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This archived information is dated to the 2009-10 academic year only and may no longer be current.

For currently applicable policies and information, see the current Stanford Bulletin.

Medieval Studies

Co-Directors: Paula Findlen, Jennifer Summit

Associate Director: Michael Wyatt

Committee in Charge: Philippe Buc, Hester Gelber, Hans Ulrich Gumbrecht, Robert P. Harrison, Nancy S. Kollman, Seth Lerer, William Mahrt, Bissera Pentcheva, Jennifer Summit, Rega Wood

Affiliated Faculty: Cecile Alduy (French and Italian), Theodore Andersson (German Studies), Vincent Barletta (Iberian and Latin American Cultures), Shahzad Bashir (Religious Studies), Carl Bielefeldt (Religious Studies), George H. Brown (English), Philippe Buc (History), Steven Carter (Asian Languages), Charlotte Fonrobert (Religious Studies), Hester Gelber (Religious Studies), Avner Greif (Economics), Hans Ulrich Gumbrecht (French and Italian), Robert Harrison (French and Italian), Michelle Karnes (English), Nancy S. Kollmann (History), Seth Lerer (English, Comparative Literature), Mark E. Lewis (History), William Mahrt (Music), David Malkiel (Religious Studies), Michael Markham (Music), Kathryn Miller (History), Patricia Parker (Comparative Literature), Bissera Pentcheva (Art and Art History), Orrin W. Robinson (German Studies), Jesse Rodin (Music), Behnam Sadeki (Religious Studies), Stuart Sargent (Asian Languages), Jeffrey Schnapp (French and Italian) Carolyn Springer (French and Italian), Edward Steidle (English), Jennifer Summit (English), Rega Wood (Philosophy)

Program Offices: Pigott Hall 205

Mail Code: 94305-2087

Department Phone: (650) 721-4099


Web Site:

Courses offered by the Program in Medieval Studies are listed under the subject code MEDVLST on the Stanford Bulletin's ExploreCourses web site.

The Program in Medieval Studies draws together a wide range of disciplines: art and architecture; literature and languages; music; philosophy; religious studies; and economic, social, and political history. Faculty interests bridge Western, Islamic, and Asian cultures, and encompass both traditional and innovative materials and methods.

The Medieval Studies Program is administered through the Center for Medieval and Early Modern Studies, but the degree is conferred by the School of Humanities and Sciences. The committee has approved the program as below. Students interested in pursuing a Medieval Studies major or minor should visit the program office in Pigott Hall and consult with one of the co-directors. The major is normally declared by the beginning of the student's third year.

The major combines interdisciplinary breadth with a disciplinary focus. The interdisciplinary emphasis is provided by MEDVLST 165, Crusades: Interdisciplinary Approaches, by upper-division interdisciplinary colloquia, and by the requirement that students take courses in three different areas. Depth is ensured by the requirement that students take at least four courses in one area. A faculty adviser helps each student choose courses that integrate the requirements of breadth and depth. To that end, the following guidelines are provided.

The student should take a minimum of 60 units of course work from the list of Medieval Studies courses or appropriate alternatives approved by the co-directors, including ten courses as follows:

  1. the introductory course, MEDVLST 165, Crusades: Interdisciplinary Approaches (given alternate years).
  2. two upper-division courses, ideally with an interdisciplinary component, in any field dealing with the Middle Ages.
  3. four courses in one of the following categories:
    1. Literature: English, French, German and Scandinavian, Italian, Latin, Slavic, Spanish
    2. History
    3. Art History, Drama, Music
    4. Humanities, Philosophy, Religious Studies. Certain humanities courses may fulfill requirements within other categories.
  4. two courses in a second category from the above list
  5. one courses in a third category from the above list.

Students doing the Medieval Studies concentration for the Humanities major should use these requirements as guidelines for developing their program of study.

In addition to the ten courses, a language proficiency equal to two years of college-level study is suggested in Latin or one of the following: French, German, Italian, or Spanish.

The Medieval Studies Writing in the Major (WIM) requirement can be fulfilled in one of three ways:

  1. through a course designated as WIM by a department contributing to the Medieval Studies major
  2. through a paper in a Medieval Studies course
  3. through an independent paper with a member of the Medieval Studies faculty

Check with the program office regarding requirements for each of these options.

Courses used to satisfy Medieval Studies major requirements must be taken for a letter grade.


Students may choose courses from the following list to complete the 60-unit major requirement:

ARTHIST 105/305. Introduction to Medieval Art

ARTHIST 106A. Art of Pilgrimage and Crusade

ARTHIST 206. Virginity and Power: Mary in the Middle Ages

ECON 228. Institutions and Organizations in Historical Perspectives

ENGLISH 104C. Arthurian Literature and Medieval Romance

ENGLISH 184C. Texts in History: Medieval to Early Modern

FRENGEN 204. Songs of Love and War: Gender Crusade, Politics

FRENGEN 233. Afterlife of the Middle Ages

FRENLIT 130. Authorship, Book Culture, and National Identity in Medieval and Renaissance France

GERGEN 38A/138. Introduction to Germanic Languages

GERGEN 50N. Charlemagne's Germany

GERLIT 257. Gothic

HISTORY 14N. Crusades

HISTORY 110A Europe from Late Antiquity to 1500

HISTORY 133A. Yorkist and Tudor England

HISTORY 135/335. History of European Law, Medieval to Contemporary

HISTORY 182. Medieval Islamic History, 600-1500 (not given 2009-10)

HISTORY 182C. From Prophet to Empire: The Making of the Muslim Middle East, 600-1500

HISTORY 211/311. Body, Gender, and Society in Medieval Europe

HISTORY 211B. Jews under Islam and Christianity in the Middle Ages

HISTORY 212/312. Holy Wars: Medieval Perspectives (not given 2009-10)

HISTORY 217A/317A. Poverty and Charity in Medieval Christianity, Judaism, and Islam

HISTORY 217B/317B. Land of Three Religions: Medieval Spain

HISTORY 218A. Barcelona to Berlin: Muslim Minorities in History

ITALLIT 127. Inventing Italian Literature: Dante, Boccaccio and Petrarca

LAW 586. Classical Islamic Law (same as RELIGST 201/301; not given 2009-10)

MUSIC 40. Music History to 1600

MUSIC 140/240. Studies in Medieval Music (not given 2009-10)

MUSIC 301A. Analysis of Music: Modal

PHIL 101. Introduction to Medieval Philosophy

PHIL 115/215. Problems of Medieval Philosophy

RELIGST 27. Exploring Islam

RELIGST 84. Mystics, Pilgrims, Monks, and Scholars: Religious Devotion in Medieval Christianity (not given 2009-10)

RELIGST 101. Who Is Allah?

RELIGST 172. Sex, Body, and Gender in Medieval Religion (not given 2009-10)

RELIGST 222. Literature and Society in Medieval Islam (not given 2009-10)

RELIGST 222B. Sufism

RELIGST 224B. Unveiling the Sacred: Explorations in Islamic Religious Imagination

RELIGST 227/327. The Qur'‚n (not given 2009-10)

RELIGST 226/326. Philosophy and Kabbalah in Jewish Society: Middle Ages and Early Modern Period (not given 2009-10)

RELIGST 258/358. Japanese Buddhist Texts

SPANLIT 157. Introduction to Medieval and Early Modern Iberian Literatures (Same as PORTLIT 157)

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