The University of New Mexico's Medieval Institute is an interdisciplinary course of study that combines both English and history classes focusing on medieval studies, said Emily Northcutt, a recent UNM graduate. Northcutt was the president of the Medieval Studies Student Organization during the spring semester of 2018.
According to Northcutt, the Medieval Institute benefits the entire Albuquerque community, not just students attending UNM. She said this is due to the annual spring lecture series. The spring lecture series brings in people from all over the community.
According to the Director of the Institute, Dr. Timothy Graham the institute is both nationally and internationally recognized. This is Graham’s has served as the director for 16 years. Most of the classes in the Medieval Institute are through the English department or the history department. However, Graham said there are some classes offered in other departments.
Some of the subjects studied in various classes are medieval magic, science and faith, Muslim and Christian studies, women in the premodern world and many other topics. Northcutt focused on the Western world to 1500 A.D. However, students have the option to focus on literature or history depending on their interests.
The annual spring lecture series not only draws faculty, students and staff, but also draws the community in, year after year, Graham said. A variety of topics are covered every year and features guest speakers from around the country, frequently featuring speakers from Europe.
“The spring lecture series draws 1,500 to 2,000 people to the various lectures each year and most of the attendees are members of the public,” Graham said.
Northcutt said the spring series keeps the community engaged with history. It gives attendees the opportunity to learn something new and to take their knowledge of history and apply it to issues today.
“These lectures often follow popular social and political themes such as race, immigration, religion, and even food and animals,” Northcutt said.
Students who are getting a degree in history and English often decide to get a minor in medieval studies, said Graham. The minor requires students to take the gateway class called the medieval world and must take an additional 18 hours with at least one class in history, English and art history. Students are also required to take one class in Latin or in another European language.
Graham said the institute has not considered creating a degree in medieval studies. The minor is what students desire because most of them are English and history majors. According to Graham, he has never had a student ask if they could get a degree in medieval studies.
“I believe that they get very rich content from a group of fine teachers. Most of them have won teaching awards. Our faculty does everything they can to make their courses rich in content and rigorous academically,” Graham said.
Megan Holmen is a freelance news and culture reporter at the Daily Lobo. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com or on Twitter @megan_holmen.