The Medieval Year

Subject code


Course Number


Course Long Title

The Medieval Year

Cross Listed Courses


This course explores daily life and community in the Middle Ages through festivals, holidays, and marking the passage of the seasons. First, students are introduced to the format of both the natural and ritual year, and how individuals and groups responded to environmental factors. Second, they consider the role of such seasonal rituals as a means of creating social cohesion and coercion. Medieval festivals and holidays were not just fun: they frequently sought to impose specific visions of social and religious order on participants (and those who were excluded). Third, students reflect on how holidays and communal rituals still have power to shape community, identity, and belonging in contemporary society. The course helps students learn about medieval religious and cultural practices in a critical manner; while focusing on Christian traditions, they also consider Jewish and Muslim customs in a broader European context. Recommended background: prior coursework on the pre-modern world.

Modes of Inquiry

Analysis and Critique [AC], Historical and Social Inquiry [HS]

Departmental Course Attributes - Major/Minor Requirements

(History: Premodern), (History: European)

GEC This Course Belongs To