- Department: History
- Module co-ordinator: Prof. Craig Taylor
- Credit value: 20 credits
- Credit level: C
- Academic year of delivery: 2023-24
The best way to enter a new world is with a personal guide. This module encounters the middle ages through the eyes of princes, townswomen, monks, crusaders, and defiant holy women, who reach out to us via some of the richest (and most fascinating) sources of the Middle Ages: memoirs, autobiographies and other types of life-writing. Their texts allow us to explore the worlds in which they lived. They can be highly confessional, posing questions of identity, experience, and emotions; but they also record things to be remembered: world-changing events, great ventures, stories of wonder and adventure, frustration and horror. Among those we meet are King Louis IX of France (1214-1270), a celebrated monarch and crusader to the Holy Land, builder of the Sainte Chapelle and (eventually) a saint, whose remarkable life was captured in four very different accounts. The highly personal memoir of the monk Guibert de Nogent (c.1055-1124) takes us into an earlier world of internecine warfare and urban revolt, but also allows us to glimpse daily life in castles and monasteries, as well as the emotional world of this dreamer and raconteur, and his favourite subject: his indomitable Mother. Margery Kempe (c.1373-c.1438) was a merchant’s wife, mother, and brewer of ale, who refused to live a quiet life. She worked with male ghost-writers to produce an autobiography that offers an unusual window into everyday life and into the self-fashioning of a woman whose religious devotion annoyed and inspired her contemporaries. Through these and other lives we enter the castle, monastery, court, and townscape, and look to the forces that shape their worlds, from gender, wealth and power, to Crusade, heresy and revolt. We will guide student groups in devising independent research projects, using well-chosen sources and inspired by recent scholarship.
|A||Semester 2 2023-24|
The aims of this module are:
Students who complete this module successfully will:
Students will attend a 1-hour briefing in week 1, 2-hour workshops in weeks 2-4, 7-8 and 11, and group tutorials in weeks 6 and 10. They will also participate in York Strengths online. Weeks 5 & 9 are Reading and Writing Weeks (RAW). Students prepare for and participate in six workshops and two group tutorials, and complete two reflective online exercises in all.
Workshop topics are subject to variation, but are likely to include the following:
|Task||Length||% of module mark|
3,000 word essay
For formative assessment work, students submit a group project proposal in week 5 and participate in a group presentation in week 11.
For summative assessment, students submit a 3000-word essay as a group project in the assessment period.
|Task||Length||% of module mark|
Individual Project and Reflection
Following their formative assessment tasks, students will receive feedback in their tutorial and in their workshop. This feedback may be supplemented by the tutor giving some oral feedback to the whole module group.
All students are encouraged, if they wish, to discuss the feedback during their tutor’s 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. The tutor 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: