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Unit information: Early Modern Italy (Lecture Response Unit) in 2015/16

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Unit name Early Modern Italy (Lecture Response Unit)
Unit code HISTM0047
Credit points 20
Level of study M/7
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 1 (weeks 1 - 12)
Unit director Dr. Austin
Open unit status Not open




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


Until quite recently, historical interest in Italy tended to tail off after the Renaissance, and only really picked up again with unification in the nineteenth century. Over the last thirty years or so, however, scholars have devoted considerable efforts to investigating the intervening centuries, and it is with these that this LRU is concerned. Within a broadly chronological framework, this unit examines the cultural, political, social, intellectual and religious history of Italy between the fifteenth and eighteenth centuries. Traditional narratives of decline and stagnation will be challenged, and instead we will seek to understand this nation’s history on its own terms. This will involve specific local case-studies (such as Rome, Florence and Venice), consideration of national-level developments (including language and learning, faith and philosophy, and regional rivalries) and reflection on Italy’s place within a European context (from the Italian Wars in the sixteenth century through to the Napoleonic invasion at the end of the eighteenth). Taken together, these layers of analysis will allow us to build up a comprehensive picture of the Italian peninsula in this important but often overlooked period.

Intended learning outcomes

1) To give students a thorough grounding in the history of early modern Italy.

2) To improve students’ ability to argue effectively and at length (including an ability to cope with complexities and to describe and deploy these effectively).

3) To be able to display high level skills in selecting, applying, interpreting and organising information, including evidence of a high level of bibliographical control.

4) To develop the ability of students to evaluate and/or challenge current scholarly thinking.

5) To foster student’s capacity to take a critical stance towards scholarly processes involved in arriving at historical knowledge and/or relevant secondary literature.

6) To be able to demonstrate an understanding of concepts and an ability to conceptualise.

7) To develop students’ capacity for independent research.

Teaching details

1 x 2-hour interactive lecture per week.

Assessment Details

One summative coursework essay of 5000 words (100%). This will assess ILOs 1-7.

Reading and References

Christopher Black, Early Modern Italy: A Social History (2000)

Eric Cochrane, Italy, 1530-1630 (1988)

Ronald K. Delph et al. (Eds), Heresy, Culture and Religion in Early Modern Italy: Contexts and Contestations (2006)

Gregory Hanlon, Early Modern Italy, 1550-1800: Three Seasons in European History (2000)

John A. Marino (Ed.), Early Modern Italy: 1550-1796 (2002)