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Unit information: Fear and Loathing in 2021/22

Unit name Fear and Loathing
Unit code HIST20117
Credit points 20
Level of study I/5
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 1 (weeks 1 - 12)
Unit director Dr. Parsons
Open unit status Not open




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

Description including Unit Aims

Muslims, Christians, witches, Jews, pagans, heretics, the poor: there was no shortage of people to hate in the premodern world. Of course, no analysis of 'fear and loathing' can omit a discussion of its counterparts: interaction, respect and even acceptance.

How did the peoples of the premodern era come to terms with difference - and how did they face up to the considerable challenge of living alongside one another - in an age before modern notions of civility, manners, and liberalism? What motivated the adoption of particular strategies, whether benign or aggressive? Adopting a broad chronological and geographical scope, this unit will explore through a series of case-studies 'fear and loathing' in contexts as varied as the Middle East, Byzantium, the Mediterranean, Middle Age and Reformation-era Europe, and the New World.

Intended Learning Outcomes

Successful students will be able to:

  1. Examine the particular qualities of those groups who might be the subjects of fear and loathing, in different regional and historical contexts from the Middle East to the Americas from 500 to 1800.
  2. Identify broader patterns in the way that such groups were viewed and treated.
  3. Demonstrate an understanding of the main theoretical and practical challenges of global and cross-cultural perspectives to the study of the medieval world and early modern period.
  4. Engage critically with broad concepts, and assess their significance and usefulness.
  5. Interpret primary sources and select pertinent evidence in order to illustrate specific and more general historical points
  6. Present their research and judgements in written forms and styles appropriate to the discipline and to level I
  7. Demonstrate skills in oral presentation appropriate to level I.

Teaching Information

Classes will involve a combination of long- and short-form lectures, class discussion, investigative activities, and practical activities. Students will be expected to engage with readings and participate on a weekly basis. This will be further supported with drop-in sessions and self-directed exercises with tutor and peer feedback.

Assessment Information

1 x 10-minute Individual Presentation (25%) [ILOs 1, 7]; 1 x Timed Assessment (75%) [ILOs 1-6]


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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.