Spring 2014

Travel in the Middle Ages

Listed in: European Studies, as EUST-323  |  History, as HIST-323

Moodle site: Course (Guest Accessible)


Jesse W. Torgerson (Section 01)


[EUP] Medieval people moved: they traded and sent emissaries, they invaded and migrated, they went on crusade, jihad, and pilgrimage. This topical course will touch upon all of these movements as we pursue a larger question. Can patterns of exchange across the physical and cultural barriers of geography, language, religion, and governance reveal a more global medieval world than we usually envision?

As the Middle Ages passed, patterns and perceptions of movement changed. Itinerancy was institutionalized in certain religious orders while popular heresy and plague rapidly spread out of control. In order to ground our study of such changes the class will first analyze the most consistently preserved sources on medieval movement, accounts of pious travel “for God’s sake and not for pleasure.” Students will then work collaboratively to contextualize such accounts with two other types of movement: the physical journeys of traders and diplomats, and the interiorized journeys of the prophet, the mystic, and the storyteller. Assignments will include critical presentations and a research paper. Two class meetings per week.

Spring semester.  Visiting Professor Torgerson.


2018-19: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2014