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Assessed Seminars: Archaeology of British Christianity - ARC00020H

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  • Department: Archaeology
  • Module co-ordinator: Dr. Aleksandra McClain
  • Credit value: 40 credits
  • Credit level: H
  • Academic year of delivery: 2020-21
    • See module specification for other years: 2019-20

Module summary

Christianity has been a driving force in the development of material culture, the built environment, landscapes, and social relationships in Britain from the Roman period to the modern day. The importance of Christianity to the formation of British society and culture cannot be underestimated: its precepts have a bearing on almost every important stage in human life, from birth to death, and its buildings occupied central places in almost every rural and urban settlement, and still often do. This module gives students the opportunity to explore the archaeology of the Christian religion in the British Isles through the particular themes, materials, or time periods that interest them most. 

Module will run

Occurrence Teaching cycle
A Spring Term 2020-21 to Summer Term 2020-21

Module aims

Assessed Seminars seek to develop an understanding of a specialist topic (particularly a critical understanding of the key themes, approaches and opinions). In doing so students should be able to improve their knowledge of the subject area (through reading and preparation for their own seminar, their seminar contributions and involvement in the seminars) and also have the opportunity to develop their skills in chairing a seminar, presenting material and being involved in discussion (including thinking on their feet about the topic being discussed, how to engage interest in the topic and stimulate debate).

Specifically this module aims to:

  • Provide students with an understanding of the material culture of Christianity in the British Isles from the Roman period to the 21st century

  • Address questions about Christianity’s impact on society and how that has changed over time

  • Explore the relevance of the archaeology of religion to methodological and theoretical debates, as well as to its study by other disciplines

Module learning outcomes

By the end of the module, students should:

  • demonstrate that they are familiar with the literature on the archaeology of British Christianity

  • exhibit a firm understanding of the theoretical, ethical and methodological issues related to the archaeological study of British Christianity

  • have demonstrated that they are familiar with a range of case studies

  • pick out the key issues in their chosen topic

  • prepare a worksheet which sets out key reading and issues for presentation, debate and discussion, and support the group in the preparation of the seminar

  • chair a seminar, engage interest in the topic, stimulate debate and structure discussion

  • have a critical awareness of the process of collective debate on a specific topic

  • be able to judge the general success of the seminar, and to be able to reflect on this, through a written summary of a seminar

  • present on other subjects within the general theme and contribute informed ideas and information to the other seminars

Module content

In a series of lectures and workshops, students will become familiar with the material culture of British Christianity through time, including churches, chapels, cathedrals, monasteries, funerary monuments, liturgical and devotional art and artefacts, and Christian landscapes. We will also explore wider, socially contextualized themes including the exercise of religious and lay authority, the definition of secular and sacred space, the development and display of personal and group religious identities, the role of Christian belief in structuring perception and action in life and death, and the opportunities and tensions inherent in Christian sites which are both places of modern religious practice and heritage assets. Students will then choose and develop a topic around which they will design and chair a seminar. Seminars and class discussion will encourage improved understanding of the archaeological evidence for Christian belief and practice, but will also consider the role of archaeological method and theory in the study of Christian remains, and will address the role of interdisciplinarity in a field that is equally relevant to archaeology, history, art history, and sociology.

Assessment

Task Length % of module mark
Essay/coursework
Critique
N/A 15
Essay/coursework
Seminar Contribution
N/A 5
Essay/coursework
Seminar Worksheet
N/A 20
Oral presentation/seminar/exam
Chaired Seminar
N/A 20
Oral presentation/seminar/exam
Presentation 1
N/A 20
Oral presentation/seminar/exam
Presentation 2
N/A 20

Special assessment rules

None

Reassessment

Task Length % of module mark
Essay/coursework
Critique
N/A 15
Essay/coursework
Seminar Worksheet
N/A 20
Oral presentation/seminar/exam
Chaired Seminar
N/A 20
Oral presentation/seminar/exam
Presentation 1
N/A 20
Oral presentation/seminar/exam
Presentation 2
N/A 20

Module feedback

Formative: There will be group discussions and opportunities for one-to-one feedback as you prepare for your summative assessments.

Summative: Assessed Seminar modules are exempt from the University's Policy on Feedback Turnaround Time owing to the nature of this assessment (in that the seminar performance is the subject of your critique).  Marks for all elements of the assessment will be uploaded to your e:vision account (your personal University of York online services account) within four weeks of submission of the final reflective critique. 

  

Indicative reading

Rodwell, W. 2005. The Archaeology of Churches, Tempus (Stroud)

Morris, R. 1989. Churches in the Landscape, JM Dent (London)

Aston, M. 2000. Monasteries in the Landscape, Tempus (Stroud)

Jupp, P.C. and Gittings, C. 1999. Death in England: An illustrated history, Manchester UP (Manchester)

Detailed reading for the module will be available via YorkShare (the University's virtual learning environment). When you have enrolled on a module, you will be able to access the full reading list.



The information on this page is indicative of the module that is currently on offer. The University is constantly exploring ways to enhance and improve its degree programmes and therefore reserves the right to make variations to the content and method of delivery of modules, and to discontinue modules, if such action is reasonably considered to be necessary by the University. Where appropriate, the University will notify and consult with affected students in advance about any changes that are required in line with the University's policy on the Approval of Modifications to Existing Taught Programmes of Study.