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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Law : Law

Undergraduate Course: Foundations of Modern Sovereignty (LAWS10188)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Law CollegeCollege of Humanities and Social Science
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 10 (Year 3 Undergraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryThe course offers an introduction to the problem of sovereignty from the late Middle Ages to the dawn of Absolutism. It aims at offering an introduction to the manifold subject of political authority in its historical development, from the Middle Ages to the Renaissance and the Absolutism.

The course will help students develop a deeper understanding of the historical and conceptual evolution leading to modern sovereignty principles.
Course description The indicative teaching programme will be as follows:

1. Introduction: sovereignty, history and law.
2. Authority and sovereignty in the late antiquity, the Frankish kingdom and feudal society. Sovereignty and sovra-ordination.
3. Nature and limitations of the Emperor's power
4. The investiture context: legal aspects; Papacy and Empire
5. Majesty and legal constraints; fullness of power (plenitudo potestatis)
6. Empire, city-republics and nation-states
7. The king and the crown; corporation theory
8. Philip the Fair and Boniface VIII; John XXII and the Poverty Dispute
9. Conciliarism
10. Towards absolutism
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Information for Visiting Students
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2017/18, Available to all students (SV1) Quota:  25
Course Start Semester 2
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Seminar/Tutorial Hours 20, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 176 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) There will be no formal exam and the course will be assessed EITHER by a presentation in class (25%) and a final essay at the end of the course (75%); OR by two essays worth 25% and 75% respectively.
Feedback The students will write a formative essay to be submitted by week 5. Prompt and adequate feedback will assist them in preparation of the summative final essay. The presentations will start in week 6, thus giving them ample time for preparation as well as familiarity with the subject through active participation in the first five seminars.
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Demonstrate a knowledge of the development of legal principles and legal literature in the period covered, and to utilise that knowledge in writing and class discussion.
  2. Exercise choice over reading in the sources and secondary literature of historical material relating to law.
  3. Have developed general transferable intellectual skills including presentation skills and the ability to exercise critical intelligence in context to analyse specific problems.
  4. Consolidate and develop writing and presentation skills, and those of study, understanding and expression.
  5. Exercise autonomy in study, taking ownership of their own learning, while appreciating the significance of different perspectives of others all in an ethical fashion, while developing an awareness of relativity of certain values.
Reading List
F. Maiolo, Medieval Sovereignty (2007)
Tierney, Religion, law and the growth of constitutional thought, 1150-1650 (1982)
Canning, History of Medieval Political Thought, 300-1450 (1996)
Oakley, Kingship: the politics of enchantment (2006)
Kantorowicz, The King¿s two Bodies: a Study in mediaeval political theology (1970)
Pennington, The Prince and the Law, 1200-1600. Sovereignty and Rights in the Western Legal Tradition (1993)
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Not entered
KeywordsFoundations of Modern Sovereignty,Legal History,Papacy,Empire
Course organiserDr Guido Rossi
Tel: (0131 6)50 2052
Course secretaryMs Krystal Hanley
Tel: (0131 6)50 2056
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