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Martin Kevorkian, Chair CAL 226, Mailcode B5000, Austin, TX 78712 • 512-471-4991

Geraldine Heng

Associate Professor Ph.D., Cornell University

Geraldine Heng

Contact

Biography

Geraldine Heng is Perceval Fellow and Associate Professor of English and Comparative Literature, with a joint appointment in Middle Eastern studies and Women’s studies.  She holds the Perceval endowment for Medieval Romance, Historiography, and Culture, an endowment created to support her research and teaching.

Heng is Founder and Co-director of the Global Middle Ages Projects (G-MAP), the Mappamundi cybernetic initiatives, and the Scholarly Community for the Globalization of the Middle Ages (SCGMA): http://www.laits.utexas.edu/gma/portal/

Her teaching has included courses on the literatures and political cultures of the crusades, the genealogies and texts of medieval romance, the literatures of medieval England, Chaucer/s, medieval biography, premodern race and race theory, transcultural medieval travel narratives, and feminist theory and third world feminisms.  A documentary created by her student, Murray Sanders, for her undergraduate Bridging Cultures course, Envisioning Muslims: The Middle Ages and Today, can be viewed here:

Envisioning Muslims: A Modern Day Perspective from Murray Sanders on Vimeo.


In 2004, Heng designed, coordinated, and taught in “Global Interconnections: Imagining the World 500-1500 CE,” an experimental interdisciplinary graduate seminar collaboratively taught by seven faculty to introduce an interconnected premodern world spanning Europe, Islamic civilizations, Mahgrebi  and SubSaharan Africa, India, China, and the Eurasian continent.

For a description, see the article, “The Global Middle Ages” and also:

Medieval Academy
Medieval Studies

Heng’s research focuses on literary, cultural, and social encounters between worlds, and webs of exchange and negotiation between communities and cultures, particularly when transacted through issues of gender, race, sexuality, and religion.   She is especially interested in medieval Europe’s discoveries and rediscoveries of Asia and Africa.  Her book, Empire of Magic, traces the development of a medieval  literary genre—European romance, and, in particular, the King Arthur legend—in response to the traumas of the crusades and crusading history, and Europe’s myriad encounters with the East.  She is currently completing monographs on premodern race and racial-religious difference, and medieval England as a global site, traced through its literature.  She conceptualized a Theories and Methods cluster on Religion for PMLA (May 2011), and is currently editing a special issue, "The Global Middle Ages," for the digital journal Literature Compass.

Heng's work has been honored by six research fellowships, including fellowships at the Stanford Humanities Center, Brown University's Pembroke Center, the University of California's Humanities Research Institute, and the University of Wisconsin-Madison's Institute for Research in the Humanities.  She was a collaborator in a 2008 NEH Institute for Advanced Topics in the Digital Humanities award ($250,000), and currently serves on the Steering Committee of HASTAC.   The University of Minnesota-Twin Cities has conferred on her the Winton Chair (of flexible duration) for "paradigm-changing scholarship."

Articles forthcoming in 2010-11 include:

"The Invention of Race in the European Middle Ages I: Race Studies, Modernity, and the Middle Ages."  Literature Compass, the Global Circulation Project.

"The Invention of Race in the European Middle Ages II: Locations of Medieval Race." Literature Compass, the Global Circulation Project.

"Holy War Redux: The Crusades, Futures of the Past, and Strategic Logic in the 'Clash' of Religions."  PMLA May 2011.

 

E 350E • Imagining World, 500-1500 Ce

34795 • Spring 2015
Meets M 600pm-900pm PAR 206
show description

E 350E  l  [Early Globalities:] Imagining the World 500-1500 C.E.

Instructor: Heng, G

Unique:  34795

Semester: Spring 2015

Cross-lists:  n/a

Restrictions:  n/a

Flags:  n/a

Prerequisite: Nine semester hours of coursework in English or rhetoric and writing.

Description: Early Globalities considers the interconnected worlds, humans, activities, and cultures around the globe in the approximate time frame of a thousand years, through global literature.

