Skip to Main Content
Skidmore College
First-Year Experience

Scribner Seminar Program
Course Description

Famine, Warfare, and Plague in 14th-Century England

Instructor(s): Erica Bastress-Dukehart, History

The fourteenth century in England was a time of famine and disease, of chivalry, art, new architecture, the end of the Crusades, and prolonged and bloody battles with France. If someone living at the beginning of the century survived famine and warfare, it was likely that they succumbed to the plague that crept onto England’s shores three decades later. London’s back alleys were alive with beggars, pickpockets, and gamers; knights jousted at the Tower of London; and the Church dominated people’s spiritual lives. In the fourteenth century London was the place to be. This is an interdisciplinary course that asks students to formulate types of questions posed by disciplines ranging from history and art history to architecture, literature, and archeology. Students will employ various modes of inquiry to analyze what historians have called the “calamitous 14th century.” Students in this class will engage both critically and analytically with the city of London and with primary and secondary sources, maps, and art.