European Studies

Please contact Stevens Anderson at anderson@rhodes.edu
For further information see also Mishoe Brennecke at mbrennec@sewanee.edu

European Studies, which takes place during the first semester each year, is jointly sponsored by the University of the South and Rhodes College. Students begin the program with three weeks in Sewanee in the summer, one week in the north of England, six weeks in Oxford, and four weeks on the Continent with one final week in London at the end of the program. The program ends at the beginning of November.  Subsequently, one group travels to a variety of medieval or Renaissance sites on the European continent, while the other focuses on the roots of classical civilization in Italy, Greece, and Turkey. The program ends before Thanksgiving, allowing additional travel time.

Track One:  Ancient Greece and Rome:  the Foundations of Western Civilization (four-and-a-half courses)
, which takes place during the first semester each year, is jointly sponsored by Rhodes College and the University of the South. Students begin the program in July with three weeks of foundation study at Sewanee, then one week in the north of England at York, followed by six weeks at Lincoln College, Oxford and four weeks of extensive travel on the Continent ending in a final week in London. Track one focuses on the roots of classical civilization in Italy, Greece, and Turkey. The program ends at the beginning of November, allowing additional travel time.

Art History 494. Greece, the Eastern Aegean, and Italy: the Monuments and Centers of Classical Civilization
The travel-study portion of Track One of European Studies includes a month-long exploration of the Continent including, in Greece, Athens, Delphi, Olympia and the islands of Crete, Santorini (Thera) and Delos;  in Turkey, Istanbul, Troy, Aspendos and Didyma; in Italy, Naples, Rome, the Vatican City;  and concludes with a week in London, including a study visit to the British Museum. Each student produces a daily academic journal and should acquire the ability to look at a building or a sculpture and understand its period, its function, the materials and techniques used in its production as well as the artist’s intentions. (Credit, full course.) Staff

Classical Studies 494. From Pericles to Caesar
This course traces the history of the Mediterranean world from fifth-century Athens to the rise of the Roman Empire. Special attention is given to ancient biography, historiography, and philosophy. The first half of the course includes the study of Plutarch’s and Thucydides’ accounts of the lives of Pericles and Alcibiades as well as Plato’s Apology and Symposium.  In the second half of the course, works by Aristotle, Plutarch, Caesar, Cicero, and Tacitus are considered. (Credit, full course.) Staff

English 494. Ancient Greek and Roman Literature: Greek Lyric Poetry, Tragedy and Comedy, Roman Drama and Love Poetry
This course traces the development of drama in the ancient world and its influence on modern Western culture. Ancient drama was a civic form of literature, so the course contains a subplot about a related form of poetry, Greek lyric, which deals with issues such as love, friendship, and domestic arrangements. Plays by Aeschylus, Sophocles, and Euripides are read. The second part of the course explores the development and transformation of tragedy and small-scale personal poetry in the Roman Republic and Early Empire. Students are introduced to the comic and dramatic technique of Aristophanes and Menander, as well as Plautus and Terence. Issues such as plot structure and theme, the use of parody, the presentation of character, types and sources of humor, and the seriousness underlying the humor, as well as the presentation of contemporary society are examined. (Credit, full course.) Staff

History 495. War and Society in Ancient Greece and Rome
This course explores war and society from the Greek Archaic Age in the eighth century B.C. to the crisis of the Roman Empire in the third century A.D. It looks at changes in the groups who fought wars, and the ways in which these related to larger social, economic, and political movements. It also considers how participants and non-combatants thought about war, and how these attitudes shifted over time. Archaeology is of prime relevance, but literary texts provide the most important evidence. These are examined to provide new angles on well-known writers, such as Thucydides and Plato, as well as to introduce fascinating, but lesser known, authors including Aeneas Tacticus and Frontinus. Artistic evidence, both public and private, is also central to this course. (Credit, full course.) Staff

Philosophy 492. Plato, Aristotle and the Legacy of Ancient Philosophy
Plato and Aristotle, as well as Hellenistic thinkers of the Epicurean, Stoic, and Neoplatonist schools, searchingly examined questions about human knowledge, existence, reason, and the nature of the mind and soul. This course provides a critical overview of the evolution of their debate. Selected extracts from the writings of the philosophers concerned, including Plato, Aristotle, Seneca, Cicero, and Lucretius, constitute the backbone of this course. (Credit, half course.) Staff



