ARTH290: The Ecology of Medieval Art
Spring 2013 - MWF 1:40-2:40 p.m.
Anne Harris (email@example.com)
Office Hours: T 8-11 a.m., W 3-5 p.m. and by appointment
“Nature is not natural and can never be naturalized.” – Graham Harman
“Nature is the daughter of God and the Mother of things.” – Alain de Lille
Rationale: At the heart of this course is the phenomenon of ecology as a system that creates networks and boundaries that are constantly shifting. Materiality, the body, environment, language, medicine, scientific observation, and the highly-contested boundary/network of the human and the non-human will all fall under the sway of our investigations. One of the principal challenges of this course will be to experience the displacement of the human across ecological boundaries and networks as they shift. These shifts of ecology are physical, historical, and conceptual and they leave traces in visual culture. These visual traces will become our guides. In treating the ecology of medieval art, we will study not only art objects produced by and of the natural environment, but also the interaction of living beings with and within that environment produced by those objects. After a conceptual exploration of ecology and nature, we will start to ask questions of the materials and representations of landscapes, rocks, gardens trees and flowers, and, for the last half of the class, animals. Human agency will not always be primary – far from it. Be prepared to conceive of agency as residing elsewhere than in personhood, and with surprising effect. At stake in this course are the conceptualizations of nature and the natural, the role of memory and origins in articulating nature in conjunction with culture, and the symbiotic agency that nature and humanity have to each other.
Our classroom: In this seminar, we will be able to voice opinions, try out ideas, agree and disagree, contradict ourselves, and explore. I have arrayed a set of readings that exist in dialogue with each other and participate in three kinds of discourses: theoretical (eco-criticism), historical (original medieval sources), and scholarly (analytical articles and chapters). My hope for you is that you find your own way to articulate your ideas and I have designed class preparation to that effect. You can begin with the writing prompt for the day on Moodle, which will introduce our texts and images for the day and present a framing question for your analysis. Having then read the articles, please answer the prompt in a 300-500 word response posted to Moodle by 10 a.m. the day of class. This timing will give me a chance to read and response to your writing.
Our texts: You have been asked to purchase three books for this class: The Book of Secrets of Albertus Magnus, which provides us with vivid medieval writing on herbs, stones and “certain beasts;” Jane Bennett’s Vibrant Matter: a political ecology of things, which presents us with a richly evocative theoretical framework; and Karl Steel’s How to Make a Human; Animals and Violence in the Middle Ages, which is a gripping analysis of the contested human-animal boundary. Moodle will provide the rest of your readings in PDF form and articles can be found listed under the day for which they are to be read.
Our writings: In addition to engaging in a daily “writing to learn” endeavor, you will each be able to pursue an individual writing project for this class. The syllabus is, alas, by no means exhaustive of all matters of the ecology of medieval art. You will note an absence of works on insects, the sea, fish, fire, and multiple other elements. You may choose either a topic that is addressed in the syllabus, or one of your own choosing. But identify an element that you wish to pursue throughout the semester, via a series of investigations concerning the materiality, agency and network of your element. It can be a specific animal (the badger), an ecological concept (night), an environmental practice (healing fountains). Read through the syllabus, check out the Facebook pages and websites listed below under (our curiosity), think through your own enduring questions, and let your curiosity guide you. I also welcome conversations throughout the semester about your project. In the meantime, please take note of the following due dates and grade distribution for your W project:
· element choice (10%) – due Tuesday, February 12 at 9 p.m.
· element materiality (15%) – due Thursday, March 7 at 9 p.m.
· element agency (15%) – due Thursday, April 4 at 9 p.m.
· element network (15%) – due Sunday, April 14 at 9 p.m.
· element compilation (15%) – due Thursday, April 25 at 9 p.m.
· element finish (20%) – due Sunday, May 5 at 9 p.m.
· element presentation (10%) – Tuesday, May 14 (4 mins betw. 10-11:30 a.m.)
Our tests: There will be two, neither of which is cumulative, both of which will give you a chance to apply what you have learned to new images and ideas from medieval, and modern, scenarios.
