Maria Hatjigeorgiou
Office
Munroe Hall 203
Tel
(802) 443-3029
Email
mhatjige@middlebury.edu
Office Hours
Fall Term: Mondays and Wednesdays 2-4 p.m.

Professor Hatjigeorgiou, whose research focuses on Eastern Christian theology and Byzantine iconography and literature, has published articles on Byzantine art and poetry, Orthodox theology, and Medieval and Modern Greek literature.She teaches courses on Eastern Orthodox Christianity and the Female Experience of the Divine in Late Antiquity as well as the iconography and the mystical tradition of Byzantium. She is also affiliated with the Women and Gender Studies Program and the Literature Program. Her enthusiasm for contemplative pedagogies and for the study of myth and the spiritual in literature has shaped her First-Year Seminar “The Journey Within.”

Professor Hatjigeorgiou is the 2009-2010 recipient of the Marjorie Lamberti Teaching Award. She is also the recipient of the 2012 Middlebury College Faculty Feminist Award.

Courses Taught

Course Description

The Journey Within: The Spiritual Pursuit in Literary and Mystical Traditions
A fundamental teaching of the world’s religious and mystical traditions is that the source of love, the fulfillment of life, and the treasure of heaven are found within. With mystical and literary texts from antiquity to the present day as our guides, we shall explore themes such as the concept of the soul, the discovery of a deeper self, the spiritual awakening, and the nature of the mystical experience. Using both intellectual and experiential tools of inquiry, we shall consider questions related to religious and psychological experience such as: Where does the self reside? Why is it important to “know thyself”? What is the state of consciousness described as enlightenment? How does one rise above the sorrows and struggles of the world? Finally, we shall try to understand how ‘turning within’ may not mean fleeing away from the world; rather we shall explore the possibility that this direction might even mean engaging in the world around us in a more profound and meaningful way. Readings will include Plato, Marcus Aurelius, excerpts from the New Testament, Tolstoy, Emily Dickinson, Herman Hesse, J.D. Salinger, Martin Luther King Jr., and Mary Oliver. 3 hrs. sem.

Terms Taught

Fall 2018, Spring 2021, Fall 2021

Requirements

CMP, CW, PHL

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Course Description

Independent Essay Project
(Approval Required)

Terms Taught

Fall 2019, Fall 2020, Fall 2021, Fall 2022

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Course Description

Senior Comprehensive Exam
Intended for majors in literary studies preparing for the written section of the senior comprehensive examinations.

Terms Taught

Winter 2022

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Course Description

Senior Colloquium in Literary Studies
Although it is required of all Literary Studies seniors, this course is intended for students working in any discipline who seek a close encounter with some of the greatest achievements of the literary imagination. In addition to being understood as distinctive artistic and philosophical accomplishments, the major works which constitute the reading list will also be seen as engaged in a vital, overarching cultural conversation across temporal and geographical boundaries that might otherwise seem insurmountable. The texts for this semester include Homer’s Odyssey, Aeschylus’ Oresteia, Cervantes’ Don Quixote, Dostoevsky’ Crime and Punishment, Pirandello’ Six Characters in Search of an Author, and Borges’ Ficciones. (Open to non-majors with the approval of the instructor.) 3 hrs. sem.

Terms Taught

Fall 2021

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Course Description

Senior Honors Essay
(Approval Required)

Terms Taught

Fall 2019, Fall 2020, Spring 2021, Fall 2021, Spring 2022, Fall 2022, Spring 2023

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Course Description

The Way of the Ascetics: The Making of the Self in Christian Monasticism
The practice of asceticism appeared in ancient Christianity as a movement striving for a deeper spiritual life and connection with the Divine. Men and women withdrew into the wilderness to become fully attuned to God, while engaging more empathetically with their human communities and the natural environment, and serving the poor and socially marginalized. We shall examine how their new model of living challenged the traditional formations of identity and power through cultivating a watchful mind and deepening awareness. We shall also consider its possible relevance for our postmodern world. Readings will include Desert Wisdom anthologies such as “The Philokalia,” and works of American mystic Thomas Merton and novelist Annie Dillard.

Terms Taught

Spring 2021

Requirements

CMP, PHL

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Course Description

Byzantium & the Tradition of the Eastern Orthodox Church ST, WT
This course is an introduction to Orthodox Christianity as reflected in the Greek, Slavic, and Near Eastern churches. We will examine the origins of the Orthodox tradition in the early Church, its centrality in the Byzantine empire, and the division between East and West. We will study key doctrinal and theological issues such as Christology and Incarnation, the Holy Trinity and the Theotokos (Mother of God), and the divine potential of human nature. We will also look at the liturgical experience that defines Orthodoxy as a living tradition, including the veneration of icons, the role of saints and monasticism, the significance of prayer and the sacraments. Readings include both church Fathers and mystics, as well as modern theologians and philosophers. 3 hrs. lect./disc.

Terms Taught

Spring 2020

Requirements

EUR, PHL

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Course Description

Literature and the Mystical Experience
In this course we will explore how narrative art articulates spiritual perception by examining selected works of 20th century writers such as Miguel De Unamuno, Nikos Kazantzakis, J. D. Salinger, Charles Williams, Flannery O'Connor, Thomas Merton, Alice Munroe, Marilynne Robinson, and Annie Dillard. Drawing on theology and philosophy as an interpretative mode, we will consider the following questions: How does literature illuminate selfhood and interiority? How do contemplation and ascetic practice guide the self to divine knowledge and cosmic unification? How do language, imagery and symbols shape the unitive experience as a tool for empathy and understanding of the other? 3 hrs. lect./1 hr. disc.

Terms Taught

Spring 2019, Fall 2020, Fall 2022

Requirements

AMR, LIT, PHL

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Course Description

The New Testament in Narrative and Art: Considering the Aesthetics of the Christian Story
For two millennia, the figure of Jesus has captivated the imagination of spiritual seekers around the world. In this course we will explore literary and theological dimensions of the New Testament with special attention to the Gospel as stories, while considering works of art inspired by its themes and characters across time. Paintings, cinematography, and literary narratives from The Protevangelium of James and Maximus the Confessor, to Dostoevsky, Kazantzakis, Sholem Asch, Saramago, Flannery O'Connor, and Marilynne Robinson, will invite the question: how have word and image shaped the understanding of the sacred stories and Christian imagination? Through close readings of the New Testament and exegetical discussion combining systematic with narrative theology, we will analyze style and composition, situate the texts in their historical context, and explore various readers’ perspectives, ancient and modern. 3 hrs. lect./1 hr. disc.

Terms Taught

Fall 2019, Spring 2022

Requirements

CMP, LIT, PHL

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Course Description

Independent Research
(Approval Required)

Terms Taught

Fall 2018, Winter 2019, Spring 2019, Fall 2019, Winter 2020, Spring 2020, Fall 2020, Winter 2021, Spring 2021, Fall 2021, Winter 2022, Spring 2022, Fall 2022, Winter 2023, Spring 2023

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Course Description

Senior Project
(Approval Required)

Terms Taught

Fall 2018, Winter 2019, Spring 2019, Fall 2019, Winter 2020, Spring 2020, Fall 2020, Winter 2021, Spring 2021, Fall 2021, Winter 2022, Spring 2022, Fall 2022, Winter 2023, Spring 2023

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Course Description

Senior Research for Honors Candidates
Approval required

Terms Taught

Fall 2018, Winter 2019, Spring 2019, Fall 2019, Winter 2020, Spring 2020, Fall 2020, Winter 2021, Spring 2021, Fall 2021, Winter 2022, Spring 2022, Fall 2022, Winter 2023, Spring 2023

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