High Middle Ages-Honors Seminar

Course Details

Course Number
MWSU 4433
Section Number
MWSU 4433
Spring 2017
McCullough Hall
Classroom Number
Days & Times

TR 9:30 - 10:50 AM

Dr. Peter Fields (view Profile)


Sir Gawain and the Green Knight

Course Objectives

This his course provides an interdisciplinary introduction to the High Middle Ages, the period of Western history roughly encompassing the 11th, 12th, and 13th centuries.

The first part of the course focuses on the political, social, cultural, and intellectual history of the era with particular emphasis on the development of feudal society, the rise of cities, and the emergence and evolution of significant medieval institutions such as monasteries, schools, and hospitals.

The second part of the course pertains to medieval intellectual culture as exemplified by scholastic philosophy and theology.

The third and final part of the course concerns medieval literature and will concentrate chiefly on literary representations of chivalry and the cult of courtly love.

In keeping with the interdisciplinary nature of the course, the instructors will make a point of emphasizing the various ways that medieval political, social, cultural, and intellectual institutions intersected with, related to, and, ultimately, influenced one another.


1. To provide students with a fuller understanding of the High Middle Ages from an interdisciplinary perspective.

2. To help students understand significant political, social,

economic, cultural, and intellectual developments

associated with the High Middle Ages.

3. To help students develop their skills in interpreting and critically analyzing texts.

4. To help students develop their skills in identifying and evaluating arguments as well as in formulating arguments of their own.

5. To help students improve their ability to read, write, and think clearly.

6. To help students gain an appreciation for the relevance of history to understanding the present.


Course Expectations

Required Texts

Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, ed. James Winny (Broadview Press, 1992), ISBN 9780921149927

All other required readings will be available on D2L or provided by the instructor.

Course Expectations

All students enrolled in this course are expected to:

 Participate regularly and productively in class discussions;

Refrain from engaging in rude, inconsiderate, or disruptive behavior (e.g., sleeping, whispering, using cell phones or laptops, etc.);

 Observe proper etiquette when communicating with the instructor, especially by email;

 Ask questions about course policies, course assignments, and course material, including readings;

Seek the instructor’s help when needed;

 Take themselves seriously not just as students but also as scholars.

Assignments and Grading

Each instructor will administer and evaluate a major written assignment for his or her unit of the course based on the material covered in the class plus outside reading assignments:

Final grades will be calculated as follows:

(History unit grade x 0.40) + (philosophy unit grade x 0.40) + (English unit grade x 0.20)

Course Page

Assignments, course readings, PowerPoint slides, and other course materials will be posted to the D2L system. Although students are individually responsible for learning to use D2L, they should notify the instructors immediately regarding any difficulties they experience accessing or using the system.


Final Exam

05/09/2017 8:00-10:00 AM

Submission Format Policy

Part 3: Literature

(All readings are from Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, hereafter "SGGK")

Week 13 (April 11 & 13): Who is the most courageous knight?

Readings: Mary’s Knight as King Arthur’s Champion, SGGK, Fitt 1

Week 14 (April 18 & 20): Who is the most faithful knight?

Readings: Mary’s Knight as Wandering Student, SGGK, Fitt 2

Week 15 (April 26 & 28): Who is the most courteous knight?

Readings: Mary’s Knight as Servant of Love, SGGK, Fitt 3

Week 16 (May 2 & 4): Who is the most Christ-like knight?

Readings: Mary’s Knight as Penitential Saint, SGGK, Fitt 4


Note: You may not submit a paper for a grade in this class that already has been (or will be) submitted for a grade in another course, unless you obtain the explicit written permission of me and the other instructor involved in advance.

Plagiarism Policy

Plagiarism is the use of someone else's thoughts, words, ideas, or lines of argument in your own work without appropriate documentation (a parenthetical citation at the end and a listing in "Works Cited")-whether you use that material in a quote, paraphrase, or summary. It is a theft of intellectual property and will not be tolerated, whether intentional or not.

Student Honor Creed

As an MSU Student, I pledge not to lie, cheat, steal, or help anyone else do so."

As students at MSU, we recognize that any great society must be composed of empowered, responsible citizens. We also recognize universities play an important role in helping mold these responsible citizens. We believe students themselves play an important part in developing responsible citizenship by maintaining a community where integrity and honorable character are the norm, not the exception.

Thus, We, the Students of Midwestern State University, resolve to uphold the honor of the University by affirming our commitment to complete academic honesty. We resolve not only to be honest but also to hold our peers accountable for complete honesty in all university matters.

We consider it dishonest to ask for, give, or receive help in examinations or quizzes, to use any unauthorized material in examinations, or to present, as one's own, work or ideas which are not entirely one's own. We recognize that any instructor has the right to expect that all student work is honest, original work. We accept and acknowledge that responsibility for lying, cheating, stealing, plagiarism, and other forms of academic dishonesty fundamentally rests within each individual student.

We expect of ourselves academic integrity, personal professionalism, and ethical character. We appreciate steps taken by University officials to protect the honor of the University against any who would disgrace the MSU student body by violating the spirit of this creed.

