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The Medieval Gig Economy: Saints, Scholars, Sailors
ITAL 256
Spring 2021
Section: 01  
Crosslisting: MDST 258

A friar preaching to birds, a scoundrel passing as a saint, a nun conversing with Jesus, a Greek hero sinking into hell, a scholar talking to the dead, and a merchant exploring uncharted territories: We find unusual professional figures gigging in Italy circa 1300. In this course we explore medieval alterity through the voices of its most illustrious representatives: from Francis of Assisi to Dante Alighieri, and through a variety of other workers in the Italian economy. We examine various aspects of medieval religious culture ranging from mystical visions to the institutional politics of the Church. We consider the development of mercantile capitalism and its emerging virtues of wit and self-reliance. We track seafarers as they encounter the Other during their maritime voyages. For those staying closer to home, like clerics and other literate "Italians," we review the dynamics of composition and reception from orality to manuscript culture. We observe how medieval otherness is embodied through different media, from manuscript illuminations to film. And by combining micro- and macro-perspectives, we approach the Italian Middle Ages from a broad aesthetic, historical, and socio-anthropological standpoint.

The course is conducted in Italian. Authors include Francis of Assisi, Catherine of Siena, Angela of Foligno, Giotto, Dante Alighieri, Francesco Petrarca, Giovanni Boccaccio, Marco Polo, and Christopher Columbus.
Credit: 1 Gen Ed Area Dept: HA RLAN
Course Format: Lecture / DiscussionGrading Mode: Student Option
Level: UGRD Prerequisites: None
Fulfills a Major Requirement for: (ITST)(MDST-MN)(MDST)(MDST-Art/Arch)(MDST-History)(MDST-Lang/Lit)(MDST-Phil/Reli)(RMST)
Past Enrollment Probability: 90% or above

Last Updated on JUL-20-2024
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