The Uses of Writing in the 'Dark Ages' from Late Antiquity to the Age of Charlemagne & Beyond - HIS00066M

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  • Department: History
  • Module co-ordinator: Dr. Katherine Cross
  • Credit value: 20 credits
  • Credit level: M
  • Academic year of delivery: 2018-19

Module will run

Occurrence Teaching cycle
A Autumn Term 2018-19

Module aims

The module aims to:

  • Develop skills of source analysis and interpretation;
  • Assess a range of source material and relevant secondary works; and
  • Develop students’ powers of evidence-based historical argument, both orally and in writing.

Module learning outcomes

After successfully completing this course students should:

  • have an understanding of education, communication, Latin literacy, book-making andpalaeology in the centuries between the end of the western Roman Empire and the Carolingian Renaissance.
  • be familiar with the cultural setting of Latin learning in the post Roman World.
  • be able to relate the physical form in which historical literary evidence survives to the material and institutional settings which ensure its preservation.
  • be able to use the knowledge gained from the seminars to formulate cogent and sophisticated approaches to other historical problems that depend on textual evidence.

Module content

The course will provide an integrated introduction to selected themes in the history of education, communication, Latin literacy, book-making and palaeography, mainly in the centuries between the end of the western Roman Empire and the Carolingian Renaissance, but with some consideration of later developments. The course will offer insight into the cultural setting of Latin learning in the post Roman world and will also introduce students to the physical form in which historical and literary evidence survives and the material and institutional settings which ensure its preservation.

Weekly seminars will focus on key primary texts and classic approaches to the problems raised by the texts. Topics covered may range from the roman postal system to runes and ogam, from land charters to medieval textbooks.


Teaching Programme:
Students will attend eight weekly two-hour seminars in weeks 2-9.

Probable seminars may include:

  1. Roman Foundations
  2. How the Monastery became a school
  3. The Monastery as a school, part II
  4. Ways of Reading
  5. The Insular World
  6. The Book as Treasure
  7. New forms of the book
  8. A long view

Assessment

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

Special assessment rules

None

Additional assessment information

Students will complete a 2,000-word procedural essay for formative assessment, due in week 6. 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 Taught Masters Degrees Statement of Assessment.

Reassessment

Task Length % of module mark
Essay/coursework
Essay 4000 Words
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. All students are encouraged, if they wish, to discuss the feedback on their procedural 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. The tutor will then be available during student hours for follow-up guidance if required. For more information, see the Statement of Assessment.

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:

Bowman, A. and Woolf, g. eds. Literacy and Power in the Ancient World. Cambridge: 1989.

Brown, M.  Manuscripts from the Anglo-Saxon Age. London: 2007

McKitterick, R. ed. The Uses of Literacy in Early Medieval Europe. Cambridge: 1990.

Dronke, P. Women Writers of the Middle Ages. Cambridge: 1984.



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.