The most famous examples of global literature are known to all: The Thousand and One Nights, whose provocative plots cut a swathe from the Near East to China, the Decameron, whose characters tramp all over the European and Islamic Mediterranean, or Mandeville’s Travels, the 14th century fictitious travelogue that contemplates pyramids in Egypt, a gigantic “idol” in Ceylon, ancestor worship in Tibet, and long-nailed mandarins in China.  Equally famed are Marco Polo’s and Ibn Battuta’s accounts of world-traversing journeys affording descriptions of Africa, the Near East, India, China, and Southeast Asia.

Less known is Ibn Fadlan’s 10th-century journey from the Abbasid court at Baghdad to Russia, setting down his thoughts on the myriad cultures of the Eurasian continent, and the unsanitary habits of the Rus.  Rabban Sauma, an Ongut or Uighur monk from the steppe makes his way from Beijing to the West, in the 13th century, discussing with the Curia in Rome differences between eastern and western Christianities, visiting shrines and relics, and giving communion to the King of England, Edward I, at Bordeaux in France, during a mass of the East Syrian rite performed by Sauma in 1288.

The Vinland Sagas tell of risky voyages across the Atlantic in the 11th century, tumultuous encounters with Native Americans, and the birth of the first European child in the Americas, Snorri Karlsefnisson.  Archeological excavation at L’anse aux Meadows in Newfoundland discovered an early 11th-century Norse settlement and artifacts in 1960, lending extra-literary support to saga memories.  Not all early global texts thematized far-ranging voyages.  Kamaluddin Abdul-Razzaq Samarqandi’s mission to Calicut and Vijayanagar in the 15th century produced a literary narrative thematizing a city, Vijayanagar, a glittering global hub of its time in India.

This course will sample a selection of global literatures, famous and obscure, to see what they reveal of early globalisms on our planet.

Possible Texts (tentative, subject to change): Texts listed are suggestive, not final.

Sundiata, an epic of Mali

John of Plano Carpini, Ystoria Mongalorum

William of Rubruck, Itinerarium

The Secret History of the Mongols

The Vinland Sagas

Abdul Razak Samakandi, Mission to Calicut and Vijayanagar,

Amitav Ghosh, In an Antique Land

Marco Polo, The Travels

Mandeville’s Travels

Ibn Fadlan, Journey to the Rus

Proclaiming Harmony, a Song dynasty “historical novel”

“Jacob of Ancona,” City of Light

Rabban Sauma’s journey to the West.

Requirements & Grading: a term paper of at least 12 pages (50%), 1 or 2 in-class presentations (20%), attendance (10%) and active participation (20%).

E 392M • Global Middle Ages: Literature

35120 • Spring 2015
Meets W 600pm-900pm PAR 310
(also listed as C L 382, MDV 392M )
show description

Thirteen years ago, Franco Moretti had this to say:

“Nowadays, national literature doesn’t mean much: the age of world literature is beginning, and everybody should contribute to hasten its advent.” This was Goethe…talking to Eckermann in 1827…. Not “comparative”, but world literature: the Chinese novel that Goethe was reading at the time…. Well, let me put it very simply: comparative literature has not lived up to these beginnings.  It’s been a much more modest intellectual enterprise, fundamentally limited to Western Europe…. the literature around us is now unmistakably a planetary system.

Franco Moretti, “Conjectures on World Literature”

 

Moretti’s take on global literature focused, of course, on the centuries of modernity, but before his 2000 New Left Review article admonished us to attend to the world literature around us, a planetary system of literatures had already existed for a millennium and more: literatures whose global themes, global subjects, global purview, and global imaginary were there for all to consider.

The most famous examples are known to all: The Thousand and One Nights, whose provocative plots cut a swathe from the Near East to China, the Decameron, whose characters tramp all over the European and Islamic Mediterranean, or Mandeville’s Travels, the 14th century fictitious travelogue that contemplates pyramids in Egypt, a gigantic “idol” in Ceylon, ancestor worship in Tibet, and long-nailed mandarins in China.  Equally famed are Marco Polo’s and Ibn Battuta’s narratives of world-traversing journeys affording descriptions of Africa, the Near East, India, China, and Southeast Asia.

