Current Courses

Global Premodern Studies (GPS) courses are graduate-level seminars that explore topics in global premodern studies. The consortium provides funding for these courses to bring in visiting scholars to contribute new perspectives and ideas to the class.

Spring 2017 GPS Courses


The Early Modern Archive
(EMS 8250 / HIST 5960/8960)

Prof. Katharine Gerbner and Prof. Margaret Carlyle

This course examines the construction of the early modern archive, asking how collections were created and curated by individuals and institutions. It pays particular attention to the role of the emerging professional disciplines, such as medicine, botany, and natural history, as well as missionary/religious networks, in shaping our understanding of the early modern world. We will explore the connections between empire and scientific collecting, religion and ethnography, and gender and medicine. 

During the course of the semester, we will also take field trips to local archives, such as the James Ford Bell Library and the Wangensteen Historical Library of Biology and Medicine, to learn how their collections were developed. Specific topics of inquiry will include 'cabinets of curiosities,' the impact of global missionary networks, the development of cartography and mapping, and the codification of race.


Topics in Comparative Women's History: Gender Dynamics and Domestic Life in World History
(HIST 5980/8630)

Prof. MJ Maynes and Prof. Ann Waltner

The seminar will center on discussion of sets of comparative readings about women, gender, sexuality, and domestic life/household dynamics in world history. The sets of readings are clustered thematically but cross a wide temporal and cultural range. The broad themes include: family, gender, policy and law; kinship, gender, and generation in religious traditions and encounters; sexuality; women and gender in colonial and imperial encounters; gender and labor regimes in the construction of the global economy; gender in the construction of global commodity markets; and biopolitics. 

We will attend to questions of historical periodization, and discuss work from premodern as well as modern historical eras. We will examine the historical construction of gender, sexuality, and family/household dynamics through global-historical processes. We will consider the domestic/household realm as a site of world history. The comparative and thematically organized discussions will be accompanied by systematic attention to questions of historiography and world-history pedagogy. Grad students in history will write a syllabus for a world history course that incorporates the seminar's theme and problematics. Students from other programs/disciplines can develop a related project pertinent to their discipline.


The James Ford Bell Library Seminar in Comparative World History, ca. 1000 to ca. 1800: An Introduction to Archival Research
(HIST 5962 / HIST 8990 / EMS 5500 / EMS 8500 / MEST 8110) 

Dr. Marguerite Ragnow

This courses provides an opportunity to study primary sources in an archival setting under the guidance of the Bell Library's curator, Dr. Marguerite Ragnow. You will learn about the history of the book; be introduced to paleography, the history of cartography, textual and art/artifact analysis, and research methodologies. Your primary project will be a research paper using Bell Library resources; you also will present your findings in a public forum at the end of the semester. You will be introduced to the publishing industry and will critique an article as if a reader for a peer-reviewed journal; you will learn more about digital humanities scholarship, and will discuss text book selection and methods of teaching world history/world civilization at the undergraduate level. A field trip to Mia is planned.


The Reception of Biblical and Classical Textuality in the Medieval and Early Modern West
(ENGL 8110)

Professor Andrew Scheil

This 8000-level seminar will be an intensive introduction to two important fundamental subjects for medieval and early modern literary and cultural study: 1) how the bible was read, understood, adapted, cited, translated, and re-written and 2) how the classical literatures of ancient Greece and Rome were likewise received, read, interpreted, and re-written. These are vast subjects so we will take a representative "case study" approach.

A wide variety of subjects will be introduced and studied, and students can expect to learn about bibles and other works in their manuscript context; biblical apocrypha; biblical exegesis and biblical commentaries; medieval encyclopedias; figural composition and reading; allegory; medieval and early modern school curricula; medieval historiography and related concepts such as universal history and sacred history; euhemerization; medieval moral and allegorical interpretation of the classics; epic; romance; and much else.