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Study information

Critical Approaches to Early Modern History

Module titleCritical Approaches to Early Modern History
Module codeHISM001
Academic year2024/5
Credits30
Module staff

Professor Freyja Cox Jensen (Convenor)

Duration: Term123
Duration: Weeks

10

Number students taking module (anticipated)

10

Module description

This module introduces you to the main approaches historians have taken to studying early modern history. You will engage with the key theories informing particular approaches, whether religion and politics or print and material culture, to the study of early modern people, places, and societies; you will investigate the sources through which the early modern past can be studied (including wills and inventories; court depositions; sermons; personal letters and diaries; household accounts; ballads, plays, and literary texts; art, artefacts, and architecture); and they will consider the advantages and difficulties of using various methods. The module will therefore provide you with an essential toolkit for their further study of early modern history.

Module aims - intentions of the module

This module is designed to enhance your understanding of the main themes and approaches in the study of early modern history. You will engage with the key theories informing particular approaches to the study of early modern people, places, and societies; you will investigate the sources through which the early modern past can be studied; and you will consider the advantages and difficulties of using various methods. The module will therefore provide you with an essential toolkit for their further study of early modern history.

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs)

ILO: Module-specific skills

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

  • 1. Understand and evaluate the main themes and approaches in the study of early modern history
  • 2. Possess detailed knowledge of the key historiographical and theoretical debates informing the study of early modern history
  • 3. Assess critically the role of primary sources in informing the study of early modern history

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

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

  • 4. Demonstrate the ability to analyse and synthesise different types of historical material and evidence
  • 5. Demonstrate a critical understanding of key historical concepts and debates, and recognise the differences between different approaches and source types
  • 6. Develop practical research skills in the primary and secondary evidence

ILO: Personal and key skills

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

  • 7. Demonstrate capacity for independent critical research, study and thought, including developing the ability to construct and defend a sustained argument, both in written form and orally, using primary and secondary materials
  • 8. Work as an individual and with a tutor and peers in an independent, constructive and responsive way
  • 9. Apply key bibliographical skills to independent study

Syllabus plan

Over the course of one term, potential seminar topics may include (these will vary depending on staff expertise and student choice):

  • What is Renaissance/Early Modern history?
  • Feminist approaches
  • Religion
  • Sex and sexuality
  • Print, books, reading
  • Commercialisation, capitalism, globalisation
  • Class and social order
  • Political thought and intellectual history
  • Visual and material culture
  • Anthropology and demography
  • Politics and state-building
  • Performance

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

Scheduled Learning and Teaching ActivitiesGuided independent studyPlacement / study abroad
202800

Details of learning activities and teaching methods

CategoryHours of study timeDescription
Scheduled learning and teaching20Seminars (10 x 2 hours)
Guided independent study280Independent study

Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Essay plan2 sides A4 maximum1-9Oral and/or written

Summative assessment (% of credit)

CourseworkWritten examsPractical exams
10000

Details of summative assessment

Form of assessment% of creditSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Book review332000 words1-9Oral and written
Essay674000 words1-9Oral and written
0
0
0
0

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

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
Book reviewBook review1-9Referral/Deferral period
EssayEssay1-9Referral/Deferral period

Re-assessment notes

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 50%) you will be required to submit a further assessment as necessary. The mark given for a re-assessment taken as a result of referral will be capped at 50%.

Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

  • M. De Grazia, ‘the Modern Divide: from Either Side’, Journal of Medieval and Early Modern Studies, 37 (2007).
  • Merry E. Weisner, Women and Gender in Early Modern Europe, Cambridge, 2000.
  • Kaspar von Greyerz, Religion and Culture in Early Modern Europe Oxford, 2008.
  • Thomas Benjamin, The Atlantic World: Europeans, Africans, Indians, and Their Shared History 1400-1900, Cambridge, 2009.
  • Jennifer Andersen and Elizabeth Sauer eds, Books and Readers in Early Modern England, Philadelphia, PA, 2002.
  • Martin van Gelderen and Quentin Skinner eds, Republicanism: A Shared European Heritage, Cambridge, 2005.
  • P. Erickson and C. Hulse eds, Early Modern Visual Culture: Representation, Race, and Empire in Renaissance England, Philadelphia, PA, 2000.
  • L. Neal and J.G. Williamson eds., The Cambridge History of CapitalismVolume 1: The Rise of Capitalism: From Ancient Origins to 1848, Cambridge, 2015.
  • P. Crawford ed., Blood, Bodies, and Families in Early Modern England, London, 2004.
  • R. Bonney, The Rise of the Fiscal State in Europe, Oxford, 1999.
  • Joan W. Scott, ‘Gender: A Useful Category of Historical Analysis’ in Joan W. Scott ed. Feminism and History, Oxford, 1996.
  • Judith M. Bennett, History Matters: Patriarchy and the Challenge of Feminism Manchester, 2006
  • J.G.A. Pocock, The Machiavellian Moment, Princeton, 1975.
  • Eamon Duffy, The Stripping of the Altars (Yale, 1992).
  • Laura Sangha and Jonathan Willis eds., Understanding Early Modern Primary Sources (Abingdon, 2016).
  • Alexandra Walsham, Providence in Early Modern England (Oxford, 1999).
  • Ulinka Rublack, Reformation Europe (Cambridge, 2005).
  • Alec Ryrie, Being Protestant in Reformation Britain (Oxford, 2013).
  • T.H. Aston and C.H.E. Philpin eds. The Brenner Debate: Agrarian Class Structure and Economic Development in Pre-Industrial Europe, Cambridge, 1985.
  • Fernand Braudel, Civilization and Capitalism 15th-18th Century, 3 Vols, London, 1981-1984.
  • Keith Thomas, Religion and the Decline of Magic: Studies in Popular Beliefs in Sixteenth and Seventeenth Century England, New York, 1971.
  • Peter Laslett, Household and Family in Past Time, Cambridge, 1972.
  • E.A. Wrigley and R.S. Schofield, The Population History of England 1541-1871: A Reconstruction, Cambridge, 1981.
  • Jack Goody, Joan Thirsk and E.P.Thompson, Family and Inheritance: Rural Society in Western Europe 1200-1800, Cambridge, 1976.
  • James C. Scott, Domination and the Arts of Resistance: Hidden Transcripts, Yale, 1990.

Indicative learning resources - Web based and electronic resources

Key words search

Renaissance, early modern, social, economic, intellectual

Credit value30
Module ECTS

15

Module pre-requisites

None

Module co-requisites

None

NQF level (module)

7

Available as distance learning?

No

Origin date

21/04/2016

Last revision date

21/06/2023