- Department: History
- Module co-ordinator: Dr. Lucy Sackville
- Credit value: 20 credits
- Credit level: M
- Academic year of delivery: 2021-22
- See module specification for other years: 2020-21
From the thirteenth century, academic thought drove contemporary debates as never before. On the shoulders of the pioneering scholars of the twelfth century, later medieval thinkers built a system of study in which reason and enquiry, rather than authority, formed the basis of academic research. In its ascendancy, the scholastic project explored the scope, and reach, of human understanding, but inherent in this approach was a capacity for radical and even heterodox thought that generated debates whose implications resonated far beyond the confines of the universities.
This module looks at the impact of this changing attitude to the role of rational intellect and human knowledge. Our focus will be on the Universities of Paris, Bologna, and Oxford, but we will also look at Prague and other northern universities. Through the treatises, polemics, and letters that make up the substance of the intellectual world of the period, we will examine the major debates and controversies that lie at heart of shifts in the cultural and religious climate of the later Middle Ages. We will look at the ways in which discussions about how the world should be understood and ordered led inevitably to discussions about the source of spiritual, and by implication secular, authority. The role of scepticism and heterodoxy in the formation of orthodoxy will be considered, as well as the relationship of universities to dissent, a recurring theme in contemporary discourse as well as in modern historiography
|A||Autumn Term 2021-22|
The module aims to:
After successfully completing this course students should:
Students will attend eight weekly two-hour seminars in weeks 2-9.
The likely seminar programme is as follows:
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Students will complete a 2,000-word essay for formative assessment, due in week 6 or 7 of the autumn term, for which they will receive an individual tutorial. They will then submit a 4,000-word assessed essay for summative assessment 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.
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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.
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:
Baldwin, John W. Masters, Princes, and Merchants: the Social Views of Peter the Chanter & his Circle. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1970.
Cobban, Alan B. The Medieval Universities: their Development and Organization. London: Methuen, 1975.
Fichtenau, Heinrich. Heretics and Scholars in the High Middle Ages, 1100-1200. University Park, Pa.: Pennsylvania State University Press, 1998.
Leff, Gordon. Heresy in the Later Middle Ages: the Relation of Heterodoxy to Dissent, c. 1250-c.1450. Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1967, repr. 1999.