HST 291: Pre-Modern Religious Violence

Dr. Nathan Michalewicz
michalewiczn@queens.edu

Meetings:
MWF 9:20-10:30 am
in
McEwen
Room 105

Student Hours:
TR, 11am-2pm
in
Watkins
Room 207

Jump to Class Schedule

Class Description

This course will explore what led to and resolved religious violence in different contexts in the European and Mediterranean worlds from the late 11th century to the 16th century. The class will explore four experiences: the crusades between Christian armies of Europe and Muslim states in the Holy Lands, the inquisition against the Cathars in 13th and 14th century France, popular violence during the French Wars of Religion in the sixteenth century, and the Christian-Muslim Mediterranean frontier of the sixteenth century. The class will focus on what qualifies for religious violence, the sorts of conditions that produced it, and how the violence was resolved.

Learning Objectives

By engaging fully in all aspects of this course, you will be able to

  • Understand different types of religious violence in premodern European and Mediterranean societies.
  • Critically analyze sources related to religious violence from the 11th century to the 16th century.
  • Articulate arguments on the causes, experience, and resolution of religious violence.
  • Support your arguments with primary and secondary sources in a reasoned and logical order following standard writing conventions.

Required Reading

All readings, podcasts, and videos for this course will be available on Zotero. Students will not need to purchase any materials for this course. Everything will be available through Zotero or through the university library.

Some of the readings are in .epub format (the format for ebooks), so you will need an ebook reader. I recommend Calibre, Freda, or SumatraPDF (which reads many formats beyond PDFs).

Assignments

  1. Engagement (15%)
    • This class is predicated on discussion, so attendance and participation are mandatory. You are expected to do the readings BEFORE class and come prepared with a question about the reading. Attendance will be taken by submitting the question to the class’s Nearpod (learn more about this on day 1).
  2. Test Question Submission (5%)
    • Each Friday of the four units (not including the first two weeks), students will submit a multiple-choice test question, including the answer (but wrong answers are not necessary) to canvas on the proper assignment page. These questions will be graded complete or incomplete. Certain types of questions are unacceptable, such as questions about dates or needlessly specific questions. Questions should be general in scope and focus on general main points from the readings discussed during the week. In other words, the questions for the Friday of week 4 can be over Monday’s, Wednesday’s, or Friday’s reading for week 4, but not any readings from week 3. The test will come primarily from these questions unless too few of them are acceptable.
  3. In-Class Quizzes (20% total)
    • There will be open-note, open-source quizzes on the readings throughout the course–likely around one quiz a week. The quiz will be done at the beginning of the allotted day and submitted to Canvas. The quiz will have an open-ended prompt to which each student will respond in 3-5 sentences. A successful response will make an argument in the first sentence and support it with evidence in the following sentences. An “A” response will make an argument responding to the question directly and use substantive evidence to support it. A “B” response will make an argument but will not support it with substantive evidence. A “C” response will not make a clear argument or will provide little, if any, evidence. A “D” response will not meet any of the above criteria. These quizzes are graded quickly and simply: A = 95; B = 85; C = 75; D = 65; F = 55.
  4. 4 Tests (5% each, 20% total)
    • Each student will take four online, open-note, multiple-choice tests. The test questions will come from the readings, and students will produce them. At the end of class each Friday, each student will submit a question from one of the three readings with a corresponding answer. The test questions will come from these submissions (along with questions submitted by students at the beginning of each class if those from Friday submissions do not meet the necessary criteria).
  5. 2 Essays (20% each, 40% total)
    • Each student will write two essays (1000-word minimum) responding to a prompt that you can find at the end of this syllabus. Each essay should make an argument (thesis statement) that you will prove throughout the essay. Essays should use evidence from the readings, podcasts, and discussions and cite any direct quotations or paraphrases from these sources in a footnote. If you have any questions about citations (or any other questions about writing essays), see my document on writing guidance available here. To receive full credit, essays should reference materials only from this class (class discussions, readings, podcasts, etc.), and each essay should cite at least four (4) sources from the class, and one should be a primary source. Students can submit a revised essay for essay 1 to improve their grade, responding to the comments on the first submission. Revisions are due two weeks after the essay is graded. Due to timing, revisions will NOT be accepted for essay 2.

