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Organization, Regulations, and Courses 2022-23

HIST 90.17 Templars, Teutonic Knights, and the Medieval Military Crusading Orders

This course explores one of the most radical experiments of the European Middle Ages: the military crusading orders. The members of these organizations were imagined to constitute a "new knighthood" of monkish warriors, theoretically living according to a strict monastic rule and dedicated to the protection and expansion of Christian society as the military branch of the church. These institutions–and the Middle Ages more broadly–have resurfaced as one contested site in a raging culture war over race, power, and identity in the United States and abroad. This course takes this recent trend as a prompt for placing the military orders within their medieval context, beginning with their emergence from a longer history of Judeo-Christian holy war. More broadly, we will also take the military orders as a case study for historical questions about the intersection of religious belief, group identity, and acts of violence in human societies. Given the place of the military orders in the modern imagination, from conspiracy theories to far-right ideologies, a central goal of this course is to equip students with the skills to evaluate historical sources first-hand and also to engage critically with a wide range of historical arguments.



Degree Requirement Attributes

Dist:SOC; WCult:W

The Timetable of Class Meetings contains the most up-to-date information about a course. It includes not only the meeting time and instructor, but also its official distributive and/or world culture designation. This information supersedes any information you may see elsewhere, to include what may appear in this ORC/Catalog or on a department/program website. Note that course attributes may change term to term therefore those in effect are those (only) during the term in which you enroll in the course.

Department-Specific Course Categories

Class of 2023 and Before Major Dist: EUR, pre-1700/pre-1800; Class of 2024 and Beyond Major Dist: EUR, premodern.


  • Winter