Our curiosity: There are several online communities devoted to ecocriticism. One is fostered right here at DePauw by our own professor of English Istvan Csicsery-Ronay: you can find Humanimalia on Facebook, connected to the online the journal www.depauw.edu/humanimalia/ There is also Antennae, the Journal of Nature in Visual Culture – you can follow them on Facebook, as well as on the web: www.antennae.org.uk/ . We’ll check in on these sites throughout the semester.
Grade Breakdown: And so, here is how it all breaks down:
Class participation: 15%
Class prep writings: 20%
Two tests: 25%
“W” writings: 7 grades adding up to 40% of your final grade
Academic Honesty: As with all your work, there is the expectation that the ideas you present, unless otherwise cited, are your own. Be aware of the sources and inspirations of your ideas, and seek to create an intellectual community in each of your writings. For full explanations of Academic Honesty Policies at DePauw, please go to depauw.edu/handbooks/academic/policies/integrity/ .
WEEK ONE: ECOLOGY
Monday, January 28: Introduction to the Ecology of Medieval Art
Lowell Duckert. “Speaking Stones, John Muir, and a Slower (Non)Humanities,” in Animal, Vegetable,Mineral: Ethics and Objects. ed. Jeffrey J. Cohen. Washington, D.C.: Oliphant Books, 2012: 273-279.
Wednesday, January 30: Approaches to Medieval Ecology
David J. Herlihy. “Attitudes Toward the Environment in Medieval Society,” in Historical Ecology; essays in environment and social change. ed. Lester J. Bilsky. Port Washington, NY: National University Publications, 1980: 100-116.
Verena Winiwarter. “Approaches to Environment History: A Field Guide to Its Concepts,” in People and Nature in Historical Perspective. ed. József Laszlovsky and Péter Szabó. Budapest: Central
European University, 2003: 3-21.
Jean Gimpel. “Environment and Pollution,” from The Medieval Machine. New York: Penguin Books, 1976, 1976: 75-92.
Robert Fossier. “Nature,” from The Axe and the Oath. trans. Lydia G. Cochrane. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2010: 145-154.
Friday, February 1: Ecology and Theology
Lynn White Jr. “The Historical Roots of Our Ecological Crisis,” Science New Series, 155: 3787 (Mar. 10, 1967): 1203-1207.
Betsy S. Hilbert. “Beyond ‘Thou Shalt Not’: An Ecocritic Reads Deuteronomy,” in Beyond Nature Writing: expanding the boundaries of ecocriticism. ed. Karla Armbruster and Kathleen R. Wallace. University Press of Virginia, 2001: 29-40.
Ralph Metzner. “Mystical Greenness: The Visions of Hildegard of Bingen,” from Green Psychology. Rochester, VT: Park Street Press, 1999: 52-65.
Maria Jaoudi. “Religion and Ecology: Hildegard of Bingen,” from Medieval and Renaissance Spirituality. New York: Paulist Press, 2010: 66-77.
WEEK TWO: NATURE
Monday, February 4: The Identity of Nature
An Anglo-Saxon Riddle.
Jane Bennett. Chapter 1: “The Force of Things,” from Vibrant Matter; a political ecology of things. Durham: Duke University Press, 2010: 1-19.
Tim Morton. Excerpt from “Thinking Big,” from The Ecological Thought. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2010: 20-38.
Wednesday, February 6: Nature’s Personhood
Katharine Park. “Nature in Person: Medieval and Renaissance Allegories and Emblems,” in The Moral Authority of Nature. ed. Lorraine Daston and Fernando Vidal. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2004: 50-73.
Carlos Barros. “The Humanisation of Nature in the Middle Ages,” The Medieval History Journal 4:2 (2001): 149-178.
Friday, February 8: Nature in Trouble
Joan Cadden. “Trouble in Earthly Paradise: The Regime of Nature in Late Medieval Christian Culture,” in The Moral Authority of Nature. ed. Lorraine Daston and Fernando Vidal. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2004: 207-231.
Karl Steel. “A Fourteenth-Century Ecology: ‘The Former Age’ with Dindimus,” in Rethinking Chaucerian Beasts. ed. Carolynn Van Dyke. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2012: 185-199.
