Module Code: HIS00023I
Tutor: Sethina Watson
Pre-requisites: A History first year module
How measly were the middle ages? This module examines the poor, sick and helpless of medieval society and the forms of aid that were made available. We begin by looking at miracle stories to think about those who, diseased and desperate, took to the streets in search of saintly intervention. Who were they, and how did they, and those who recorded their tales, respond to their suffering? We look, too, at medieval ideas of madness and at leprosy, a disease which transfixed and appalled contemporaries, as well as at the relationships between sickness and poverty and at the challenges created by an economy whose poor harvests could produce widespread starvation. Important, too, are the many responses to disease and poverty, by monasteries who gave alms to the poor and treatments for their own sick monks, and by nobles and townsmen who established leper houses and hospitals for the poor, sick and travellers. In so doing, we will think about how contemporaries identified, understood and responded to human suffering and about the political implications of the relationships forged between the powerful and the desperate. We will focus on England 1100-1400, but will look also at France, drawing from miracle stories, charters, chronicles and the customs of monasteries and hospitals (all provided in translation).
Students who complete this module successfully should:
This 30-credit module is taught through a weekly two-hour seminar run from Weeks 2-10 in the Spring Term and a four-week period of project work undertaken in Weeks 1-4 of the Summer Term. Students will write and submit a procedural essay in Week 7 of the Spring Term. Project work will be completed within the summer period and tutors should arrange to be available for consultation with students twice during that time. There will be no formal seminar teaching during this period.
The seminar programme will deal with the following:
Project work will deal with the following:
Group projects in which students will investigate charity in a particular city or region.
This module is assessed by:
The exam carries 67 per cent of assessment and the project element 33 per cent for this module.