A four-week seminar in Britain for sixteen school teachers to explore the cultural, literary, and linguistic diversity of the British Isles in the Middle Ages.
Charles MacQuarrie (California State University at Bakersfield) directs a seminar that examines the cultural and linguistic diversity of the medieval British Isles, focusing on the Irish, Scottish, Welsh, Anglo-Saxon, and Norse populations that intersected during the period. In the first two weeks, seminarians meet on the Isle of Man, where they combine readings, discussion, lectures, and visits to archaeological sites, such as Peel Castle and Castle Rushen, that represent the populations under study. The home for the seminar in the final two weeks is the University of Glasgow, where participants conduct individual research and synthesize the information gleaned from the first two weeks. Participants read and discuss important works of medieval British, Irish, and Norse literature, including Beowulf, the Táin Bó Cuailange, Bede's Ecclesiastical History of the English People, The Mabinogion, Njal's Saga, The Saga of the Volsungs, and Sir Gawain and the Green Knight. In addition, they examine primary documents, such as Ahmad ibn Fadlan's tenth-century account of his experiences among Norse tribes; recent historical scholarship; and linguistic studies. A visit to the Manx Tynwald, "arguably the longest running democratic assembly in Europe," is also part of the program.