The Warburg Institute MA in Cultural and Intellectual History aims to equip students for interdisciplinary research in Medieval and Renaissance studies and in the reception of the classical tradition. Students will become part of an international community of scholars, working in a world-famous library. They will broaden their range of knowledge to include the historically informed interpretation of images and texts, art history, philosophy, history of science, literature, and the impact of religion on society. Students will improve their knowledge of Latin, French and Italian and will acquire the library and archival skills essential for research on primary texts.
This twelve-month, full-time course is intended as an introduction to the principal elements of the classical tradition and to interdisciplinary research in cultural and intellectual history from the late Middle Ages to the early modern period. Although it is a qualification in its own right, the MA is also designed to provide training for further research at doctoral level. It is taught through classes and supervision by members of the academic staff of the Institute and by outside teachers. The teaching staff are leading professors and academics in their field who have published widely. Research strengths include: the transmission of Arabic science and philosophy to Western Europe; the later influence of classical philosophy (Aristotelianism, Platonism, Epicureanism and Stoicism); and religious nonconformism in sixteenth- and seventeenth-century Europe. For further details on the research interests of teaching staff please visit the Warburg website: http://www.warburg.sas.ac.uk/home/staff-contacts/academic-staff
Core courses (courses may vary from year to year)
Iconology: Mythological painting, allegorical figures, historical subjects, altarpiece - Dr Paul Taylor
Religion and Society - Dr Alessandro Scafi
Optional Courses (courses may vary from year to year)
Artistic Intentions 1400 - 1700 - Dr Paul Taylor
Islamic Authorities and Arabic Elements in the Renaissance – Professor Charles Burnett
Music in the Later Middle Ages and the Renaissance - Professor Charles Burnett
New Worlds, Ancient Texts: Renaissance Intellectual History and the Discovery of the Americas - Dr Philipp Nothaft
Renaissance Philosophy – Dr Guido Giglioni
Renaissance Art Literature – Dr François Quiviger
Renaissance Material Culture – Dr Rembrandt Duits and Dr François Quiviger
Sin and Sanctity in the Reformation – Professor Alastair Hamilton
All students take two compulsory core courses and two optional subjects. The core courses are taught in the first term and the optional subjects in the second term and the options available vary from year to year. In addition, there is a regular series of classes throughout the three terms on Techniques of Scholarship. Subjects dealt with include: description of manuscripts; palaeography; printing in the 15th and 16th centuries; editing a text; preparation of dissertations and photographic images. Some of these classes are held outside the Institute in locations such as the British Library or the Wellcome Library.
Reading classes in Latin, Italian and French are provided and are offered to all students. Students are also encouraged to attend the Director’s weekly seminar on Work in Progress and any of the other regular seminars held in the Institute that may be of interest to them. These at present include History of Art and Maps and Society. The third term and summer are spent in researching and writing a dissertation, under the guidance of a supervisor from the academic staff.
The normal format for classes is a small weekly seminar, in which students usually discuss texts in their original languages. In most courses, students also give short presentations of their own research, which are not assessed. The emphasis is on helping students to acquire the skills necessary to interpret philosophical, literary and historical documents as well as works of art. Each compulsory or optional module will be assessed by means of a 4,000 word essay to be submitted on the first day of the term following that in which the module was taught. A dissertation of 18,000 – 20,000 words, on a topic agreed by the student and supervisor, has to be submitted by 30 September. The course is examined on these five pieces of written work, and on a written translation examination paper in the third term. Students are allocated a course tutor and, in addition, are encouraged to discuss their work with other members of the academic staff. Because of our relatively small cohort, students have unusually frequent contact, formal and informal, with their teachers.
Mode of study
12 months full-time only.
Minimally, a good second-class honours degree from a British university or an equivalent qualification from a foreign institution in any discipline in the humanities which is related to the course.