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Medieval and Early Modern Studies

Keene State students can take part in a new interdisciplinary minor in Medieval and Early Modern Studies (MEMS). This program includes faculty and courses from English, History, and Art History – including courses in medieval and Renaissance art, the Crusades, Chaucer, Shakespeare, and the European Conquest of the New World. Course offerings include several Integrative Studies classes that expose students to a variety disciplinary and cultural perspectives.

Keene State History major Robin Harris had her interest in the minor piqued by classes like Dr. Susan’s Wade’s “History of Sexuality in Western Europe.” The class, she says, has challenged her to think in new ways about culture and history: “We looked at the work of John Boswell and other medieval and early modern writings about homosexuality, heteronormativism, gender expression and gender roles during those periods. It was a topic I had never looked into myself and I was amazed by how acceptance of homosexuality changed over time.”

Hillary O’Brien, and English major, is currently taking Dr. Meriem Pages’ course on “Medieval and Early Modern Romance.” Hillary has been particularly intrigued by issues of gender and sex in medieval and early modern literature: “In my class … we have looked in depth at the inner struggles that knights and ladies of the court experience in creating their public personas. We have looked at a wide range of female characters, pursuing an even wider range of gender roles in romance. Many of these heroines tend to bend the traditional female roles, which is something at which I always raise an eyebrow.”

Students who wish to learn more about the Medieval and Early Modern Studies minor should contact the program coordinator Dr. Meriem Pages (mpages@keene.edu) and/or consult the Medieval and Early Modern Studies program in the academic catalog.


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