Students embark on history crusade

Chateaux in southern FranceA group of students from The University of Queensland will travel to southern France next July as part of a course in medieval history.

They will study themes of crusade, conquest and colonisation in the High Middle Ages, by examining their impact on European society and culture.

Course coordinator Dr Kriston Rennie said the aim was to broaden the students’ experience and exposure to history.

“The Middle Ages can sometimes seem strange and remote,” he said.

“There’s no better way to understand the past than to witness its impressive legacies up close and personal.

“It’s one thing to learn about the history of medieval heresy, for example, but quite another to see first-hand the many chateaux carved into the Pyrenean mountainside, which provided refuge for fleeing heretics in the time of the Albigensian Crusade.”

Students will follow in the footsteps of the Albigensian Crusaders, who in the early 13th century descended upon the southern-French region of Languedoc, primarily to seize lands from Cathar “heretics”.

“The ramifications of these political and religious events were felt well into the late medieval and early modern periods,” Dr Rennie said.

Students will experience the local culture, language, history, food and wine. They will visit churches, abbeys, castles and museums in Paris, Montpellier, Beziers, Narbonne, Carcassonne, Minerve, Fontfroide, Lagrasse, Albi, Mazamet and Toulouse.

“Students will see how history has shaped the landscape of medieval and modern France,” Dr Rennie said.

“We are able to offer this type of creative, on-site learning thanks to the new UQ Advantage Grants. The support of the Faculty of Arts and the School of History, Philosophy, Religion and Classics also has been vital.”

The Medieval Study Tour course (HIST2013) is being offered for the first time in 2011. Places are limited and filling up fast. Expressions of interest should be lodged by 17 December. For more details see http://www.uq.edu.au/study/

Source: UQ News

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