Extra Credit

  • If two of a student’s test questions from the test question submission (see assignments above) end up on the test, that student will receive one extra point on their final grade. Each unit provides three opportunities to submit a test question, so two of the three submissions must end up on the test to receive the extra point. Partial credit will NOT be granted for one complete submission, and extra points will not be granted if all three are accepted. Also, if two students submit the same general question, I will only accept one from the student whose submission and answer are best worded. In other words, there is little incentive for sharing the same question with another student.

Grading

Queens uses a plus/minus grade scale: B- receives less than 3 points, for instance. Grades in this class will follow the same pattern with one exception. Here are the numeric grades associated with each letter grade:

  • A = 90-100
  • B+ = 89-87
  • B = 86-83
  • B- = 82-80
  • C+ = 79-77
  • C = 76-73
  • C- = 72-70
  • D+ = 69-67
  • D = 66-60
  • F = 59-0

Notice a couple inconsistencies. One, I do not give an A-. In my experience, most As in my class are in the A- scale, so I treat them as complete As. If you got an A, you deserved it without qualification. Also, there is not a D-. This difference is because Queens does not include a D-.

The Writing Center 

The Writing Center (part of the Center for Student Success) is a place for students at Queens University to receive peer feedback on their writing assignments.  Writing Consultants in The Writing Center are your peers who come from a wide range of backgrounds and majors. They are trained to work across the disciplines to support student writing no matter where you are in the process.

There are three options for appointments:

  1. Face to Face – Monday to Thursday, 8 to 6 sessions are in the Michael Murphy Learning Studio (Knight-Crane Hall); Sundays and after 6 Monday to Thursday – sessions are in Everett Library (main floor)
  2. Face-to-Face Virtual (Synchronous)
    • On RingCentral (link is in the tutor’s bio on WC Online)
    • These options are best for brainstorming, idea development, understanding the assignment or when you are in the early stages of your writing project.
  3. Written Feedback (Asynchronous): submit your project for written feedback where the writing consultant gives you marginal responses to specific questions or concerns
    • Feedback will be sent within 24 hours of submission of the text.
    • This option is great for organizing, citation questions, and the polishing stage or your project.
    • To make an appointment with a writing tutor, log on to www.queens.edu/tutoring to register or contact The Writing Center at writingcenter@queens.edu.

Student Accessibility Services

Queens University of Charlotte is committed to making reasonable accommodations to assist students with disabilities. If you have a disability which may impact your performance, attendance or grades in this course and require accommodations, you must first contact Student Accessibility Services at sashelp@queens.edu. The steps for receiving accommodations must be completed before accommodations can be given. The steps are available on the Student Accessibility Homepage. SAS is responsible for coordinating classroom accommodations and other services for students with disabilities. Please note that students are responsible for sharing their letter of accommodation with their instructors to receive classroom accommodations.

Student Complaint Process

Queens University of Charlotte is committed to providing an educational climate that is conducive to the personal and professional development of each individual. To ensure that commitment, the university has developed procedures for students to pursue grievances within the university community should such action become necessary. A student who has an unresolved disagreement or dissatisfaction with a faculty or staff member, another student, a student group, or an administrator has the right to file a written complaint without prejudicing his or her status with the university. For more information, please visit the Student Complaint Process page. For information regarding the online student complaint process, please visit
the online student complaint process page.

QAlert

QAlert is the emergency notification system Queens uses to notify the campus community of an emergency, inclement weather, or class cancellations. It sends messages about the status of a given situation, as well as other details the campus needs to know. Students, faculty, and staff are automatically registered for QAlert through the university’s enterprise resource.

Religious Holidays

If any assignments or due dates interfere with your personal religious observation, I will be happy to make accommodations. Remember, within the first two weeks of the semester, the student must let me know the dates of major religious holidays on which the student will be absent or unavailable due to religious observances. Please, see the Queens Office for Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion religious holiday calendar:

E-mail Communication

When writing emails to me, be sure to include a subject line, address me properly by my title and last name, and sign off with your name. Proper email formatting skills are required in post-university life.

