I am including four syllabi in this section. The first two are First-Year Writing Seminars (FWS) that I taught at Cornell University. I have included the first syllabus to demonstrate my ability to teach a focused course within my discipline. The second syllabus highlights my flexibility, and my interest in using innovative pedagogical methods to make course content relevant to learners. The second two syllabi are for classes that I have not taught, but which I would likely propose to teach at UNL.
Please click on the title of the course to open the syllabus in a separate window.
Syllabus 1: Orbis Terrarum: The Medieval World was a Globe
Course Description: A seminar course in medieval history, focusing on the ways that medieval European people imagined the world, and their place in it. This course began with classical and biblical conceptions of geography and cosmology, before examining how those ideas informed medieval and Early Modern mapping practices. The course took as a starting point the modern perception that medieval people believed that the world was flat, and uses the 19th– and 20th -century creation of that myth to investigate the social power of historical interpretation.
This course asked students to learn to read and analyze medieval maps. A list of these maps, with links to online versions, is here. Part of the class also relied on my publicly available digital teaching tool, the Mapping Mandeville Project, to help students connect textual to visual medieval geographies.
Course Description: A seminar course exploring the role of walking in European and North American cultural history, and in our contemporary day-to-day lives. The course is organized around a series of readings that consider walking in a variety of contexts, with the purpose of guiding students towards thinking critically about the roles that walking has played in historical contexts, and the role that it continues to play today.
Class met three times a week, on a MWF schedule. On Wednesdays and Fridays we met in a traditional classroom setting, but every Monday we met at the indoor track, or some other pre-designated location, and held discussions while walking. For these sessions I divided students up randomly into groups of 3 or 4, and gave them a set of questions to discuss based on the assigned readings. After 2-4 laps (if on the track) we would reconvene and discuss their thoughts as a whole group, and then I would use the outcomes from that discussion to assign a new set of prompts for the next set of laps. We would repeat this, usually three times per class period. I would move between groups throughout the session.
I designed this course in coordination with Cornell’s Office of Student Disability Services. With their input, I developed alternate course activities, assignments, and assessment mechanisms to facilitate course accessibility and equity for all students.
Course Description: A sophomore/junior level seminar course that serves as an introduction to issues of movement and travel in medieval European societies. Students will learn about the ways that medieval people traveled through their world – how they found their way from place to place, how the highways ran and how the ships sailed. By paying attention to the details of medieval travel, students should be in a position to learn, and in some cases to relearn, much about the time period. As a lens of study, travel is unique: Travelers came from all walks of life and from myriad places, and their routes cut through town and countryside alike. Studying travel in the Middle Ages will connect students to a vast range of peoples, economies and geographies. It will allow them to build a more accurate understanding of Western Europe in the period. And it will give them the tools to see how many of the historical themes that came to define Europe in the Early Modern period had their deep roots in a medieval society of motion.
Course Description: An advanced undergraduate or graduate seminar course exploring the ways that the creation of geography connects to the creation of history. Students will examine how people understand and construct the spaces around them. Readings will focus on how people move through the world and how they attach meaning to places; how people imagine and map the spaces they encounter. We will ask what happens when different peoples’ ideas about geography and space come into contact with each other. And we will consider how history is produced in relation to spatial practices.
Image citation: British Library Burney 275 f. 293r