The University of Southampton
Courses

HIST6114 The Medieval World: sources and approaches in pre-modern history

Module Overview

The module will introduce you to the wide range of uses historians have made of medieval documentation from 1000 to 1500. Approaches to the study of sources are often oblique and many classes of record are employed to support research on themes far from those envisaged by their original creators. We will introduce you to these methods in the first seminar through case studies in selected documentary classes. Subsequent seminars will follow themes, partly set by student choices: an indicative list of areas for study would include the nobility; nation and community; the uses of the past; lordship; everyday life; and religious culture. Other themes may include towns, borders and border society, the Jewish peoples, ritual and performance, the parish, outsiders, monastic orders, and custom. The primary focus of the course will be north-western Europe, particularly the British Isles, but with comparative material drawn from further afield. We would expect to offer three seminars on each of three themes.

Aims and Objectives

Module Aims

• Introduce you to the study of medieval sources • Gain an appreciation of the range of approaches and techniques that historians have adopted • Understand the interaction between sources and historiography

Learning Outcomes

Knowledge and Understanding

Having successfully completed this module, you will be able to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of:

  • Sources in the three chosen areas
  • Approaches of historians to the selected themes
Transferable and Generic Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Organise information and structure argument
  • Critically read source materials
Subject Specific Intellectual and Research Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Handle sources imaginatively
  • Construct arguments from primary sources related to the themes
  • Understand the constraints of the source material

Syllabus

We will introduce you to methods of working with sources in the first seminar through case studies in selected documentary classes. Subsequent seminars will follow themes, partly set by student choices: an indicative list of areas for study would include the nobility; nation and community; the uses of the past; lordship; everyday life; and religious culture. Other themes may include towns, borders and border society, the Jewish peoples, ritual and performance, the parish, outsiders, monastic orders, and custom. The primary focus of the course will be north-western Europe, particularly the British Isles, but with comparative material drawn from further afield. We would expect to offer three seminars on each of three themes.

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

• Weekly two-hour seminar for 10 weeks. • Individual and directed reading. • Individual tutorials in preparation for essays

TypeHours
Preparation for scheduled sessions75
Completion of assessment task54.5
Tutorial0.5
Seminar20
Total study time150

Resources & Reading list

Albu, E (2001). The Normans in their histories : propaganda, myth, and subversion. 

Thomas, H (2005). The English and the Normans. 

Rawcliffe, C (1978). The Staffords, Earls of Stafford and Dukes of Buckingham 1394-1521. 

Crouch, D (1992). The image of aristocracy in England, 1000-1300. 

Gilchrist, R (2012). Medieval life: archaeology and the life course. 

Thomas, H (2014). The clergy in the twelfth century. 

Asbridge, T (2015). The greatest knight: the remarkable life of William Marshal, the power behind five English thrones. 

Coss, P (2003). The origins of the English gentry. 

Williams, A (1994). The English and the Norman Conquest. 

Bernard, G (2012). late medieval English church: vitality and vulnerability before the break with Rome. 

Clanchy, M (2013). From memory to written record: England 1066-1307. 

Burton, J (1994). Monastic and religious orders in Britain, 1000-1300. 

Dyer, C (1998). Standards of living in the later Middle Ages: social change in England, c.1200- 1520. 

Woolgar, C.M (1999). The great household in late medieval England. 

Reynolds, S (1988). Kingship and community. 

Woolgar, C (2006). The senses in late medieval England. 

Reynolds, S (1990). Fiefs and vassals. 

Partner, N (1980). Serious entertainments: the writing of history in twelfth-century England. 

Assessment

Summative

MethodPercentage contribution
Essay  (4000 words) 100%

Referral

MethodPercentage contribution
Coursework 100%

Repeat Information

Repeat type: Internal & External

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