Each student is issued a University e-mail address (username@queens.edu) upon admittance. The University uses this e-mail address for official communication with students. Students are expected to read e-mails sent to this account on a regular basis. Failure to read and react to University communications in a timely manner does not absolve the student from knowing and complying with the content of the communications.

Class Schedule

Introduction

Week 1 (Jan. 8): Intro to Religious Violence

Monday, Jan 8:

Syllabus Day

syncing your Zotero account.

Wednesday

Discuss readings on Zotero (13 pgs):

Friday

Discuss Readings on Zotero (26 pgs):

Week 2 (Jan. 15): Premodern Society

Monday (MLK Day)–No Class

Wednesday

Discuss Readings on Zotero (24 pgs):

  • Christopher Tyerman, “Introduction: Europe and the Mediterranean,” in God’s War: A New History of the Crusades (London: Penguin Books, 2007), 1–24.

Friday

Discuss Readings online (18 pgs):

Unit 1
The First Crusade

Week 3 (Jan. 22): Overview

Monday

Discuss Readings on Zotero (15 pgs):

  • Michael Köhler and Peter M. Holt, “The System of Autonomous Lordships before the First Crusade (c. 1070–1099),” in Alliances and Treaties between Frankish and Muslim Rulers in the Middle East: Cross-Cultural Diplomacy in the Period of the Crusades. Translated by Peter M. Holt. Revised, Edited and Introduced by Konrad Hirschler, ed. Konrad Hirschler (BRILL, 2013), https://doi.org/10.1163/9789004248908.

Wednesday

Discuss Readings on Zotero (21 pgs):

  • Jonathan Riley-Smith, “Crusades as Christian Holy Wars,” in The Crusades, Christianity, and Islam (New York, NY: Columbia Univ. Press, 2011).

Friday

Listen to Podcast Online: (week 3 test question due)

“The First Crusade,” Gone Medieval, accessed December 31, 2023, https://open.spotify.com/episode/27VPtJt8b3fKrM9j9DxAdk.

Week 4 (Jan. 29)

Monday

Discuss Readings on Zotero (19 pgs):

Wednesday

Discuss Readings on Zotero (~23 pgs):

  • Jonathan Riley-Smith, “The First Crusade,” in The Crusades: A History, 3rd ed. (New York: Bloomsbury Publishing, 2014). (This is an epub)

Friday

Discuss Readings on Zotero (29 pgs): (week 4 test question due)

  • Jonathan Christopher Riley-Smith, “The Ideas of the Crusaders,” in The First Crusade and the Idea of Crusading, Repr. (London: Continuum, 2003), 91–119.

Week 5 (Feb. 5):

Monday

Discuss Readings on Zotero (19 pgs):

  • Yehoshua Frenkel, “Muslim Responses to the Frankish Dominion in the New East, 1098–1291,” in The Crusades and the Near East : Cultural Histories, ed. Conor Kostick (New York: Routledge, 2011), 27–54.

Wednesday

Discuss Readings on Zotero (16 pgs):

  • Jay Rubenstein, “Tolerance for the Armies of Antichrist: Life on the Frontiers of Twelfth-Century Outremer,” in Papacy, Crusade, and Christian-Muslim Relations, ed. Jessalynn Bird (New York: Amsterdam University Press, 2018), 81–96.

Friday

Recap Discussion (week 5 test question due)

***Test #1 Due Feb. 11 @ 11:59pm***

Unit 2
The Albigensian Crusade

Week 6 (Feb. 12):

Monday

Discuss Readings on Zotero (~30 pgs):

  • Marcus Graham Bull, ed., “The South,” in France in the Central Middle Ages 900 – 1200, 1st publ, The Short Oxford History of France (Oxford New York: Oxford University Press, 2002), 102–33.

Wednesday

Discuss Podcast:

Friday

Discuss Readings on Zotero (32 pgs): (week 6 test question due)

Week 7 (Feb. 19)

Monday

Discuss Readings on Zotero (25 pgs):

  • Claire Taylor, “Evidence for Dualism in Inquisitorial Registers of the 1240s: A Contribution to a Debate,” History 98, no. 3 (331) (2013): 319–45.

