Problems in Medieval Art
This seminar offers a multi-faceted investigation of the medieval and early modern city, actual and ideal. We will not only study given cities in Europe and the Levant as functioning social spaces but also consider the city as a concept that fed the popular and literary imagination. In part the course will be historical and archaeological. The expansion of urban centers in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries will be situated within larger trajectories, and we will study both new foundations and sites with deep and remembered pasts, all the while making an effort to reconstruct the character and quality of urban life. Another aspect of the course will involve analysis of texts and images: descriptions and depictions of cities (past and present), cartographic representations, and literary evocations of real and fictional urban environments. Cities under discussion will be many, including Constantinople, Rome, Jerusalem, Paris, London, Prague, Florence, Lübeck, and Nuremberg. Students from the widest possible range of fields are encouraged to participate. It is expected that research projects will be diverse in terms of chronology, geography, theme, and approach.