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Unit information: Explorations in Early Modern History in 2021/22

Unit name Explorations in Early Modern History
Unit code HISTM0081
Credit points 20
Level of study M/7
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 1 (weeks 1 - 12)
Unit director Dr. Jones
Open unit status Not open




School/department Department of History (Historical Studies)
Faculty Faculty of Arts

Description including Unit Aims

The period c. 1400 – c. 1700 was one of momentous change and upheaval: reformations and revolutions, scientific and geographical discovery, economic and demographic transformation, and artistic and cultural innovation. It is popular and fruitful territory for historical research and, consequently, its history is constantly being revised and rewritten.

This unit will address the most recent historiographical trends and issues in early modern history. Broad themes which can be covered each year include (but are not limited to): the Renaissance and the ‘New Learning’; the Reformation and religious transformation; The New World and ‘Atlantic History’; food, drink and recreation; social status, work and welfare; politics, warfare and ‘state formation’; gender, sex and marriage; magic and witchcraft.

This unit explores the sources, methods, theories and debates which have underpinned these revisions, drawing upon the wide-ranging expertise and current research interests of the teaching team. It therefore aims to:

  • provide students with a broad understanding of the current state of early modern historiography
  • enable students to form their own questions about the early modern period and frame appropriate research questions accordingly, in preparation for specialist units and dissertations
  • provide students with the skills and knowledge to write an extended argumentative historical essay
  • develop students’ understanding of the process of historical research, from conception of the initial idea to completion of the finished piece

Intended Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this unit students will be able to:

  1. Identify and analyse recent historiographical developments and longer-term trends.
  2. Evaluate the applicability of different historical sources and methodologies.
  3. Appropriately frame an independent historical argument within relevant historiographies, theories, and methodologies.
  4. Compose and organise an extended piece of argumentative historical writing

Teaching Information

Teaching will be delivered through a combination of synchronous and asynchronous sessions, including group seminar-style discussion and self-directed exercises.

Assessment Information

One 5000-word summative essay (100%) [ILOs 1-4]


If this unit has a Resource List, you will normally find a link to it in the Blackboard area for the unit. Sometimes there will be a separate link for each weekly topic.

If you are unable to access a list through Blackboard, you can also find it via the Resource Lists homepage. Search for the list by the unit name or code (e.g. HISTM0081).

How much time the unit requires
Each credit equates to 10 hours of total student input. For example a 20 credit unit will take you 200 hours of study to complete. Your total learning time is made up of contact time, directed learning tasks, independent learning and assessment activity.

See the Faculty workload statement relating to this unit for more information.

The Board of Examiners will consider all cases where students have failed or not completed the assessments required for credit. The Board considers each student's outcomes across all the units which contribute to each year's programme of study. If you have self-certificated your absence from an assessment, you will normally be required to complete it the next time it runs (this is usually in the next assessment period).
The Board of Examiners will take into account any extenuating circumstances and operates within the Regulations and Code of Practice for Taught Programmes.