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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of History, Classics and Archaeology : Postgraduate (School of History and Classics)

Postgraduate Course: War and Society in Dark Age Scotland (PGHC11227)

Course Outline
School School of History, Classics and Archaeology College College of Humanities and Social Science
Course type Standard Availability Available to all students
Credit level (Normal year taken) SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate) Credits 20
Home subject area Postgraduate (School of History and Classics) Other subject area Celtic
Course website None Taught in Gaelic? No
Course description This directed reading course explores the Scottish experience of the endemic violence that characterized society across Western Europe in the period c.550-c.950. Emphasis is on the primary sources and the value of the study of warfare as an avenue for understanding social realities more broadly in Dark Age Scotland.
Entry Requirements
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Additional Costs None
Information for Visiting Students
Pre-requisites None
Displayed in Visiting Students Prospectus? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Delivery period: 2010/11 Semester 2, Available to all students (SV1) WebCT enabled:  Yes Quota:  None
Location Activity Description Weeks Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday
CentralTutorialRm 2.26 Doorway 4, Teviot Place1-11 16:10 - 18:00
First Class Week 1, Monday, 16:10 - 18:00, Zone: Central. Room 2.26 (Doorway 4, Teviot Place)
No Exam Information
Summary of Intended Learning Outcomes
Students will emerge from the course having developed a sufficient degree of expertise in the subject to undertake a related Masters dissertation. The principal objective of the course is to provide students with specialist knowledge of, and critical appreciation for, the military and related dimensions of society in Dark Age Scotland. Since that objective requires regular reflections on broader social currents of the age, such an examination will be found useful by many students whose particular interests may not be Insular.
Assessment Information
An essay of c.3000 words on an approved topic, counting as 100% of the final course mark.
Special Arrangements
Additional Information
Academic description War was a major factor in dictating the shape and character of early medieval societies. 'Dark Age' Scotland is more than a mere case in point: here engagement with the evidence of warfare and themes and approaches in military historiography represent essential avenues for the social historian. This Masters-level course takes a close look at the mentalities and behaviour associated with organized, 'high-' and 'low-level' violence in northern Britain in the period c.550-c.1050, with emphasis on primary written sources from the pre-viking period. At all times we are concerned with how careful study of the military dimension of life in Dark Age Scotland sheds light on broader themes in its social history $ú themes for which more conventional categories of written evidence are unavailable. The principal Masters-level skills you will develop in the course relate to the art of 'close-reading' texts: 'mining' written sources for the often-small 'nuggets' of information they may contain about a subject of interest to us, without losing sight of the broader issues affecting the construction and transmission of those sources, and thus the usability and reliability of the materials they contain. Students will handle cutting-edge scholarship surrounding Scotland's early medieval past, as well as more general aspects of early medieval history.
Syllabus 1. Introduction to Dark Age Scotland and some key sources
2. Why was warfare endemic in early medieval Scotland?
3. How common were common armies?
4. How central to the military history of early Scotland is 'the war-band'?
5. How useful is Míniugud senchasa fher nAlban to the military historian?
6. What can be learned about society and its economic dimensions by analyzing the evidence concerning military campaigning?
7. What can the military historian learn from hill-forts and sieges?
8. What does artefactual evidence from weapons etc. reveal about warfare and/or its socio-economic underpinnings?
9. How did alliances and treaties work?
10. Was war a bad thing or a good thing?
11. To what extent did the Viking Age represent a new age?
Transferable skills Not entered
Reading list Not entered
Study Abroad Not entered
Study Pattern Not entered
Keywords Not entered
Course organiser Dr James Fraser
Tel: (0131 6)50 3624
Course secretary Mrs Lindsay Scott
Tel: (0131 6)50 9948
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