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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Robin C Stacey
HSTAM 276
Seattle Campus

Celtic Civilizations of the European Middle Ages

Introduction to the history and pseudo-history of medieval Ireland, Wales, Scotland, and Gaul. Topics include "Celtic" religion, mythology, social institutions, nationalism, and the relationship between history and myth. Particular attention to how historians "do" history in the absence of straightforward historical sources.

Class description

An introduction to the Celtic civilizations of the European Middle Ages. Special attention will be given to the literatures of Ireland and Wales, as less is extant from Brittany and Scotland. Topics to be covered include tradition, identity, heroic literatures, paganism, the "Celtic Church," nativism and anti-nativism, the encounter with the Normans (English), appropriating the Celtic.

Student learning goals

Students will acquire a basic survey knowledge of the main Celtic-speaking peoples from the Iron-Age to the medieval cultures of Ireland, Wales, and Scotland.

Students will be challenged to think critically about the important historical issues such as identity ("what is Celtic?") and tradition ("is tradition unchanging? how do we know what tradition is? what is the role of oral and written forms of communication in passing on traditions from one age to another?")

Students will learn to read and assess primary sources as historians do in a variety of ways: in class discussion, in a first short paper focused on a primary source excerpt, and in a final 5-7 page paper grounded in a primary source of the student's choice.

Students will learn to write historically: to distinguish between historical summary and historical analysis; to formulate and articulate an historical argument; to write clearly and succinctly with attention both to "forest" and to "trees". The first paper has a mandatory rewrite, so students will have the opportunity to revise their work in accordance with instructor suggestions.

Students will engage in historical debate on topics controversial within the profession. At the end of the class, students will be asked to take a position on key issues related to the nature of Celtic tradition.

General method of instruction

4 days per week lecture 1 day per week discussion in section

Recommended preparation

This is an entry-level course; no prerequisites or previous experience is required or expected.

Class assignments and grading

1 3-4 page primary source paper with mandatory rewrite; 1 5-7 page paper on topic of student's choice; Midterm; Final

Books for the class are on sale at the University Bookstore.

(Tentative): 1) first paper 15% (represents a combination of 25% for the first draft and 75% for the final draft, of this paper; 2) midterm exam 15%; 3) second paper 30%; 4) final exam 30%; 5) participation in section 10%


The information above is intended to be helpful in choosing courses. Because the instructor may further develop his/her plans for this course, its characteristics are subject to change without notice. In most cases, the official course syllabus will be distributed on the first day of class.
Last Update by Robin C Stacey
Date: 01/30/2013