However, we will use the following books during this class:

M. Winterbottom, trans., The Ruin of Britain and Other Documents.  Arthurian Period Sources 7 (Phillimore and Co., 1978)

Bede, Ecclesiastical History of the English Church and People, trans. R. Collins and J. McClure (Oxford University Press, 2000).

Asser's Life of Alfred and Other Contemporary Sources, trans., S.D. Keynes and M. Lapidge (Pengiun, 1983).

The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, trans., G.N. Garmonsway (Everymans Classic Library, 1991).

G.Halsall, Worlds of Arthur.  Facts and Fictions about the Dark Ages (Oxford University Press, 2014).

D. Pratt, The Political Thought of King Alfred the Great (Cambridge University Press, 2007).

G. Molyneaux, The Formation of the English Kingdom in the Tenth Century (Oxford University Press, 2015).

Course Instructor: 

The Viking World

HIEU
1501
Undergraduate
Spring
2016

This class is a seminar for first-year undergraduates intended to introduce them to the social, cultural and political history of the Viking World(c. AD 700-1250).  Drawing upon archaeological, anthropological and literary studies alongside historical scholarship, this class explores the ways in which "the silver seekers from the North" travelled, traded and transformed the world around them, and were in turn themselves transformed. 

Course Instructor: 

Early Medieval Political Cultures.

Issues, Approaches and Problems
HIEU
4501
Undergraduate
Spring
2016
How did rulers rule and kingdoms function in the centuries after the end of Roman rule in the West? What were the high ideals and hard realities of political life in an age of holy men and women, warlords, and kings?
 
This four-credit seminar examines the political cultures of the post-Roman western Mediterranean in the period from c. AD 500 to c. 950 - from the age of the earliest successor kingdoms in western Europe through to the terminal phase of Carolingian power. In addition to assessing various aspects of the ideals and the hard realities of early medieval political culture this class is intended to introduce students to a diverse range of primary material from the period and to the analytical methods and scholarly means by which those sources are interpreted and through which the history of the early Middle Ages is written. Material culture and archaeology will concern us as much as the written word.
 
The class is a balance of collaborative seminar work and individual tutorials. Ultimately, students will write the substantial research paper of approximately 7,500 – 8,000 words using primary sources and secondary studies. Primary sources will be in translation though students will be encouraged to draw upon their respective language training, where relevant.
 
This class is not intended as a general introduction to the period and it is not suitable for students lacking demonstrable experience of studying the history of the period. Entry is by instructor permission only.
Course Instructor: 

Anglo-Saxon England

HIEU
3141
Undergraduate
Spring
2016
This course traces the social, political and cultural history of early England and its Celtic neighbours across seven hundred years, from the departure of the Roman legions in the late fourth century through to England’s two conquests in the eleventh century, firstly by Knutr (Canute) of Denmark in 1016, and - more famously - that by the Norman Duke William 'the Bastard' in 1066. The centuries between these two dates witnessed rich cultural and political developments, and the emergence, in the form of Old English, of one of Europe’s most extensive post-Roman vernacular literatures.
 
Subjects addressed by this class include: the gradual emergence of the early Anglo-Saxon kingdoms from the post-Roman ‘Dark Ages’ of AD 400-600; the rise of several dominant kingdoms in the course of the seventh and eighth centuries, notably Mercia and Wessex; Anglo-Saxon belief; the historical writings of Bede; the reign of Alfred ‘the Great’; the Viking wars; the gradual emergence of a unified English state over the course of the later ninth and tenth centuries and its eventual conquest; varieties of Anglo-Saxon culture; manuscript production; social organization; law and dispute settlement; issues of trade and England's contacts with the wider world.
 
Students will write two essays of 2000 words. There will be two lectures and a discussion section each week, a mid-term and a final exam. This class cannot be taken for C/NC.
 
In addition to a course pack of readings set texts will include:
 
Bede. Ecclesiastical History of the English Church and People, translated by R. Collins and J. McClure (Oxford University Press, 2000).
 
Asser's Life of Alfred and Other Contemporary Sources, translated by S. D. Keynes & M. Lapidge (Penguin, 1984).
 
The Anglo-Saxon World. An Anthology, edited and translated by K. Crossley-Holland (Oxford, 1999).
Course Instructor: 

New Course in European History

"Reframing the Viking Age (750-1000)"
HIEU
5559
Undergraduate
Graduate
Fall
2015
  • Tola had this stone raised for his son Harald, Yngvar's brother.
  • Like men they journeyed for distant gold
  • And in the East they fed the eagle
  • In the south they died, in Serkland.

                                                              Viking runic epitaph from Gripsholm, Södermanland, Sweden 

Scholars working across a range of fields and disciplines have transformed the ways in which we understand the so-called ‘Viking Age’, the period c. CE 750 to 1000 during which ‘the silver seekers from the North’, travelled, traded, raided and transformed the world around them. This course explores these developments and the current state of Viking studies. It is intended to introduce upper-level undergraduates with the relevant background of prior study and preparation and pre-ABD graduate students in History  - and other related disciplines - to these developments and to the current state of Viking studies.

It is not intended as a general introduction to the period and it is not suitable for students lacking demonstrable experience of studying the history of the period. [HIEU 2061 is an introductory class covering this period.] Prerequisite class experience for undergraduates may include, but is not limited to: HIEU 3131; HIEU 3141, HIME 4511 (‘Medieval Sicily’).

Entry is by instructor permission only.

This course has a strong interdisciplinary approach. Class members will engage with archaeological, anthropological and epigraphic approaches to the Viking world, as well as reading primary sources and substantial secondary scholarship. Focus will fall upon questions of methodology, source analysis and the processes of historical modelling and interpretation. Connectivity will be a central issue of the class as we explore a Viking world that stretches from the Atlantic seaboard to Central Asia through complex networks of land, sea and river routes. In addition to exploring Scandinavian and north-western European societies (the British Isles, the Frankish world, the Saami)  the class will look at less frequently studied groups: Frisians, Khazars, Samanids and others involved in the complex and transformative processes of movement and exchange. Reframing the Viking Age demands engagement on a range of scales from micro-studies  - of individual texts, the archaeology of particular sites - to the exploration of the economic systems of early medieval western Eurasia that linked Khorasan to the Baltic and the North Sea.

In addition to participating in ongoing class discussion and providing critical leadership on specific works or issues through pre-circulated questions and textual commentaries students are required to post weekly commentary on the course WORDPRESS blog  and  write a 7000 word research paper a subject arising from the class. 

Reading will average around 175-275 pages per week, rarely less, occasionally more.

This class cannot be taken for C/NC.

Assigned books for Fall 2015 may include:

  • Anders Winroth, The Conversion of Scandinavia: Vikings, Merchants, and Missionaries in the Remaking of Northern Europe (Yale, 2014).
  • Ibn Fadlan and the Land of Darkness: Arab Travellers in the Far North, Paul Lunde and Caroline Stone, translators (Penguin, 2012).
  • Stefan Brink and Neil Price, The Viking World (Routledge, 2011).
Course Instructor: 
Subscribe to Kershaw, Paul

Corcoran Department of History
University of Virginia
Nau Hall - South Lawn
Charlottesville, VA 22904

  

Contact:
(434) 924-7147
(434) 924-7891
M-F 8am to 4:30pm
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