Fall 2021 - HUM 305 D100

Medieval Studies (4)

Class Number: 4451

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Th 4:30 PM – 8:20 PM
    WMC 2522, Burnaby

  • Prerequisites:

    45 units.



A detailed interdisciplinary analysis of a selected topic, issue, or personality in the Middle Ages. Breadth-Humanities.


Who were the Celts and why do they hold such fascination for us now? This course takes a multidisciplinary approach to the Celts of the medieval period, concentrating on Ireland but with reference to Wales, Scotland, Man, Cornwall, Brittany, and Galicia, as it explores who the Celts were (and weren’t).

The medieval period is when all of the Celtic countries went from independent kingdoms with their own languages and culture, to colonies of England and France (though that colonization was not quite complete—at the end of the Middle Ages, Brittany was still quasi-independent, as was a small part of Ireland). The study of English and French colonization, and what happened with the people they colonized, is highly relevant to people who are interested in the issues surrounding the ongoing colonization here in Canada.

At the same time, the course explores the diversity of medieval Europe. The Celts’ art and literature is a rich and very different tradition from the more familiar culture of their near neighbours. Over the course of the semester, we will look at history, mythology, art, literature, and material culture; by the end of the term, you will have a deep and nuanced understanding of who the Irish and the Welsh were in the Middle Ages, and how their culture changed under military and then political occupation, underpinning the current state of the Celtic countries and the Celtic diaspora today.


  • Paper Introduction and Bibliography 10%
  • Irish Language Project 22%
  • Medieval Celts in Pop Culture Project 22%
  • Final Paper 33%
  • Participation 13%



Clare Downham, Medieval Ireland, Cambridge University Press

Finbar Dwyer, Witches, Spies, and Stockhold Syndrome: Life in Medieval Ireland, New Island Press

Jeffrey Gantz, Early Irish Myths and Sagas, Penguin

Gerald of Wales, The History and Topography of Ireland, Penguin

There will also be reading found either through SFU library or online.


Registrar Notes:


SFU’s Academic Integrity web site http://www.sfu.ca/students/academicintegrity.html is filled with information on what is meant by academic dishonesty, where you can find resources to help with your studies and the consequences of cheating.  Check out the site for more information and videos that help explain the issues in plain English.

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Teaching at SFU in fall 2021 will involve primarily in-person instruction, with approximately 70 to 80 per cent of classes in person/on campus, with safety plans in place.  Whether your course will be in-person or through remote methods will be clearly identified in the schedule of classes.  You will also know at enrollment whether remote course components will be “live” (synchronous) or at your own pace (asynchronous).

Enrolling in a course acknowledges that you are able to attend in whatever format is required.  You should not enroll in a course that is in-person if you are not able to return to campus, and should be aware that remote study may entail different modes of learning, interaction with your instructor, and ways of getting feedback on your work than may be the case for in-person classes.

Students with hidden or visible disabilities who may need class or exam accommodations, including in the context of remote learning, are advised to register with the SFU Centre for Accessible Learning (caladmin@sfu.ca or 778-782-3112) as early as possible in order to prepare for the fall 2021 term.