Writing about Events

Attending and writing about lectures and events focused on research in the Middle Ages forms an essential part of the Undergraduate Certificate. The basic requirements are to attend three lectures or other academic events focused on the Middle Ages worldwide, and for each of them to write 1-2 pages about what you learned, and submit that report to a Certificate Adviser for approval.

More about the events:

  • You should try to attend at least one research lecture: these are usually 90-minute events, often scheduled for the early evening, and will advertise a speaker from Yale or another institutions along with the lecture’s topic.
  • You may also want to attend roundtable or panel discussions–these usually feature two or more speakers discussing a particular topic. Panels can be great ways not only to hear multiple experts in debate, but to learn about new or controversial topics.
  • Yale also runs several ongoing lunches and discussion series, including Medieval Lunch on Tuesdays at noon. While a few are only for members of particular research groups, many–again, like Medieval Lunch!–are open to the Yale community. At these events, you can often hear about research in progress and learn about what graduate students and faculty are currently working on.
  • You should always attend the Q&A session that normally follows academic events–sometimes these are the most illuminating parts!
  • In general, the events you write about for the Certificate should be focused on the period 500-1500. If you’d like to count a lecture on somewhat earlier or later material, your report should explain why it is directly relevant to the study of the medieval period. If you’re unsure whether a lecture would count, please reach out to an Adviser.
  • Either Zoom or in-person events can count. The events need not be held at Yale (though we certainly hope you will attend at least one Yale event!).

More about the reports:

  • These must consist of at least one page of 1 1/2 or double-spaced, 12 point text with normal margins. A little over two pages is fine, but don’t go over three!
  • In the header of your report, you should include your own name and email address, as well as the date, time, and location of the event; the name of the speaker or speakers; and the lecture title.
  • About half of your report should consist of an account of the event itself: the main argument of the talk, its major sources of evidence, its methods and conclusions.
  • The remaining portion should consist of your own reaction, including how the lecture relates to (and may have changed your views of) things you already know; what struck you as new; and questions that you feel were left unanswered. (You might take the Q&A into account in this part, too.)
  • A report on a lecture dealing with a topic you know well might look very different from one on a subject entirely new to you–both are equally acceptable!