Less known is Ibn Fadlan’s tenth-century journey from the Abbasid court at Baghdad to Russia, setting down his thoughts on the myriad cultures of the Eurasian continent, and the unsanitary habits of the Rus.  Rabban Sauma, an Ongut or Uighur monk from the steppe makes his way from Beijing to the West, in the 13th century, discussing with the Curia in Rome differences between eastern and western Christianities, visiting shrines and relics, and giving communion to the King of England, Edward I, at Bordeaux in France, during a mass of the East Syrian rite performed by Sauma in 1288.

The Vinland Sagas tell of risky voyages across the Atlantic in the 11th century, tumultuous encounters with Native Americans, and the birth of the first European child in the Americas, Snorri Karlsefnisson.  Archeological excavation at L’anse aux Meadows in Newfoundland discovered an early 11th-century Norse settlement and artifacts in 1960, lending extra-literary support to saga memories.  Not all early global texts thematized far-ranging voyages.  Kamaluddin Abdul-Razzaq Samarqandi’s mission to Calicut and Vijayanagar in the 15th century produced a literary narrative thematizing a city, Vijayanagar, a glittering global hub of its time in India.

Global literatures have been living among us for a very long time.  This seminar is an invitation to explore the literatures of the Global Middle Ages, famous and obscure, and to discuss what methods of reading are appropriate for them.  Previous knowledge of the Middle Ages or languages other than English is not required, but non-medievalists are expected to thicken their understanding of the Middle Ages in a serious and aggregative way, and medievalists are expected to engage with critical and theoretical texts we read with the same degree of attentiveness and commitment they afford medieval texts. Though not required for seminar discussion, possession of other languages, European and non-European, medieval and modern, is an advantage for research and writing.  Other requirements: 2 presentations, a seminar paper for a letter grade (for pass/fail credit, 2 presentations, no seminar paper).

Sample texts (suggestive, subject to change, open to negotiation): Sundiata, an epic of Mali; John of Plano Carpini’s Ystoria Mongalorum, William of Rubruck’s Itinerarium; The Secret History of the Mongols; The Vinland Sagas; Mission to Calicut and Vijayanagar (to be read alongside: Amitav Ghosh’s In an Antique Land); Marco Polo, The Travels (Il Milione); Mandeville’s Travels (the Book of Sir John Mandeville); Ibn Fadlan, Journey to the Rus; Proclaiming Harmony, a Song dynasty “historical novel” (read alongside “Jacob of Ancona”’s City of Light); Rabban Sauma’s journey to the West.

 

E 360S • Envisn Muslim:mid Age/Today

35895 • Fall 2014
Meets M 600pm-900pm PAR 105
(also listed as ISL 372, MES 342, R S 357 )
show description

Instructor:  Heng, G

Unique #:  35895

Semester:  Fall 2014

Cross-lists:  ISL 372, MES 342, R S 357

Flags:  Global Cultures

Computer Instruction:  No

Prerequisites: Nine semester hours of coursework in English or rhetoric and writing.

Description: Our course will survey how Muslims are represented in the dominant cultural media of two important periods: the period known in the West as the European Middle Ages—a time in which Europe first became conscious of Muslims through Islamic invasions, multiple forms of cultural contact and negotiation, and the international wars known as “the Crusades”—and in the contemporary world of the 20th and 21st centuries, when Muslims have, once again, become prominent in the Western imagination.

In the medieval period, we will read selections from European chronicles and romances, a Byzantine biography, Arab histories and biographies, and other cultural media, including illustrations and maps, to see how Europeans envisioned Muslims, and how Muslims envisioned themselves. In the contemporary period, we will view clips from digital media representing several genres—silent film, Hollywood action adventure movies, biographies, television comedy, musicals, Disney animation—to see how, and if, modern representations of Muslims differ from premodern representations. We will also view how Muslims represent themselves in digital media, including clips from Youssef Chahine’s “Saladin” and the Axis of Evil comedy tour.

Texts listed here are suggestive, not final. All premodern texts read in modern English translation. Chahine’s “Saladin” has English subtitles.

