Next year I’ll be co-teaching a module on ‘The Making of Modern Christianity: Medieval and Reformation Europe.’ I’ll be taking the medieval section of the module (I can’t tell you how glad I am not to have to teach Luther). I want to use the module to look at a number of important themes from that period: changing forms of empire; the emergence of race; the role of Islam and Judaism in forming European Christian identity; transformations around gender, sexuality and the body; struggles for control over knowledge, power and property that made possible the later emergence of industrialisation, colonialism, and capitalism; and, crucially, the role of Christianity in all of the above. I’m trying to figure out how best to do that around some of the key events of the period: the Crusades, the Inquisition, the trials of witches and heretics, the emergence of monasticism and then the universities, the Investiture Controversy, popular piety including pilgrimages, cults of the saints and relics, that kind of thing.
So, help me out! What has gone well or badly when you’ve taught in this area before? Which primary texts are great for reading with small groups and which are horrible? What are the best and most interesting books on the period (500-1500ish)? I’d especially appreciate recommendations of primary or secondary texts that are written by people of colour, texts on the relationship between Christianity, Islam and Judaism in that period, interesting accounts of the role of the emerging university and any discussions of ideas of empire in the Middle Ages written with an eye to the development of European colonialism.