Chaucer, “The Former Age” (Word document on Moodle)
WEEK THREE: LANDSCAPE
Monday, February 11: Perception of Landscape
Gillian Rudd. “Earth,” from Greenery: ecocritical readings of late medieval English literature. Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2007: 21-45.
Nicholas Howe. “Two Landscapes, Two Stories: Anglo-Saxon England and the United States,” in Natures Past: the environment and human history. ed. Paolo Squatriti. Ann Arbor, MI: The University of Michigan Press, 2007: 214-239.
Wednesday, February 13: Representation of Landscape
Element Choice due Tuesday, February 12 at 9 p.m.
Otto Pächt. “Early Italian Nature Studies and the Early Calendar Landscape,” Journal of the Warburg and Courtauld Institutes 13: 1/2 (1950): 13-47.
Walter Cahn. “Medieval Landscape and the Enyclopedic Tradition,” Yale French Studies Special Issue: Contexts: Style and Values in Medieval Art and Literature (1991): 11-24.
Friday, February 15: Construction(s) of Landscape
Alfred Siewers. “A Cosmic Imaginarium,” from Strange Beauty; ecocritical approaches to early medieval landscapes. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2009: 111-131.
Jane Bennett. Chapter 2: “The Agency of Assemblages,” from Vibrant Matter; a political ecology of things. Durham: Duke University Press, 2010: 20-38.
WEEK FOUR: ROCKS
Monday, February 18: Knowledge of Stones
Albertus Magnus. “Of the Virtues of Stones,” from The Book of Secrets of Albertus Magnus. Boston, MA: Weiser Books, 1973 25-49.
Debra Hassig. “Burning Love: The Fire Rocks,” from Medieval Bestiaries: text, image, ideology. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1995: 116-128.
William M. Holler. “Unusual Stone Lore in the Thirteenth-Century Lapidary of Sydrac,” Romance Notes 29 (1979): 135-142.
Wednesday, February 20: The Time and Image of Stones
Jeffrey Jerome Cohen. “Stories of Stone,” postmedieval 1: 1/2 (2010): 56-63.
Roger Caillois. “The Image in the Stone,” from The Writing of Stones. trans. Barbara Bray. University Press of Virginia, 1970: 1-14.
Friday, February 22: Stone as Object
Jane Bennett. Chapter 4: “A Life of Metal,” from Vibrant Matter; a political ecology of things. Durham: Duke University Press, 2010: 52-61.
Jean Gimpel. “Mining the Mineral Wealth of Europe,” from The Medieval Machine. New York: Penguin Books, 1976: 59-74.
Elisabeth Okasha and Jennifer O’Reilly. “An Anglo-Saxon Portable Altar: Inscription and Iconography,” Journal of the Warburg and Courtauld Institutes 47 (1984): 32-51.
WEEK FIVE: GEMS TO GARDENS
Monday, February 25: The Agency of Gems
Marbod of Rennes. Excerpts from De Lapidibus. trans. John M. Riddle. Wiesbaden: Franz Steiner Verlag, 1977.
Joan Evans. “Magical Jewels of the Middle Ages,” from Magical Jewels of the Middle Ages and the
Renaissance, particularly in England. New York: Dover, 1922: 110-120, and 133-139.
Wednesday, February 27: The Beauty of Gems
Kellie Robertson. “Exemplary Rocks,” in Animal, Vegetable, Mineral: Ethics and Objects. ed. Jeffrey J. Cohen. Washington, D.C.: Oliphant Books, 2012: 91-121.
Beate Fricke. “Matter and Meaning of Mother-of-Pearl: the origins of allegory in the sphere of things,” Gesta Special Issue: Res et significatio: the Material Sense of Things in the Middle Ages 51:1 (2012): 35-54.
Genevra Kornbluth. “Gems and the Carolingian Renaissance,” from Engraved Gems of the Carolingian Empire. University Park, PA: The Pennsylvania University Press, 1995: 3-24.
Friday, March 1: Garden/ing
Jane Bennett. Chapter 5: “Neither Vitalism nor Mechanism,” from Vibrant Matter; a political ecology of things. Durham: Duke University Press, 2010: 62-81.
Anja Grebe. “In the Paradise of Love: Medieval Love Gardens: Topography and Iconography,” in Fauna and Flora in the Middle Ages. Frankfurt am Main: Peter Lang, 2007: 225-248.
