Topics in Medieval and Renaissance Media

The portmanteau formation natureculture (or nature-culture) is used by Donna Haraway, among others, to dismantle what once appeared a foundational opposition serving to demarcate and shore up the category of “the human” vis-à-vis that of “nature.” In this class, we will consider how, in premodernity, troubadour lyric rethinks the nature-culture opposition. Troubadour poetics combine and fuse one with another such “natural” elements as breath, air, breeze, natural sounds, bird song, and a love that is in line with nature; together with such markers of “culture” as the presence of systems and machines, and of spiritual and social law, refined and codified formal structures, grammatical and poetic artes, musical form, and networks of production and transmission. This class will include many of the important early troubadours -- Jaufre Rudel, Cercamon, Marcabru, Bernart Marti, Rigaut de Berbezilh – as well as some slightly later ones -- Bernart de Ventadorn, Raimbaut d’Aurenga, Bertran de Born, Arnaut Daniel, Peire Vidal, Raimon de Miraval; Occitan arts of poetry by Raimon Vidal, Peire Corbian, and Guilhem Molinier, with also be discussed. Philosophical and theoretical readings will include Aristotle, Heidegger, Agamben. Topics considered will include voice, song, art, music, versification, and troubadour manuscripts.

Course Information



4 Points

Term Section Instructor Schedule Location

Fall 2018

Helen S Kay
W: 3:30 PM - 6:00 PM 19UP 225