Robin Chapman Stacey: Areas of Graduate Study

Division: Europe--Medieval to Modern Times

The History Department is not accepting applications with primary/first fields in any area of Medieval History - Early, High or Late. The Department is accepting applications with second, third or fourth fields in Early Medieval History under the supervision of Professor Robin Stacey.

One of the fields available to those interested in the history of medieval Europe is "Early Medieval Europe." This field is generally defined as covering western Europe in the period c. 400-1000. (Often students begin their course of study before 400 or end it after 1000: the chronology given here represents a general guideline rather than a universal requirement.) Students preparing an early medieval field will be asked to prepare reading lists (usually done after taking a field course with the instructor) in three or four "subfields." Two of these subfields are normally "Kingship" and "The Church," although the manner in which students approach these topics varies according to the needs of the student involved. Some students may choose, for example, to focus on the institutional aspects of both king and church; others may concentrate instead on issues of ideology and representation. All such matters are worked out individually with the instructor in accordance with the needs of the student.

In addition to these subfields, students are asked to prepare one or two other subjects for testing. These are defined according to individual preference. Some students choose to focus on chronological or geographical topics (e.g. the Anglo-Saxons, the Viking Age), while some prefer thematic topics (e.g. law, women, sanctity, historiography, urban life, vernacular literatures, etc.). Again, all such decisions are made by the student in consultation with the instructor. Reading lists approved by both student and instructor then serve as the basis for the written (M.A.) or written and oral (Ph.D.) field exam.

Most field exam reading lists include secondary sources only. A knowledge of the basic primary sources of the period is presumed, but is not generally tested at the exam. Students doing a medieval field might expect that some of their reading will be in foreign languages (usually French or German). However, this is not always the case, and there is no foreign language requirement for completion of the field.