Lisa J. Kiser. “The Garden of St. Francis: Plants, Landscape, and Economy in Thirteenth-Century Italy,” Environmental History 8:2 (Apr., 2003): 229-245.
WEEK SIX: FROM GARDENS TO TREES
Monday, March 4: Forest
Robert Fossier. “The Trees and the Forest,” from The Axe and the Oath. trans. Lydia G. Cochrane. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2010: 175-185.
Aleks Pluskowski. “Who Ruled the Forests? An Inter-Disciplinary Approach Towards Medieval Hunting Landscapes,” in Fauna and Flora in the Middle Ages. Frankfurt am Main: Peter Lang, 2007: 291-323.
Wednesday, March 6: Pre-Christian Trees
Della Hooke. “Trees, Mythology and National Consciousness: into the Future,” from Trees in Anglo- Saxon England. Woodbridge, Suffolk, The Boydell Press, 2010: 96-109.
Carole M. Cusack. “Sacred Trees in Ancient and Medieval Celtic Sources: Druids, Kings, and Saints,” from The Sacred Tree: ancient and medieval manifestations. Newcastle upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars, 2011: 57-88.
Friday, March 8: Christian Trees
Element Materiality due Thursday, March 7 at 9 p.m.
Della Hooke. “Christianity and the Sacred Tree,” from Trees in Anglo-Saxon England. Woodbridge, Suffolk, The Boydell Press, 2010: 21-51.
WEEK SEVEN: FROM TREES TO HERBALS
Monday, March 11: The Green Man
Lady Raglan. “The ‘Green Man’ in Church Architecture,” Folklore 50:1 (Mar., 1939): 45-57.
Kathleen Basford. “The Era of the Green Man,” The Green Man. New York: D.S. Brewer, 1998.
Wednesday, March 13: Naming Herbs
Albertus Magnus. “Of the Virtues of Herbs,” from The Book of Secrets of Albertus Magnus. Boston, MA: Weiser Books, 1973 3-24.
Jerry Stannard. “Albertus Magnus and Medieval Herbalism,” in Albertus Magnus and the Sciences. ed.
James A. Weisheipl. Toronto: Pontifical Institute of Medieval Studies, 1980: 355-377.
Friday, March 15: Herbs as Medicine
Werner Telesko. “The Natural World and Medicine in the Middle Ages,” from The Wisdom of Nature: the healing powers and symbolism of plants and animals in the Middle Ages. Munich: Prestel, 201: 7- 23.
WEEK EIGHT: FLOWERS (and a Midterm)
Monday, March 18: Imaging Flowers
Jane Hawkes. “The Plant-Life of Early Christian Anglo-Saxon Art,” in From Earth to Art: the many aspects of the plant-world in Anglo-Saxon England. Ed. C. P. Biggam. New York: Rodopi, 2003: 263-286.
Ülle Sillasoo. “Plant Depictions in Late Medieval Religious Art,” in People and Nature in Historical Perspective. ed. József Laszlovsky and Péter Szabó. Budapest: Central European University, 2003: 377-393.
Wednesday, March 20: Floral Storytelling
Peggy MacCracken. “The Floral and the Human,” in Animal, Vegetable, Mineral: Ethics and Objects. ed. Jeffrey J. Cohen. Washington, D.C.: Oliphant Books, 2012: 65-90.
Friday, March 22: MIDTERM
SPRING BREAK – BREATHE!
WEEK NINE: ANIMALS, INTRODUCING
Monday, April 1: Perception/Conceptualization
Jeffrey Jerome Cohen. “Inventing with Animals in the Middle Ages,” in Engaging with Nature; essays on the natural world in medieval and early modern Europe. ed. Barbara A. Hanawalt and Lisa J. Kiser. Notre-Dame, IN: University of Notre-Dame Press, 2008: 39-62.
Cary Wolfe. “Learning from Temple Grandin: Animal Studies, Disability Studies and Who Comes After the Subject,” from What is Posthumanism?. Minneapolis, University of Minnesota Press, 2010: 127-142.