Track Two:  Western Europe in the Middle Ages and the Renaissance (four-and-a-half courses), which takes place during the first semester each year, is jointly sponsored by Rhodes College and the University of the South. Students begin the program in July with three weeks of foundation study at Sewanee, then one week in the north of England at Durham University, followed by six weeks at Lincoln College, Oxford and four weeks of extensive travel on the Continent ending in a final week in London. Track two travels to a variety of European cities with important medieval or Renaissance sites. The program ends at the beginning of November, allowing additional travel time.

Art History 490.  Artistic Centers of Western Europe:  Their Art and Architecture, Museums and Monuments
The travel-study portion of Track Two of European Studies includes a month-long exploration of the Continent including, in France, Paris, Chartres and Beaune; in Italy, Rome, Siena, Florence, Padua, Venice and Ravenna; in Germany, Nurnberg, Bamberg and Munich; in Belgium, Bruges and Ghent; and concludes with a week in London, including a study visit to the National Gallery. Each student produces a daily academic journal and should acquire the ability to look at a building, a painting, or a sculpture and understand its period, its function, the materials and techniques used in its production, as well as the artist’s intentions. (Credit, full course.) Staff

Art History 492.  Western Europe:  Middle Ages and the Renaissance
This course provides a broad-based, chronological survey of the art and architecture of Western Europe, from the emergence of Christian art in the early fourth century to the development of Mannerism at the end of the Renaissance. Many of the themes and works of art that are explored further on the Continental tour are introduced. Slide lectures trace the general developments of style throughout the period, set within their historical contexts, and focus on individual buildings, manuscripts, pieces of sculpture, metal work or paintings as case studies of technique or patronage. Visits to the Bodleian Library and Ashmolean Museum in Oxford enable students to view examples of the objects studied in the course. (Credit, full course.) Staff

English 495.  Arthurian Literature, Shakespeare, and the Elizabethan Theatre:  From Allegory to Inwardness
This course begins with the exploration of the history and literary development of the medieval hero, Arthur, king of the Britons, with special concentration on the trials of heroic identity in medieval literature. Students read the first story of Arthur in Geoffrey of Monmouth’s History of the Kings of Britain and explore the development of the legend in French courtly and spiritual literature before studying Thomas Malory’s Le Morte d’Arthur.  The second part of the course addresses the representation of heroic character in English Renaissance literature, focusing on issues of ambition, temptation and honor. Plays read include Christopher Marlowe’s Dr. Faustus and Jew of Malta, as well as William Shakespeare’s Hamlet and Merchant of Venice. (Credit, full course.) Staff

History 491.  European Life in the Late Middle Ages and Renaissance
This course begins with an examination of the organization and character of the Western Catholic Church before the Reformation. It considers the distinctive systems of belief that were fostered and seeks to understand how particular beliefs prompted distinctive behavior in the later fifteenth and early sixteenth centuries. Visits to medieval churches in Oxford and environs facilitate an exploration of what was being commissioned and built by different classes of lay men and women before the Reformation, the better to understand the tenor of faith and pious activity at that time. The course continues through the reign of the Tudors, and the evolution of the Reformation in Britain, Italy and the Mediterranean, and Northern Europe. (Credit, half course.)  Staff

History 496.  History and Religion in Medieval Europe  (also Religion 496)
This course covers the history of Europe during the Middle Ages, roughly 500-1500 A.D. It also introduces students to the rise of Christianity as a world religion within the Roman Empire, leading to its eventual domination in Western Europe, and to its interaction with medieval Judaism and emerging Islam. The course combines the study of religion with that of history, precisely because one of the features of the Middle Ages was the centrality of religion to politics, society, and culture. The study of primary sources, including, among others, the writings of Sidonius Apollinaris, Rabia of Basra, Bede, Einhard, Hildegard of Bingen, Thomas Aquinas, Christine de Pisan, and Petrarch, underpin the structure of the course. (Credit, full course.) Staff