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Perspectives on Medieval History - HIS00009M

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  • Department: History
  • Module co-ordinator: Dr. Sethina Watson
  • Credit value: 20 credits
  • Credit level: M
  • Academic year of delivery: 2021-22

Module summary

This core module provides an introduction to a diverse selection of sources, methods and approaches within the broad field of Medieval History. Each of the eight seminars takes a particular source, method, or topic of scholarly debate and considers it in the light of a carefully selected range of essential literature. Collectively the seminars will enable you to develop subject area knowledge and skills in scholarly practice, enhanced ability to evaluate secondary scholarship and an overview of the field. The module and the first term’s Medieval MA masterclasses will prepare you for research work in your dissertation.

Module will run

Occurrence Teaching cycle
A Autumn Term 2021-22

Module aims

The module aims to:

  • Introduce students to the critical skills and analytical methods applicable to the study of medieval history.
  • Develop skills of source analysis and interpretation
  • Examine a variety of methodological approaches to the writing of history.
  • Acquaint you with a wide range of sources used by historians, encouraging you to develop a familiarity with these materials together with the methodological, analytical, and interpretative skills necessary for your own research.

Module learning outcomes

After successfully completing this module students should:

  • Be aware of a range of thematic areas of research in medieval history
  • Be aware of a range of sources available for the study of key topics in medieval history and of how approaches to those sources have changed
  • Be aware of, and able to, evaluate and interpret diverse sources for research in medieval history
  • Be aware of, and able to deploy, a range of methodologies for investigating selected topics in medieval history
  • Be able to make informed and critical judgements about the sources and methods studied and to apply this understanding to other topics in cogent scholarly writing
  • Have enhanced their skills in oral and written academic discussion, analysis and argument.

Module content

Teaching Programme:

The module is taught by a weekly two-hour seminar in weeks 2-9.

The likely seminar programme will normally be taught by experts and will include eight topics chosen from a range which includes (but is not limited to):

Literacy, States, Letters, Gender, Heresy, Emotions, Intellectuals, Narrative, Islam, Migration, Towns and Trade, Violence, Ecology, Connectivity.


Task Length % of module mark
4000 Word Essay
N/A 100

Special assessment rules


Additional assessment information

Students will complete a 2,000 word essay for formative assessment, due in week 6, for which they will receive an individual tutorial.

Students taking the module as a core module will submit a 4,000 word assessed essay in week 10 of the autumn term. For those taking the module as an option module, a 4,000 word assessed essay will be due in week 2 of the spring term.

For further details about assessed work, students should refer to the Statement of Assessment for Taught Postgraduate Programmes.


Task Length % of module mark
4000 Word Essay
N/A 100

Module feedback

Following their formative assessment task, students will receive written feedback consisting of comments and a mark within 10 working days of submission. They will also receive verbal feedback at an individual tutorial. All students are encouraged, if they wish, to discuss the feedback on their formative work during their tutor’s student hours. For more information, see the Statement on Feedback.

For the summative assessment task, students will receive their provisional mark and written feedback within 20 working days of the submission deadline. Supervisors are available during student hours for follow-up guidance if required. For more information, see the Statement of Assessment for Taught Postgraduate Programmes.

Indicative reading

For term time reading, please refer to the module VLE site. Before the course starts, we encourage you to look at the following items of preliminary reading:

Clanchy, Michael. From Memory to Written Record: England 1066-1307. 3rd ed, Chichester: John Wiley & Sons, 2013.

Bennett, Judith. History Matters: Patriarchy and the challenge of Feminism. Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2006.

Brown, P.R.L. The Cult of the Saints: Its Rise and Function in Latin Christianity. Chicago University of Chicago Press, c1981.

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.