Wednesday, April 3: Representation of Animals
Stephen O. Glosecki. “Movable Beasts; the manifold implications of early Germanic animal imagery,” in Animals in the Middle Ages. ed. Nona C. Fores. New York: Garland Publishing, 1996: 3-23.
Nona C. Flores. “The mirror of nature distorted : the medieval artist's dilemma in depicting animals” in The Medieval World of Nature. ed. Joyce e. Salisbury. New York: Garland Publishing, 1993.
Friday, April 5: Bestiary Day
Element Agency due Thursday, April 4 at 9 p.m.
Albertus Magnus. “Of the Virtues of Certain Beasts,” from The Book of Secrets of Albertus Magnus. Boston, MA: Weiser Books, 1973: 50-61.
Michael Camille. “Bestiary of Biology? Aristotle’s Animals in Oxford, Merton College, MS271,” in Aristotles’ Animals in the Middle Ages and Renaissance. ed. Carlos Steel, Guy Guldentops, Pieter Beullens. Leuven: Leuven University Press, 1999: 255-296.
WEEK TEN: ANIMALS, DOMESTICATED
Monday, April 8: Power
Karl Steel. “ ‘Elles were Beest Lich to Man’: Dominance, Human Reason, and Invocations of Likeness in Sidrak and Bokkus,” from How to Make a Human; Animals and Violence in the Middle Ages. Columbus, OH: The Ohio State University, 2011: 29-44.
Jacques Derrida. “The Animal that Therefore I am (More to Follow),” from The Animal that Therefore I am. trans. David Wills. New York: Fordham University Press, 2008: 1-29.
Wednesday, April 10: Use/Food
Sarah Kay. “Legible Skins: Animals and the ethics of medieval reading,” postmedieval 2:1 (2011): 13-32.
Joyce E. Salisbury. “Animals as Food,” from The Beast Within: Animals in the Middle Ages. London: Routledge, 2011: 42-60.
Jane Bennett. Jane Bennett. Chapter 3: “Edible Matter,” from Vibrant Matter; a political ecology of things. Durham: Duke University Press, 2010: 39-51.
Friday, April 12: Dirt
Michael Camille. “At the sign of the ‘Spinning Sow’: the ‘other’ Chartres and images of everyday life
on the medieval street,” in History and Images: towards a new iconology. Ed. Axel Bolvig and Phillip Lindley. Brepols, 2003: 249-276.
Karl Steel. “Dirty Pigs,” from How to Make a Human; Animals and Violence in the Middle Ages. Columbus, OH: The Ohio State University, 2011: 179-189.
WEEK ELEVEN: ANIMALS, DESIRED AND HUNTED/ING
Monday, April 15: Exotic Animals
Element Network due Sunday, April 14 at 9 p.m.
Nancy P. Sevcenko. “Wild Animals in the Byzantine Park,” in Byzantine Garden Culture. ed. Anthony
Littlewood, Henry Maguire, and Joachim Wolschke-Bulmahn. Washington, D.C.: Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and Collection, 2002: 69-86.
Aleksander Pluskowski. “Narwhals or Unicorns? Exotic Animals as Material Culture in Medieval Europe,” European Journal of Archaeology 7:3 (2004): 291-313.
Wednesday, April 17: Hunting Rules
Edward of Norwich. Excerpts from Master of Game; the oldest English Book on Hunting. ed. William A. and F.N. Baillie-Grohman. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2005.
Aleksander Pluskowski. “Communicating through Skin and Bone: Appropriating Animal Bodies in Medieval Western European Seigneurial Culture,” in Breaking and Shaping Beastly Bodies; animals as material culture in the Middle Ages. ed. Aleksander Pluskowski. Oxford: Oxbow Books, 2007: 32-51.
Richard Thomas. “Chasing the Ideal? Ritualism, Pragmatism and the Later Medieval Hunt in England,” in Breaking and Shaping Beastly Bodies; animals as material culture in the Middle Ages. ed. Aleksander Pluskowski. Oxford: Oxbow Books, 2007:125-148.
Friday, April 19: Hunting Tales
Excerpts from Gawain and the Green Knight.
Susan Crane. “Ritual Aspects of the Hunt à Force,” in Engaging with Nature; essays on the natural world in medieval and early modern Europe. ed. Barbara A. Hanawalt and Lisa J. Kiser. Notre-Dame, IN: University of Notre-Dame Press, 2008: 63-84.
