Course Meeting Times
Lectures: 2 sessions / week, 1.5 hours / session
This course will survey the conditions of material life and changing social and economic conditions in medieval Europe with reference to the comparative context of contemporary Islamic, Chinese, and central Asian experiences. Subject covers the emergence and decline of feudal institutions, the transformation of peasant agriculture, living standards and the course of epidemic disease, and the ebb and flow of long- distance trade across the Eurasian system. Particular emphasis will be placed on the study of those factors, both institutional and technological, which have contributed to the emergence of capitalist organization and economic growth in Western Europe in contrast to the trajectories followed by the other major medieval economies.
This course offers credit for the CI-H requirement and will strongly emphasize the teaching of expository and analytical writing as utilized by historians for the dissemination of their scholarly findings. Each student will be expected to write a number of short discussion papers, and two substantive essays (6 pages each) over the course of the term. Students will also give a short oral presentation of their intended thesis statement and outline of argument for the second paper draft. All paper topics will be reviewed in class in advance. In addition, the course has a scheduled three-hour final exam.
No internet sources should be consulted for your papers, other than those which are either primary source collections, or are academically refereed sites. If you are unsure about a site, please consult with one of us prior to using it. If used, all internet sources must be properly footnoted and cited in your bibliography at the end of your paper just as for any other type of source. Plagiarism from any source will not be tolerated. Plagiarism earns an automatic F (0%) for the assignment. Moreover, all cases of plagiarism will be reported to the COD for their consideration of the appropriate disciplinary action to take with the student involved. If you are unsure what plagiarism is please see the MIT Online Writing Communication Center. If you are still uncertain, please see me.
Check out the MIT Online Writing and Communication Center.
Check out Writing Resources on the World Wide Web for some immediate guidance.
Late Papers and Absence Policy
Late papers will be accepted without penalty in the case of a medical emergency or some other type of emergency that has been brought to our attention in advance. Otherwise, late papers will be graded down 5% points for each day they are late. Students are expected to attend every class, and to participate actively in section meetings. If you know in advance that you must travel during the week for professional reasons, please see us as soon as possible so that we can make appropriate arrangements.
|Three short discussion papers||15% (5% each)|
|Oral presentation of final paper thesis||5%|
|First draft of 1st long essay||10%|
|Rewrite of 1st long essay||15%|
|SES #||TOPICS||KEY DATES|
|1||Some Big Questions in Economic History, and How to Think About Them|
|2||Late Roman Antiquity and Barbarian Europe||First short paper due|
|3||Late Roman Antiquity and Barbarian Europe (cont.)||Primary source documents handed out: "The Plan of St. Gall" and "The Capitulary on the Maintenance of the Royal Estates."|
|4||Fundamentals of Good History Writing|
|5||The Structure of Medieval Life: Manorialism and Feudalism||Second short paper due|
|6||The Wider Medieval World: Vikings, Mongols, and Saracens||Viking film|
|7||The Wider Medieval World: Vikings, Mongols, and Saracens (cont.)|
|8||The 'Dark Ages': Myth or Reality|
|9||The 'Dark Ages': Myth or Reality (cont.)|
|10||Medieval Agriculture and Commercialization: A Revised Story||Third short paper due|
|11||Rise of the Commune and Revival of Trade: Counterpoint to Autarkic Agriculture|
|12||Rise of the Commune and Revival of Trade: Counterpoint to Autarkic Agriculture (cont.)|
|13||The Plague and Its Consequences|
|14||The Plague and Its Consequences (cont.)|
|15||Overseas Expansion of Europe||First long paper due|
|16||Overseas Expansion of Europe (cont.)|
|17||Oral Presentations||Oral presentations of final thesis|
|18||Methodology and Theories of Historical Demography|
|19||Methodology and Theories of Historical Demography (cont.)||First draft of 2nd long paper due|
|20||Grand Theories About Economic Development: Malthusians, Marxists and the Neo-Classical Tradition|
|21||Grand Theories About Economic Development: Malthusians, Marxists and the Neo-Classical Tradition (cont.)|
|22||Capitalist Organization of Economic Life: The Globalization of Trade and the Rise of Consumer Culture||Draft returned back to students|
|23||Capitalist Organization of Economic Life: The Globalization of Trade and the Rise of Consumer Culture (cont.)|
|24||Measuring Welfare||Second long paper due|
|25||The Rise of North-Western Europe: Improvements in the Standard of Living.|