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Study information

Medieval Paris

Module titleMedieval Paris
Module codeHIH2208A
Academic year2024/5
Module staff

Dr Jennifer Farrell ()

Duration: Term123
Duration: Weeks


Number students taking module (anticipated)


Module description

This module explores Paris between the twelfth through to the early fifteenth centuries as it developed from a small town to the great metropolis of Western Europe in the late Middle Ages. We examine the artistic and cultural life of its inhabitants (including costume and fashion, music, painting, and jewellery) and consider the impact on the city and its society of economic, political and social factors in this period (including political unrest and plague). A range of primary sources (including contemporary accounts of the city and its inhabitants, architecture, poetry, music, manuscript illuminations and other artworks, medieval books) provides insights into the topography of the city, the different social orders that made up its population, cultural and artistic expression and everyday life.

This module is suitable for interdisciplinary pathways.

Module aims - intentions of the module

This module aims to:

  • Develop your skills in researching, interpreting, and analysing both primary and secondary material, and in reporting on your work
  • Explore an area of history in more depth, and helps you to develop the depth of understanding you will require to study more specialised areas of history

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs)

ILO: Module-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 1. Demonstrate an understanding of the key developments in the history of medieval Paris, ca. 1150-1450
  • 2. Critically evaluate the key political, social and cultural developments relating to the history of medieval Paris
  • 3. Summarise and evaluate different historical perspectives relating to the history of medieval Paris

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 4. Analyse the key developments in a complex historical environment
  • 5. Demonstrate an ability to handle profoundly different approaches to history in a deeply contested area
  • 6. Demonstrate an ability to understand and deploy complex historical terminology in a comprehensible manner

ILO: Personal and key skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 7. Select, organise and analyse material for written work and oral presentations of different prescribed lengths and formats.
  • 8. Present complex arguments orally.
  • 9. Present an argument in a written form in a clear and organised manner, with appropriate use of correct English
  • 10. Through essay development process, demonstrate ability to reflect critically on your own work, to respond constructively to feedback, and to implement suggestions and improve work on this basis

Syllabus plan

This module will explore various aspects of Medieval Paris, including the development of the urban space and its topography, the composition of the population, and artistic and cultural life in the city. Whilst the content may vary from year to year, it is envisioned that it will cover some or all of the following topics:

  • The orders of society and their relation with the city
  • Daily life (trade and commerce, household management, charity)
  • Artistic and cultural life (fashion and identity, book production and collecting, music, fine and applied arts)
  • Responses to plague, political tension and civil unrest.

Learning activities and teaching methods (given in hours of study time)

Scheduled Learning and Teaching ActivitiesGuided independent studyPlacement / study abroad

Details of learning activities and teaching methods

CategoryHours of study timeDescription
Scheduled learning and teaching1010 x 1-hour lectures
Scheduled learning and teaching2010 x 2-hour seminars
Scheduled learning and teaching1010 x 1-hour workshops
Guided independent study 260Reading and preparation for seminars and presentations

Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Written assignment proposal1000 words or equivalent1-8 (oral), 1-7, 9-10 (written)Oral and/or written, as appropriate

Summative assessment (% of credit)

CourseworkWritten examsPractical exams

Details of summative assessment

Form of assessment% of creditSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Group Presentation3030 minute live, group presentation, + supporting materials; also evidenced by reflective coversheet (1-2 sides A4)1-8Written
Written Assignment703000 words1-7, 9-10Written

Details of re-assessment (where required by referral or deferral)

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
Group presentation750-word recorded presentation with other materials as standard; if not possible, then 750-word script for presentation with other materials as standard1-8Referral/Deferral period
Written AssignmentWritten Assignment1-7, 9-10Referral/Deferral period

Re-assessment notes

The re-assessment consists of a 3000-word written assignment, as in the original assessment, but replaces participation in the group presentation with an individual presentation equivalent to an individual’s contribution, to be recorded and submitted with all supporting materials as for the original assessment; failing this, students should submit a written script that could be delivered in such a presentation (750 words) along with all supporting materials as for the original assessment.

Deferral – if you miss an assessment for certificated reasons judged acceptable by the Mitigation Committee, you will normally be either deferred in the assessment or an extension may be granted. The mark given for a re-assessment taken as a result of deferral will not be capped and will be treated as it would be if it were your first attempt at the assessment.

Referral – if you have failed the module overall (i.e. a final overall module mark of less than 40%) you will be required to submit a further assessment as necessary. If you are successful on referral, your overall module mark will be capped at 40%.

Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

  • R. Berger, (ed.), In Old Paris: An Anthology of Source Descriptions, 1323-1790 (2008)
  • M. Bull, (ed.), France in the Central Middle Ages (2002).
  • S.K. Cohn, Jr (ed.), Popular Protest in Late Medieval Europe: Selected Sources Translated and Annotated (2004), pp. 151-55
  • D. Crouch, The Birth of Nobility: Constructing Aristocracy in England and France: 900-1300 (2005)
  • S. Farmer, Surviving Poverty in Medieval Paris: Gender, Ideology, and the Daily Lives of the Poor (2002)
  • B. Geremek, The Margins of Society in Late Medieval Paris (2008)
  • G.L. Greco and C. Rose (trans), The Good Wife's Guide (Le Menagier De Paris): A Medieval Household Book (2009)
  • E. Hallam, and J. Everard, Capetian France 987-1328 (2001).
  • G. Leff,  Paris and Oxford Universities in the Thirteenth and Fourteenth Centuries: An Institutional and Intellectual History (1968)
  • K.D. Lilley, Urban Life in the Middle Ages, 1000-1450 (2002)
  • A. Luchaire, Social France at the Time of Philip Augustus (1957)
  • J. Nohl, The Black Death: A Chronicle of the Plague Compiled from Contemporary Sources (1961)
  • F. Pleybert, Paris et Charles V. Arts  et Architecture (No Date)
  • S. Roux, Paris in the Middle Ages (2009)
  • R. Rouse and M. Rouse, Manuscripts and their Makers: Commerical Book Producers in Paris, 1200-1500 (2000)
  • G.Small, Late Medieval France (2009)
  • D. Waley and P. Denley, Later Medieval Europe, 1250-1520. Third Edition (2001).

Indicative learning resources - Web based and electronic resources

Key words search

Paris, Medieval, Culture, Music, Poetry, Fashion, Everyday Life, Arts

Credit value30
Module ECTS


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Module co-requisites


NQF level (module)


Available as distance learning?


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Last revision date