Debra Hassig. “The Good Friend: the Stag,” from Medieval Bestiaries: text, image, ideology. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1995: 40-51.
WEEK TWELVE: ANIMALS, DOGS AND BIRDS
Monday, April 22: The Hound and the Hawk
Albrecht Classen. “Hunting as Salvation in Gaston Phébus's Livre de la chasse (1387-1389)” from Rural space in the Middle Ages and early modern age; the spatial turn in premodern studies. Berlin: De Gruyter, 2012.
Albrecht Classen. “The Dog in German Courtly Literature: the Mystical, the Magical and the Loyal Animal,” in in Fauna and Flora in the Middle Ages. Frankfurt am Main: Peter Lang, 2007: 67-86.
John Cummins. “Hawk Species and Imagery,” from The Hound and the Hawk; the art of medieval hunting. London: Weidenfield and Nicolson, 1988: 187-195.
Wednesday, April 24: Falconry
Robin S. Oggins. “The Birds, Their Training, and the Sport of Falconry,” and “Falconry in Medieval Life,” in The Kings and Their Hawks; falconry in medieval England. New Have, CT: Yale University Press, 2004: 10-35, and 109-139.
Charles Homer Haskins. “The Latin Literature of Sport,” Speculum 2:3 (Jul. 1927): 235-252.
Dorothy Yamamoto. “Bodies in the Hunt,” from The Boundaries of the Human in Medieval English Literature. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000.
Friday, April 26: The Parliament of Fowls
Element Compilation due Thursday, April 25 at 9 p.m.
Excerpts from Chaucer, The Parliament of Fowls.
Lisa J. Kiser. “Chaucer and the Politics of Nature,” in Beyond Nature Writing: expanding the boundaries of ecocriticism. ed. Karla Armbruster and Kathleen R. Wallace. University Press of Virginia, 2001: 41-56.
WEEK THIRTEEN: BIRDS AND HYBRIDS
Monday, April 29: St. Francis and the Birds
Roger D. Sorrell. “Francis’s Transcendence of Tradition and Its First Major Impact on His Attitude toward Creation: the Sermon to the Birds,” from St. Francis of Assisi and Nature. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1988: 55-68.
Timothy J. Johnson. “Francis and Creation,” in The Cambridge Companion to Francis of Assisi. ed. Michael J.P. Robson. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2012: 142-158.
Wednesday, May 1: Humans as Animals
Christopher R. Matthews. “Articulate Animals: A Multivalent Motif in Apocryphal Acts of the Apostles,” in The Apocryphal Acts of the Apostles. Ed. François Bovon et al. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1999: 205-232.
Joyce E. Salisbury. “Humans as Animals,” from The Beast Within: Animals in the Middle Ages. London: Routledge, 2011: 121-145.
Friday, May 3: Humanimalia
Karl Steel. “Cynocephali: How a Dog Becomes Human,” from How to Make a Human; Animals and Violence in the Middle Ages. Columbus, OH: The Ohio State University, 2011: 136-150.
Jeffrey Jerome Cohen. “Gowther Among the Dogs: Becoming Inhuman, c. 1400,” in Becoming Male in the Middle Ages. ed. Jeffrey Jerome Cohen and Bonnie Wheeler. New York: Garland Publishing, 1997: 219-244.
WEEK FOURTEEN: HYBRIDS AND ENDS
Monday, May 6: Werewolf
Element Compilation due Sunday, May 5 at 9 p.m.
Marie de France Bisclavret.
Jeffrey Jerome Cohen. “There Werewolf’s Indifference,” Studies in the Age of Chaucer 34 (2012): 351- 356.
Wednesday, May 8: The End
Karl Steel. “Ridiculous Mourning: Dead Pets and Lost Humans,” Studies in the Age of Chaucer 34
Karl Steel. “The Noise of Animals in the Last Days,” from How to Make a Human; Animals and
Violence in the Middle Ages. Columbus, OH: The Ohio State University, 2011: 221-232.
Tuesday, May 14
8:30-9:30 a.m. FINAL
10-11:30 a.m. Element Presentations