***Wednesday (Feb 21): NO CLASS!***

Friday

Discuss Readings on Zotero (42 pgs): (week 7 test question due)

  • Christopher Tyerman, “The Albigensian Cursades 1209-29,” in God’s War: A New History of the Crusades (London: Penguin Books, 2007), 563–605.

Week 8 (Feb. 26)

Monday

Discuss Readings on Zotero (~38 pgs):

  • Sean McGlynn, “1209: ‘Kill Them All! God Will Know His Own!,’” in Kill Them All: Cathars and Carnage in the Albigensian Crusade (Stroud: The History Press, 2015).

Wednesday

Discuss Readings on Zotero (15 pgs):

  • Ernest E. Jenkins, “The Interplay of Financial and Political Conflicts Connected to Toulouse during the Late Twelfth and Early Thirteenth Centuries,” Mediterranean Studies 17 (2008): 46–61.

Friday

Recap Discussion (week 8 test question due)

Week 9 (Mar. 4): — No Class — Spring Break

***Test #2 Due Mar. 10 @ 11:59 pm***

***Essay #1 Due Mar. 10 @ 11:59 pm***

Unit 3
French Wars of Religion

Week 10 (Mar. 11)

Monday

Discuss Readings on Zotero (xx pgs): The Reformation

  • James D. Tracy, “The Reformation in European Perspective,” in Europe’s Reformations, 1450-1650, Critical Issues in History (Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield, 1999), 13–28.

Wednesday

Discuss Readings on Zotero (xx pgs):

  • Mark Greengrass, “Social Geography of French Protestantism,” in The French Reformation, Reprinted, Historical Association Studies (Oxford: Blackwell, 1991), 42–62.

Friday

Discuss podcast online: (week 10 test question due)

  • Philip Benedict, “The Wars of Religion, 1562-1598,” in Renaissance and Reformation France, 1500-1648, ed. Mack P. Holt, The Short Oxford History of France (Oxford ; New York: Oxford University Press, 2002), 147–75.

Week 11 (Mar. 18)

Monday

Discuss Podcast:

Wednesday

Discuss Readings on Zotero:

  • Barbara B. Diefendorf, “Rites of Repair: Restoring Community in the French Religious Wars,” Past & Present 214, no. suppl_7 (January 1, 2012): 30–51, https://doi.org/10.1093/pastj/gtr017.

Friday

Discuss Readings on Zotero: (week 11 test question due)

Week 12 (Mar. 25)

Monday

Discuss Readings on Zotero (26 pgs):

  • Jérémie Foa, “Who Goes There? To Live and Survive during the Wars of Religion, 1562-1598,” French Historical Studies 40, no. 3 (August 2017): 425–38, https://doi.org/10.1215/00161071-3856992.
  • Allan A. Tulchin, “Ending the French Wars of Religion,” The American Historical Review 120, no. 5 (2015): 1696–1708.

Wednesday

Discuss Readings on Zotero:

  • Mack P. Holt, “Henry IV and the Edict of Nantes: The Remaking of Gallicanism, 1593–1610,” in The French Wars of Religion, 1562-1629, 2nd ed (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2005), 156–77.

Friday

Recap discussion (week 12 test question due)

***Test #3 Due Mar. 31 @ 11:59pm**

Unit 4
Christians and Ottomans

Week 13 (Apr. 1):

Mon. Mar 25

Discuss Readings on Zotero:

  • Daniel Goffman, “A Seasoned Polity,” in The Ottoman Empire and Early Modern Europe, New Approaches to European History 24 (Cambridge, U.K. ; New York: Cambridge University Press, 2002), 59–92.

Wed. Mar 27

Discuss Readings on Zotero: (week 13 test question due)

  • James D. Tracy, “The Habsburg Monarchy in Conflict with the Ottoman Empire, 1527–1593: A Clash of Civilizations,” Austrian History Yearbook 46 (April 2015): 1–26, https://doi.org/10.1017/S0067237814000071.

