REL-A 300: The Trial of Joan of Arc

REL-A 300

gold statue of Joan of Arch on a horse raising a flag
Course Description

Joan of Arc was burned at the stake in 1431. She was accused of heresy and war crimes and feared by both the French and English kings. Her story was reported all over Europe, and she was the object of five trials. Almost six hundred years later, Joan of Arc continues to fascinate many. Her life and trials raise questions about the relationship of religion, law, and politics, the intersection of church and state, the construction of gender, the law of war, authority and authenticity in matters of personal spiritual experience, religious and psychiatric explanations for hearing voices.

This class will focus primarily on the record of the trial of condemnation, setting the trial, the charges, and its aftermath in the context of fifteenth century religion, law, and politics as well as considering the later religious, legal, cinematic, literary and political lives of Joan right down to the present. Who was Joan? Who is she? Can we separate her from the legend? Can we know the historical Joan? Why do we still admire her?