This course introduces first year History students to important themes in intellectual and cultural history, and challenges them to think critically about the power of knowledge and belief in different cultures over time. It encourages students to explore how ideas have developed and travelled across different social and cultural contexts. It places strong emphasis not only on how ideas and beliefs have been formed and propagated by elites, but also on how the hierarchies of power that ideas help to create have been subverted and questioned by a wide range of historically marginalised groups. This is done with a focus on race and gender, and from a global perspective. Students are encouraged to make comparisons that will enable them to deconstruct the simplistic binaries of ‘science’ vs ‘religion’ and ‘modern’ vs ‘traditional’ forms of knowledge, to explore more fully how knowledge exchange occurred between different societies, and to consider the challenges of trying to uncover the full complexity of individual beliefs.
|A||Semester 2 2023-24|
The aims of this module are:
Students who complete this module successfully will have:
Students will attend a 1-hour briefing in week 1, then two lectures and a 1-hour discussion group in each of weeks 2-4, 6-8 and 10-11. Weeks 5 & 9 are Reading and Writing Weeks (RAW). Students prepare for and participate in sixteen lectures and eight discussion groups in all.
Lecture and discussion group topics are subject to variation, but are likely to include the following:
Block 1: Knowledge and Ideas: Frameworks, Communities and Circulation
Mapping and Organising the World of Knowledge I
Mapping and Organising the World of Knowledge II
Circulation and Communities of Ideas I
Circulation and Communities of Ideas II
Power and Knowledge: the British in India
The “Travels” of Sir John Mandeville
Block 2: Nature and Time
Time: Pasts, Futures and Temporality I
Time: Pasts, Futures and Temporality II
The Natural World I
The Natural World II
The Meanings of Revolution
Nature and Power
Block 3: Being Human
The Human Condition I
The Human Condition II
Difference and Otherness I
Difference and Otherness II
Exemplarity and Emulation
How to Measure Cultural Difference in the Renaissance
Block 4: Knowledge, Belief and Power
Power and Resistance in Religion and State I
Power and Resistance in Religion and State II
Culture and Nation I
Culture and Nation II
Vernacular Language and Revolt
Cultural Constructions of the Unthinkable
|Task||Length||% of module mark|
For formative assessment work, students will produce a 1500-word essay in week 5.
For summative assessment, students will complete an Open Exam in the assessment period.
|Task||Length||% of module mark|
Following their formative assessment task, students will receive written feedback that will include comments and a mark within 10 working days of submission.
Work will be returned to students in their discussion groups and may be supplemented by the tutor giving some oral feedback to the whole group. All students are encouraged, if they wish, to discuss the feedback on their procedural work during their lecturers’ student hours. For more information, see the Statement on Feedback.
For summative assessment tasks, students will receive their provisional mark and written feedback within 25 working days of the submission deadline. Lecturers will then be available during student hours for follow-up guidance if required. For more information, see the Statement of Assessment.
For semester-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: