Knights in Shining Armor: Fact vs. Fiction

From the archives of TiPWiki, the unofficial Duke TIP Wiki
Jump to: navigation, search


Knights in Shining Armor: Fact vs. Fiction
Offered 2005, 2006
Campus(es) East
Instructor(s) Dr. Sumie Song, Jen Cadwallader
TA(s) David DeWeese, Christine

Course Description: Television, film, fantasy literature, and even video games have helped fuel an ever-increasing fascination with medieval knights and warriors. Such forms of entertainment, however, offer little in the way of historical fact. Based more on the misconceptions about the past than on what the past was actually like, modern portrayals of medieval knighthood bypass the truth in favor of fiction. This course will examine knighthood in all its aspects. Who was the knight and what political, religious, social, and/or aesthetic function did knighthood serve? Students will study the Battle of Hastings, as well as its visual narration on the Bayeux Tapestry, Crusade literature (chansons de geste), Arthurian legends, and poetry, which they will be expected to compare with modern film depictions of medieval knighthood, including, though not necessarily limited to: Braveheart, The Thirteenth Warrior, A Knight's Tale, and Joan of Arc. (Several of these films are R-rated. Please see Duke TIP's policy on showing R-rated films in class.) Trips to Duke Chapel, the Rare Book, Manuscript, and Special Collections Library, and the Duke University Museum of Art will enable students to experience medieval artifacts and art objects firsthand, while exposing them to the particular challenges scholars have faced in dealing with primary historical materials. Writing intensive.

Content Area: Humanities Offered: East Term II

Instructor: Jen Cadwallader (a.k.a Sir Jen the Pen) TA: Christine

Class Jokes: "HWAET!!", "It's a pacifist trebuchet," "Harry leaves Ginny for Draco," "This horse is anatomically correct," "SEX!", "The Ape of DOOM," and "It's ok to pop caps in infidels."

Comments: Aside from learning all sorts of wonderful bits of knowledge about Knights and the Middle Ages in general, we met some of the best people in the world! Whether we were christening our small -- but genuine-- mail-clad mascot "Sir Tostig the Shiny, Knight of the Shire," debating whether it was Grendel or Beowulf who was really evil, researching the Wars of the Roses ("How many Edwards do they have again?"), being bestowed with the honour of the anatomically correct horse, writing and performing our own skits about medieval life, or building model trebuchets, Knights was one amazing class. Let's all give a great big "HWAET!!"