***Fri. Mar 29 — No Class Easter Holiday***

Week 14 (Apr. 8):

Monday

Discuss Podcast:

  • Andrew C. Hess, “The Clash of Empires,” in The Forgotten Frontier: A History of the Sixteenth Century Ibero-African Frontier (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1978), 71–99.

Wednesday

Discuss Readings on Zotero

Friday

Discuss Readings on Zotero: (week 14 test question due)

  • Brian Sandberg, “French Nobles and Religious Struggle in the Mediterranean 1598-1635,” Journal of Mediterranean Studies 16, no. 1/2 (2006): 219–28.

Week 15 (Apr. 15):

Monday

Discuss Readings on Zotero:

  • Christine Isom-Verhaaren, “Ottoman Involvement in European Alliances , Diplomacy and the Balance of Power, 1453-1600,” in Allies with the Infidel: The Ottoman and French Alliance in the Sixteenth Century (New York: I.B. Tauris, 2011), 23–48.

Wednesday

Discuss Readings on Zotero:

  • Eric R Dursteler, “On Bazaars and Battlefields: Recent Scholarship on Mediterranean Cultural Contacts,” Journal of Early Modern History 15, no. 5 (August 2011): 413–34.

Friday

Recap Discussion (week 15 test question due)

Wednesday, April 24: Essay #2 Due & Test #4 due

Essay Questions:

Each essay should be organized as a standard essay with an introduction, body paragraphs, and a conclusion. Essays should also have a clearly articulated argument (or thesis statement) in the introduction. This is not a novel; it should not have a twist ending. For more information on organizing and writing historical essays, see my page on writing historical essays. Essays should cite a source in each paragraph (excluding the introduction and conclusion). Citations should follow a standard style (Turabian, Chicago, MLA, APA, etc.) and remain consistent with that citation style. Pro hint: Zotero will create standard citation formats for you.

Essay #1 (Due Mar. 10 @ Midnight) :

Write an essay that places The First Crusade and The Albigensian Crusade in conversation with one another. The essay should make a distinct argument. Perhaps the argument indicates a common variable that drove the religious violence in both circumstances, or the argument demonstrates a major difference in motivation that caused a variation in the way violence played itself out in the two different circumstances. This essay differs from a compare and contrast essay that discusses multiple similarities and differences. Instead, it asks students to construct a historical argument that explains some similarity, difference, or common experience in how or why religious violence broke out, expressed itself, or was overcome to coexist. Note that the essay should not do all of these but only one. These are only a few possibilities.

Remember historical arguments should tell the history, the story of the events. Place the two crusades in their context to support the argument. While the essay should be focused on proving its argument, contextual information should demonstrate that the student fully understands the course material. In addition, students are NOT permitted to use outside material. Throughout this course, we have read many sources that provide ample arguments and content to articulate a substantive historical argument.

The essay should be a MINIMUM of 1000 words and cite at least four (4) separate sources.

Essay # 2 Due April 24 @ 11:59am:

Write an essay that places French Wars of Religion and Christian-Ottoman wars in conversation with one another. The essay should make a distinct argument. Perhaps the argument indicates a common variable that drove the religious violence in both circumstances, or the argument demonstrates a major difference in motivation that caused a variation in the way violence played itself out in the two different circumstances. This essay differs from a compare and contrast essay that discusses multiple similarities and differences. Instead, it asks students to construct a historical argument that explains some similarity, difference, or common experience in how or why religious violence broke out, expressed itself, or was overcome to coexist. Note that the essay should not do all of these but only one. These are only a few possibilities.

Remember historical arguments should tell the history, the story of the events. Place the two crusades in their context to support the argument. While the essay should be focused on proving its argument, contextual information should demonstrate that the student fully understands the course material. In addition, students are NOT permitted to use outside material. Throughout this course, we have read many sources that provide ample arguments and content to articulate a substantive historical argument.

The essay should be a MINIMUM of 1000 words and cite at least four (4) separate sources.

  • Note: I reserve the right to change this syllabus as necessary. If so, students will receive notification via email and in class.
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