Texts: (tentative) Selections from Latin crusade chronicles; Autobiography of Usamah; Selections from Arab historians of the crusades; Anna Comnena, The Alexiad; Richard Coer de Lyon; Beha ad-Din, Biography of Saladin; Roman de Saladin; Sultan of Babylon; King of Tars; Ibn Fadlan, Journey to the Rus; secondary readings. 

Digital Media: (tentative) The Sheik; Kismet; Aladdin; Lawrence of Arabia; Saladin (Chahine’s); Kingdom of Heaven; The Kingdom; Paradise Now; Caramel; Axis of Evil comedy tour.

Requirements & Grading: Course requirements: a term paper of at least 12 pages (50%), 1 or 2 in-class presentations (30%), attendance (10%) and active participation (10%).

E 360S • Mong/Nom/Musl In Euro Mid Ages

36115 • Spring 2014
Meets M 600pm-900pm PAR 206
show description

Instructor:  Heng, G

Unique #:  36115

Semester:  Spring 2014

Cross-lists:  EUS 347

Prerequisites: Nine semester hours of coursework in English or rhetoric and writing.

Description: Although the Renaissance is widely characterized as the era in which the West initiated travel and contact with the rest of the world, Christian Europe in fact encountered global races from every part of the world very much earlier, during what is commonly called its Middle Ages—through trade, missionary activity, war, diplomacy, and even imaginary kinds of voyaging.

This course looks at how medieval contact and encounter is depicted in literary texts, with a focus on the international populations that made the greatest impact on the consciousness of the Latin West: Mongols, Nomads, and Muslims. We’ll consider Europe’s responses to the steppe peoples who periodically emerged from Central Asia and swept westward—occupying lands, transforming cultures, and changing the face of the earth—by reading accounts of Mongolian habits and practices, written by Franciscan friars and traveling merchants, who had to make sense of such foreign peoples. We’ll follow changes in such depictions over time, as the foreign becomes the familiar.

We’ll also see how Muslims—the international enemy and main competitor of the West during centuries of crusades—trouble the European imagination, and how Europe itself, especially northern and Eastern Europe, appeared to Islamic travelers. Questions we will ask include the following: how does the West make sense of people who appear unimaginably strange, when encountered for the first time? What helps to bridge otherness and difference between cultures and populations, and what conditions ensure failure or success? What role did religion play? How did gender figure in such encounters? Ultimately, we will ask: what did it mean to be human, in different parts of the world?

Possible Texts (subject to change): John of Plano Carpini’s History of the Mongols; William of Rubruck’s Travels; Franciscan letters; Ordoric of Pordenone’s Description of the World; The Secret History of the Mongols (selections); Mongol (film); Marco Polo’s Travels; The Book of Sir John Mandeville; Ibn Fadlan’s Journey to Russia and Scandinavia; The Sultan of Babylon; Chaucer’s Man of Law’s Tale, Squire’s Tale; Emare; The Letter of Prester John; Floris and Blancheflor.

Requirements & Grading: a term paper of at least 12 pages (50%), 1 or 2 in-class presentations (30%), attendance (10%) and active participation (10%). Texts listed are suggestive, not final.

E 392M • Lit Archeol Of Global Mid Ages

36335 • Spring 2014
Meets W 600pm-900pm PAR 310
(also listed as MDV 392M )
show description

GLOBAL ENGLAND: A LITERARY ARCHEOLOGY OF THE GLOBAL MIDDLE AGES

What might a Global Middle Ages signify for the literature of medieval England, an insular territory shunted off to the far northwest corner of Europe (Europe being understood, in the medieval period, as Latin Christendom)?

Not usually seen as belonging to the ambit of world literature, or sought out for attention by literary transnationalism’s comparatist heuristics, medieval England’s examples of non-modern literature are not the wandering lyrics of Chinese poetry, Arabic cycles of heroic epics across Dar al-Islam, or migratory Jataka tales.

This seminar is an invitation to consider a selection of literary texts, and methods of reading, that grant access to what medieval England’s literature wants to tell us about globalizations.   We’ll begin with a survey of early globalisms, and the role of literature in articulating globality, extraterritoriality, and the outside.  We’ll consider the transnational properties of texts, and each work’s capacity to transact through a variety of methods.

