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Unit information: History in the Middle Ages (Lecture Response Unit) in 2015/16

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Unit name History in the Middle Ages (Lecture Response Unit)
Unit code HISTM0051
Credit points 20
Level of study M/7
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 1 (weeks 1 - 12)
Unit director Dr. Holdenried
Open unit status Not open




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


This Unit explores the way in which people in the Middle Ages conceptualized the world and their Past. We will examine different types of historical writing and the different approaches they took in, for example, Chronicles, Histories, Annals, Biographies, and Gestae (Deeds). For example, what were the models for writing history? Did the future have a place in the writing of history? Why did some people write world chronicles and others national chronicles? What was the place of biography? We will explore these and other questions focused on material mostly from Western Europe to c. 1250.

Intended learning outcomes

1)To give students a detailed understanding of the ways in which history was written and conceptualised during the Middle Ages.

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

Anne A. Latowsky, Emperor of the world: Charlemagne and the construction of imperial authority, 800-1229 (2013)

Chris Given-Wilson, Chronicles. The writing of history in medieval England (2004)

William R.Leckie, The passage of dominion. Geoffrey of Monmouth and the periodization of insular history in the twelfth century (1981)

Monika Otter, Inventiones: fiction and referentiality in twelfth-century English historical writing (1996)

Gabrielle M. Spiegel, 'History, Historicism and The Social Logic of the Text in the Middle Ages', Speculum 65 ( 1990), 59-86