Winthrop University begins offering Medieval Studies minor

Undergraduate students attending Winthrop University in South Carolina can now study for a new minor program: medieval studies.  Approved in April 2009, the 18-hour interdisciplinary minor offers three dozen courses – both existing and newly created – that are particularly useful to students studying fields such as history; English; political science; philosophy and religious studies; art history; music; theatre and dance; and modern languages.

Jo Koster, professor of English, and Laura Dufresne, professor of art history, began discussing the idea for a new minor about six years ago. The two collaborated with Peter Judge, chair of Philosophy and Religious Studies, and Andrew Vorder Bruegge, chair of Theatre and Dance, to create the program. The minor, which took two years to put together, includes interdisciplinary courses in English, anthropology, history, art history and more, as well as a variety of relevant special topics courses. The program also allows students to pursue global studies opportunities.

The minor in medieval studies (MDST), Koster explained, is an excellent way “to pull together students’ interdisciplinary interests in pre-modern studies.” She noted that the program will prove especially helpful to students who want to go into pre-modern fields of study.

Students in the MDST minor will be encouraged to meet with members of the Medieval Studies Advisory Committee to explore ways to study medieval culture and history abroad. In the future, the program may expand to offer more global study opportunities, as well as create additional special topics classes geared toward medieval studies.

Koster added that the medieval period – an age of near-constant change and shift – has much to illustrate about the modern world.

“The medieval period is a good mirror of our period: There was popular resistance to government; people were examining the role of faith in their lives; the role of women was changing on a daily basis; and new technologies were changing the way people thought about their world,” said Koster.

Winthrop University, located in the northern part of South Carolina, teaches over six thousand undergraduate and graduate students. It is considered the state’s top-rated university according to evaluations conducted by the South Carolina Commission on Higher Education.

For more information about the medieval studies minor, contact Koster at ext. 6557 or, or visit the Medieval Studies Minor website.

Source: Winthrop University

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