HIST 433 Medieval Europe: A Social and Economic History
Introduces the student to the basic shape and some fundamental problems of the European Middle Ages, and simultaneously to the works and ideas of a number of leading Medievalists. Topics dealt with include: a retrospective on the Renaissance and Enlightenment construction of the Middle Ages as part of a Eurocentric periodization. Axes of comparison between Ancient and Medieval civilization. Medieval Europe as a type of peasant (or tributary) society. Kingship and lordship; state-formation and class-formation. Paths into manorialism and serfdom. Determinants and patterns of fief distribution. The remoulding of old into new social classes. Factors accelerating the rise of private lordship. Church and state in the definition of Medieval society. Debates over "feudalism", and over comparisons between European feudalism and the Ottoman timar system. Processes and problems of High and Late Medieval history. Towns and trade. Forms of rent in transformation. From" feudal" to "national" monarchies: the growth of state power.