A new minor in Medieval and Renaissance Studies is set to become available for students as early as next semester.
The Medieval and Renaissance Studies Initiative, which includes the creation of the minor and the promotion of Medieval and Renaissance Studies on campus, came to be in the spring of 2010.
It was kick-started by junior Sebastian Bezzera, a co-president of the  UR Medieval Society on campus, through an open letter to UR Medieval and Renaissance Studies faculty. The initiative continues to involve feedback from students in every step of its development.
“Under the aegis of the Presidency of the Medieval Society, I organized meetings and corresponded with faculty members to get the effort off the ground,” Bezzera said. “My formal involvement with the development of the minor ended when the Steering Committee for Medieval and Renaissance Studies was formed, but I continue to participate in the effort in other ways —  such as designing the new Medieval and Renaissance Studies website.”
The minor, which has yet to become official through the Curriculum Committee, will have two distinct purposes. It will allow students interested in the Middle Ages and the Renaissance to embark on a minor focused on thematic and chronological facets as opposed to disciplinary ones.
The minor will also provide students interested in pursuing postgraduate degrees in related topics with a complementary course of study and will enable them to gain a greater perspective on the era.
An Open House in Medieval and Renaissance Studies is to be held from 3-5 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 3, in the Welles-Brown Room in Rush Rhees Library. Subject librarians will present, as will the Medieval Society and the Office of Study Abroad and Interdepartmental Programs.
“We hope this event will serve two purposes: to demonstrate to undergraduates the opportunity for study of the Middle Ages and Renaissance at any level, with any degree or interest, and simultaneously to display to the University community as a whole the strength of our programs in Medieval and Renaissance study and the vibrant and active community that has sprung up around them,” Bezzera said.
Bezzera first became interested in this area of study through Medieval Welsh literature and history. “I’m particularly fascinated by the degree to which the Medieval English conquest of Wales continues to affect the socioeconomic and cultural well-being of the country even to this day,” he said. “Wales’s loss of the status of a country means it can’t join the U.N., despite the fact that if it were an independent country, it would be the poorest economy in Europe.”
The Medieval Society has greatly expanded over the last few years, with the goal of promoting Medieval and Renaissance studies in the University community. Next semester, the Medieval Society will co-sponsor a lecture by Clifford Rogers. Professor Rogers is a military historian from West Point and a prominent scholar in the field.

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