Since our interest is to see how medieval England’s literature engages with globalism for its own internal audiences, many of our texts will be Middle English texts, arguably a literature aimed at insular, national audiences.  To provide context and background, however, we will also read in translation relevant texts in Latin, French, Franco-Italian, and Greek to situate our reading of Middle English texts.

Some ability to read Middle English is required; possession of other languages is not required for seminar discussion, but is an advantage for research and writing.  Non-medievalists are expected to thicken their understanding of the Middle Ages in a serious and aggregative way, and medievalists are expected to engage with critical and theoretical texts we read with the same degree of attentiveness and commitment they afford medieval texts. Other requirements: 2 presentations, a seminar paper for a letter grade (for pass/fail credit, 2 presentations, no seminar paper).

Sample texts (suggestive, subject to change, open to negotiation):

Richard Coer de Lyon

Sowdan of Babylon

King of Tars

Man of Law’s Tale

Emaré

Floris and Blanchefleur

Balaam and Josephat

The Greek Alexander romance

Gests of King Alexander of Macedon

Letters of Alexander to Dindimus

John of Plano Carpini, Ystoria Mongalorum

William of Rubruck, Itinerarium

Marco Polo (The Travels/Il Milione)

The Squire’s Tale, Man of Law’s Tale

The Letter of Prester John

Odoric of Pordenone (Relatio)

Mandeville’s Travels (the Book of Sir John Mandeville). 

 

 

E 326K • Lit Of Middle Ages In Transltn

35745 • Fall 2013
Meets M 600pm-900pm PAR 105
show description

Instructor:  Heng, G            Areas:  II / D

Unique #:  35745            Flags:  n/a

Semester:  Fall 2013            Restrictions:  n/a

Cross-lists:  n/a            Computer Instruction:  No

Prerequisites: Nine semester hours of coursework in English or rhetoric and writing.

Description: This semester, our survey of medieval literature will explore how medieval Europe saw its “others”: the alien nations of the world, in the form of Islamic civilization, Mongol, and Asian societies, and minority communities in the heart of Europe, such as those constituted by medieval Jews. We’ll read texts from a variety of genres—romance, biography, historical reports, and travel literature—to consider what “Europe” in fact was at this time, and examine how encounters with alien nations figured in the coalescence of European identity and culture. Concomitantly, we’ll read critical accounts by contemporary historians and literary scholars that contextualize, interrogate, and complexify the original documents we read. We’ll approach our subject through 3 main thematic intersections that represented the principal ground of encounter between Europe and other nations: war, religion, and travel. In these contexts, we’ll ask ourselves what the medieval West wanted from the rest of the world, what was at stake in the international contests of religion and military conflict, and how the opening up of terra incognita to trade and exploration changed the West.

Texts: Texts listed here are suggestive, not final.  All texts but one will be read in modern English translation.

Edward Said, Orientalism; Chaucer, The Prioress’s Tale; Ibn Fadlan in the land of the Vikings; Selections from John Tolan, Nerina Rustomji, Dorothee Melitzki, others; The Siege of Milan; The King of Tars; The Travels of Sir John Mandeville; Marco Polo, The Travels; Beha ad-Din, Biography of Saladin; Roman de Saladin; Packet of readings.

Requirements & Grading: A term paper of at least 12 pages (50%), 2 in-class presentations (30%), attendance and active participation (20%).

E 360S • Envisn Muslim:mid Age/Today

35900 • Fall 2013
Meets W 600pm-900pm PAR 105
(also listed as ISL 373, MES 342, R S 357 )
show description

Prerequisites: Nine semester hours of coursework in English or rhetoric and writing.

Description: Our course will survey how Muslims are represented in the dominant cultural media of two important periods: the period known in the West as the European Middle Ages—a time in which Europe first became conscious of Muslims through Islamic invasions, multiple forms of cultural contact and negotiation, and the international wars known as “the Crusades”—and in the contemporary world of the 20th and 21st centuries, when Muslims have, once again, become prominent in the Western imagination.

