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Medieval and Medievalism Studies

About Medieval and Medievalism Studies at Laurier

Medieval and Medievalism Studies is the study of the representational, performative, intellectual, and material culture of the period known as the Middle Ages: c. 500 to c. 1500 AD.

Laurier is nearly unique in North America for its courses in Medievalism, that is, the attitudes of people in later periods in history toward the Middle Ages. Medieval and Medievalism Studies thus links to contemporary attitudes toward myths, heroes, magic, fantasy, science fiction, crafts and role-playing clubs, films such as the Harry Potter series, television series such as Game of Thrones, and video games such as Assassin's Creed.

All faculty at all levels of the program are known for the high quality of their teaching and for their helpful and altruistic attitudes toward students. Our researchers have international reputations in the areas of Medieval history, colonialism, images of saints, sermon studies, gender studies, music manuscripts from France, archaeology, spirituality, and Old English, Middle English, Old Norse, and fantasy literature. Much of this research has been continually funded by significant and prestigious government grants.

This program continues the strong tradition of student focus at Laurier and has the potential to graduate students with two or three teachables within one major: extraordinarily beneficial for student career outcomes.

In sum, Medieval Studies is a perfect example of the kind of program that can set the seal upon the superb liberal arts education that is at the core of Laurier's reputation for excellence.

History of the Medieval Studies Program

Laurier's program was launched in September 2003, the double-cohort year, with its first-year course, ML100: Discovering the Middle Ages. Second- and third-year courses were added in the following few years. We now offer courses at all levels, including fourth-year seminars.

Since 2004, numbers have increased dramatically in all courses, in many cases doubling the previous year, and the enrolment pace for our new first-year Harry Potter course has been extraordinary. Our retention rate is high, and alumni have been loyal. In 2009, a graduating student in Medieval Studies won the Alumni Gold Medal for the Faculty of Arts for the first time.

Laurier’s Medieval and Medievalism Studies program is the only one in Ontario that incorporates Medievalism (that is, the later representations of the Middle Ages) right into its program offerings. It was also the first Medieval Studies program in Ontario (perhaps in North America) that begins right in Year 1 with intensive and challenging courses dedicated entirely to interdisciplinary study of the Middle Ages.