Written and adopted by the 2002-2003 MSU Student Senate.

Students with Disabilities

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is a federal anti-discrimination statute that provides comprehensive civil rights protection for persons with disabilities. Among other things, this legislation requires that all students with disabilities be guaranteed a learning environment that provides for reasonable accommodation of their disabilities. If you believe you have a disability requiring an accommodation, please contact the Disability Support Services in Room 168 of the Clark Student Center, (940) 397-4140.

Safe Zones Statement

The professor considers this classroom to be a place where you will be treated with respect as a human being - regardless of gender, race, ethnicity, national origin, religious affiliation, sexual orientation, political beliefs, age, or ability. Additionally, diversity of thought is appreciated and encouraged, provided you can agree to disagree. It is the professor's expectation that ALL students consider the classroom a safe environment.

Contacting your Instructor

All instructors in the Department have voicemail in their offices and MWSU e-mail addresses. Make sure you add your instructor's phone number and e-mail address to both email and cell phone lists of contacts.

Attendance Requirements


Regular attendance is mandatory. It is the student’s responsibility to notify the instructor in a timely fashion regarding any planned or unplanned absences. In order for an absence to be excused, the absentee must provide a reasonable explanation for his or her non-attendance as well as any documentation (e.g., a doctor’s note) that the instructors request. Failure to do so will result in a penalty.

Tardiness will not be tolerated. Students who are 15 or more minute late for class will be considered absent. It is the student’s responsibility to communicate with the instructors regarding any planned or unplanned tardiness.

Active, informed, and consistent participation in class discussions is crucial to the success of the course.

Other Policies

The instructors will use MSU email,—not D2L—as the primary means of communicating with students both individually and collectively. It is extremely important, therefore, that students maintain a valid email address that they check regularly. All email communication should observe proper email etiquette. The instructors reserve the right to ignore impolite or otherwise inappropriate emails.

Academic Conduct

Academic dishonesty will not be tolerated and will result in immediate dismissal from, and failure of, the course. Students who violate this policy will also be referred to the Dean of Students for possible expulsion from the university.

All students enrolled in this course are expected to complete their work in full compliance with MSU Code of Student Conduct. (Information regarding the Code of Student Conduct may be obtained by consulting the MSU Student Handbook or the Office of the Dean of Students.)

Student Honor Creed: "As an MSU Student, I pledge not to lie, cheat, steal, or help anyone else to do so."

Cheating includes, but is not limited to, (1) use of any unauthorized assistance in taking quizzes, tests, or examinations; (2) dependence upon the aid of sources beyond those authorized by the instructor in writing papers or completing other assignments; or (3) the acquisition of tests or other academic materials belonging to the university faculty or staff without permission.

Plagiarism includes, but is not limited to, using the published or unpublished works of another person without recognition, either by paraphrase or direct quotation. The use of materials generated by agencies engaged in "selling" term papers is also plagiarism.

Classroom Behavior

Insults, slurs, or attacks of any kind will not be tolerated. Students who engage in this type of behavior in the classroom will be permanently removed from the class and may face additional disciplinary consequences.

Wikipedia & Other Outside Sources

Wikipedia should not be cited in any written assignment. Use of outside sources without the explicit permission of the instructor will result in a zero for the assignment.

Laptop Computer, Cell Phone & Miscellaneous Electronic Device Policy

Laptops, cell phones, iPads, and other electronic devices are not permitted in this class. Students with special needs who require the use of a laptop or other electronic device must obtain the permission of the instructor. Cell phones and all other electronic devices should be turned off and put away before class begins.

Special Needs

In accordance with Section 504 of the Federal Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, Midwestern State University endeavors to make reasonable adjustments in its policies, practices, services, and facilities to ensure equal opportunity for qualified persons with disabilities to participate in all educational programs and activities.

The Office of Disability Services (ODS) provides information and assistance, arranges accommodations, and serves as a liaison for students, instructors, and staff. The ODS has assistive devices such as books on tape, recorders, and adaptive software which can be loaned to qualified individuals. A student/employee who seeks accommodations on the basis of disability must register with the Office of Disability Services in the Counseling Center. Documentation of disability from a competent professional is required.

Students who qualify must contact the instructor as soon as possible to request accommodations.


Writing Proficiency Requirement

All students seeking a Bachelor's degree from Midwestern State University must satisfy a writing proficiency requirement once they've 1) passed the 6 hours of Communication Core and and 2) earned 60 hours. You may meet this requirement by passing either the Writing Proficiency Exam or English 2113. Please keep in mind that, once you've earned over 90 hours, you lose the opportunity to take the $25 exam and have no option but to enroll in the three-credit hour course. If you have any questions about the exam, visit the Writing Proficiency Office website at, or call 397-4131.

>Calendar Attachment

Campus Carry

Senate Bill 11 passed by the 84th Texas Legislature allows licensed handgun holders to carry concealed handguns on campus, effective August 1, 2016. Areas excluded from concealed carry are appropriately marked, in accordance with state law. For more information regarding campus carry, please refer to the University’s webpage at

If you have questions or concerns, please contact MSU Chief of Police Patrick Coggins at