In the medieval period, we will read selections from European chronicles and romances, a Byzantine biography, Arab histories and biographies, and other cultural media, including illustrations and maps, to see how Europeans envisioned Muslims, and how Muslims envisioned themselves. In the contemporary period, we will view clips from digital media representing several genres—silent film, Hollywood action adventure movies, biographies, television comedy, musicals, Disney animation—to see how, and if, modern representations of Muslims differ from premodern representations. We will also view how Muslims represent themselves in digital media, including clips from Youssef Chahine’s “Saladin” and the Axis of Evil comedy tour.

Texts listed here are suggestive, not final. All premodern texts read in modern English translation. Chahine’s “Saladin” has English subtitles. 

Texts: (tentative) Selections from Latin crusade chronicles; Autobiography of Usamah; Selections from Arab historians of the crusades; Anna Comnena, The Alexiad; Richard Coer de Lyon; Beha ad-Din, Biography of Saladin; Roman de Saladin; Sultan of Babylon; King of Tars; Illustrations from the Cantigas de Santa Maria.

Digital Media: (tentative) The Sheik; Kismet; Aladdin; Lawrence of Arabia; Saladin (Chahine’s); Kingdom of Heaven; Rules of Engagement; Axis of Evil comedy tour.

Requirements & Grading: Course requirements: a term paper of at least 12 pages (50%), 1 or 2 in-class presentations (30%), attendance (10%) and active participation (10%).

E 350E • Medieval Romance

35347 • Spring 2012
Meets M 600pm-900pm PAR 105
show description

Instructor:  Heng, G            Areas:  II / D

Unique #:  35347            Flags:  n/a

Semester:  Spring 2012            Restrictions:  n/a

Cross-lists:  n/a            Computer Instruction:  n/a

E 376L (Topic: Medieval Romance) may not also be counted.

Prerequisites: Nine semester hours of coursework in English or rhetoric and writing.

Description: Courses on medieval romance often treat just one kind of romance—chivalric romances of the élite kind that constitute the fantasy literature of the seigneury and/or knights—so that the vast, rich variety of medieval romances is often overlooked and reduced in coursework, despite the number of individual chivalric romances that may be taught. To extend our grasp of what constitutes romance, we’ll sample many kinds of medieval romance as possible: popular, hagiographic, and travel romances, romances of place, of war, of history, of biography (legendary/traditional personages), of nation, of class, and utopias, as well as chivalric romances.

We’ll work from a flexible description of romance as a form of narrative in which history and fantasy collide and vanish, each into the other, without the palpable need for explanation or apology, at narrative locations where both history and fantasy can be mined to advantage. We’ll ask ourselves if there are historical moments during the Middle Ages that conduce to the creation of romances: e.g. during the making of “empires,” “nations,” “races,” at transitions to new technology, new economic regimes & social control, or at the appearance of new kinds of time (because of, e.g., the modernization of war, the invention of print culture, the rise of urban classes, or other transformations to “modernity”). What needs are served by romance at periods of crisis, trauma, war, or “discovery and exploration” of the world (e.g. during crusades, Mongol invasions, pre-Renaissance missionizing and settlement)? 

We’ll consider romance as narratives of self-fashioning (an older focus of scholars such as Georges Duby), but also extend the notion of “self-fashioning” to include the fashioning of collective communities of residence (“home,” “us,” “Europe,” “England,” “Christendom”), and the production of the world, and other communities of residence beyond Europe. With few exceptions, romances will be read in modern English translation. Where no translations exist, students may be asked to read a text in an easy-to-read Middle English dialect.

Texts listed are suggestive, not final.

Texts (subject to change): Geoffrey of Monmouth’s History of the Kings of Britain; Richard Coer de Lyon; Parzival; Morien; Sultan of Babylon; Sir Gawain and the Green Knight; Emare; Letter of Prester John; Vinland Sagas; John of Plano Carpini’s Travels; William of Rubruck’s Travels; Marco Polo’s Travels; Mandeville’s Travels; A packet of readings. 

Requirements & Grading: A term paper of at least 12 pages (50%), 1 or 2 in-class presentations (30%), attendance (10%) and active participation (10%).

