Medieval Studies Minor

Portion of the Mappa Mundi

Image: Portion of the Mappa Mundi by Richard of Haldingham, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons.

Medieval Studies at Geneseo invites students to explore the cultural products—historical, literary, linguistic, and artistic—of a millennium traditionally dated ca. 500-1500 CE. While many of our courses focus on the history and literature of western Europe, the minor has broadened its areas of inquiry just as scholars of the Middle Ages have increasingly adopted a more global perspective. This broader perspective considers interactions across Europe and the Mediterranean basin, and more long-distance connections among European, African, and Asian cultures.

The thousand years between the transformation of the western Roman world in the fifth-century and the final collapse of the Byzantine Empire in the mid-fifteenth century constitute a dynamic period which saw the emergence of new states, major developments in Christianity and Judaism, and the origins of Islam. Long-distance routes travelled by Vikings in the North Atlantic, Amazigh traders in west Africa, or Nestorian Christian missionaries in central Asia created opportunities for trade, communication, cultural contact and the exchange of knowledge. Medieval Studies students learn to engage with the ideas, histories, and cultural achievements produced by communities in contact and transition, from the multicultural worlds of Spain and Sicily, to the frontiers of Anglo-Norman Ireland and eastern Europe. Medieval Jewish, Christian, and Muslim communities created works of literature, art, and music which continue to influence writers, artists, and musicians today, while key modern institutions such as universities, hospitals, and parliaments can trace their origins to the Middle Ages. By understanding the causes, contexts, and consequences of conflict, accommodation and assimilation between diverse medieval groups, it is possible to gain insight into how to coexist in ways that can enable a collaborative society.


Students may include up to nine hours of qualifying courses from their own major. HUMN 220, Western Humanities I, can apply to the minor as well as fulfilling the General Education H/ requirement.

More information on requirements for the Medieval Studies minor can be found in the Undergraduate Bulletin. As course offerings may change from time to time in individual academic departments, it is important to consult with the Coordinator of the Medieval Studies minor or with your academic advisor.

Coordinator: Dr. Graham N. Drake (English)

Medieval Studies Faculty