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History 137: Before Europe-The Early Medieval World 250 - c.1050

Faculty Member: Bill North
Class Description:
This course examines the formation of western Christendom from its origins in the Christian Roman Empire to its consolidation in the eleventh century. As we move from Merovingian Gaul, Lombard Italy, and Anglo-Saxon England to the Carolingian Empire and its successor kingdoms in Germany, France, and Italy, we will examine such issues as the cultural and political legacy of the Roman and Carolingian worlds; the nature and forms of secular and sacred power; gender roles and relations; ethnic and social identity; and the forms, patterns and meaning of communication (political, economic, ritual, literary, religious) both inside and outside early medieval Europe.

Watch/Download Full Video (Flash Video 113.9MB Mar27 09): 29:58 min.

Class video

Course Goals
Chapter 1: Course Goals (Flash Video 16.2MB Mar27 09) (4:16 min)
Bill talks about the variety of interests that students bring to his course, and the course goals of close reading and the uses and problems of historical evidence for the medieval period.

Chapter 2: Obstacles (Flash Video 9.9MB Apr1 09) (2:41 min)
Bill discusses misconceptions that students bring to his class and how he tries to dispel them.

Chapter 3: Lecture/Questions: Creating Interplay (Flash Video 19.5MB Apr1 09) (5:08 min)
Bill describes his approach to a class period, his own agenda, and how he tries to balance that with student questions and confusions.

We Don\'t Know
Chapter 4: We Don't Know (Flash Video 13.8MB Mar27 09) (3:38 min)
Bill emphasizes the importance of the interpretation of evidence in conjunction with a clear understanding of the limitations of that evidence.

Teaching Complex Ideas: Power
Chapter 5: Teaching Complex Ideas - Power (Flash Video 21.1MB Mar27 09) (5:34 min)
Bill talks about the need to treat complex material in a way that does not oversimplify it. This involves the use of multiple examples and counter-examples.

Watching Oneself Teach
Chapter 6: Watching Oneself Teach (Flash Video 13.3MB Mar27 09) (3:29 min)
Bill describes his reaction to watching himself on video and the insight he gained about how he uses classroom space and the blackboard.

How Have You Changed
Chapter 7: How Have You Changed (Flash Video 16.6MB Mar27 09) (4:22 min)
Bill reflects on how he has developed as a teacher, including staging assignments and attention to writing in general. He also describes his own increased comfort in sharing his own research and the process of how historians work.