E 326K • Lit Of Middle Ages In Transltn

35215 • Fall 2011
Meets M 600pm-900pm PAR 105
show description

Prerequisites: Nine semester hours of coursework in English or rhetoric and writing.

Description: This semester, our survey of medieval literature will explore how medieval Europe saw its “others”: the alien nations of the world, in the form of Islamic civilization, Mongol, and Asian societies, and minority communities in the heart of Europe, such as those constituted by medieval Jews. We’ll read texts from a variety of genres—romance, biography, historical reports, and travel literature—to consider what “Europe” in fact was at this time, and examine how encounters with alien nations figured in the coalescence of European identity and culture. Concomitantly, we’ll read critical accounts by contemporary historians and literary scholars that contextualize, interrogate, and complexify the original documents we read. We’ll approach our subject through 3 main thematic intersections that represented the principal ground of encounter between Europe and other nations: war, religion, and travel. In these contexts, we’ll ask ourselves what the medieval West wanted from the rest of the world, what was at stake in the international contests of religion and military conflict, and how the opening up of terra incognita to trade and exploration changed the West. 

Texts: Texts listed here are suggestive, not final.  All texts but one will be read in modern English translation.

Edward Said, Orientalism; Chaucer, The Prioress’s Tale; Ibn Fadlan in the land of the Vikings; Selections from John Tolan, Nerina Rustomji, Dorothee Melitzki, others; The Siege of Milan; The King of Tars; The Travels of Sir John Mandeville; Marco Polo, The Travels; Beha ad-Din, Biography of Saladin; Roman de Saladin; Packet of readings.

Requirements & Grading: A term paper of at least 12 pages (50%), 2 in-class presentations (30%), attendance and active participation (20%).

E 360S • Envisioning Muslims

35395 • Fall 2011
Meets W 600pm-900pm PAR 105
(also listed as ISL 372 )
show description

Prerequisites: Nine semester hours of coursework in English or rhetoric and writing.

Description: Our course will survey how Muslims are represented in the dominant cultural media of two important periods: the period known in the West as the European Middle Ages—a time in which Europe first became conscious of Muslims through Islamic invasions, multiple forms of cultural contact and negotiation, and the international wars known as “the Crusades”—and in the contemporary world of the 20th and 21st centuries, when Muslims have, once again, become prominent in the Western imagination.

In the medieval period, we will read selections from European chronicles and romances, a Byzantine biography, Arab histories and biographies, and other cultural media, including illustrations and maps, to see how Europeans envisioned Muslims, and how Muslims envisioned themselves. In the contemporary period, we will view clips from digital media representing several genres—silent film, Hollywood action adventure movies, biographies, television comedy, musicals, Disney animation—to see how, and if, modern representations of Muslims differ from premodern representations. We will also view how Muslims represent themselves in digital media, including clips from Youssef Chahine’s “Saladin” and the Axis of Evil comedy tour.

Texts listed here are suggestive, not final. All premodern texts read in modern English translation. Chahine’s “Saladin” has English subtitles. 

Texts: (tentative) Selections from Latin crusade chronicles; Autobiography of Usamah; Selections from Arab historians of the crusades; Anna Comnena, The Alexiad; Richard Coer de Lyon; Beha ad-Din, Biography of Saladin; Roman de Saladin; Sultan of Babylon; King of Tars; Illustrations from the Cantigas de Santa Maria.

Digital Media: (tentative) The Sheik; Kismet; Aladdin; Lawrence of Arabia; Saladin (Chahine’s); Kingdom of Heaven; Rules of Engagement; Axis of Evil comedy tour.

Requirements & Grading: Course requirements: a term paper of at least 12 pages (50%), 1 or 2 in-class presentations (30%), attendance (10%) and active participation (10%).

E 326K • Lit Of Middle Ages In Transltn

35060 • Fall 2009
Meets MW 500pm-630pm PAR 105
show description

LITERATURE OF THE MIDDLE AGES IN TRANSLATION

Geraldine Heng  heng@mail.utexas.edu  PAR 213
Office hrs: available on request    E326K #35060   MW 5-6:30 PAR 105 

 

This semester, our survey of medieval literature will explore how medieval Europe saw its “others”: the alien nations of the world, in the form of Islamic civilization, Mongol, and Asian societies, and minority communities in the heart of Europe, such as those constituted by medieval Jews. 

