Colloquium Middle-Ages and Renaissance (fall)

The Middle-Ages leading to the Renaissance are less and less portrayed as the Dark Ages of Europe, and more and more seen as a time with its share of enlightening ideas and moments. Religious, social, and political changes abound, after all, and you may find yourself reading texts from three different religious traditions with Saint Augustine's Confessions, excerpts from the Qu'ran, Jewish Spanish poetry, and Dante's Inferno all in one semester. Women are also more present as literary agents, from Hildegard, to Marie de France, and Christine de Pizan, and their voices might surprise you.

For a sample of syllabi for the JUNIOR COLLOQUIUM (fall), click below:
-COL Medieval sample syllabus 1
-COL Medieval sample syllabus 2
-COL Medieval sample syllabus 3

Early Modern (16-18th c. Europe) (spring)

This age is the first in which a recognizably "modern" world, as we know it, becomes nascent, one in which the unmarried "virgin" Queen Elizabeth plays power politics, a recognizably modern view of the universe emerges, science challenges the authority of religion, national identities emerge along with imperialism, and people begin thinking of themselves as individuals with complex inner lives. The colloquium invites students to consider the simultaneously strange and familiar culture of the early Modern period as it is manifested in new genres such as the novel as well as traditional but reworked and renewed forms such as the epic and tragedy. From the nostalgic wanderings of the anti-modern Don Quixote to the specter of modern racism in Othello to Mary Wollstonecraft's foundational feminist treatise to Swift's simultaneously funny and horrific satires of English imperialism and "scientific" "solutions" to unwanted populations, to the burgeoning of democracy and the declaration of Human Rights, this colloquium can be a mirror in which modernity is duskily visible. 

For a sample syllabus for the Junior COLLOQUIUM (spring), click below:

-COL 16-18th sample syllabus 1


Comps (April-May)
Junior COL majors take comprehensive exams in April (written part) and May (oral part). The Junior comps (as they are known and beloved) are based on the material studied in the first 3 colloquia (20th, Antiquity, Medieval), but allow students to draw on the work they have done in the college to that point. The examination is given and evaluated by two examiners from other universities and is intended to encourage students to integrate the work they have done up until that time. Junior comps can receive citations of Honors, High Honors, Highest Honors (in exceptional cases), or Credit (or No Honors). An ungraded option (pass/fail) is available.

In the past, COL students have created study groups (sometimes starting in late Fall of their Junior year) to prepare for these exams. Each new class also benefits from using the questions asked by previous examiners that are available in the binder on the Junior Shelf in the COL library. Make good use of it, and don't worry too much. It's a nice opportunity to review what you know.

Past Junior Comp Exam Questions