We’ll read texts from a variety of genres—romance, biography, historical reports, and travel literature—to consider what “Europe” in fact was at this time, and examine how encounters with alien nations figured in the coalescence of European identity and culture. Concomitantly, we’ll read critical accounts by contemporary historians and literary scholars that contextualize, interrogate, and complexify the original documents we read.

We’ll approach our subject through three main thematic intersections that represented the principal ground of encounter between Europe and other nations: war, religion, and travel.  In these contexts, we’ll ask ourselves what the medieval West wanted from the rest of the world, what was at stake in the international contests of religion and military conflict, and how the opening up of terra incognita to trade and exploration changed the West.

Course requirements:

A term paper of at least 12 pages (50%), 1 or 2 in-class presentations (30%), attendance and active participation (20%).

Texts listed here are suggestive, not final. All texts will be read in modern English translation. 

Students with disabilities may request appropriate academic accommodations from the Division of Diversity and Community Engagement, Services for Students with Disabilities, 471-6259.

TEXTS (tentative):

Edward Said, Orientalism
Selections from John Tolan, Dorothee Melitzki, Naim, Pape, others
The Sultan of Babylon
The King of Tars
Richard Coer de Lyon
Marco Polo, The Travels
The Travels of Sir John Mandeville
Beha ad-Din, Biography of Saladin
The Autobiography of Usamah
Chaucer, The Prioress’s Tale
Packet of readings

 

Publications

Global England: A Literary Archeology of the Global Middle Ages, in progress.

The Invention of Race in the European Middle Ages, in progess.

Race and the Middle Ages. University of Toronto Press and the Medieval Academy of America, 2012.

"The Invention of Race in the European Middle Ages II: Locations of Medieval Race." Forthcoming in Literature Compass, the Global Circulation Project.

"The Invention of Race in the European Middle Ages I: Race Studies, Modernity, and the Middle Ages." Forthcoming in Literature Compass, the Global Circulation Project.

"Holy War Redux: The Crusades, Futures of the Past, and Strategic Logic in the 'Clash' of Religions." PMLA May 2011.

pdf"The Global Middle Ages." Special Issue on Experimental Literary Education.  Ed Jeffrey Robinson.  ELN 47:1, 2009.

"An Experiment in Collaborative Humanities: 'Global Interconnections: Imagining the World 500-1500. ADFL Bulletin, 38(3), December 2007.

"Jews, Saracens, 'Black men,' Tartars: England in a World of Racial Difference, 13th-15th Centuries," A Companion to Medieval English Literature, c. 1350-c.1500, ed. Peter Brown, Blackwell 2005.

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''Music to My Ears: Pleasure, Resistance, and Feminist Aesthetics in Reading.'' Cambridge Companion to Feminist Literary Theory. ed. Ellen Rooney. Cambridge UP, 2006.

"The Romance of England: Richard Coer de Lyon, Saracens, Jews, and the Politics of Race and Nation," The Postcolonial Middle Ages, ed. Jeffrey Cohen, Garland (2000).

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"Cannibalism, the First Crusade, and the Genesis of Medieval Romance," differences 10.1, 1998.

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"'A Great Way to Fly': Women, Nationalism, and the Varieties of Feminism in Southeast Asia." Feminist Genealogies, Colonial Legacies, Democratic Futures (pp.30-45). eds. M. Jacqui Alexander and Chandra Talpade, Mohanty, Routledge, 1996 (republished, translated).

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"A Woman Wants: The Lady, Gawain, and the Forms of Seduction." Yale Journal of Criticism, 5(3), 101-134 (September 1992).

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"Feminine Knots and the Other Sir Gawain and the Green Knight." PMLA: Publication of the Modern Language Association of America, 500-514 (May 1991).

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''State Fatherhood: The Politics of Nationalism, Sexuality, and Race in Singapore'', Nationalisms and Sexualities, eds. Andrew Parker, Mary Russo, Doris Sommer, Patricia Yeager, Routledge 1991 (republished eight times; translated into other languages).

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